Sunday, 12 September 2010

Eric The Red (Septimus Spyder)

I knew very little about the county of Shropshire before deciding to spend a week in the Vivat Trust's Summerhouse, but what an idyllic rural haven of winding rivers, secret woods, airy hills, walks and ales it is.

I picked up various bottled gems even before spending a day at the Ludlow Food Festival, where ales from Ironbridge, Wells, Corvedale, Hobsons and Kingstone "fell" into my rucksack (via a till of course).

Eric the Red was found in the local section of the food market at the beautiful Weston Park, home of V Festival for a loud weekend every year, when the acorns are shaken in their cups by several million watts of music.

Against type, I was after a rumbustuous little pict of an ale - something old and hearty. Eric comes in a charming little dark bottle, adorned with a home-grown label stuck rather haphazardly on, methinks in someone's shed.

The label text promised "dark ruby ale", and so it was - a very attractive deeply ochre pint sits sturdily in the glass, small bubble lines hinting at a touch of excitability on the tongue. The head is patchy, a Fresian cowhide pattern mottling on the surface.

To the nose, this is a pungent number, and images of a medieval banquet floor sprang to the Broadside's mind. Not perhaps the most attractive of smells but ask for traditional and ye shall receive, a sharp, hoppy odour piling up the nostrils like a minstrel doing thrash metal requests.

As for the taste - giant hops volley through at the homebrew-style opening second, a chomping early biter of a taste, like pac-man in a hessian singlet. The middle is pure spiky barley/wheat BEER in CAPITALS. Not subtle, but then it was not to be expected. My achilles heel, and perhaps something others may admire, is a dislike for beers with an aftertaste outstaying it's welcome and so this proved - a squawking bitter clarion call, the taste equivalent of an angry heron on methadone chasing you round the house with a bag of pins.

Not really for me, but hearty enough to not be baulked at if it was slipped in mid-session at an outdoor party in high wind. 4/10.

- The Broadside


  1. Correction - the label is adhered using the old wax method, and it's actually charmingly traditional. I blame the ignorance fairy..

  2. Love the description....try our Titanicus Kentucky Huck !!