Green Flash: Cellar 3: Blanc Tarte Barrique (USA: Sour Ale: 4.5% ABV)
Visual: Hazy lemon juice. Thin white dash of a head.
Nose: Dry and lemony. Light pepper. Cheese puffs. Orange rind. Pomegranate. Heather and light smoke. Mild Madeira.
Body: Quite tart. Apples and tart cider. Crushed meringue. Vanilla. Passion-fruit and pomegranate. Quite smooth. Light cheddar. Lemon juice into lemon curd. Madeira cake. Tart white grapes. Subtle raisins. Dry white wine.
Finish: Sweet cider. Vinegar touched notes. Sweet meringue. Smooth Madeira. Dry oak. Light ginger. Jiff lemon. Orange juice. Tart white and red grapes.
Conclusion: On first sip I was nearly ready to, well – not write this off but, file it under the interesting cider like beer but without much depth cupboard. I have oddly specific mental cupboards. Sue me.
Damn I am glad that I took a bit more time to get to know the beer. I am doubly glad that, at 750 ml, there was plenty of time to get to know it.
Initial notes are a mix of tart apples and sweet cider – quite dry on the feel despite the sweet notes that pop up, and the vanilla contrast it holds. There is a bit more to it, a few nice fruit notes underneath. It is pretty nice at this point – not too sour, but fairly – some feel of the spice used rather than any immediate flavour, but overall refreshing.
What changes it from that level is when the more subtle notes come out. Underneath everything is a Madeira cake and raisin character, while at the high end tart grapes and white wine character make it sparkle. This takes from a good but standard beer to one that travels a journey – one that goes from dry and sparkling, through the fresh cider like notes, to subtle soothing dark fruit and wine. Never is any element isolated, each managed to bleed through slightly to the others – but each one has its time to shine and show off.
You end up with a beer with just enough acidity to hit the back of the throat and remind you, but that is as harsh as it gets. In return it gives plenty of flavour, a soothing but rich experience. The bottles says they aim for a lambic like ale, and while it does not feel overly close to that, it manages to be an excellent distinctive sour in itself.
Background: 2016, batch 1 it says. So hopefully they will do future batches of this. Drunk 2016, so without additional ageing time. Also says 14 IBU. I love it when they give you all these extra details on your beer. Anyway this is sour ale, intending to call to the lambic tradition that has *deep breath* Seville orange peel, Chinese ginger and grains of paradise – it was then aged for between 12 and 36 months in red and white wine barrels. Damn. Anyway, first time doing notes on Green Flash beer – think I have tried them on tap at Brewdog pubs before. Drunk while listening to The Prodigy – Music For Jilted generation. Going a bit old school for a while it seems. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit of Bath.