Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oshkosh Beer of the Week: Holy Grail Ale

Holy Grail Ale at Barley & Hops
When I first noticed there was a beer out there named Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale I immediately dismissed it as some kind of gimmick beer. Then a few months later I learned it was brewed by the Black Sheep Brewery, an exceptional English ale brewery responsible for Riggwelter, one of my favorite beers. So when I heard from Nate at Barley & Hops that he was bringing the Holy Grail to Oshkosh I was primed for finally getting a taste of this brew on draught. And it did not disappoint. I love traditional English ales and this is an excellent example of what the best of them are all about.

The beer pours to a bight copper and offers up a light scent of floral hops over bready, pale malt. It’s a subtle and delicious aroma that made me thankful there wasn’t a cloud of cigarette smoke floating in the bar. The mouth feel of this beer is fantastic. Smooth and creamy at the start and then developing a slight graininess towards the end. Nothing about the beer is out-sized, instead there’s a wonderful range of flavors here that all work in concert. The hop flavor has a ripe, earthy fruit aspect and it melds perfectly with the crystal malt sweetness that forms the foundation of the beer. This is an exceptionally balanced ale that remains continually interesting and complex from one pint to the next. And it’s a perfect session beer. At just under 5% you can easily work your way through a number of these without falling off your stool. Although you may find yourself spontaneously chirping NI!

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