Bath Ales: Rare Hare (England: ESB: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Dimming sun orange red with a decent off white head.

Nose: Syrup, light sweet hops and lots of fudge. Sweet and subtle, custard doughnuts.

Body: Sugary sweet. Toffee, glazed doughnuts. Fluffy textured. Milk chocolate. A dessert of toffee meringue style. Marshmallows. Slightly fizzy. The sweetness is counterbalanced by solid malt back to keep it together. Touch of orange as you swallow, caramel and then some bitterness to keep it all together.

Finish: Slight bitter hops, more toffee and bitter chocolate. Candyfloss. Real bitterness comes in at the end.

Conclusion: With its irregular release schedule this beer lives up to its name. So what is this elusive hare?

Its main body is a strongly malted bitter with a range of sweet delicacies within it. None shift the main body instead adding layer upon layer of flavour, softening and rounding it.

After the 3 years of build up waiting for this beer to be released again it’s easy to be somewhat underwhelmed as it is still a standard ale, if very well done, however that would be unfair to it.

Its subtle sweetness and layered flavours are impressive, well managed and integrated very well. The bitter finish makes each new sip again appreciated for the returning sweetness.

Very well done, not a show off as you would expect from its rarity. If this was a regular beer it would be a brilliant choice for a “Pint of the usual”. As it is, enjoy it for what it is when it’s in for a week or two.

A Rare Update: Rare Hare on Tap

This is such a different beer on tap that I thought it necessary to add a little update here. It’s significantly more vinous and complex, placed side by side it would be difficult to consider they are the same beer.

The slight sourness was the first hint, as well as Madeira and toffee elements that now are added to the nose. Much more fruity on the body, with red wine and raisin, then a bitter malty chocolate finish.

Like most of Bath Ales, this seems to work so much better on tap. The wonderful mix of bitter, red wine and Maderia works very well.