In need of inspiration for some of the beer to send to my beer swap recipient, I popped into The Bacchanalia the other week to see what they had in the way of local beer. Ed mentioned that the Humpty Dumpty East Anglia Pale Ale was really nice, so I bought a couple of bottles, one to try and one to send.
I didn’t get the pour right on the first bottle and got a bit of yeast into the glass, otherwise if would have poured a clear pale golden colour, rather than than the slight hazy colour I ended up with. There wasn’t much in the way of head and it soon disappeared, the beer appeared to be pretty flat with not a lot of condition. There wasn’t much going on on the nose, if you sniffed hard enough you might be generous and say there was some fruity hop action, but it was all rather lacking.
The taste was impaired by the yeast I’d accidentally poured into the glass, although there was a good solid malty backbone it would have been better without the yeasty taste. It had a nice bitterness that came through everything, subtle, not over powering and would probably have been lovely apart from the yeast and one other thing. After about a third of the glass the beer was essentially flat, totally lifeless, it really needed a bit of condition to perk it up.
Based on that I decided not to send this to my beer swap recipient, I felt the lack of condition was too much of a risk. That and the fact that Reedham, in Norfolk, is actually miles away from me and not really “local”, there are quite a few breweries much nearer.
As this was now surplus to my beer swap requirements, I decided to drink the second bottle last night. It’s been sitting in the house since I bought it, mainly in a vain attempt to give it a warmer environment to gain a bit of condition. I think the extra time indoors has helped this beer, although I think it could still do with a bit more condition.
This time the head didn’t disappear totally, it dissipated to a collar around the edge of the glass. Again there wasn’t much on the nose, a more definite touch of fresh citrus, but nothing overwhelming. I might have been a touch dehydrated as it felt quite malty, but the light bitterness was there in perfect balance. The more I drank the more I liked it, with a tadge more condition I think this would be an excellent beer, I’m really tempted to buy a few more.