20 January 2014

Cheer up

I don't know what the deal is with the rather Van Klompian artwork on Nello's Blond. Neither the boy nor his dog look particularly pleased to have been immortalised in label form. The beer inside is 7% ABV -- definitely at the high end for most blondes but not quite up at the level of the diabolically-themed sub-genre. By way of further complication, it smells boozy enough to pass for a tripel, though the aroma is more about the fruit than the spices, with some enticing pineapple chunks coupled with more prosaic cereal notes. The grain wins over the tropical fruit on tasting, the central flavour element being a bit porridgey -- but in a good way: the crunchier pinhead sort of oatmeal rather than gloop or stodge. It finishes on an upswing of intensely sweet peach nectar with a mild nutmeg spicing too. The balance of dry and sweet factors make it very drinkable and refreshing, aided further by moderate carbonation. But as I only had one bottle, I had to reach for its companion to keep the buzz going.

The happy pair are present and correct again on the label of Patrasche, though the terracotta surround suggests that this will be a dark beer, and so it is. 8% ABV and an opaque brown. Again the carbonation level is low and the texture a little thin for a beer whose colour and strength suggests boozy warming weight. There's a crème caramel character to the flavour at first: sweet vanilla topped by bitterer treacle. As it warms you also get a serving of banoffi pie and sticky toffee pudding from the sweet trolley, with burnt hint of coffee to finish. No boozy digestif to round the meal off, however -- this could easily pass for 5% ABV or less. While I enjoyed its complexity, it did leave me feeling a little shortchanged. Perhaps that's why himself is looking so nonplussed.

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