Couple of weeks ago, I fetched up in
Pontypool Pontypridd, at the Otley Brewery to try the dark saison I helped to brew a few weeks before. It really met my expectations — a flinty, lemony nose, sweetshop lemons even with a trend towards sherbert; sharp, bittersharp and snappy on the palate, some orange peel, and a black pepper catch at the back of the throat. I loved it and I felt myself and brewer Matt had created a little bit of Wallonia in Wales. We also tried four different bottled versions that had been dried hopped: the citra gave it a pungent lemony nose, it was a bit too sweaty, sort of changing room after a few games of squash; the soriachi ace didn’t work either; hallertau gave it a Pils-like nose and it was dry on the palate with a slight pepperiness on the finish; while Columbus muted the beer. Just a little experiment but good fun all the same. The beer, which still hasn’t a name (I like Saison Obscura), will be launched in London on March 25 when Nick Otley and myself will be hitting the bars where the beer is on sale and talking about it and tasting it with anyone who’s interested — naturally we will be tweeting and blogging our way around so you can find out where we’ll be. So far we have the Rake, Southampton Arms, White Horse and Cask involved — it should be fun. Oh and while I’m on the subject of Otley my review of their marvelous Bunch of Grapes is in today’s DT and you can read it here.