I’ve reviewed brews from The Celt Experience before for The Brewclub and found them to be complex and rewarding. I met their founder and head brewer – Tom Newman – in Manchester and he stressed his commitment to ‘balance’ in his brews.
I was therefore delighted to find a bottle of their pale ale – ‘La Téne’ – in a recent Beer52 case. My delight was a little tempered when I saw that it was brewed to just 3½% ABV, previous Celt Experience brews have been somewhat stronger, but I trust Tom’s palate so gave it a try.
The beer takes its name from the La Téne culture that developed and flourished on the northern shores of Lake Neuchatel in Switzerland during the late Iron Age (from 450 BC until the Roman conquest in the 1st century AD).
It pours a rich peachy colour, with a full, white head.
The nose is hoppy, very hoppy, the brewery claim that the brew has ‘one of the most complex series of hop additions in our Core Range‘, it starts with ‘a hoppy backbone of Summit, Galaxy and Chinook’ with further ‘Chinook and Citra added through the percolator, which works like a giant hop-infusing teabag‘ before being ‘dry-hopped to the extreme with Galaxy and Citra. They are added in the conditioning tank and stay there for around 2 weeks before the beer is racked’.
You won’t be surprised to learn that those hops give a nose that’s both floral and rich with tropical fruits, there’s pineapple and passion-fruit in there, in spades.
The flavour is dry, those hops are both bitter and fruity. Again, pineapple and mango to the fore, with a gentle caramel malt backbone.
This is frankly an astonishing brew. It punches way above its weight, would have guessed this to be up in the six percent club. As such, this would be a great session beer on a hot summer’s day.
I can’t fault this, I have to give it five Brewclub Stars, it’s been a great summer!