Friday, 2 September 2011

Day 131, Beer 131 - Wadworth's "Swordfish"

Today's Beer

Name – Swordfish

Brewer – Wadworth

Classification – Blended ale  (Wadworth 6X beer with Pusser's Rum)

Strength – 5% ABV

Verdict - At A Glance

On the eye – Deep bronze. Gorgeously sturdy and substantial looking.

On the nose – Very like beer. What I mean is, there's no obvious suggestion of rum. (Yet...)

On the tongue – A beautifully assembled 'blended' beer, which gains heaps from the team-up whilst still remaining a beer. A spicy, robust and darkly fruited powerhouse.

On the subject – I can almost picture the board meeting (in the Dog and Duck on a Friday evening) during which this idea was formed. Chucking some high quality spirit into a jar of premium ale can often seem like a good idea at the time. The thing is, Wadworth have actually made it work. Credit for this success, in part at least, needs to go to certain firm based in the British Virgin Islands.

On the market – I don't know about availability over in the Caribbean, but there's always Wadworth's online store.

On the

Full Review

Frankly, I was not looking forward to this.

There was something about the notion of a fairly strong beer being mixed with British Navy Rum that filled me with the sensation of wanting to pull hard on the steering wheel – even if it meant slamming head-first into a brick wall.

But it transpires that any cuts, bruises, or hefty insurance claims would have been brought about entirely without justification, because this beer (and it really is still a 'beer') is actually rather good.

In fact, I have to say it's bloody marvellous. Certainly worth avoiding brick wall collisions for.

Mercifully – and quite crucially I believe – they haven't gone bananas with the rum (although that statement sounds like a very fine beer recipe in itself). They've chosen instead to approach this in a measured, even-tempered sort of way, and it's an approach which has reaped huge rewards. Both of the companies involved have applied the vast wealth of their combined experience, their specific precision-honed skill sets, and their independently renowned flair for judgement to every single stage of this potential plane-crash of a union.

Sampling the outcome of this process has been both fascinating and massively enjoyable.

There's a stirring earthly richness to the principle flavours, and a robust, fulsome spiciness which truly captivates the mouth and leaves you forever wanting more.

It's nicely bitter and dry, but there are occasional brief hints of dark treacle sweetness which are more than welcome every time they appear. There are also plenty of dark fruit 'twangs' to tune in and out of at your leisure, and a deliciously peppery finish tops off what ultimately becomes a real jewel of a drink experience.

Too many beers which claim to 'incorporate' or 'combine with' interesting or quirky additional ingredients go much too far with it all, taking the end result too far away from 'beer' as most of us understand it.

This beer takes the concept of 'a blended ale' and utterly nails it.

It's an ale first, and an ale last.

It has simply extracted from the blending process an entirely unique character, and that's all.

This has been a real surprise. One that I would be happy to be surprised by again. And next time - there will be none of that aforementioned steering wheel grabbing.

In future, I'll be happy to crash head-first straight into these bottles.


Neil, Eating isn't Cheating said...

Bloody hated this beer. Each to their own I guess!

The Hearty Goodfellow said...

Neil - Then you had precisely the reaction I was expecting to have myself!

Instead, it went and totally charmed me.

I still hate the idea of this beer, but I love the beer itself.

Go figure!