Monday, 1 November 2010

Double Drop (Flack Manor) - 3.7%abv

Flack Manor is a new enterprise, erected near the site of the Hampshire Brewery, which closed in 2008. It's run by Nigel Welsh, an ex-director of Ringwood Brewery . Here at this site we're big fans of Ringwood's ales so have been keen to try this beer.

From what I can tell, they're only brewing this particular bottled beer at the moment, so this bottle carries with it a fledgling reputation of the brand.

I'm a little nervous at the strength of this, a mere 3.7%. Almost without exception I've found that very decent session bitters from the cask just don't live well in a bottle at the lighter end of the alcohol spectrum, Ringwood's Best being a prime example. That beautifully honed malty beer served in my beloved Porterhouse in Westbourne transfers to an overly bitter rough beast on the shelf, although Bunker colleague Ed has a higher opinion.

Double Drop is named after it's brewing process, a near forgotten method of dropping wort into a fermenting "round" and then dropping it again into a fermenting vessel, which leaves behind dead yeast and other debris, not cleaned up in other methods.

The drink pours clear and a deep amber with a filmy thin disc of white head. Maris Otter barley malt and slight hints of toffee carry on the nose.

First taste and I'm very pleasantly surprised. This drinks extremely smoothly, and there's no hint of roughness. A mildly sweet initial note becomes a quenching and citrus-fruity middle with a lick of bitterness in the tail. Flack Manor have scored a direct strike on the label description, which describes the beer as "quaffable".

This is a very refreshing and light pint. It of course has none of the hidden depths of some of the more sturdy leviathans on these pages, but if taken as what it is, it's one to be relished.

This isn't a complex drink, nor was it intended to be; the experience is a short pleasant journey of sweet>citrus>light bitter>full stop with an immediate invitation to sup again. At this strength, this is a beer that could merrily last all afternoon without too many impacts to a drinker's co-ordination.

For me, Flack Manor have practically invented the first decent sub-4% bottled ale, and the level of taste I'd hoped for from bottled Ringwood Best.

7/10 - I'll be watching this brewery with interest.

- The Broadside

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