Name – Battle Axe
Brewer – Rudgate
Classification – Bitter
Strength – 4.8% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – That magical spot on the spectrum where gold finally yields to brown. Many of my absolute favourite ales occupy this spot.
On the nose – Subtle roasted nuts.
On the tongue – Lives up to the 'Bitter' on the label with a wonderfully liberal use of hops.
On the subject – Rudgate's of York have been quietly scooping awards since 1992. The clamour is growing louder by the year.
On the market – Beer Ritz supplied this one. Various stockists locally and increasingly beyond.
On the whole – 6.5/10
If we're honest, we've all used these words before....
And, of course, the unforgettable 'Ut Ut Ut!!!'
Or, at least some of our distant ancestors might have used them.
For these are all war cries from Medieval times, designed to strike fear into the hearts of anyone daft enough to call themselves your enemy.
If they could only speak, I can imagine certain beer bottles which might use these menacing cries, to ward off anyone not up to the task of sinking a full pint of their mighty contents.
Rudgate Brewery's Battle Axe is a beer that certainly approaches you as though it were one of those beers... but having just spent a while with it – I'm just not so sure.
I reckon this beer is all bluff. I reckon the truth is that this beer is really just a friendly old chap who'd have you sat by the fire listening to his back catalogue of lyrical folk ballads for the best part of the night.
That, by the way, ain't necessarily a bad thing. Not one little bit.
Having said that, I wouldn't want to suggest that this is entirely non-aggressive experience. There is a instant hop-filled zing which might be classed as 'nicely hostile', followed by a lovely spread of roasted butternut squash which, at a stretch, could perhaps be regarded as 'militant'. But on the whole, this beer is far more likely to seek entry into your mouth via diligent use of the intercom, rather than storm the gates of your skull in the style of a marauding barbarian.
It's good stuff though, no question about it.
This is one of those beers which allows little or no time for contemplation before it has your hand reaching out for another slurp or two. This is always a good sign, if a little frustrating in terms of getting any sort of review written out.
I could have done with a touch more complexity, and I suspect Rudgate might be playing a little safe here in terms of the recipe, perhaps preferring to stick firmly to tradition than to leap on the ever growing bandwagon of 'funky' experimentation which seems to produce the only beers deemed worth talking about these days.
Wait a second.
Strike my previous reservations regarding this beers lack of complexity.
In fact, take those alleged reservations and wallop them with a large Battle Axe.
The honest, traditional simplicity of this beer is not a source of concern. On the contrary. In this age of science over sense, this beer should be nothing less than a cause for celebration.
For all the current fanfare surrounding innovation and experimentation, I think we may yet come to discover that young companies who choose to keep producing well loved brews in fine style – might well prove to be the one's who show us the real way forward.