Name – Original
Brewer – Everards
Classification – Premium Ale
Strength – 5.2% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Textbook traditional ale. (I should have known what was coming, even at this stage...)
On the nose – A bitter sweet balance of rarefied precision. (Cruelly delightful, all things considered. Read on...)
On the tongue – I'm going to abstain from this. The full review should adequately explain why.
On the subject – I'm just too upset to go into much detail. Here's an Everards web-link instead.
On the market – I'm reliably informed that this is not their best seller. This makes me want to laugh hysterically and slap the walls. The brewery sent this to me direct, which ought to be a good thing. It is actually a very bad thing, as you will soon learn...
On the whole – 9.5/10
On the whole – 9.5/10
“Oh no...anything but this!”
That was essentially my first thought, and it came to me a few moments after finishing the first mouthful.
The cause of my distress was simple, as I will now attempt to explain.
Two days before I sat down to review this beer, I had posted a photograph of a shipment of bottles – including this one – which had just arrived from Everards.
The Bottled Beer Year has started to receive a good number of samples from various breweries – which obviously is both helpful and splendid – but, on display in this aforementioned picture was the largest amount of beer to be delivered so far, and it is clearly among the largest gatherings of free bottled beer known to humanity.
As a result of this – I was acutely aware that my subsequent reviews of the beers included in the shipment needed to appear especially impartial, and that I would need to be seen applying all my usual standards of objective examination.
In fact, I knew it would be much better to have my upcoming analysis lean toward a more harshly impartial and critical slant, rather than to merely burst into tears of sycophantic joy and generally gush my guts out.
But then I went and made a truly gargantuan mistake.
From the three varieties I'd been sent – I selected the beer labelled 'Original.'
And the reason this was such a grave error, was because it transpired that Everards Original Premium Ale is among the finest liquids I have taken into my body for as long as I can humanly recall.
You see my problem.
I don't suppose it is the most extraordinary beer, or the most unique or most ground-breaking... in fact I know for sure that it is none of these things.
It is an English Ale – nothing more, nothing less – but it is doing a better job of being such a thing than any other brew which lays claim to that identity.
That is the mortifying conclusion which threatens to undermine the integrity of this entire project, and which led me to think those haunting words which began this article.
To attempt to encapsulate the experience (though I shall surely fail) – there are things about the beer which should be singled-out, such as the perfect balance of exquisite malts and deftly pitched hops, the mesmerising swirl of honeyed cereals and freshly shelled nuts, the sumptuously comforting consistency which soothes and becalms the mouth like cool liquid velvet, the playful cookie dough, the delicate apple and yet more delicate raisins...even the look of the stuff makes me almost tearful.
The truth, though, is that there's a heck of a lot more to this ale – but attempting to explain it feels somehow foolish and futile, like trying to sculpt ice in a sauna.
The dreadful irony of it all, is that I wanted this beer to be almost everything that it is not.
I wanted it to be the worst beer I'd ever tasted.
The damn thing proved to be the polar opposite.