03 August 2011

One non-blonde

Thanks to DrinkStore for the eagerly-anticipated bottle of BrewEyed Blond, one of the newest Irish beers to start seeing off licence shelves.

At its début in Galway last spring, the Metalman guys reckoned this was quite similar to their own pale ale, so obviously I've been looking forward to assessing that for myself. Pouring from a bottle which is resplendent in '70s tracksuit livery, it's definitely amber rather than blonde: a bright, clear copper shade. Some mildly assertive hops on the nose as well as hints of golden syrup. That firm malt base is borne out in the heavy texture: it avoids syrupiness but definitely has a fuller than average body for a 4.5% ABV beer.

The flavour begins sharp, with lots of bittering hops delivering an electric jolt to the front of the tongue. Then a softer alkaline flavour comes in the middle, chalk edging towards soap. This doesn't last long, however, and the hops fill in the rest of the detail, with hints of fresh spinach and jaffa oranges coming out of the bitterness.

I like it. More than anything it reminds me of Eight Degrees Howling Gale, with similar full-on hop bitterness in a medium-strength package that deftly manages to retain balance. My bottle only paid the briefest of visits to my fridge, but I reckon this will still work well at much lower temperatures. An invigorating summer refresher is where I see it fitting into my drinking repertoire.

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