After recently reviewing ‘Native Storm‘ by Tom Newman’s Celt Experience brewery, for The Brewclub, I stumbled across another of their brews – ‘Bleddyn 1075’ – on draught, on another visit to Manchester’s Port Street Beer House.
I found Bleddyn – a 5.6% English Ale – to be really satisfying and refreshing, and Seven Flowers – reviewed here – to be blissful.
That’s another brew to source for a more objective review under controlled circumstances. In the meantime, today I have a bottle of their ‘Ogham Willow’ waiting to be sampled.
Ogham Willow pours a colour best described as apricot – like that guy’s scarf in Carly Simon’s “You’re so Vain”. The head is slightly reluctant, but what head there is is pure white and laces beautifully down the glass.
The nose is rich citrus fruit, with brassy hops in the background.
The mouth-feel is medium to full bodied, but the nose and mouth-feel are simply the overture, it’s the flavour that comes storming in like a full orchestra. Rich malts and hops combine to produce a flavour that’s intense, and while it clearly warns you of the ale’s potency, it only serves to enhance it.
There’s salty caramel, crystallised orange, hints of peach, with those hops lurking in the background.
Again, the keyword here is balance, not too dry, not too spicy, not too fruity and, ‘only’ 8.8% ABV I’m certain that this could quite easily have been brewed up to 10% or more.
At 8.8% ABV it’s satisfying and, in a 330 ml bottle, not too threatening.
Rather than an ‘Imperial’ IPA, the brewery describes this brew as ‘Majestic’ and I confess I’m inclined to agree. This is indeed a ‘majestic’ brew.
I’m becoming more and more impressed with Tom Newman’s ales. This comfortably merits 4 stars.