Long long day. Extra work. I'm not complaining, I am being paid for that, but it is worth noting. Also been a long drive. Time for a beer methinks and what better ale companion than one that was bought as a Christmas present (I know, I know) because it is the time of year when I can be realistically having the lighter ales. Don't get me wrong, I still like the stouts, but the IPAs I've been having of late along with the odd pale have made their mark.
Tonight I shall be sampling the potential delights of the garishly decorated Ease Up IPA from Adnams that was on at the Burnt Pig (click here) rather recently too. I didn't have it on tap, will I regret that decision? In the meantime, let us continue with the review. Would you like to know more?
This pours with one of the oddest colours I think I've seen. Part of that is down to the fact that I'm sat in front of a laptop on a dark evening late into the night with a soft glow from an LED bulb behind frosted lamp effects but it does rather seem to make the colour choice on the label actually make sense. It's not often you can say that garish pink, near puce, and mustard yellow are appropriate but I have to say that, well, they are. They do indeed reflect what you're going to get. A bit of an effort to create a head with this one, though it pays off, and the burst of fruity juice and floral hints does rather take one aback when it carries across the distance from the glass to the nose without having to stick your nose into the brew to get it. The label proclaims pine and I think it's spot on. It brings to mind the conifer woods outside Mire House near Penrith on the road to Keswick, reminding me of spring and autumn (as opposed to summer) trips there in my youth. Just after the rain has come down but before the water has reached the dry bed of needles beneath the shade so that the trunks are wet and aromatic against the pent up dryness beneath. No steam, for the sun is not hot enough, nor blue skies but still good enough to risk throwing yourself into the assault course and then running around to the wooden fort to play Romans versus Picts.
That pine impression continues into the taste, fiery and letting you know the 4.6% ABV up front. It almost relies a little too heavily on the alcohol for the opening impression for my taste, a little tto brash and likely to throw pine cones in the fort, which is fine, hard at the enemy so they leave a bruise, which is not. There are boasts of mango, grapefruit and melon on the bottle but these are a bit too subtle for me. I accept that there may be the wetness of watermelon lurking there and a bit of the texture of gala melon, which I think is because I actually had a melon pot for breakfast because I am so middle class and because it was free, so I feel that my comparisons are valid. Not getting the grapefruit at all beyond the souring at the opening and the bittering hops toward the back of the taste. It's a full one and there's no gaps in it, big mouthfeel and plenty of variety across the experience, not too watery down the sides nor does it end up too sour or bitter at any point. A little drier, like the aftermath of eating something with lemon zest in it, on the aftertaste and a nice bit of malt discernible throughout to carry the fizz and the hops.
All in all this is less the assault course at Mire House and more the lakeside walk. That is, it is innocuous, nice in its own way and pleasant without being so brash and in your face that you have to give it your full attention. Much like the youth I was back then I'm not sure I rate it as highly as the assault course stuff, like Lupuloid (click here) or Session Ale (click here), being less exciting and less satisfying as you get through it. Mind you, if you're looking for a session IPA equivalent of a long walk in the countryside in all weathers so that you can study the changing mood of the hillsides and valleys, scrutinise the leaves and the trees and keep an eye out for hawks and squirrels then this is a good one to have. I suspect it's better after a meal than with it and one to have with company. The sort that can hold your hand and say nothing in a way that passes more understanding than years of conversation.
Enjoy with a romantic partner whilst up in the Lakes on a retreat-style holiday. Turn off the mobile phones, take your time and stand awhile outside as the sun plays hide-and-seek in the clouds. There's a cold breeze that occasionally works it way toward a wind with a dampness from a recently passed rainstorm or a hint of one to come. Mud slutches up your trainers and walking boots but is not so bad that they need to be waterproof; the smell of the pines is warm and inviting, resinous. Find a spot near the coast of the lake, lay out a blanket or even just your coats, sit on some rocks if you like and pull out a brace of these. You can have them in glasses but from the bottle will be fine. Sit and soak up the atmosphere and say nothing. Don't plan the end of the moment, let it happen.