Great British Beer Hunt: Dorothy Goodbody’s Blissful Brown Ale and Ivanhoe

Sainsbury's Great British Beer Hunt 2012

Dorothy Goodbody’s Blissful Brown Ale, is another beer that is only through to this stage in the competition due to replacing another. This time though, there’s no expulsion due to already having a listing with another retailer, simply that due to unforeseen circumstances, Posh IPA from Yeovil Ales has left the competition. Their loss is Wye Valley’s gain, although with a name like that, I’d have quite liked to try it.

I didn’t realise that this was a bottle conditioned beer and nearly turned it upside down to when getting it out of the fridge. Luckily I didn’t, but as there was hardly any sediment in the bottle, I’m not sure it would have mattered much anyway.

It sat in the glass a luscious chestnut brown colour, which to be honest given the name, came as no surprise. I’d have been quite shocked if it had been anything other than that burnished brown. It looked lovely sitting there with lots of little bubbles streaming up the side and a nice light tan coloured head sitting on top. The head was easily formed, but didn’t last, dropping to a thin covering after a few minutes. I didn’t get much on the nose, there was a vague dark malty sensation, but that was about it.

It was lovely in the mouth, soft and smooth, but with enough life to separate the flavours on the palate. While it felt like a malt driven beer, it also felt pretty well balanced, with a subtle bitterness that worked with all the malty flavours, but still left the mouth with a pleasing juicy bitterness. There wasn’t a lot going on flavour wise, it was all very subdued and subtle, but there was definitely some dried fruit flavours in there, think of things like raisins and figs and you’re in the right ball park.

I really liked this beer, it was warm and inviting and the kind of beer that just comforts you after some shitty weather on an Autumn day and allows you to switch off. It wasn’t challenging, it wasn’t genre busting, it was just a bloody nice beer; it might very well have been a case of time and place, but I really liked its simplicity.

Ridgeway’s Ivanhoe got through to the Grand Final in last year’s competition, so I’m a bit perplexed as to why it’s back in this years competition. Personally, if I ran the competition, you wouldn’t be allowed to re-enter a beer that had been on the store shelves, let alone the Grand Final in a previous year, obviously that’s not the case, so here it is again. One has to wonder why, when it didn’t win last year, what’s changed to make the brewer think it’ll win this year? You can read what I thought about it last year here and see if a year has made any difference to the beer or my thoughts on it.

It poured a marmalade coloured brown, with a decent white head. The head didn’t last, dropping to a covering within a few minutes. There wasn’t much to the nose, at least that I could detect, without taking in an absolute lungful. If I’m being generous, I’d say that there was some faint fresh smelling, slightly orangey, cereal grainy type aromas, but very faint.

It felt pretty nice and full bodied in the mouth and was soft and smooth from the bottle conditioning, but with enough life to keep things interesting. It felt reasonably well balanced, with a decent malt backbone and a nice bitterness that swept through the mouth, before lingering long into the after taste. It wasn’t overly flavourful, with the orangey hints to the maltiness, you could maybe even call them marmalade flavours, being quite subtle; although they got a bit stronger the longer it sat in the glass. The bitterness was slightly fruity and complimented the malt flavours pretty well, leaving the mouth with a nice soft, gentle bitter juiciness that took a long time to fade.

  • RateBeerRidgeway
  • Ivanhoe, 5.2%, 500ml

It’s a nice beer and it’ll probably do well, but I don’t think it should be there and that disappoints me, as I’d have liked to tasted the beer that I think should have been in its place.

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