Saturday, 13 August 2011

Day 117, Beer 117 - Okell's "1907"

Today's Beer

Name – 1907

Brewer – Okell's

Classification – Commemorative IPA

Strength – 6.1% ABV

Verdict - At A Glance

On the eye – Rich, deep amber.

On the nose – Fruity, malty, spicy, with plenty of torque. (Maybe you ought to read on...)

On the tongue – An evocative, fruit-rich ale with proud malts, helmet and full leathers. (And again...)

On the subject – I've already dropped plenty of hints about this in various places, but this Isle of Man-based brewery really ought to be embraced more warmly by us mainlanders, along with beer loving folk in every other nation. The ales we're missing out on are just too good.

On the market – Well, therein lies some serious comedy. As I've just said, Okell's beers are already hard to come by 'off island', but this particular one is a limited addition, so even if you're on the Isle Of Man right now you're going to have to fight like a dog for one. If you know a collector or a specialist dealer, it's probably better to call them. Unless, however, certain recent rumours are true...(see below)

On the

Full Review

This beer drinks like motorbike racing.

I would love to say I'm just being blasé and kidding around, I honestly would, but the reality is that this is a hard fact that we're dealing with here.

This is liquid biking.

Now, some of you will be quick to suggest that I may have been somewhat influenced by the theme of this beer, which has been brewed to commemorate 100 years of the Isle Of Man's famous 'TT' motorcycle racing event, but to those misguided cynics I will simply say this...

That's more than likely.

So, having brushed my critics aside with all the cocksure swagger of a shame-ridden oaf, let me explain precisely why the branding of this beer and it's character are so perfectly matched.

And deliberately matched, too. Okell's knew exactly what they were doing. They didn't conjure up a beer and then decide how to pitch it to the market. They had the idea to mark the centenary of a globally famous biking event and brewed a beer precisely for that purpose.

Given the outcome, that shows genuine craftsmanship and ingenuity, because 'hey presto' – a true bikers ale was born.

1907 is powerful, explosive, weighty, robust, it's got dynamic shifts of flavour, and it's consistency even has a very subtle but extremely delightful 'oily' quality which magically evokes the sense of a finely tuned engine.


But you get the idea. It's no wimp, it's unashamedly 'macho', and it's got plenty of 'oomph.'

There's little doubt that I'd start banging my head against a wall if I thought too long and hard about the suggestion that this is yet another 'IPA', and I don't like banging my head against most things – especially walls – so if you don't mind I'll just try to think about something else.

But before I do, (you just knew I wouldn't let it go that easily!) let me encourage you to read one of my more recent rants about the term 'IPA' rapidly losing all meaning, and I'll also point out that Okell's have sent me four beers, one is a wheat beer, one is a porter, and then two other very lovely beers – which have almost nothing in common with each other, one of them being fairly deep brown in colour and malt-dominant in taste. Both of these other two beers are called IPA's.

I'm actually shaking my head right now.

I wrote that down because there's no way you would have known otherwise.

Also, if I see one more mention of a supposed IPA being a rendition of an 'original recipe' – I think I'm going to take up base jumping and call time on this blog. Because I'm clearly not fitted with the right kind of brain to collect all of this contradictory evidence together and make sense of it.

Many of the beers making such claims are hugely different from each other – surely their various claims to be 'based on original recipes' cannot all be correct?

Please feel free to put me out of my misery here, either by providing me with the presently unimaginable solution to this riddle, or a year's membership of a decent base jumping club.

Anyway, whilst breweries worldwide continue to come down with this strange illness which compels them to call every decent beer they brew an 'IPA' (a disease known in certain jungle communities as Fashion-Slave-Itus, or Fear-Derived-Bandwagoning) we're all just going to have to accept that the word 'ALE' is now spelt with three entirely different letters, and will continue to be until somebody finds a cure.

I hope they do so soon.

But in the meantime, let's move away from this beer's given status, and get back to the beer itself.

Because, at the end of the day – it's a very good beer.

In fact, so well received has this beer been among the privileged few who actually managed to get hold of it – that a certain amount of follow- up bottling has since occurred, and rumours now abound that this brew might yet become a mainstay of the Okell's range.

If that really is the case, then bikers all over the world will have serious reason to rejoice!

And, when I've finally managed to calm myself down, I think I might just be joining them.

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