Are You Tasting the Pith? - 22nd July 07
I'm a huge fan of the microbrewer; they don't have to make concessions to accountants or marketing feedback, and they can just get on with the job of making decent beer, benefitting from a bit of duty relief, and generally making people happy. This oddity came into my possession by trading a 3 litre bottle of Chimay Grande Reserve for a case of Rodham IPA (plus a few other bits thrown in). The trade was with Paul at the redoubtable Otley emporium Wharfed Ale (you see how a bad pun is a requisite for an off-licence?). Apparently, he has a couple of customers who like to toddle off on a tandem with 3 litres of Chimay tucked into the saddlebag. One hopes that they have it only at the end of their journey, rather than as an accompaniment to a roadside lunch.
Anyway, Rodham IPA pours pale gold and slightly hazy, with a persistent bead that gives a huge firm head of foam, akin to some of the better Belgian strong golden ales. In fact, the head grew to comical proportions after a while, needing only a 99 Flake in it to look like an ice cream. This big, rocky head is apparently sign of good quality ingredients. The beer gives little away on the nose; well, it's all trapped under a huge blanket of foam, innit? After a bit of sucking and scraping, we get to the beer, which has a bit of a yeasty nose to it. The beer itself is quite lively, having Belgian wheat beer levels of carbonation, which unfortunately is a bit of a pet peeve of mine; it makes me feel like I'm eating a very filling beery mousse. The beer itself is OK; crisp, clean, with a little wheaty straw in the finish, and a little spiciness. As the beer settles down and warms up a little, there is a touch of dry citrus, but nothing outrageous.
Given that this is pretty much a home-brewed and -bottled effort, a labour of love by a chap in his garden shed, it's pretty good; free from flaws, crisp, dry and quenching. As a commercial brew, it has a certain pleasing austerity, like the hoppy German pilsner Jever (4.8% abv); and in common with this iconic German beer, you do have to be in the right mood to get the most out of it.
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