Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Redeemer

Every so often a beer comes along that makes you sit up and pay attention. The experience of a deep draught catches you by surprise and induces you to hold the glass before you at arm's length and stare in slight bemusement. Thornbridge's Kipling invoked just such a reaction in me. Never have I smelled such a potent and promising hop bouquet coming from a glass. The smell of fresh tropical fruit was so satisfying that I doubted the flavour could back it up. It did. In spades. The malt is on a par with the hops for freshness and body creating a beer that was designed to be guzzled.

The golden hue was threaded with haze, a sight in the past usually attributed to age or poor storage and generally foretelling an unpleasant experience before the glass got near your mouth. It now suggests the polar opposite. Haze in a great many commercial craft beers and all home brew nowadays is invariably chill haze and suggests a light touch filtration. This is almost always a good thing; it means that no flavour has been stripped from the beer. While beer can still taste exceptional after filtration, eliminating it altogether leaves the beer in its natural state. Cask ale lives like this all the time of course, but it is becoming more prominent in bottled beer and some keg. The most important aspect is perhaps the drinking public's acceptance of beer throwing a slight haze. Sure, those who slug pints of lager purely for the neurochemical effects will still baulk at a hazy pint but the steadily growing cohort of craft beer lovers are not at all put off. It is almost reassuring to see haze, and many brewers wear the unfiltered badge with pride.

This beer is what craft brewing is all about. It tastes as much like beer as Bud Lite doesn't. That makes for quite an experience.

11 comments:

The Beer Nut said...

Gah! I really have to get a bottle of this. When I tried it at the GBBF it was quite poor, but every report since has had nothing but praise for it.

Thomas said...

It's really very good. I've bought a number of bottles despite the indefensible price tag.

The Beer Nut said...

Plainly your beer is too cheap. You should price it so mugs like you buy it.

Ed said...

In two minds about hazes. I'm with you that unfiltered is a good thing but too many hazy beers I've had are just plain bad.

Thomas said...

You might have a business strategy there...

The guy in Sweeney's said he was reluctant to buy any of the Thornbridge range because of the price, but was happily surprised to see them walk out the door quite swiftly.

Thomas said...

I can appreciate your ambivalence Ed. Haze can be a prelude to a foul experience but this seems to be less of a certainty than it once was and has, in Ireland at any rate, become synonymous with the exact opposite a great deal of the time.

TaleOfAle said...

It is a lovely beer. Must pick up some more now that I think about it.

Thomas said...

I had a completely different experience of this beer last weekend.

A bottle of it was chilled to within an inch of its life in my Dad's fridge. It threw a dense haze in the glass and the low temperature muted the malt entirely. As a result it greatly resembled grapefruit juice. My Dad thought it was the strangest beer he'd ever tasted. Served that cold I'd have to agree with him.

Nelson Sauvin sure is an unusual hop.

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