Friday 17 August 2012
Ampleforth Abbey Ale
Here’s Ampleforth Abbey Ale, a couple of bottles of which I was sent and jolly glad I am too that I was sent them. Abbey Ale? I’m not going there and I’ve said my thing about the beer style here. So let’s just see what the beer has to say to me. Dark chestnut in colour, I’m reminded of hazelnut influenced chocolate on the nose; as if a hazelnut had met a piece of chocolate while out on the pull and decided that the two of them might be good for each other. Hold on, there’s a sarsaparilla note coming along to muck things up; thankfully all live happily ever after a civil ceremony that David Cameron agrees to following a pub lunch with Nick Clegg. On the palate it’s rich and varnished, vinous and virtuous, with its palatable sweetness kept in check by a raisiny caramelly and nutty character that shows what good malt and yeast can add to the mix. There’s some alcohol but not too much, just enough to get a sense of lift. There is also chocolate and very ripe dark plums with some sugar on them, all of which produce a bittersweet character that enables this companionable beer to dovetail totally with a Thai jungle curry I’d made on the evening of the tasting — the spice of the curry hits the bittersweetness of the beer and all retire happily to a tent in a clearing and discuss future relationships.