I write this with a glass of Abbeydale Voyager to hand. As my previous ventures into Abbeydale's canned range tasted of grapefruit, and mango, I eagerly sniffed this one on cracking the ring pull. A very familiar scent, clearly recognisable as ... passionfruit. My goodness, I thought, the next one will be pineapple then.
Then I tasted it. And the taste was ... bitter. Just bitterness; no subtleties, no aromatics. This is a beer that has been carefully crafted from a rotating selection of hops lovingly gathered from around the world, and it tastes like it was knocked up in a chemistry lab, to act as a deterrent to beer drinking.
I like bitter flavours.
This is me drinking tonic water (somehow there was always plenty left over after my mother had put sufficient in her gin) with obvious relish. It was at that very bar (the Carrefour Hotel, St Peter Port, Guernsey) where I learnt how to drink out of a bottle. Possibly on that very occasion.
But there are bitter flavours, and there's bitterness.
What I thought was one of my best ever ripostes, when a colleague asked me 'What's the difference between real ale and craft beer?' and I replied 'About two pounds a pint', I now think might have been wrong.
I now favour the description by a minor character in one of the Bryant and May books (Wild Chamber, p. 212) of his craft beer as being 'like licking piss off a nettle'.
The trouble is, after the 24 cans I've got in the cellar I'll probably have developed a taste for it.