Thursday, 9 February 2012
A 7.3% ale from Marble that is brewed in collaboration with Fall fan and Fuller’s head man John Keeling is what I have in front of me. Opens with a soft phut — like the sound of a bullet being shot through a silencer in a Hollywood movie where the heroes get one in the shoulder and carry on rather than suffer major blood loss. The sweetness of the malt reaches me from the glass as I stand typing on the kitchen counter and then I raise it to my nose and there is a jellied fruit aroma of English hops (some grapefruit and some sweat), plus a sweetshop aroma of slightly baked bananas (before the caramelisation takes hold), and then the floral, ripe tropical fruit skin (peach perhaps and some papaya?), plus a hint of cherry brandy even. Spritzy on the palate at first, champagne like, the bubbles and beer gathering together in a host upon the tongue to let the dark malts in the beer lift upwards like angels — it’s a bitter beer, old fashioned bitterness perhaps, you know that fist in the face, that call from the captain, that rousing to action that gets good teams going; there’s a hint of bubblegum and ripe plum, some marizpan or is that Bakewell tart?, some white pepper, a sweetness without sweetness, a nutty alcoholic sense of its own finery; this is not a hop bomb, neither is it a malt bomb, it wears its strength lightly. I wish I had two as I would like to compare it with one in a year — there’s also a dustiness, a dryness within the bitter finish, a counterpoint as beautiful as any employed by JS Bach. I’m reaching towards suggesting that there is a hint of a Brune about it as well, that candied brownness (though lacking the medium to high carbonation). Old (Brown) Manchester — dare I use the word brown again?