Rye, oh rye?

A few months ago, I signed up for Flavourly which delivers me different beers every month from small breweries. I've been tucking in to this month's batch and, as I was sitting at my laptop, the beer I'd just opened made me want to review it which is something I've never done before. Excuse my indulgence ;)

Battersea Rye from Sambrook's brewery.

The first words out of my mouth after pouring some of this into my Norwich beer festival 2015 glass and giving it a distracted sip were "ooh, this is nice" which, speaking as a Brit, is high praise. It's these moments I live for when trying new beers; when the first sip is taken while I've got my mind on other things - in this case I was reading a requirements doc - and the taste just takes over making me forget what I was doing - in a good way.

Now that I've paused for a few moments to write that first paragraph, I've just taken a second, more deliberate swig. The initial surprise is out of the way and I can see that there's depth beyond the first sip. It's malty, which I'd expected, but fruity too, which I hadn't - although looking at the label now, I notice it bears a tagline of "bold spicy fruit".

A few moments after that second sip, I can still feel the malt rolling around in my mouth. Time for a third...

Still good but now I'm noticing the strength (I just checked, it's 5.8%). I think the rest of this bottle is going to go down very nicely. I've been suckered into the recent popularity of pale ales and haven't drunk much that's brown for months so this is a very pleasant change and it's particularly nice not to be assaulted by the overly malty taste that some darker brews bring to the table.

Half the bottle down and this is definitely living up to the "bold" part of its tagline which suits me just fine; I'm a fan of stronger beers generally. Give me some Good King Henry any day of the week and I'm a happy man. The fruitiness is starting to dissipate and giving way to a foamy mouthfeel that I'm willing to look past. A large gulp brings back the fruity taste as I let the beer swill around. At the risk of sounding like a wine taster, there's cherry, dates, and perhaps fig there.

All in all, I'm thoroughly enjoying this beer. It crossed my mind briefly that perhaps it would be better if it had less fizz and was slightly less alcoholic but on reflection, as I near the bottom of the glass, I think that would take away from the balance.

I'd give this a rating but they're only of any use against other ratings and this is the first beer I've reviewed ;)

If it helps, my wife, who generally only drinks pale ales, said "hmm, very nice".

Tags: beer blog