We're Lancashire-bound today, with two beers from Thwaites.
I started with Indus, an IPA. It looked to be pouring a bit flat and it took a bit of coaxing to get a loose-bubbled head to form on the top. It didn't last long. However the beer really benefits from the low carbonation as it creates a wonderful cask-like effect, with just enough sparkle to push the flavours out. Naturally enough, it's hops out front: good honest English varieties by the taste of them, with lots of floral orange blossom laid on quite intensely, creating almost a resinous burn while staying clean and crisp, avoiding all harshness. At 4.6% ABV it's around a percentage point weaker than the likes of White Shield and Bengal Lancer, but I'd regard it as being very much in the same league. The balance of marmalade and toffee you get in the others isn't present here, but the hop punchiness makes up for it for me. Tangy, sinkable and with a lasting bitterness, I really enjoyed it.
I think I only bought the Indus because it was in a four-for-a-tenner deal in my local branch of The Beer Club and what I was really after was the brewery's old ale Old Dan. Dan had a tough act to follow. I was expecting something much darker than this red-amber beer, which proved quite gold around the edges and topped by a pale beige head. The first sniff gave me boozy sherry or calvados and the taste is pure fruitcake: plums, raisins, cherries and a great big glug of alcohol. More than 33cl would be hard to take, I reckon: the flavours and the thick syrupy texture build up on each other until it starts to get quite cloying. As an after dinner liqueur substitute, shared perhaps, it's wonderful.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
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