A Hoppy Accident

2017-07-21 12.28.09Beer should be a lot less reliable: It is a product subject to the whims of the market, the talents of the brewer and the provenance of the ingredients. Brewing itself, being one of those disciplines that sits slap bang in the middle of the Venn diagram between Science and Art.

These competing factors, make the consistency of our daily pint something of a miracle: Whether it’s a top shelf, new release from an ultra-reliable brewery who you are happy to pay through the nose for, or the “Big Maccyness” of a pint of your favourite cooking lager, which tastes exactly the same from pub to pub.

Creating a consistently good product at at competitive price is a much underrated talent, but it’s one that The William’s Brothers of Alloa have proven very adept at. Over the last couple of decades they have quietly (and with little acclaim) pumped out beer after beer after beer- all to a ridiculously high standard and at an unfashionably modest price. So it comes as some surprise to hear them confess to cocking up one of their signature brews.

If they are to be believed (and I’m not sure they are) The Scorpion & The Frog came about when some darker malts slipped into a batch of their Double Joker IPA. What leads me to somewhat doubt the veracity of this, is that the resulting beer is up there with the best things they’ve brewed.

They are calling it a “Mid-Atlantic Brown Ale”- which translates as a malty, yeasty beer with the hop profile of an American IPA.

It pours a deep walnut brown, topped with a generous amount of creamy, “Mister Whippy” foam. The aromas are lush, and fruity, with abundant amounts of spice cake, oranges and caramel. The palate is full and complex with a fair bit of sweetness. The rich fudge flavours slowly dissolve to give way to some astringent hop bitterness at the back of the palate. The aftertaste being one of enjoyably boozy warmth.

What elevates this beer from “must try” to the giddy heights of “buy all you can” is it’s price: A 33cl tin of this 8.9% abv beer comes in at under two quid. (which is basically tramp juice prices)

If we do believe them and this is a serendipitous one off, I advise you to fill your boots before the word gets out.