Moor: Northern Star (England: Golden Ale: 4.3% abv)

Visual: Hazy lemon, with a large bubbly white head that contains mounds and troughs within it.  The main body has a few small bubbles within it but not much.

Nose: Really fresh, jiff lemon. Very crisp. Ice cream. Touch of pineapple. Very slight bitterness. Elderberry.

Body: Solidly bitter. Lemon meringue. Quite sherbet like. Pineapple. Slight fruit syrups. Slight bitter ale like sourness. Dried apricot

Finish: Gooseberry and hops. Pineapple. Quite dry bitterness. Honey. Dried apricot and mango.

Conclusion: What a deceitful little aroma. Ok it does prepare you for the lemon and the slight citrus tartness, I’ll give it that. What didn’t it do? Hint at any real bitterness.

Thus while the beer is not insanely bitter, the kick I got on first sipping it hit far harder that you would expect. It’s all in the timing I guess. It’s the surprise really. I was slightly better prepared on the finish where you get big lasting bitterness coming once again.

Despite the fresh citrus nature the play of the bitterness is far closer to that of the Bitter style than it is to the lighter Golden Ale which the flavour plays to. Notably it also has that slight sourness that a lot of bitters have that make them so refreshing.

Combine the two and you get a golden ale of impressively thirst quenching nature and solid bitterness. There are some minor downsides to this that the beer is tailored more towards thirst quenching than a large range of flavour, but I can’t fault it too much for that.

A side note if I may. Most beer pouring advice indicate to not disturb the yeast within. Here I would advise the exact opposite. Not only does a swirl to add the yeast add additional dried fruit flavours, it also makes the beer cloudy in a way that gives the impression of a tropical fruit drink. Which amused me somewhat.

In fact the yeast added version had much more sweetness to go with the impressive bitterness. Combined I find the extra flavour is well worth it.

An absolute thirst quencher balanced nicely between bitter and golden ale. A few bottles of these between friends would make a good standby of a summer drinking session, be it barbecue or chat. It does what it set out to do and it does it very well.

Background: While I have been muted on response to a few Moor beers here over the years, I have grown quite fond of them. Generally finding that the cask versions take the beers I enjoyed, but found not exceptional, and really ratcheted all the good qualities up.  As of such, I have taken to revisiting their bottle range to see what else may lie within. Bought from Beers of Europe, this is apparently the same beer as Nor’Hop. I say apparently as a quick Google search indicates the abv is different (4.1% vs 4.3%), but I guess generally the same beer. Also, despite the jokes of my friends, I did not mistakenly buy this thinking it was brewed in the North.  The bottle does warn you of the beers impressive bitterness, and if I had read it before drinking the beer I would have been less shocked. However I try to avoid reading such notes until after I drink lest they influence my review.