Monday, 20 January 2014

War of the Roses

Last week I got to try a couple of beers from brewers either side of the Pennines.  I wasn't sure I was going to make a full post out of this but these beers are so good I could not wait to tell you about them.  Marble Brewery in Greater Manchester is fast becoming a firm favourite of mine.  On the other side we have Saltaire, the latest in what is becoming quite a long list of Yorkshire brewers I am enjoying.  From both brewers I have recently tried a chocolate inspired beer.  The Chocolate Marble is a delight, as is the Saltaire Triple Chocaholic.  The Saltaire was marked one point higher than the Marble.  Who will win this time?

Marble Dobber (5.9% ABV)

I love the name of this beer.  I had the cask version a few months ago and fell in love with it so when placing my first order with online retailer Ales By Mail it was on my list of 'must haves'.  It is a lovely pale golden colour and the aroma is delightfully citrussy.  It promises so much and it delivers instantly with an initial taste that is dominated by grapefruit from the powerful New Zealand hops yet there is an underlying biscuity base that keeps everything in check and offers a bit of balance.  There is a light refreshing zinginess (is that a word? - sounds good to me anyway) to it that makes what is quite a potent IPA dangerously drinkable.  There are lemon and peach notes coming through as you drink more of it and the amazing dry bitter finish is softened as you progress down the pint.  For me you cannot get a better IPA than this and it is so easy to give this beer 10/10.  Comparing it to my recent samples of Thornbridge Jaipur I have to say that this is now the winner.  

In May I am planning to visit Manchester and I have already made the Marble Arch one of my must-visit pubs.  I will have to restrain myself from drinking nothing but Marble though that weekend as there are many more  breweries I need to discover.

Saltaire Stateside IPA (6.0% ABV)

I picked up this little gem from online retailer The Beer Hawk.  This beer is packed with the American hops Cascade, Summit and Galena.  In addition, there are some German Magnum hops in here too.  This is very much an American Pale Ale though in both looks and taste compared to the Dobber.  The colour is a deeper golden and the aroma is more fruity with hints of fleshy fruits such as peach and mango.  This beer totally fills the tastebuds with these rich sweet fruits and it does not relent at all as it clings to your teeth and tongue as it smoothly slips down.  The sweetness continues into the finish which is balanced in part by some grassiness which adds a little edge to it and, although it is very different to the Dobber in terms of the taste, it is equally perfect.  This is simply a stunning American Pale Ale and I seem to have struck lucky yet again.  There can only be one award for this beer too and it is a 10/10.              

I set out thinking I would find a distinct winner between these two beers but I simply cannot separate them.  I would rush to enjoy both these beers all over again.  One point I would make though is that I could perhaps enjoy the Dobber in larger quantities.  The sweetness of the Stateside IPA may be too much for an entire session whereas the Dobber I could probably drink all night until I fell over.  


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