The Big Top

We’ve been away for the festive period sampling far and wide and have returned with some interesting brews to kick 2015 into a good start for The Drunken Goat. First up a beer from the guys at Magic Rock Brewery based in Huddersfield. Marketed as an Indian Red Ale it boasts a high hop content like an IPA but, as the name would suggest, its colour is somewhat darker.

Big_TopThis beer pours with a dark chestnut hue with slight reddish mid-tones. The head holds a fairly thick creamy tan head which covers its unctuous liquid beneath it. Initial aromas that erupt from this beer are mainly of zesty hops followed closely by a more caramel and malty nose. Hints of earthy undertones are present including slight woody characteristics.

On the palate the beer is thick and creamy which gives a good coating to the mouth enabling it to cover every taste bud in its wondrous liquid. A vibrant hit of papaya and passion fruit burst to the forefront, washing over you like a tropical breeze. Subtler flavours mingle quietly in the background adding little piquant notes like lychee and toffee.  But don’t be put off, this is no cocktail here, there are good strong bitter notes to counteract these fragrant highlights. Resinous pine, bitter orange and tangy hops provide a good antithesis to the tropical fruity notes, balancing the beer well. They are, however, a little lighter in numbers and so the beer does have a slightly more fruity skew to it than a standard ale, but this does not detract from the beer itself. Far from it. The beer is lifted from a standard pint into something with excellent flavour qualities and brilliance in balance and depth.

All these flavours in their myriad of complexities work well to mask the sheer kick of a seriously beefy 8% ABV. This adds a beautiful warming note to the beer which when mixed with all the lively fruit on show here really does help to lift this beer. A slight sweetness rounds off the pint leaving an impressively clean aftertaste. But be warned it will not be a light weight, nonchalant aftertaste. You will be going back for another. One thing of note however is that the beer is temperamental with temperature. As with many beers the temperature that you drink it at can alter its tasting quality. Our first one was quite cold to start with and so many of the flavours didn’t have time to develop fully. After time the full potential of the pint came out and we are so very glad it did.

ABV: 8%