Name – O8
Brewer – Otley
Classification – Strong ale
Strength – 8.0% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Vibrant, lustrous gold.
On the nose – Relentless spiced citrus.
On the tongue – A formidable beer on every level, yet also utterly drinkable.
On the subject – The eye-catching, highly enigmatic Otley range of beers has an ever growing army of fans. After today, I've officially enlisted myself. This Welsh brewery is fuelled by genuinely collective talent which shows itself across the board.
On the market – Still not as widely available as they merit, but that's no problem in these web-lead days. Try the Real Beer Box.
On the whole – 9/10
On the whole – 9/10
Now this is very good.
To be honest, I hadn't yet got off to the earth-shaking start I'd expected with Otley, and I should probably blame their branding for that.
The famous Otley 'look' is so comprehensively marvellous that it generates levels of anticipation that few beers could ever hope to live up to. Certainly, none of the Otley beers I'd tried so far had quite managed this feat.
But today's beer had no difficulty at all.
At the first taste, this magnificent brew puts its own fancy label rapidly back in its place.
For me at least, O8 will forever mark the spot where the contents of Otley bottles became even more impressive than their exterior design.
And, by the gods, what a beer it is!
And it's a big beer.
Huge citrus principles themes, powerhouse booziness (which never feels overdone), a lovely firmness in the body and enough vibrant complexity to keep your mind racing throughout.
But in spite of the grand scale and the sheer intensity of all these elements, I just couldn't help reaching again and again for more, there's nothing remotely aggressive about the drink. It simply uses it's many strengths to charm and bewitch you, instead of making you run for your life.
Spicy, zesty and outrageously dynamic. This is absolutely top-drawer craft brewing, and a beer which sets the benchmark for all strong golden beers.
I had previously entertained the notion that Otley might be slightly in danger of prioritising style over substance.
This epic ale has banished such thoughts forever from my mind.
Otley do great branding and great beer. And I can't wait to see what's next.