Sunday, 16 April 2017

New Inn Restoration Ale

Happy Easter everyone! He is risen indeed. And so it is that I am reviewing this ale in my garden on the garden furniture in the sunshine. And it is, I think, a golden ale too, which is always nice. This ale was brewed by Chiltern Brewery in Bucks and was bought for me by my father, to whom I am grateful, from Stowe. I shall be honest, I have no idea where Stowe is nor any idea of its historical significance. But it must have some because there's this ale that has been brewed specifically to allow National Trust to make money and use it to restore the New Inn, hence the name: New Inn Restoration Ale.

I, for one, am looking forward to it. Would you like to know more?

It opens without any fuss, having been chilled since my father arrived with it. Partly because it felt warm to the touch in my kitchen and partly because I have't chilled an ale in an age and it felt like the right thing to be doing. Good copper colour too, with plenty of carbonation activity that never felt like it was excessive or in danger of making too much of a head. It rapidly diminished too, into the thin skein of wort like bloom that I do rather prize on my ales, making this a sunny and bright addition to my reviews this Easter, fitting given when this is. Also, good nose to this one too, not so much hop-heavy (though there is a citrus edge) as it is rich and full malt with some yeast and a quality not unlike the sort of spice that I found in the Christmas ales this year. It is, all told, rather rich and nicely brewed.

Once on the tongue this plays around with the carbonation some, pricking the tongue quickly and often with little needles of yeast propelled by bubbles, before allowing the mouth to get a hit of the sloshing golden malt, thin enough and chilled enough to quench and satisfy whilst slaking thirst. There is a burst of floral, almost, hops around the roof of the mouth and down the sides, gathering there where the wind can't get to it and the rain washes the dust from the path into gulleys that get deep enough to support plant life amid the stones. Richer and more fertile that it would appear, the whole concoction washes through bringing light and life to the mouth and tastebuds with plenty of warmth despite the relatively weak 4.8% ABV. I say relatively weak, this is actually a pretty strong golden ale and yet it doesn't play on that strength, the ABV stays nicely contained even as it gets toward the back of the mouth and doesn't overpower the quite delicate floral hops at the tip of the esophagus.

Once to the aftertaste and you find that this little number does a rather good job of keeping you interested and ready for more. It is much fuller and richer than I was expecting and it does a good job of being the sort of thing that works well in heat. I am glad that I chilled it because I feel like that really allowed this ale to perform at the height of its power rather than simply at a good point. There are subtle notes here that a long few days prevent me from properly analysing, excepting insofar as this has them and they are welcome. It is a good one to have at the back of the garden on a warm evening with the sound of dubstep drifting lazily from other people's gardens.

Enjoyed best when there is a sunny warm day on which to have it, with a reason to be investing in a rich golden ale to while away some free time and with nothing threatening on the horizon like mountains of marking or sleepless nights. I am glad I had a chance to have it and note the similarity to the Hughenden Ale I had the last time my father brought me something back from a National Trust property, but I am not complaining about that!


  1. Stowe is significant because it was considered to be *the* way to do an English estate and was mentioned in poems by Congreve and Pope, both of whom specifically wrote poems to say how great it was.

    As a garden, it is worth a visit because it's one of those ones that leads you around - you see a Gothic edifice and go to explore that, then from there you see a colonnade and need to go and investigate, then from there you see a Grecian temple... So yes, worth a visit.

    1. Thus am I educated, thank you. And yes, it is worth a visit on a less than wet day with the family for we now have National Trust membership: hurrah!