Tonight's review was done on a sunny afternoon in the garden with the bees lazily buzzing through the budding flowers and the sound of buses plying the road outside my house far off and gentle on the breeze. It is also of an ale that I have been itching to get hold of for well over two years now after reading about it on another beer blog (now sadly no longer posting from what I can gather). I refer, in this instance, to Treason, a West Coast IPA brewed by a small brewery named Uprising Craft Brewery who seem to be operating out of the Windsor and Eton Brewery. I may be wrong.
I managed to pick this up from my local bottle shop after the proprietor had nipped down south for a bit and stopped off at the Windsor and Eton Brewery, indicating that there is significant overlap here. Anyway, the sun is currently high and the air is warm, would you like to know more?
Bottle conditioned, warned the label, and the sound of the carbonation barely peaked above the wind and the birds (mainly wood pigeons) surrounding the garden. A careful pour, so as to avoid sediment in the glass, created a lovely bronzed ale in the glass, carefully capturing the sunlight and reflecting the heat as though the two were one. I had not chilled this beforehand, relying on the darkness of the under-stairs cupboard to do its work. A big and strong yeasty aroma on this one, filling the air like one would expect but then going far beyond mere Brownian motion to get right into the tastebuds. There are some hops here, but they are beaten back by the yeast and the overall maltiness of the nose, which is no bad thing for a big IPA. At 6% ABV I'm happy to refer to this as a big IPA too.
Onto the tongue and this opens with a big hit of hops, full of the joys of the fruity variety rather than citrus or floral, there's little in the way of delicacy and much in the way of a handful of hops being thrown at the brew. Raw and powerful, they do a good opening crescendo, like a fanfare of the beer-drinking beer-gut, and then fade into the middle as the malt does the work of carrying those yeast-tipped spears of bubbles to the roof and centre of the mouth. It fills out, sloshing into the cheeks like water in an abandoned sandpit after the winter being dug over by industrious small people with tiny spades. Okay, my small person, the Boy, has a bit of a bigger spade, but the analogy holds true.
The alcohol is definitely present in the taste too, that thin and compact head, brilliant white in the sunshine, persists like a lady speaker in the House of Congress in the United States, despite warnings, and it sticks around down to the final third with ease, with little blooms and eddies within suggesting a well brewed bottle and giving weight to the idea that this is indeed bottle conditioned. Warm and spicy on the nose as it enters the mouth, then explodes with spicy hops as it cascades into the middle once more, then slowly draws back like the tide to the back of the throat where it dries out and leaves an impression of some big alcohol. A little dehydrating in the aftertaste, leaving the mouth to water with anticipation, and something that would accompany dry heat in food well. As an afternoon tipple, I had this without any food and it does a good job of making a sunny afternoon even more pleasant.
Enjoy with sunshine, time and little on your mind. One for after examinations, the build up to summer or the tennis at Wimbledon. Maybe the sort of thing one takes to cricket in the pavilion with proper suits and a decent sunhat. No lager lout, this one, despite the very bronzed exterior and the streams of bubbles marching upward like those from some soft-drink, this is a stately usurper of the crown, a steely-eyed noble dead-set on causing ructions at the very top, the sort of place only a noble would have access to, it's almost Shakespearean, with all the very careful genitalia jokes that this implies.