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Sunday, 12 September 2010

Crouch Vale Amarillo - As Live Tasting

I'm sitting at home trying to put off the mess of a flat I need to tidy up. I've been writing something for Ale of Thanet over the last few days, so haven't had a chance to blog. This is a unique situation for me, time on my hands, at home, nobody else around. How about having a go at a Dredgian as-live tasting I think to myself ...

12:39 Beer meets glass. It's on the copper side of golden. Head is white, small and loose. Is this too early to be drinking? I've just polished off a bacon roll for breakfast and I don't feel ready for beer.

12:40 I've decided the beer is a bit cold, so I'll let it warm up for a bit.

12:44 Does anyone else check for sediment by putting their eye to the bottle mouth and holding it up to the light like a telescope? Makes me feel like a pirate. Avast me hearties, this bottle be sediment free!

12:48 A little about the beer and brewer. Crouch Vale are based in Essex and have been around since the early 80's. This beer is 5 percent and is described as a "golden premium ale", it uses a load of West Coast American amarillo hops late in the boil to showcase their flavour and aroma.

12:53 Enough waiting. The aroma is predominately malt, some biscuit and cereal perhaps. Behind that lurks some juicy fruits, but they really lurk well. I feel a bit let down. I get some citrus hop coming through but it's way off what I was expecting.

12:56 First impression is that it's quite thin in the mouth. Carbonation is moderate. A very light sweetness moves into a woody, spicy hop character. This develops into citrus fruit and then a bitterness comes in as you swallow. There's a slight dryness in the finish and a tartness that plays off against the citrus hops quite nicely.

13:01 I still can't find the camera! Another quick snap with the iPhone it is.

13:03 There's definitely a grainy quality to this beer too, it comes through towards the end as a biscuity flavour. The hops seem more floral and perfumed now; I'd never guess this was amarillo hops.

13:06 Just checked the loaf of bread I've got proving in the kitchen. Bloody thing is still the same size as when it started! That sour dough starter really knows how to take its time.

13:09 That tartness is becoming a bit too much now. There's a strange meaty, Marmite harshness in the background too. I wonder how long this was on the shelf before I bought it? Unfortunately the bottle doesn't have a bottling date on it.

13:13 I'm not enjoying this anymore. I was expecting a bright, hop forward, pale beer. This is reserved, malty and a little a dull. There, I said it!

13:15 I'll leave this sitting in the glass I think. Maybe it will have improved if I come back to it in a bit.

Judging by other views, either the cask version is far superior or I've just got an old (or bad) bottle. I had high hopes, but the beer didn't really deliver. What are your views on Crouch Vale Amarillo?


Mark Dredge said...

I've enjoyed the bottles I've had. They don't favourably compare to the cask stuff but it's still good. The bottle seems to me to be a little too fizzy (compared to someone like Moor who bottle their hoppy beers very well) and just lacking the hop character. It's a good beer to have in the fridge for when you just want something to neck.

Dubbel said...

I'm a big fan of cask Amarillo - my favourite Crouch Vale beer. Never had the bottle but it sounds as though something went awry with yours. You should get out to the pub more!

Rob Derbyshire said...

I've always enjoyed Amarillo in the bottle. I've never had it on draught but I did prefer Crouch Vale Apollo in the bottle more than on cask.

The bottles I've had were full of sweet candied orange. Top dollar.

Mark said...

Mark: With you on the lack of hop character, I put it down to my bottle being a bit old.

Dubbel: I must be going to the wrong pubs, I've never seen Amarillo on before!

Rob: My bottle didn't have any of that in it ... I'll have to try and pick another one up soon.

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