Sunday, 23 January 2011

Day 57, Beer 57 - Dark Star's "Sunburst"

Today's Beer

Name – Sunburst

Brewer – Dark Star

Classification – Golden Ale

Strength – 4.8% ABV

Verdict - At A Glance

On the eye – The very palest yellow gold.

On the nose – Buttered malts and subtle but frisky hops.

On the tongue – Crisp! Also pretty vivacious and zesty. But I think it's definitely worth a repeat of the term 'crisp'. Oh, and did I mention 'crisp'?

On the subject – This continuously morphing brewery is really much closer to a young, radiant celestial orb than a fading giant nearing black hole status. The latest incarnation of the brewery's speedy evolution (involving entirely new premises and some groovy re-branding) has been necessitated by success. It's that simple.

On the market – Dark Star really is rising. National availability is getting better. Many of the usual online suspects now stock the range. Try My Brewery Tap.

On the whole – 7.5/10

Full Review

Let's get this clear first – this is a delightful beer.

Let's get something else clear, too – this drink and whoever is reading these words right now (...that would be you!) need to make arrangements to get together during the approaching summer months, and if that means you cancelling an expensive family holiday in order to do it – then so be it!

I could go on making lists of things to make clear about this beer – but there's one thing that could never be more clear, and that's the beer itself.

No clearer beer have I seen. Period.

And the beer's clarity is just one aspect of its appearance that will get your jaw dropping. In short, I can't recall the last time I was so surprised to see a drink emerge from a bottle.

The lightness of hue – almost entirely colourless as it pours – is eye-catching to say the least. Whilst looking at my glass filling with this liquid, my curiosity was in overdrive as it tried desperately to imagine what a beer of this appearance was likely to taste like. The flavour reference-points are few and far between for a beer that looks like this.

The relationship between a beer's colour and its flavour is never quite as straightforward as many people suppose. Dark, rich looking beers can taste insipid and lack body, and the lightest coloured beers can pack some seriously tasty and substantially textured punches.

So... which was this beer going to be? What surprises might it have in store?

These were the questions bubbling around in my mind.

Well, the reality is that Sunburst's ultra-discreet colouring is nothing less than a wholesale visual hoax.

Never was a red herring clad in so very little red, or any other colour for that matter.

The appearance of the drink merely walks you up a garden path, so that by the time the stuff is in your mouth, you are well and truly at its mercy – with nowhere to run or hide. Not that you'd want to do either of those things, mind you, because being at this beer's mercy is a pretty marvellous predicament in which to find yourself.

Rather than lacking any flavour-based impact or complexity, this brew is gloriously and vividly alive with all manner of thirst quenching, citrus-infused loveliness. There's grapefruit, watermelon, lemon zest, and just enough of a popcorn undertow to prevent the high notes from running away with all the glory. It's also a beer which is very careful not to throw too much of any one thing at you and risk dampening your enthusiasm for more. 

Yet other thing which is abundantly 'clear' about this ale, is that it will simply adore great summer weather – and there's little doubt that great summer weather will adore it just as much in return.

I know I will have no problem adoring it on a very frequent basis when the warm times return.

If only a certain other star would move a little closer!

Roll on June!

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