The newest 8 Degrees beer was unveiled at the Irish Craft Beer and Cider festival in the RDS earlier this month, but unfortunately I couldn't make the trip to Dublin. Thankfully, bottles from my favourite (I think) Irish brewery are quick and easy to come by in Bradley's. And so, here stands Amber Ella.
The aroma is incredible. There is some serious hop punch in this, with bright and bitter mandarin and peach notes balanced by a caramelised biscuit malt backbone. Some perfumy herbal stuff starts to develop over time, as well as a bubblegum-like sweetness. The taste is similarly gorgeous, packing some proper pine needle bitterness in amongst the already brisk, cooling smack of orange peel and pith. This is tied down - though not completely - by a sugary honeycomb character that adds plenty of warmth and smoothness to proceedings.
This is a great beer, and a serious contender for my pick of the year. I'll be getting more, and I recommend you do too.