You’ve got to love something that’s had a monastic hand in it, haven’t you? Chimay and Orval beers, plus of course Blue Nun (I lied about the last one it’s a poor joke which I’ve stolen from Sir Les Patterson)
Anyway yes indeedy, it does appear that the monastic-inspired brewing tradition is alive and well on the Isle of Wight, and I’m mightily glad that it is too…apparently it’s a hook-up between the Monks of Quarr Abbey and Goddards (a very well established brewery on the isle)
I received this beer via m’dear old friend Jim from one of this work colleagues – which is a lovely gesture and will be rewarded in heaven as well as with a bottle of something from me in return. I especially liked the simple dedication on the bottle too!
The aroma was very special: a delightful yeasty-fruity theme and an unconventional sweetness and some minerals and a hefty dose of malt. I had to look at the bottle to see if there were clues as to the extra sweet note – and it turns out to be that Sweet Gale (Myrica Gale or Bog Myrtle) is used as well as Coriander – so this was a gruit sort of ale? Lovely. Gruit is an ancient style of beer that’s bittered with other herbs and spices in place of (or sometimes alongside) the more traditional hops.
The taste revealed itself after a somewhat merry carbonation to be sweetly malty, with accents of herbal bittering -rather than hops- and lots of spiciness and fruitiness; a good long streak of alcoholic warmth ran right through and helped to frame the whole thing up nicely.
The after-taste was long-lasting and was all fruit and spice with a trailing edge of bitterness that curled itself around the edges of the tongue.
This is a very, very nice ale indeed. You won’t dig it if you don’t like a sweeter beer – but I can see it being a very interesting accompaniment to a dessert.
Go get some from the source – especially as that means you have the opportunity to catch the hovercraft from Southsea…