Name – Melton Red
Brewer – Belvoir Brewery
Classification – 'Best' bitter - (In spite of Belvoir's claim of 'Premium' status.)
Strength – 4.3% - (And that's not really 'Premium' strength, I'd say.)
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Red? Well, perhaps. But 'bronze' is probably the closest. Like a jar of very embarrassed Maple Syrup.
On the nose – Gorgeous. Ginger cake and liquorice, with all the malty goodness of your aunties Brandy snaps.
On the tongue – The ginger cake smell turns to fruit cake. A welcome tartness to the finish.
On the subject – Formerly at Shipstones and Theakstons, Belvoir's Colin Brown continues to build on his successes whilst always applying meticulous attention to traditional detail. It shows!
On the whole – 8/10
Having kicked the year off in some style yesterday with a fine beer brewed not a million miles from my Lincolnshire home, I thought it might seem reckless to begin straying too much further afield just yet, so I elected to sample another brew from the East Midlands region.
A pretty decent decision that proved to be, too.
Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire, is most commonly associated with it's world-renowned Pork Pies, but I'd say the town certainly has something else to shout about in the form of Belvoir Brewery's devilishly delightful 'Melton Red.'
As I hinted in the 'At A Glance' section, I do have some misgivings about the brewery's claim that this is a 'premium' ale. The general consensus on the low-marker-point for a premium beer is around 4.8% ABV, give or take the odd fraction, but it is seldom found near the 4.3% of this brew. Not that this should worry those who prefer their ales to grab them firmly by the throat, as Melton Red has clearly mastered the dark art of punching above it's weight. It's as though this beer had been properly concussed and has subsequently woken up believing itself to be a much stronger drink, and it's even started hanging out with the 'tough crowd' – none of whom would ever detect that they had an imposter in their midsts.
This beer reminded me of one of the great ironies about enjoying a beer at home:- that fact the best bottled beers are nearly always the one's which make you feel like you're in a pub! They make you wonder why you didn't bother to take that short walk up the road tonight. This is one of those beers. I could almost feel the landlord's dog rubbing against my shins on it's way back over to the crackling open fire.
Anyway, here's a big thumbs up to Belvoir. They've created a superbly autumnal, rich, subtlety malted, zesty delight, and I'll be sure to return my attention to this brewery later in the year.