Sunday, 26 September 2010

Goldings (Shepherd Neame)

Even at the death of September, warm days are still alive on the south coast, so today it's the turn of "summer hop ale" Goldings, from Kentish brewers Shepherd Neame.

It's in their usual pot-bottle, 4.5% abv and pours clear and golden - a lion's mane of a colour which is beautiful in the fading afternoon light.

The nose is a little resiny with a touch of apple. The hops are complex but never overpowering. First draft is smooth and bubbly, but it's a springy piquant fizz rather than a tongue jacuzzi.

The taste as expected is summery and refreshing, and I wonder if perhaps I should have cooled it a little. Through the mainstay of the sip the pint throws tiny flowers about with a dusting of herbs. The opinion-polarising Neame yeast is there, but adds a slant of crunchy character rather than interfering too much.

The finish is abrupt and not very bitter. This is a beer for savouring on a sunny lawn and still being able to notice the scent of cut grass.

Allegations that could be made are that it's perhaps a little watery and not hoppy enough for the hopheads, but as a subtle ale with a hint of zest it's certainly built for purpose. This is one of the more user-friendly Neamish numbers, and I found it a pleasure to drink.

6/10 - Very agreeable, but perhaps lacking the character definition to tip it into the 7-grade bracket. If you dine al fresco frequently you'd do far worse than stock a few of these if spotted at the right price.

- The Broadside

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