Newmans: Winter Hog Ale (Wales: Bitter: 4.6% ABV)

Visual:  A slightly reddened chestnut ale with the slightest banana and beige tinge to the otherwise white creamy head.

Nose: Peanuts. Creamy.

Body: Bitter, in fact a separate bitter chocolate element as well. Plus a touch of treacle. Light nuttiness that grows over time.  A solid creamy texture and a hit of sweetness.  As the beer warms it get a more raisin and vinous touch and some chestnuts.

Finish:  Dry chocolate orange and good feel of chocolate dust.  Coffee granules. Earthy hops come in as everything else diminishes. Sour grapes and raisins.

Conclusion: This is really a dusty laced beer. Ok I may need to explain that one.   Like a lot of cask ales it’s thick and creamy textured, but added to that is this gritty feel that runs through it.  That’s not its only oddity; it had an old ale style sourness woven in along with accompanying sour grapes. Then there is treacle sweetness and bitter chocolate.

This range means that the beer really needs to have its flavours clear and distinct to keep it from getting muddled.  Unfortunately it’s that element that the beer is missing. The mix is murky and doesn’t allow you to fully appreciate the elements within it.  Thus you get beer with promise, but the feeling that it needs to pick one flavour to make prominent and weave the others around it.

It’s not really selling itself to me because of that. The end bitterness is quite simplistic as well, holding on far beyond the more interesting flavours.  It really is a pity, as on the first sip I could sense a lot of room to explore, but it never capitalises upon that.
An unfortunate failure to grasp potential.

Background: Drunk at a pub in Llantwit whilst visiting a friend. Thought it would be a shame to hit Wales and not sample a local brew. The beer was at the end of cask when I ordered so the bartender not only drew a pint from the new cask, but gave me the half pint that ended the last one for free as well.  A very nice way to start a review.