In the past I have mentioned the concept of ‘beer miles’, and how I see very little point in shipping a mediocre beer halfway around the planet. Of course this tends to conflict with my loathing of beers ‘brewed under license’ if I drink a beer I want it to be authentic. It’s difficult.
Fortunately, living where I do in Essex, I am blessed with several excellent local breweries, two of which (Crouch Vale and Mighty Oak) have won ‘Champion Beer of Britain’ at CAMRA’s ‘Great British Beer Festival’.
My third local brewery ‘Wibblers’ has yet to win anything at a national level from CAMRA, but they’re gaining respect in the SIBA awards, ‘Apprentice’ winning Gold in their regional awards in 2011, and ‘Hoppy Helper’ winning Silver in 2012.
Perhaps even better, for me, is that my local has started selling Wibblers’ brews!
Wibblers Dengie Devil 4% ABV
For background, Wibblers are based on the ‘Dengie Peninsula’ it’s an area of south-east Essex bounded by the North Sea (to the east), the River Blackwater (to the north) and the River Crouch (to the south). I’m not sure that the Dengie lays claim to a devil, but as I often describe Essex as being a lot like New Jersey, I don’t see a problem.
Maybe we should invent one, maybe the brewery has.
The brewery describes this brew as ‘rather naughty’, stating that the recipe includes Maris Otter malt and Nelson Sauvin hops.
A heady combination that promises much., and indeed delivers what it promises.
It pours, as befitting an Autumn Ale (that’s Fall for all you colonials) a rich, burnished amber colour, there’s a crisp, white head and a nose that’s both classic English Ale, while at the same time, floral. That’s those Sauvin hops coming through loud and clear, newly mown grass and elderflower and, strangely, hints of ripe apple.
It’s a medium bodied brew, not too light, not too heavy, and flavor-wise it marries those heady hop aromas with rich hints of butterscotch and salted caramel.
It’s an enjoyable and well balanced brew that I’ll happily give 3.5 stars.
And frankly, when local brews taste this good, why look further afield?