Isle Of Arran: Dark (Scotland: Bitter: 4.3% ABV)
Visual: Dark mahogany red. Thin off white head. Clear and still body.
Nose: Chocolate cake. Roasted hazelnuts. Fresh brown bread. Slight sour cherry touch.
Body: Good bitterness and bitter chocolate. Sour dough touch. Light earthy note. Sour tang. Roasted nuts. Light cherries and fruitcake.
Finish: Bitter coffee. Earthy touch. Slight sour dough. Slight refreshing sour note. Light charring.
Conclusion: Sometimes, for all I love the big intense new wave craft beers, sometimes the old ways are the best for that moment. This is one of those times. This is a dark, malt led beer with lots of roasted notes, chocolate and coffee that almost call to the lighter end of the porter spectrum in style. Yet for all that it has the light earthiness and refreshing sour tang of a well made rounded bitter to match.
It is soothing in feel, yet with big mouth filling flavours and refreshing sour back. The contrast continues with the sweetness against the earth touch. They really have pulled out all the stops in balancing this one. There are even some fruitcake notes, lighter than you would get in an ESB style beer but still calling to that as well. This isn’t one of those beers that instantly grabs you by the face, but it does not make it any less of a good one. At 4.3% it is not quite session abv in my mind, but in these high abv days it will do in a pinch.
The quintessential soothing beer for kicking back with friends. Well worth having and well worth sharing. A show of the old beer ways done good.
Background: Third of the Arran pack that my parents gave to me as a gift. Many thanks mum and dad. It is great having a beer friendly family! This one was broken open in the vain attempt to get me to stop playing Binding Of Isaac Rebirth for a while. That game is addictive as hell. So much so that alcohol seemed the safer addiction. Go fig.