AF&TB's October Spectre-tacular - Spook Central
by Beedo Sookcool
on 2012-10-09, 16:55:24
This week’s review is a day late because I’ve had a college buddy in town for a few days, and we’ve been out and about, eating, drinking, being merry, and watching DVDs. A day late, but not a dollar short (and not just because we don’t use dollars over here). In our explorations, we found a few more interesting new pubs and beers, a couple of which will make it into AF&TB sooner or later. Bill might be interested to know there are a couple of new limited edtions of Newcastle: Newcastle Winter IPA and Newcastle Nocturnal, both of which my visiting buddy, Wildman, proclaimed to be two of the better beers he’d had while he was here. I was going to provide a link, but Newcastle’s webepage is a pain in the arse. Anywho, on with this week’s October Spectre-tacular review . . . .
Good old Shepherd Neame (16-freaking-98, dude) has gotten further into the seasonal beer racket with Spooks Ale, “The Official Ghost Brew for All Hallows.” “Spook” is also a slang term for “spy,” so owing to the plural nature of the name, Spooks gets teamed up with the mercenary spy, Wraith, from the G.I. Joe line, as well as the Henkei TransFormers’ Ghost of Starscream. I love it when things work out like that.
At 4.7% ABV, this ale’s potency falls within the usual range. Where it’s exceptional, though, is in the taste. Shepherd Neame Brewery is located in the English county of Kent, where hops are a major crop, so their beers are all very hoppy, which can lead to some of them being a bit too bitter for some people’s liking (me included). However, Spooks is perhaps the mellowest Shepherd Neame beer I think I’ve ever had. Quoting from their label, this brew “is characterised by its huge biscuity malt palate [Note to Americans: when the British say “biscuit,” it’s where you would say “cookie.” - Beedo], derived from three traditional roasted barley malts used in the mash, giving a glorious deep red hue. The excitingly complex malt flavours are wonderfully balanced by a huge citrussy, hoppy bitterness and aroma from a particularly fruity hop added at the four stages in the brewing process.”
Okay, I’ll buy that. It’s a bit overblown, but mostly accurate. And I’ll tell you, this has got to be the best Shepherd Neame beer I’ve had yet. I can’t think of much else to say other than that they’ve excelled themselves with this recipe, and I hope they repeat it every year at Hallowe’en. They’ve done it two years running that I know of, so chances are good. Then again, I know of a Cornish brewery that took a recipe concocted for a special event and made it a regular brew after it proved so popular, so I’m going to cross what fingers my arthritis allows me . . . .
Drink this if you also like: Novelty ales, seasonal ales, mellow smooth ales, ales in general.
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