Name – Horizon
Brewer – Wadworth
Classification – Golden ale
Strength – 4.0% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Intense yellow gold.
On the nose – Citrus rich. Surprisingly potent malt presence. (Nicely surprising.)
On the tongue – A very well rounded golden ale. Zesty, lightly nutty, refreshing and easy drinking.
On the subject – There's a sense of calculated revolution over at Wadworth these days. This is a company with a rich heritage, and many of their labels tend to hark back to eras gone by, with some of the ales inside the bottles also doing the same. Suddenly, a feeling of 'be here now' has descended upon the company and with the huge skills-base they already have in place – I predict all manner of exciting new beers are going to be the result. I welcome this move in advance.
On the market – Wadworth beers are simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, depending on the specific label. This one can be tricky to stumble across, so try stumbling on the upcoming red words to find Wadworth's online shop.
On the whole – 8/10
On the whole – 8/10
The Horizon you see before you now is not the Horizon you will find in the shops.
The 'new look' Horizon on the shelves from now on will look far more like this.
But I'm fated to have to work with an old version – as that's what Wadworth sent over to me. (Yes, my bottom lip is jutting forward and yes, my eyes are welling with tears.)
But this is actually very good news, for Wadworth if not for me, because it demonstrates the significant changes that are currently taking place at this famous UK brewery.
They are having what might be described as a coorporate makeover, bringing themselves into line with the recent massive acceleration of this industry's pace.
I'm delighted by this, as I've long been worried that established favourites like Wadworth would resist change and stick to the 'what we do best' mentality, a mentality which cannot win in the modern era of social media and image-obsessiveness.
You can't fight the tide and win, all you can do is take pride in trying. Thankfully, Wadworth have now plunged in having elected to ride the waves and go with the flow.
Beers in the style of Horizon are at the forefront of this new wave, and although this beer displays less hyper-intensity and dynamism in it's constuction than many of the newer 'yellow' beers (many of which go too far with it all) it is a very nice drink indeed, and one which you could imagine staying with for a long evening without ever being overly challenged or getting bored.
That's the kind of beer most people like. Even those people who don't like to admit it in public.
Having been largely unmoved by the (now defunct) branding on this bottle, I have to say I'd passed it over many times in preference to other golden beers in my 'queue', but having finally got round to it – it actually went and impressed my socks off, so the rejuvenation of the design is a move I'm personally delighted by.
It's a remarkably well balanced golden beer, and balance is arguably a rare thing in these kinds of ales these days. The hops are vibrant, thirst quenching and zesty, but they don't dominate the proceedings like they are encouraged to do in so many of the 'modern goldens.'
Keeping those hops honest is a measured gathering of roasted nuts and biscuit (of both the sweet and savoury kind). These elements don't bring 'sweetness' as such, they merely take the relentless sting out of the citrus, making it effortlessly drinkable and doing away with all that involuntary face-pulling which many highly-hopped beers can trigger.
The body is light without being thin, and the ABV is fairly low without ever feeling weak.
It's an excellent example of how a session-style golden ale can have a very broad appeal.
Is is avant garde?
Do avant another?
You bet I do!