I was actually after a whole bunch of other ales but then the Mad Hatter job lot had come in and this little number was high on the list of wants in terms of wanting to try it. Having a good bottle shop so close by is going to bankrupt me. It's not going to kill me, I don't drink quite enough ale, but it very well may cause me to lose all of my money. Maybe it would be quicker just to transfer a couple of hundred a month? Anyway, I'm not complaining because having quality ales on hand is always a good thing. And back to the point, I got me some Mad Hatter Tzatziki Sour because it was a fun label and it was green and it was a sour.
It appears that I am drinking more sours these days. I would love to know why but maybe that's just how the wind is blowing for now. This one promises some Greek cuisine along with the murk and the orange hue, would you like to find out how true that is? I thought you might!
On opening, I had kept this one chilled since purchase, this whisped a small whisp of CO2 and then settled right back down to be poured in the intense sunlight of the garden. A small of sour malt leapt from the glass and filled the air, barely moving, topped by a distinct hit of something not totally unlike cucumber with barbeque sauce nearby. Now, that's not to say that the cucumber smell was overwhelmed, like it would be on a burger say, it was by far the dominant aroma with the sauce taking a distant, bit noticeable, back seat to the whole affair. Nary a head on the pour despite plenty of bubbles that effervesced into the ether on a bright and sunlit afternoon in the garden. Anxious to avoid it getting too heated I retreated indoors after the first good sip.
And what a sip! This delivered on the promise of having a unique flavour and there aren't many ales that can claim that. Made with real yogurt, claimed the ingredients, and I can safely say that the taste of that yogurt was large in the mouth. A standard sour profile in terms of being thin and yet full in the mouth, taking over all the crevices and making its presence felt, but with an opening that was just indescribable. I can't think of any suitable analogies or metaphors. Nothing. It may have been a bit like really strong cucumber but it was hard to tell. Then the bubbles take over and then you have the rather massive yogurt hit, a sour and bitter yogurt, well, Greek style. It tastes almost healthy and virtuous with a trace of that opening gambit of cucumber, for want of anything else to describe it as, then fading into a sour malt that actually is rather thirst-quenching. This on a day of over 28 degrees in the sunlight, it is most welcome and does a damn' fine job of combating the heat and the humidity.
Thence indoors to escape the heat and see what Willow thought of it. A screwed up face and a questioning look, at least it wasn't grapefruit, but not a lot else. I must say, I am torn on this one. It is a magnificent sour and a good unique flavour that really sets the standard. It is well-made and bracing, thirst quenching and wet with the sort of aftertaste that puts me in mind of the one time that I have had Greek food in Carlisle, for some reason, back in the 1990s. It has a certain something that keeps me entertained and keeps me coming back for more. And yet, this is a strange flavour and hard to reconcile with the fact that this is a beer. A 4.2% ABV enigma, then, that does well given the odds stacked against it but has an over-riding sensation of being drowned in Greek yogurt or some kind of salad with a yogurt vinaigrette. It's... different.
In all, bracing. Clear aroma that clears out the nostrils and a taste that does rather clear the palate. Not sure it would pair well with most of the meals that I have but if you're into Greek food then this might do well with actual Tzatziki, I don't know. I enjoyed the experience and think it well worth a couple of quid, well worth having again but for the fact that I have altogether too many ales that simply won't store well nor age well. I am very glad I got the chance to try it and would recommend it to the sort of drinker that fancies something that is out of the ordinary and a bit different.
This is best had in Greece, with an island or two on the horizon and motorcycles that double as cabs taking you to a villa or something. Eat well in the Mediterranean climate that is so kind and warm, maybe go in early spring before it gets too hot, and then kick back as the dusk draws in and the stars begin to twinkle in that majestic dark blue sky. Sip short and take your time, dream of the trip out to some ruins on an island in magical blue waters, sip again and just be. This is the stuff of which memories are made.
Disclaimer: I have never been to Greece.