07 December 2016

Golden, and "Golden"

Aldi held its annual Christmas tasting event for the meeja just before Halloween. There was nothing new or special on the beer front but an effort had been made with a few of the supermarket's regulars, including a couple from Williams Brothers I'd never had before. I scribbled some notes on the evening but took a bottle of each home to get a closer look at them here.

Golden Ratio first, a 4% ABV golden ale though quite a dark, almost red, take on the style. The label copy heads me off by saying pure gold is slightly red -- so nyerr. The aroma is dry perfume, like talcum powder, and the texture soft and fluffy. Its flavour starts sweet, all golden syrup and spongecake, but a rising bitterness comes in behind it and builds to a hard spinach and cabbage finish. There's quite a lot going on for the strength, and served cold it's nicely refreshing.

The other is Perfect Storm, a 4.5% ABV IPA using an impressive cocktail of Cascade, Mosaic and Southern Cross hops. No quibbling over goldness here: it's very definitely gold. I get sweat and honey on the nose, not that different from the perfume of the previous beer, but bigger and more sickly. The flavour adds in grapefruit chunks but doesn't undo the sickliness. There's an intense herbal bathsalts twang as well. I found this very tough to drink, in a way that something this light shouldn't be: the flavour just goes all over the place, never settling anywhere nice. This one is for your least popular relations only, this Christmas.

Aldi recently held an Irish beer "festival", stocking a selection of beers from several local breweries. They didn't feature at the Christmas event but I did pick one up shortly afterwards. It's by 12 Acres Brewing which came to my attention early last year when it was still a client brewer. The unique selling point is that all the malt comes from the owners' own farm. Now the production brewery is up and running and a range of beers is on the way. This is the first of the brewery's own beers I've seen.

It's called Golden Harvest and stretches the word in the opposite direction from Golden Ratio above: it's a very pale yellow with little by way of head. It smells pleasantly zesty, of lemons in particular, and there's a soft lemon bitterness in the flavour too, starting rounded and fruity but finishing on an almost puckering bite. Perhaps ironically there's not much malt character, looking behind the hops there's little more than a dry chalkiness, but fortunately it's not thin, as the super-low carbonation lends it a certain roundness and fullness. Overall I rather like it. At 4.3% ABV it's simple quaffable fun. Worth considering if there's still some around when you're building your Christmas stash.


  1. When we interviewed Scott Williams a couple of years ago he went off on quite a tangent about the mystical new-age theory behind Golden Ratio:

    "What that means with our beer is that if I use seven malts, the first malt makes up the bulk of the brew, but the second malt is added according to the golden ratio, and the third is in proportion to the second, and so on. It’s a pain in the ass for the brewers because it means the seventh malt is something like 0.07 litres of rye. I always say, this is how God would have made beer."

    He sounded a bit embarrassed by the end, TBH.