Ysbrid y Bannau

Brecon: Genesis 3: iii: Ysbrid y Bannau (Wales: English Strong Ale: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear yellow gold. Moderate yellow touched bubbled head.

Nose: Stewed banana. Vanilla. Light tart lime. Banoffee. Baileys.

Body: Toffee. Slick and not heavy texture. Lime jelly. Banana. Light oak. Lightly menthol. Gin touch. Banana sandwich (worth mentioning separate from just banana of course!)

Finish: Menthol and mint. Light spirit air. Whisky mash. Bourbon. Earthy bitter. Malt chocolate.

Conclusion: So, we have today’s round of “Unexpected words I never thought I would say”. This is like a British bitter AB 14. No, don’t run away, stick with me on this one. I’m not mad. On this anyway.

It has got this very soft banoffee and vanilla flavour, but here it is not delivered in such a syrupy sweet way. This, well I guess it should be a golden ale from the colour, but it’s delivered like a bitter base. It is lightly earthy in that base, but with all those lovely soft elements layered on top. Not as decadent as AB14, but feels more like what you would expect from a beer. Will seem more like a “real” beer to traditionalists. This makes it an easier beer to return to. The oak aged character makes it very smooth, and very easy to drink despite the slightly above average strength for a real ale.

It is very endearing, but like an endearing friend it also has its…. quirks, shall we say? Yes quirks is a good word. There is light menthol greenery, and a spirity, maybe gin like air. Both work against the light dessert bitter feel. Oddly it never affects the smoothness, just the flavour. The spirit is a bit too harsh flavoured, and the greenery tends to tread over the best flavours.

So, quirky, but it is such a cute pint that you can overlook that. As I say, endearing – a lovely mix of base bitter to dessert that you can keep with it, despite its foibles.

A worthy and quirky friend.

Background: This looks to be a very similar beer to “Ysbrid y Ddraig”, both are oak aged golden coloured beers from their descriptions. Maybe they age in different oak? I’m not sure. Anyway, I’ve been meaning to review more cask ales and a beer festival in Cardiff seemed a good time to do so. The fest was in the Millennium Stadium – a hallowed Rugby ground to Welsh fans. being neither Welsh, nor a rugby fan I had never been inside before, therefore I was uniquely not shocked by the lack of grass on the rugby pitch. Instead a bare grey floor was available for the beer stands.

Cardiff Beer Fest