We entered April and the world was meant to be warming up, I was meant to be enjoying the 2013 5×50 Challenge and four more beers were meant to be ticked off from the Year in Beer list. Well, one out of three isn’t bad…
Week 28 – Magic Rock High Wire
The Magic Rock brewery is a recent addition to the brewing world, starting up in 2011 and quickly establishing themselves and their reputation (they managed to get two beers into the 2012 top 50 beers list, for example, with this being the first of the two). They also have some of the best bottle labels I have seen so far, and were deservedly mentioned in a recent article by Will Coldwell (the journalist behind the top 50 list) on the art of beer bottle design.
This is a West Coast US pale ale and, as expected, it hits you with a bold aroma from the hops as soon as you remove the cap. Citrus. Mango. Wonderful. Drinking it, you get fruit flavours to start off with and then it finishes very bitter.
Overall, I think that “fresh” is a good word to describe this beer. My scribbled notes from that evening say: “like drinking a grapefruit”. If you like US pale ales, then you should know what to expect from this beer, and I don’t think that it will disappoint you.
Week 29 – Buxton Moor Top
This is another boldly hoppy beer. It has that same grapefruit taste and the grapefruit also comes through in the aroma. I found this to have more bitterness than the High Wire and, also, a lighter, yellower colour.
Week 30 – Chapel Down Curious Brew
Continuing with the theme of beers that come with a bit of a fruit kick, I turned next to this offering from the Chapel Down vineyard in Kent. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a beer that comes from the same stable as some award-winning wines, this lager comes with a grape aroma that gives it a very pleasant fruity smell.
It’s a lager. It smells a bit like grapes. But it works.
It pours out of the bottle with a yellow/orange colour and a reasonable amount of carbonation. Flavour-wise, it doesn’t overpower you, but it is very pleasant and continues that fruity theme for these April beers. Perhaps it’s all that champagne yeast they stuff into it that gives it that sparkle?
Week 31 – Liberation Ale
Readers of my recent posts will know how happy I was to stumble across this beer at the Maltings Beer Festival. For once, the sun did come out and I was able to sit in the sunshine to enjoy this light, clear, golden-coloured beer.
Starting off, the beer has a nice flavour with some malty sweetness in the middle somewhere. Towards the end the flavours drop away, but the whole beer is nicely balanced and quite moreish. In fact, I would probably have had some more, had it not been for the 249 or so other beers also on offer at the festival.
With this coming all the way from the Channel Islands, the chances are that I’m not going to stumble across it too often. But when I do, I would certainly be more than happy to sink another pint of it.
I would also give the Liberation IPA the thumbs-up. That beer isn’t on the top 50 list, but was available at the beer festival. “When in a big tent full of beer…” as they say (or is that “Rome”?). That again strikes the right balance between the different elements, this time a zesty, malty combination. Very tasty.