27 September 2010

Liberation, Celebration, Inebriation

A promising clear copper body, a tight off-white head and an alluring sweet biscuity nose are the introductions to Thwaites Liberation. It's a good start. At 4.9% ABV it's designed to be a beer of substance, albeit modest and dare I say sessionable? In fact it's the fizz more than the strength that would put me off drinking lots of it: though the texture is pleasantly weighty, the carbonation is just too high. One burp per mouthful is uncalled for.

I had been expecting lots of big toffee-ish crystal malt flavours from it, the sort of thing I normally get from copper-coloured English ales, but that's not the modus operandi here. It's fruity. Not in a yeasty, Belgiany, warm-fermentation way, though: I assume it's the hops that are giving it an upfront summer berry flavour, made extra sweet by the definitely-not-toffeelike malt base. I like it. It needs a bit of breathing to let the worst of the gas off, but turns into a decently drinkable red ale after that.

Even better, though, is Thwaites Double Century. I'm not at all sure I've ever seen a beer like this: relatively strong at 5.2% ABV but a deep gold colour rather than the reds or ambers one normally gets from this style. The head is loose but lasting and the carbonation gentle, but the flavour is delightfully odd. Where I was once again expecting malty weight, I got a light and slightly zingy fresh fruit character. There are peaches and mangoes and passionfruit. All very unLancashire, but damn tasty. On the down side, it's perhaps a little thin, and tends towards sickliness if allowed get too warm. But don't let that put you off. If you like Adnams Innovation (and you should) this is somewhere in the same territory.

After the disappointment of Nutty Black, Thwaite's are back in my good books.

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