28 June 2018

The Belly-go-round

Feels like a while since my last YellowBelly reviews so here's a multi-beer Indie Week catch-up.

It begins with Yellowbeard, a 7% ABV  IPA with added pineapple. Though a murky orange colour, it's no fruit smoothie, showing loads of dank and resinous hops up front, with just a lacing of tropical fruit around the edges.  It's enjoyable but I think I would have preferred it as a straight-up IPA: the pineapple is distracting and, as is so often the case, doesn't actually add anything useful to the beer. I'm blaming the pineapple for the unfortunate dishwater aroma too. Just as I was in danger of thinking that fruit in pale ales was acceptable, along comes one to remind me it isn't. Thanks Yellowbeard!

Throwing a welcome two fingers at seasonality, this was followed with Captain's Table oatmeal stout. I'm fairly take-it-or-leave-it with these usually; there's frequently a putty flavour that I don't care for. Happily it was completely absent in this (yes, I now write about what beers don't taste like) and instead there were lots of classic plain stout signifiers: a soft foamy head atop a pure black body, a strong flavour of dark chocolate of the high-cocoa variety in the minimalist wrapper, and an almost astringent espresso-like roasted bitterness. Everything is turned up to 11, except the ABV which chugs along merrily at 5%. This is a high-grade, no-nonsense, quaffing stout. An excellent antidote to all them fancy beers you get these days.

And speaking of which, that went on tap in UnderDog at the same time as Hammertime , another fruited IPA (passionfruit this time) and again running at 7% ABV. Passionfruit normally tastes like passionfruit in beer, but this tastes orangey. It looks it too: bright and opaque, the citrus effect enhanced by the rounded glass. There's an off-putting sweaty tang to the jaffas in the aroma, while the flavour is sweet, like orange jelly, both of the dessert variety and the sugared candies too. By way of complexity I got a side note of raspberry jam and a dusting of chocolate. Crucially there's no punch here; no bitter tang, and it's not even juicy. I found the whole thing, while not actively nasty, just too sweet and lacking in IPA character.

And this space was reserved for Praetorian, the second beer in the brewery's Beer Club series. But logistical difficulties mean it hasn't arrived yet and will have to wait until my attention turns to the 'Belly once more. I'm sure it won't be long. Sit tight. Afternoon edit: It just landed. Review tomorrow

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