Three excellent Thornbridge ales were featured in this year's tutored tasting (that we didn't attend, we were too busy) and were on at the bar. Here's what we sampled, roughly in order:
- Portsmouth Brewing (New Hampshire) Bottle Rocket IPA - hoppy and floral but dark backtaste from wood chips; strong, good flavor; too heavy for a session beer
- Jack's Abbey (Massachusetts) Smoke and Dagger - smokey, roasted taste with bright hops; not as strong a black patent flavor as some porters
- Thornbridge (Derbyshire) Jaipur IPA - delicate, balanced, more hop kick than is normal for a UK beer, even an IPA but well done; overheard from the guy who sat down heavily next to me: "... the Jaipur beer I don't know what I'm saying but my wife does."
- Mallinsons (West Yorkshire) Witch Hop - light but distinctive body; bitter foretaste, not aggressive but dominant; not much malt; late bitter aftertaste; ok
- Breconshire (Wales) Bright Beacons - Surprisingly full body; a bit sour; goes down well, session best bitter
- Thornbridge (Derbyshire) Halcyon - 7.7% ABV; buttered toffee nose; rich, complex taste; very bitter but lovely malts on the tongue; very, very good; bit too metallic water
- Brays (Maine) Mt Olympus Special Ale - molasses nose, standard American "dark IPA;" thin, metallic taste; body hops but they don't last; candy flavored aftertaste
- Offbeat Brewery (Cheshire) Out of Step - sticky, musty nose; thick body; great chewy hops, not bitter but flavorful; molasses aftertaste; sour in mouthfeel but crisp aftertaste
- Lymestone (Staffordshire) Stone Brood - Dark beer with honey and chocolate malt; smooth but rich, subtle chocolate mouthfeel, very little hops
- Thornbridge (Derbyshire) Kipling South Pacific Pale Ale - beautiful nose takes you away to the South Seas from the off; light, fruity taste but full body; incredible balance; bright hops in the nose; bit of a flat tire metallic taste but I mean that in a good way
- Allagash (Maine) Interlude - 10.5% ABV; this was a powerful beer!, alcohol and grapefruit dominant in the nose; sour attack, almost like a strong cider; Sarah tasted tomato and graham cracker, I tasted apricot and plum; alcohol burning in aftertaste, winey, dry aftertaste because of all the alcohol; a very interesting beer
- Andrews (Maine) Pale Ale - very mellow but quality nose; cinnamon taste; fresh mown hay, fat and sunny like a baby; hard English water, very good English style from an American brewery; you'll never find this quality in a bottle
They called last call a bit early (give a bell to a guy and he'll ring it at his first opportunity) as far as we all were concerned, and you should have seen the rush for another round of the Halcyon. We all agreed it had lots of flavour [sic]. That was the unofficial beer of the night!