Stewart Hollyrood Pale Ale

Stewart: Hollyrood Pale Ale (Scotland: American Pale Ale: 5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow gold. Inch of tight bubbled white head.

Nose: Wheaty and musty. Dried lemon. Slight salt.

Body: Soft lemon and dried lemon mix. Tangy lime. Wheaty feel and oatmeal taste. Milky. Orange. Smoke. Passion fruit. Kiwi.

Finish: Dried orange. Slight sulphur. Light wheaty character. Light pepper. Moderate bitterness.

Conclusion: Is it wrong that this makes me think of the result of a three way tryst between Kiln Embers whisky, a weissebrau and an American Pale Ale?

All of you who answered “Yes”, you are prudes. Anyway…

What makes me think of Kiln Embers is not a whisky character, but that gentle salted and dried lemon like character that is both refreshing and thirst inducing, matched by a slight amount of sulphur. That is then laid over a wheaty feeling body – an oddity as I am fairly sure no wheat was used in this ale, it even has that hefe weisse citrus character and easy drinkability. The American Pale Ale side brings more of the fruit character from the hops.

It has a fairly thick mouthfeel – halfway between oatmeal and milk – it keeps the beer from feeling as dry as many APAs are but also seems to mute the hop character -you get more fruit than bitterness – you only really get a bitter touch in the finish while the fruit comes out full and sparkling in the main body.

And fruity it is. It takes time to open up, starting with just that mouth freshening salty lemon and lime notes that never fade away, but expands into the milky texture to spread soft passion fruit and kiwi.

The initial impression was of a beer that was different and mouth refreshing, but simple with that. As the beer has opened up the simple descriptor has slipped away to leave a very thick yet fresh pale ale. The milkiness is a crowd splitter – for me it can feel weird every now and then, but the softness it brings is a solid part of the base so I am willing to accept the trade off of it not quite meshing sometimes.

A little bit not quite meshing but generally solid and different, and hey, I like a little bit weird. Not perfect but I can seriously recommend this one for a check out.

Background: This was recommended at Independent Spirit, and since I am a bit low on the lighter coloured beers in my cupboard right now I decided to grab one. I have far too many Imperial Stouts in the cupboard is what I am saying. Not much else to say. Drunk while listening to more Ritualz.