Well I’ll tell you one thing – it’s been a fair while since I’ve used the four-and-a-half hop image in a review. This makes me both happy and sad – happy because, well, great beer makes me happy; sad because it’s not a beer I can easily get in Cape Town.
At last week’s National Beer Trophy awards evening, there were dozens of beers to taste, all of which had won silver or gold medals, but this was the beer I kept going back to and when no-one was looking, I swiped a bottle to take home and review. (Well that’s the excuse – I mostly took it because it was sitting there looking at me and I wanted to drink it).
I am in love with this beer. It has an aroma of dark chocolate digestives – the kind of aroma that makes you keep sticking your nose back in the glass for a deeper inhale. The chocolatiness continues when you sip, along with toasted bread crusts and an ultra-refreshing finish reminiscent of what Maltesers would taste like if they were bitter and hoppy and palate-cleansing. It’s rich and fairly full bodied yet still manages to be completely refreshing.
I find that so many South African beers lack drinkability. There might not be any obvious faults, but so many beers just lack pizzazz. You have a couple of sips and then the beer sits and sits until it’s warm and even less appealing. This is not one of those beers.
On the BJCP judging form there are boxes to tick for “intangibles”. This beer has some serious intangibles, It’s rich, it’s crisp, it’s clean, it’s refreshing and it’s so moreish that one sip is certainly not enough. One bottle is not enough. Every sip is slightly more wonderful that the last and then suddenly the bottle is gone and you find yourself Googling flights to Lanseria so you can visit the brewery and pick up some more…