Art Brew: Happy (England: Golden Ale: 4.9% ABV)

Visual: Clear amber gold, thin white bubbled sheen over the still body.

Nose: Prickly hop tingle. Apricot. Grapes. Distinct sour styling.

Body: Gooseberry. Slight tartness. Apples and apricot. Slick, not heavy on the bitterness. Pineapple.

Finish: Slight dry bitterness and charring with gooseberry notes at the sides.  Slight salt touch. Orange. Planed wood.

Conclusion: You know, this is the kind of beer I would normally describe as “cheerful”, but with a name like “Happy” you would probably think I was taking the piss, so I’d probably best start elsewhere.

Still, it is definitely aiming for the summer refresher style, with the emphasis on a slight tartness rather than on the bitterness.   Notably brings a lot of sharp fruit flavours to the game.  Considering the medium nasal tingling from the hop aroma I was expecting a much hoppier beer (A happy hoppy beer maybe) but the bitterness mostly vanishes during the main body only to return at the finish, where it tries to pretend it has been there all along.

Fresh and sour, it is kind of nice and somewhat eclectic.  The finish doesn’t quite tie in with the rest of the beer though – it seems to actively work against the freshness which is a pity.

I hate to say it, but it really is a cheerful if unexceptional beer.  Weak at the end, but a happy beer until then.

Background: Drunk in the beer garden whilst chatting with a violinist was warming up for a folk night. There were quite a few smokers out, which lead to some problem trying to get a decent tasting note, but in the end I managed to find a place without horrid aromas getting in the way.  Art Brew has a few stand out beers, I Beer being the most notable, but are generally a solid if unexceptional brewery.