Monday, 20 October 2014

#244: On the Hop Yet Again

Recently I was lured into the Bierhaus to try some Kinnegar Black Bucket by some lascivious tweeting, and having been a longtime Rustbucket fan, I wasn't disappointed.

It pours pitch black with a creamy cream head and produces an aroma of sweet lime marmalade, citrus zest and lemon peel. As time goes on this becomes more tropical-like, with mango and blood orange on show. The palate gets a storm of citrus with mandarin, tangerine and grapefruit peel opening up for just a sliver of smooth, milky coffee bitterness. It's fruity and roasty and powered by some seriously inspired hopping. After the swallow there's a sort of second wind of coffee and herbal stuff. This is brilliant, palate-ravaging beer. Ronan in the Bierhaus loved the stout-like mouthfeel of it, and I see what he means; it's full-bodied and silky and makes the best possible use of the 6.5% ABV.

In the meantime Swingletree saison swung into action. Pale golden yellow with a big frothy head, it certainly looks like a good Belgian saison. Belgium is on the nose too; spicy, earthy, herbal stuff introduce lemongrass, coriander and menthol notes, with the whole thing backed up by a yeasty, wheaty base. On the palate there's plenty of lemon and biscuit with grainy malt and, thanks to the 7% ABV, a syrupy finish. The balance is splendid; mild sweetness, spice, tingly bitterness and the slightest trace of acidity, all the while remaining dangerously drinkable.

Rustbucket is the only Kinnegar regular that I'm a big fan of. Limeburner and the Devil's Backbone were decent but not exactly remarkable. Maddyroe was a step towards greatness and now, finally, Kinnegar are making the amazing beer they've been threatening to make for some time now.

For more Kinnegar gushery have look at Belgian Smaak's brilliant piece here.

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