Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Day 123, Beer 123 - Oldershaw's "Blonde Volupta"

Today's Beer

Name – Blonde Volupta

Brewer – Oldershaw

Classification – Premium blonde ale

Strength – 5.0% ABV

Verdict - At A Glance

On the eye– Stunning. An almost luminescent mango gold.

On the nose – Truly massive citrus. Faint nutty malts. Just lovely.

On the tongue – Deliciously vivid citrus thrives amidst a perfectly pitched sharp, dry bitterness.

On the subject – Grantham is becoming something of a centre of excellence in these micro-brewery times. Oldershaw are but one of a growing bunch of breweries in and around this relatively small Lincolnshire market town, with Brewster's, Newby Wyke and Belvoir also conjuring up some seriously fantastic beers.

On the market – Cask versions of Oldershaw beers are appearing with increasing frequency nationwide, especially at the more 'trendy' end of the craft beer market. For bottles, try online at The Real Ale Store.

On the whole – 9/10

Full Review

In the context of this website, I've had a soft spot for Oldershaw Brewery right from day one.

I mean that quite literally, too, as the inaugural 'Day 1, Beer 1' slot was given over to their excellent premium ale Old Boy.

Back in those distant days (last November) today's beer didn't even exist, but having since sampled a great many of Oldershaw's ales, I'd say Blonde Volupta is not only an excellent addition to the range - but it might just be the very best of the lot.

Either way, it's special.

After a few short moments, it was obvious to me that this was a top-drawer contemporary craft beer, one which could stand shoulder to shoulder with any of the current hop heroes of today.

There's been all kinds of change at this brewery over recent times, the new owners have had the foresight to fully unleashed the creative talents of the extremely gifted team, and that freedom of expression translates into their new beers with remarkable eloquence.

Basically, they're lush.

Blonde Volupta serves as a drink to define these times, with crystal clear citrus and sharp fruit flavours - grapefruit, melon, kiwi, mango - investing everything they can into the mix, triggering an explosion of such vivid intensity that you can't help but smile. An astonishing salty bitterness keeps all this hyperactive fruit solidly in check, making it every bit as impressive as it is entertaining.

Add to this a subtle biscuit and pine nut finish, and you have a brewing achievement which borders on monumental.

As you may have noticed over recent times, these highly hopped 'yellows' are really starting to win me over. You could say that finally I'm beginning to see the 'light'.

But I really can't be certain whether it's me evolving or the beers themselves. I'm absolutely convinced that the recipes are getting better and better all the time, and if that's the result of all this crazy, almost fevered experimentation – then maybe it ain't so bad after all.

Without doubt, the 'yellows' and the 'blacks' have reaped the greatest rewards from all of this experimentation, if breweries could finally start working that same kind of magic with the 'browns', I might just start doing little leaps of joy. (In fairness, some breweries have already started to do precisely that.)

Anyway, of the yellows, few beers in the land can claim to be better than this one.

As good as this?


But better?

I seriously doubt it.

Seek it out and see for yourselves.

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