It was with good intentions that Andy and I started the Beer of the Week articles. We wanted to have that regular segment that highlights a relatively bright spark in the week's beers that either one or both of us has had. Unfortunately we are both increasingly busy (Andy not me) or an equal measure of Lazy and Forgetful (absolutely me). However, after my article last week about being a little bit flat or jaded over it just now I actually found some spark in my interest again. I had a Beer Hawk parcel winging its way to me with some goodies in it. I'd highlighted a couple of the box contents that I was looking forward to, namely the FourPure offering and the Northern Monk BIG cans. However, as is the way with these things, it was a surprise contender instead that took the centre stage and shined.
It's always really nice when a beer that you have written off, based on nothing more than how the can/bottle looks, turns out to be a real cracker. I don't even know why we do that, but I guess it goes to show that visuals play a huge part in our selection process and initial opinions on something even though technically it has no real bearing on what the contents are going to be like. In fact, I have experienced the opposite as well. Something that looks appealing to me (probably has tattoo flash or skulls) says all the right things like juicy, caramel, coffee, tropical etc. etc... but when you crack it open, the results are rather bland and lifeless. So, in other words, that paragraph of waffle amounts to, don't judge a beer by its cover.
"It's always really nice when a beer that you have written off, based on nothing more than how the can/bottle looks, turns out to be a real cracker."
So what beer am I droning on about and what was wrong with the design? The Beer is a Pale Ale called Sputnik by North Brewing Co. There is nothing fundamentally 'wrong' with the can design, it is fairly minimalist with 4 silver letters SPNK arranged in a square on a black on red arrow pattern. It just wasn't catching my attention much but, beauty is in the eye of the Beerholder. Also, given I'd not seen or heard of this one before, I didn't know if the Pale Ale was going to be just bog standard or a bit more on the adventurous side.
So first things first, can cracked and poured into one of my favourite glasses (yeah it's a Stella Artois glass but I don't care. Perfect size and good weight with a gold rim to make me feel special haha). Initial impression is excellent, a very smooth looking hazy beer emerges with a generous head to top it off. I'm very fond of hazy beers just now, I've yet to be disappointed with any. The nose doesn't give too many indicators away on the taste other than a hoppy smell with some sweetness lingering. However, as you would hope, the flavour is the real star of the show. Where the design/appearance may have been minimal/plain, the beer is anything but. It is much more complex. It is a very clean and crisp flavour, with plenty of 'hoppiness' to it (if that's not a word I don't care). There are tropical tones with an almost tart bite but all very subtle. I saw a user on Untappd post that they felt there was a Pine like finish and I have to agree. The finish was a bit peculiar, like a woody/floral combination but I think pine-like is spot on.
All in all this was a great wee find. I've had North Brewing Co stuff before although I think it was from a collaboration. I look forward to seeking them out some more. Just from their site I see they do a Coconut and Coffee porter which sounds right up my avenue. Bring it on. So there we have it. A nice and short BOTW review with far less doom and gloom cast over it like my last outing.
Happy Hunting everyone.