I’m not alone in my praise for Thornbridge; Jaipur (on draught) has recently been crowned Champion Keg Ale at the Brewing Industry International awards, and won Bronze at the SIBA (Small Independent Brewers Association) inaugural ‘craft beer in a keg’ competition, while Kipling won the Silver Award in the SIBA Strong Bitters category.
And at the International Beer Challenge (which is a competition for bottled beers) Kipling was awarded Silver and Jaipur was awarded Bronze.
It seems the critics prefer Kipling to Jaipur, while I went the other way round. I guess I’ll just have to try them both again!
So, when I decided to explore Golden Ales for The Brew Club, I figured that it would be remiss of me if I didn’t include their own Golden Ale in my list.
Thornbridge’s Golden Ale is named ‘Wild Swan’ brewed (according to their website) using “Hallertau, Northern Brewer, Chinook, Celia and Sladek hops” – a complex and heady brew.
It pours a very, very pale gold with a crisp white head. It’s difficult to describe just how different this beer looks, it’s almost iridescent, like Lalique glass or a dragonfly’s wing.
The nose is a delicate blend of new mown grass and elderflower, not as ‘in your face’ as an IPA or and APA, but it bodes well for the taste.
And the taste doesn’t disappoint, the flavour is crisp, fresh and refreshing. Bright with subtle hints of grapefruit and elderflower, this beer tastes great at room temperature and slightly chilled. I tried it both ways.
At only 3.5% ABV Wild Swan punches well above its weight, tasting like a 4.2% or 4.5% brew at the very least, it’s both subtle and full flavoured at the same time.
Thornbridge’s stated policy is “no pasteurisation or filtration. No stealing of delicate flavour and aroma molecules.” And, once again, this policy has borne a delicious fruit.
Another 4 stars for Thornbridge… they are very, very good.
Bob the Brit