So here we go. The first ever review on 'Beers Wot I Have Drunk'. The pressure is intense. The stakes are high. The heat is on. It's on the street.
Luckily, due to The Greatest Day of the Month (so far), my fridge has just been fully loaded, so I don't have to go far for some inspiration. I've got 10 lovely beers to choose from, none of which I've tasted before (that I can remember...). Which one do I go for?
Honestly, the decision was pretty easy. I went for this one:
Look at that magnificent bastard. That can is a work of art - so much so that Flavourly themselves used it for the cover of their latest magazine (here and here). I'd like to take that can and put it on the wall of an art gallery. Maybe charge people to come and see it. I'd take it on ITV's Name Your Price and say "This here is a genuine Mordue Brewery special, Dickinson. Now name your price, you mahogany bastard!' I won't though, mainly because David Dickinson scares me. He looks like the lovechild of an unholy union between Treebeard and an antique sideboard.
But back to the topic in hand: the honour of the first review on this here site goes to ...DRUMROLL... Mordue Brewery's (Experimental Arm, no less) Panda Blood IPA (which was fairly obvious if you read the headline).
Now I have a confession to make. I've never tasted a blood orange before. Why? Because I'm Scottish and the only fruit I've let pass my lips was in a bottle of Barrs Limeade (that's a real fruit, right?). Somehow I must get enough vitamin C from my morning fry up to fend off scurvy, so it's all good. Who knew that 'chip fat' was a member of the citrus family?
So having never tasted a blood orange before, I'm in a precarious situation here. Not knowing what one tastes like, it's difficult for me to confirm or deny if this lovely IPA actually resembles the thing its named after (blood oranges, not panda bears - I've had one of those before. Tasted like chicken). Google - the all-knowing overlord who will one day use us as batteries to power its vast databanks, but only after we have scorched the sky first - reliably tells me that blood oranges are bitterer (is that a word?) than their non-gruesome sounding cousins and if that's the case, then this beer is definitely on the right track.
From what I can gather, there's no actual blood orange in the can (certainly it's not listed in the ingredients on the side of the can). According to the Flavourly website, the hops themselves are left on a bed of blood orange pulp to soak up the flavour, before being added to the mash. Does this actually make any difference, when you have 3 varieties of hops in the brew (Mosaic, Citra and Summit)? Who knows, but it's a good gimmick.
To me, the taste is more like bitter grapefruit. It's smooth, with a bitter aftertaste which isn't unpleasant and which doesn't outstay its welcome. It's also incredibly refreshing and doesn't taste too strong (although it is 4.9%), so it'd be great drink for a warm summers day. If only we had such a thing in Scotland, where the cycle of seasons goes Autumn, Winter, Rain.
As much as I enjoyed this beer, I don't think I could drink a lot of it. It's definitely a drink you could only manage a couple of cans of, before having to move onto something less bitter. Drinking it with food to counter the bitterness, would probably help, so it would be perfect to have with a barbecue.
With that being said, I did enjoy this a lot and I would definitely drink it again given the chance. Maybe next year, we in Scotland will find out what this mythical beast 'Summer' is and I'll be able to unleash my pasty white body on an unsuspecting public and have the chance to drink this ale in the sun. You lucky, lucky people can only hope this comes true.