Thursday, 18 November 2010

Taylor's Tipple (Hambleton Ales)

This has been in the vault for a while at Station Two, so time to give it a crack. Rumours have reached the Bunker shortwave radio that Hambleton Ales have won a few awards in their time, so I was curious to see how this beer stood up.

The label oozes class, in a wine-bottle style. No big cartoon motifs, no zany font, just silvered trim, a lithographed race horse and autumnal plated colours. The text explains that the drink is a tribute to grocer Thomas Taylor, who in 1857 used six tonnes of lime to score a giant horse on to Hambleton Hills.

It pours a proper beery red-brown, deep ambered fudge with a benevolent fluffy head.

The smell of it is remarkable - caramel is very marked, and sweet malts and butter-toffee framing the experience. I rarely salivate just on the smell of a beer but this one got me.

The taste isn't nearly as sweet. Some malty sugar and berry flavours pipe fleetingly up in the pre-taste, but firm strides of tea, earth and a burnt 'something' channel through almost immediately.

Then, curiously for an ale, there seems to me to be a resurgence of sweetness at the death of the taste, albeit hand in hand with a lengthy bitter finish. Sounds illogical but there we are.

It's creamier than cream, and the bitterness closes off like a valve in time to invite the next sip. At 4.5%abv this is an eminently drinkable fine-class product, and one I'd return to especially in the cold months.

8/10 - Well mixed and pleasantly chewy winter beer. Good for later in the evening when the hour invites complex, rewarding flavours.

- The Broadside

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