Tuesday, 15 January 2013

#115: Oh Aye (part 2)

My good friend Lachie gifted me two more bottles of Scottish beer that I'm sure I can't get over here. Simply put, here they are, test driving my lovely new Metalman glass.
The first is a British blonde from the Isle of Arran Brewery, the aptly named Isle of Arran Blond. Wheat is used in the brewing process, and you can tell by the way the pale amber beer supports a slice of white head all the way to the bottom of the glass. Right away the nose is hoppy, with citrus fruit dominating proceedings, particularly lemon. Maybe it's because it was chilled to the limit, but the aroma didn't give away much else. Just the pleasant balance of a British pale ale tipping gently toward the hoppier side of things. The taste is much more interesting, being nutty, malty and hoppy in all the right places, while always maintaining that refreshing citrus character and bitter smack to the finish.

Well balanced and very tasty, this would make a good sessioner.

The other beer in question is Cairngorm's Black Gold, a stout. I had it 'off the shelf', so to speak, and I reckon it was the right choice, because chilling may have concealed the lovely coffee and sweet toffee malts that dominated the aroma from the off. It's milky and just a hint fruity too, and these aromatic characteristics are matched almost exactly in tasting. It's light, smooth and incredibly drinkable, sliding down the throat with the bitterness restraining itself to just a tickle on the tongue.

Tasty stuff and great drinking, another good potential sessioner.

Aside from the Scots, I've had a chance to retry Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot, once again the 2012 'expedition'. It's better than I remembered from the first time round, as I was surprised at how powerful the sweet toffee, syrup and caramel malts are, standing side by side with the trademark piney Sierra Nevada hop character, which is equally powerful. The only downside is that at 9.6% ABV, the alcohol packs a punch, though not to the point of being seriously detrimental to the experience. At least, not for me. In any case, it's certainly more complex than I recalled.

I do see how a bit of aging could work wonders for this beer, as I've been tipped in the past, so suffice to stay I've been stocking up.

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