Name - Malt & Hops
Brewer - Wadworth
Classification - Premium seasonal ale
Strength - 4.5% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye - Mango gold.
On the nose - Buttery and zesty in equal measure. You can literally smell how this beer's name came about!
On the tongue - Full-on bitterness and loaded with rich fruits. Intense.
On the subject - Wadworth produce a total of six seasonal beers covering most times of year, this is their early Autumn brew.
On the market - Rare even when it is available, which is (technically) only around September and October as it's only brewed for a very short period prior to then. Fortunately, bottles keep, so the restriction is less of a problem once you've got your hands on the stuff. The brewery keeps a stock, so try their own online store.
On the whole - 7.5/10
The label of this beer reveals the ugly truth.
It reads "Brewed for only four weeks of the year. When it's gone - it's gone."
Few truths could be uglier.
The simple reason why this truth is so appallingly ugly is the fact that this beer is so very good. Therefore it has no business being a limited availability seasonal offering. But then, I find this a lot with 'seasonals' from all kinds of breweries, and I often wonder why decisions to keep good beers restricted are ever made in the first place. I mean, who benefits from this?
Let me be clear though - this brew is not for all tastes. It is, in a word, 'strong.' Not in the alcoholic-content sense of the word (though it is hardly the world's weakest beer in that regard) but rather it is strong in flavour. The zesty bitterness and the rich floral fruitiness are pitched for maximum impact - so much so that it would be hard to imagine consuming much more than a couple of these during any one session. The fruits even take on a slight 'sweetshop' feel at certain points, which could eventually become a little overwhelming even for me, I suspect.
But a single jar of this is very rewarding experience, and there is a overall sense of fun about this beer that I found highly endearing.
Wadworth ales are never shy and retiring, and very rarely are they subtle in flavour.
What they are though is absolutely packed with personality, and there is no better example of this than the distinctive and characterful Malt & Hops.