Name - Mars Magic
Brewer - Wold Top
Classification - Dark beer
Strength - 4.6% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye - Enigmatic, deepest rosewood.
On the nose - Intense, almost brittle sweetness. Brooding low notes.
On the tongue - Sharp, dry, fruity, with rich and lively malts.
On the subject - Wold Top Brewery have a huge range of ales relative to the small size of their coastal Yorkshire operation - not they are anything like as tiny as they were only a few years ago. The reason for their ever increasing presence in supermarkets is all too obvious to those who've tried their excellent beers.
On the market - Like I said, the Wold Top brand has a growing national profile. If you don't fancy yet another trip to your nearest megastore - try the brewery's own online shop.
On the whole - 8/10
"Ale... the final frontier...."
For those already in a mild panic - fear not - because I'm going to rapidly abandon any further Star Trek references... but in a sense, a beer review site really is a voyage of discovery in the style of that original 60's series format.
But Wold Top's Mars Magic is the first actual planet that my particular expedition has yet come across.
Or do I mean 'landed on..?'
Anyway, the great irony here is that there is nothing remotely extra-planetary or even vaguely science-fictional about this brew, which is actually just a very typical (though also a very fine) example of a well loved drink variety, commonly known back on it's home world as 'beer.'
This is very much an Earth Ale. No question about it. Rich berry fruits (commonly found on said world) faint exotic spices (not so exotic they aren't found under our own troposphere) and some haunting, highly energetic forest floor malts (again, very much of Earthly stock) - these are all flavours from this particular cosmic orb, that's for sure.
But, in spite of this beer being recognisable as a drink from our neck of the universe, what is less clear - is precisely what kind of beer this is meant to be.
There's a little too much going on in a little too many parts of the flavour spectrum to easily pin this ale down into any one category. 'Dark Beer' says a great deal about the colour, but this name becomes a bit of a (dark) red herring when applied to the kaleidoscopic flavour content of the brew.
Do not, however, take this as a bad thing. I nearly always like to be surprised by a characterful beer whose character is hard to quickly define. And more specifically, it's always an exciting moment when you discover that a drink doesn't taste the way it looks, if you take my meaning.
This beer is refreshing and yet comforting, complex and yet direct, dark and yet remarkably light in the mouth. It's a gutsy, powerful drink experience - but it never quite feels like it.
These are all pretty clever tricks for a beer to play, and probably pretty hard to achieve. For that, I commend the folks in brewhouse.
So, although I'm not entirely sure what this beer is up to, I can safely say that whatever it is doing - it is doing it in some considerable style.
It might not be particularly other-worldly, but really is quite magic.