My first foray into London’s the Late Knights Brewery, Crack of Dawn offers a “fresh hoppy hello in your gob with a polite bitterness at the end”, which – if I’m honest – makes me think of walking into the Apple Store. Let’s just hope the cockerel emblazoned bottle’s contents aren’t as sterile and condescending as the Genius Bar.
If the early bird gets the worm, then the Crack of Dawn Pale Ale gets the fizz. Cracking the top it’s an immediate hazy toffee scent, quite appealing, so as any normal person does I put my nose over the neck of the bottle and gave it a good, old-fashioned snort.
Unfortunately, there appears to be a lot of energy in this brown bottle and I have just inhaled half its contents. Through squints and coughs though, my master olfactory senses detected a hint of “you’re an idiot” and “seriously, who does that?!”, briefly followed by a bittersweet, fresh hop hit. The bottle is still bubbling as my coughing subsides, I’ve made a mental note that liquid and lungs are not meant to go together and, as a result, this Crack of Dawn has definitely woken me up.
Don’t Count Your Chickens
[How many of these terrible puns can I get into a review?] The energy sticks through the pour, I’m probably out of practice but it left me with a large, foamy head, some soapy aromas and a darkish, straw brew in my glass. If I were the kind to put all my eggs into one basket (rather than an omelette) I’d say this beer may be a little unbalanced – you can definitely smell the Saaz in there, and the Cascade and Rewaka mixed in are a little overwhelming. So, less clucking, more gulping.
Well this is less of a rude awakening and more like a soft, comfortable sunday morning wake-up. My fears of a deranged cockerel (BR have trouble with unhinged animals) are completely unfounded. Crack of Dawn is less “smacking” me in the gob, and more lazily twanging it’s guitar and strolling me through a story. You can tell the hops are heavy, there’s that almost-numbing sensation and that typical dryness – but it’s balanced with a lovely low-level sweetness culminating in a grassy bitter finish.
It’s not a spectacular, you-must-go-get-this-now beer, but I could use this as a very pleasant session ale. It’s not hugely compelling, it wouldn’t rule the roost, but it may be a good way to feather the beer nest (I’m losing it).