Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. Obviously it started out as a blog about my cross-dressing but it has developed a great deal since then. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the New Readers' Page above this and the tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Beer Review: Amber Ale

Tonight I review another from one of my favourite stables. That would be Shepherd Neame and the choice of brew is a 'winter warmer', so claimed on the bottle, by the name of Amber Ale. Presented to me by the in-laws who have chosen well, it is true, but I am going to review this at the height of summer as is my general non conformist wont. We went to the local steam railway and had plenty of fun. The Boy had great fun in the DMU they had running, being able to peer out of the front of the train, and we all saw the trains try to put on a play (no, really). Then we came back for a traditional fish and chip supper (where we live now doesn't do so well on this institution, I'm much too much of a northerner and now am officially out of the north it's just not the same).

I'm still struggling to write posts that aren't beer reviews, I do apologise. I may manage to break back into it during this week.

A good start, as ever, is the clear glass bottle that immediately shows you the colour and, in this case, we have a deep brown chestnutty amber that lends itself to the name. The art on the bottle promises the sort of spicy taste and fiery feeling that I associate with Autumn Red and the colour is reasonably close. On opening the whisp of CO2 suggests a pleasant and light carbonation and the pour merely serves to confirm it. Little to no head, but a skein of bubbles.

Aroma is like woodsmoke, hanging in the air and dry, and does a good job, here in summer, of evoking barbeques and open fires. It's a good smoke feel rather than the sort that leaves your nose too dry and leads to dry throat. Definite hops on the nose, imparting that citrus tang, but muscled out by that woodsmoke, which is actually rather positive. Good accompanying hints of wheat and barley swim around and entice the drinker further. First sip is rewarding and oddly, but positively, hard to pin down. It takes a while for the taste to take hold. Sure enough there's that undertone of smokey spices, on a bed of smooth but limited barley and wheat malts, fading gently to a satisfying hoppy bitter end. However, these hops are more of the spicy and warm variety than the citrus adventure of Wild Raven or the floral headiness of Halcyon as one would expect from the Kentish ale brewers.

It also works as a sessionable ale. I suspect that, at 3.8% ABV, this won't leave you with a bad head in the morning. As a consequence it is different to a lot of the ales that I review here as it would easily keep going late into the night.

Enjoy this in winter, as advertised, or in summer. Despite the claims this would work well all year round, accompany with a traditional fish and chips (may I humbly recommend an independent northern chip shop over a Midland chain or a southern attempt of the same) and gravy. Watch nothing on the TV and, instead, watch the world go by - either from the comfort of a warm room through heavy drapes in winter (avoid any heating but roaring fires) or through open windows facing a nice garden in summer as the dying rays of the sun illuminate the ends of high branches in the trees. Wear an impractical long skirt or dress that requires you to lift the hem to walk so that you'll sit for long periods, you won't regret it. Kentish brewed and Kentish in nature.

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