01 July 2013

Moorish conquest

They're spendy buggers, the Moor bombers, and I'm not sure why. The brewery is very well reputed and the labels talk a great game, but every time I get near, the price tags tend to drive me away. I've had to resort to cheating to get a look-in at any of the range.

The first I inveigled my way into was Revival, a supermarket pricing error let me pick it up for just €3, though I think I missed the pick of that particular crop to more rapacious gleaners (I'm looking at you, Alex). I'd tasted the beer before, at the 2009 Great British Beer Festival, and wasn't particularly impressed by the cask version. But from a bottle on a clean palate it was rather more enjoyable.

It poured a clear dark gold and offered up just a gentle sparkle by way of carbonation. The aroma is pithy, almost to the point of sourness. At 4% ABV it's plainly designed as a thirst-quencher and the flavour really does a great job here, providing a mouthwatering sherbet effect, leaning towards more serious grapefruit, but never turning harsh or acrid. The malt stands on the sidelines, adding a spongecake sweetness to the jaffacake marmalade. Bitter enough to be interesting and light enough to be sinkable, the contents weren't long in disappearing. €3 well spent, I thought.

Moving up in the strength stakes there's Nor'Hop at 4.3% ABV. This was provided by Richard and shared at Reuben's place between a few of us, so I just got a cloudy orange taster. More of the sherbet effect, this time of the lemon variety with more than a hint of urinal cake in the aroma. They've really upped the bitterness here, which  I think throws the beer somewhat off balance, and there's that slightly unpleasant chemical citrus taste. Not hugely to my taste and definitely not a patch on Revival.

Lastly, Richard also brought a bottle of Hoppiness. This is a bigger contender altogether at 6.7% ABV and a dark shade of amber. It shares the citric sharpness of the other too but here it's balanced out by an extra layer of toffee which makes the whole experience much more rounded. This is one for considered sipping rather than a hasty hop hit.

There's plenty to admire in here, especially if you're a hop head, and I'm intrigued to try more from the range. I just need to figure out a way of cheating some other suckers out of them.