Woah there, linguician.
I had to do a little bit of research for this ale. Although the term ‘organic’ pops up everywhere, my only relationship is that it costs me more when I want to buy a steak. So is this a real selling point and something we should be keeping an eye out for and encouraging other breweries to adopt? Of the few definitions available, I believe this is the one we should refer to:
(of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals.Oxford English Dictionary
At least I hope so, because I don’t want to find a lump of coal in here. Moving swiftly on; as well as being fertiliser and chemical free, this pungent ale has won awards from the Soil Association (yes, there is such a thing) so how exactly does it measure up?
Immediately after popping the cap I was smothered with a rich hoppy scent, a fine start to any pint. It presents itself with a whispy head, not as thick as most (and now I ponder how genetically engineered my other beers are) and stands a fine golden brown – inviting me, teasing me even with its ethical upbringing to have a slurp. So slurp I do: I’m immediately assaulted by a orgy(anic) of bubbles over my tongue. As you may well know, carbonation is not high on my list of loves – but this isn’t too uncomfortable as the wash of earthy hoppiness distracts me. There’s little aftertaste, almost incomplete and although the label does state ‘lightly malted’ it is too sparse for my liking.
Drinking swiftly on
As my supping continues I enjoy the mouthful, but feel a little empty after. The taste is good, but not whole. I’m not sure if the bubbles are interfering with the flavour of the beer, or whether there is not enough depth to the ale (perhaps the lack of malt), however, throughout the pint this builds and accumulates. It’s an ale I would recommend to the newbie. It’s inoffensive, it’s definitely tasty, but it doesn’t hit you with that strength that other real ales do. Having worked my way through the pint to about half…Okay, a quarter left (I should not have had a liquid lunch) the carbonation has calmed drastically. There is now a relaxed flow of bubbles rising rather than the frantic army bursting forth earlier, and what a difference it makes. The taste has amplified, the aftertaste lingers on the roof of my mouth. I am contented.
I feel as though my first half was an entree, scallops with a pea purée – pleasant and different, but not filling and wholesome. I am now at the main, a suckling pig of a pint, hearty and meaty with cranberry sauce (well, we’re all a bit fruity sometimes, aren’t we?). This beer has grown on me, reminiscent of those popular golden ales – almost there, but not quite. I can’t personally tell you if this is because of the organic growth or not, but I can tell you if you are worried about the environment – and you should be, oh, and also Rhinos or Simon will never forgive you – then this, this beer that starts off small and grows to a mighty (organic) oak, rooted in your tastebuds, could well, and should definitely, be the beverage for you.
Having done my research (ha), I like the idea of organic. It must take a lot more time and effort growing the ingredients to make this beer. I’m impressed with it’s stature, it’s growth on the palate but ultimately it’s not something I would seek out in either session or as a stop-in. St. Peter’s Brewery come off as a great organisation with very dedicated people – and this beer has definitely left me with an interest in what they do and what else they have to sample. Keep your eyes peeled, there will be more of their morsels reviewed.
Now I’m a bit of a packaging and design geek, and I can’t leave this without mentioning the bottle (other breweries take note). Organic Ale is ensconced in a faithful replica of the ones produced in 1770. It’s beautiful. If you’re ever near Bungay make sure you pick one up, firstly for the ale (though it didn’t appeal directly to me I cannot deny its appeal) and secondly for the craftsmanship – after all, that is what Real Ale is all about.