My beer adventure only really began in earnest about six months ago, when after 20 years of drinking crap beer I stumbled across the world of craft beer and into the light. Thornbridge's range was first up and served to form my fledgling opinions about how beer should taste.
Although I still have a lot of learning to do, I feel like I have come a long way in those six months. I've sampled the offerings of the UK's most influential micros, I've been to beer festivals and brewed my own beer. All good stuff but I realised recently though, that I hadn't had any Thornbridge beer for ages so decided to grab a few. I thought this might be a good exercise - using Thornbridge beers as a reference point to see if my tastes have changed over the last few months.
First up was a Kipling, made exclusively with Nelson Sauvin hops. I didn't take a photo but it was really, really pale. I'd say it was just about the lightest colour I've ever seen in ale - right alongside Duvel.
It was sensational - fresh, well-carbonated and possibly the most grapefruity beer I've ever had. I seem to remember being so preoccupied with the hop aromas last time round that I must have completely missed the grapefruit taste.
Next was a Jaipur, the big daddy of UK craft brewing. It was darker than I remembered but whether I was just comparing it to the Kipling I'm not sure. I was hoping it would still be great and thankfully my expectations were exceeded. Absolutely bloody marvellous and the taste was a little bit more complex than I remembered.
Thornbridge are masters of their trade as brewing pale ales that are this clean and crisp is quite an accomplishment. Both beers had no noticeable off-tastes or those yeast-generated flavours that can often draw attention away from the hops and the malt. If I could get my homebrew to even approach this kind of standard, I'd be very happy indeed.