A deep dark caramel colour with a thick, smooth head that prevails through the entire pint. A distinctive smell of coffee and cocoa that warns you of the sturdy flavours awaiting you. It is a strong, full flavoured bitter that carries a consistent coffee like tang and leaves a bitterness that does not fade or falter.
There are two wonderful things that every man wants thrust in his face first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I am of course talking about coffee in the morning and ale in the evening (pull your head out of the gutter). The good folks at Shepherd Neame have kindly given us the best of both worlds, finally making it acceptable to drink bitter at the crack of dawn.
Smooth Kentish Ale is an intimidating figure, standing tall and sporting a deeply dark caramel coat and displaying a smooth and creamy head. A powerful combination of coffee and cocoa slap you in the face before you’ve even put the pint to your lips, forewarning you that this pint is going to consume you. Whilst smooth, there is an immediately dry bitterness that envelopes the tongue and takes it prisoner. The tang of coffee and cocoa, along with a thick maltyness, create a flavoursome after taste that will last well into the following week. It is a heavy beverage and due to the strong flavours present I would not recommend it with a meal, it is filling enough on its own and a meal would only serve as a side dish.
What I like about Smooth Kentish Ale is the simplicity of it. There are not a host of different flavours that slowly reveal themselves, what you get at the start is no different to the end. It is simple, but effective.