It’s Ace – @marksandspencer @adnams Sorachi Ace Saison


Thank god for access to great beer; you know, a few years back I would have had to go far and wide to pick up a bottle of Saison, and even then it was invariably an expensive bottle of Saison Dupont.

But you can now get your Saison fix in Marks and Sparks!  How nice is that?

I don’t know who it is at Mark’s that is driving their beer stocking strategy, but whoever it is should have their hand vigorously pumped and their back heartily and repeatedly slapped.

There’s so many beers to try and so many that I haven’t reviewed yet…

The great thing is, nearly all of these beers are brewed by proper reputable brewers for M&S; and because they’re each responsible for a different type, you can probably now get a wider variety of beer types in Mark’s than you can in any of the big supermarkets…

Sorachi Ace Saison is brewed by everyone’s favourite brewing legends: Adnams.

So, Sorachi Ace hops in a Saison?  Sound interesting…  If memory serves me correct Sorachi Ace were bred especially for the Japanese brewer Sapporo.  I’ve not much experience of them so let’s see what they contribute, shall we?

This Saison pours an hazy, yet enticing, cornfield yellow and exhibits a lovely luminosity when help up to the light.  There’s not much in the way of head, but that’s the way of the Saison sometimes.

The aroma is that of sweet good earth with an undercurrent of dry and dusty lemon: a bit like the back edge of a slurp of Lemsip, only much, much, nicer.

The mouth-feel is surprisingly luxurious given that this is a Saison, and the taste is spicy-lemony-citrus with a nice touch of alcohol.

The finish is pleasantly dry with a bit of resin and a good firm hoppiness at the swallow; which, if truth be told, meant that my glassful was gone in a flash.

The aftertaste goes on and on; in fact half of the pleasure in this beer is the finish and reverberating aftertaste.

God I wish I’d bought four more bottles of it…

Get some today…it will not fail to delight.

PS: I’m going to do my best to get through and review the complete M&S beer range – a feat which M&S can help with I’m sure…all you folks need to do is stuff a few in a box and send them to me.  That’ll get me off to a flying start…

When buying your pants and socks, pick up a bottle of this too: M&S (by Adnams) – Mosaic Pale Ale

20140711_204150I had to go to London the other week and was merely browsing in Marylebone station for something to break up a twenty and get me some loose change.  I’m glad I looked past the packets of crisps to the beer section…

I’ve been intrigued by Mosaic hops as they seem to be the new variety on the block and they’ve been mightily hyped by our brewing cousins in the US, so I wanted to see if they deserved that hype.  Isn’t it great that some of the supermarkets are engaging decent brewers to cook-up some excellent “own-brand” beers?  By Adnams brewing this up for M&S I was able to take the Mosaic taste test without too much worry of the beer being a dud…

Mosaic Pale Ale is a marvellous gingery-brown and has a head that doesn’t hang about.

The aroma…my crikey, the aroma…rich and heady, almost like – as spike Milligan would say – the incense-drugged bazaars of the Occident;  for some reason it reminded me a bit of Turkish delight – it’s that intoxicating.  Now I remember where I’ve smelt it…the Souk in Marrakech: that’s what it’s like and it’s all fragrant and mysterious and unusual because of it.   As well as that beautiful overlying aroma there’s also tropical fruits by the bucket.

Blimey, folks, this is a single hop beer and it delivers all of this.  Marvellous.

A velvety smooth mouth feel with a pleasing bitterness starts off our journey to taste-town.  Like a can of Lilt it’s totally tropical, whilst also having a definite complexity about it…but – and it is a but, I’m afraid: there’s a little too much carbonation for my liking, especially for this strength of beer (4.2%); and the malt could also do with beefing up a bit – so that it really shines through.  The carbonation and the current malt bill make this beer seem just a teeny bit “thin”.

I’d have liked to have a real slab of solid biscuity malt in the taste (but no crystal malt, thanks!) to make this an absolute belter of a beer.  Hops with this power, potency and delicacy need to be supported by a more forceful malt bill and maybe a touch higher alcohol (late 5’s to 6% would not be unreasonable.)

But:  It’s a supermarket own-brand beer – and for that M&S and Adnams should really be commended.  As M&S are stocking this, lets hope the masses get to drink it instead of the lagery-piss and joyless “bitters” that they normally pick up from other supermarkets.  Folks, maybe we are starting to see our beer market properly craftifying (you heard that word here first!)

In honour of this beer, I will be making something big and hefty featuring Mosaic.  It’s a hop that’s just too good too ignore…

PS: Just read the back of the bottle – which says that Mosaic Pale Ale goes well with (Morrocan) Lamb Tagine.  That seems absurdly apposite – especially when only a few lines back I was rambling about the Souk in Marrakech…

PPS: Pimms beer, that’s what Eve reckons it is.  Something for tucking away on sunny Saturday afternoon….

PPPS: When getting the link for the M&S website I see they have quite a range of exciting-looking beers.  Maybe they’ll send me some to review.  Bet you a tenner they don’t…