I had sampled this beer two years prior out of a can and remembered it did not win me over at first. However, in search for a short break from American craft beers, I founds a stash of Wychwood brews at a local store and decided an indulgence in some sessionable English ales would do the trick. Four 500ml bottles later I sat down to reengage my palate on this fabled dark ale.
One thing is for sure, I enjoy the bottle shape and label design (the can falls short here). The artwork is well done and really helps to draw your attention to the beer. The appearance of its contents is defined by a super clear amber/ruby/burnt sienna hue that develops a frothy head that laces like a traditional English pub ale. It really is a great beer to behold. I think the clarity helps to showcase the color. To be honest I was expecting a hazy brew.
The aroma is reminiscent of Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale. It literally smells like a brewery during a mash in (when grain is added to hot water). Notes of mild darker malts filled my nose. This was all layered over a biscuity, caramel backbone. The chocolate malt added some depth to the nose while the hops brought out a great earthy herbal quality that blended will with the hops.
Very malt forward, this brew is smooth, sessionable and satisfying. Full bodied yet crisp, the hops lend a great dry finish to what starts as a sweet jammy taste. Minor layers of orange peel are coated in caramel drizzled sweetness. The biscuit aromas became flavor contributing to the dry grainy finish and aftertaste. I really found this beer made me wish I was in an actual English pub surrounded by my close friends.