Oakham Ales is a brewery that regularly features towards the top of beer drinkers’ favourites lists. Their booze is enjoyed by traditionalists, who appreciate the well honed art of their cask ales, and the new breed of craft ale advocates, who love their bold, hoppy flavours. Their single hopped beer ‘Citra’ has become the beer by which all other citra powered ales are judged and this week’s choice, Scarlet Macaw, has received similarly rave reviews.
We had our first taste of Scarlet Macaw last year at Frocester Beer Festival and were so impressed that it went straight into my top five for the show. At the time I described it as “a well balanced beer with one heck of a long-lasting bitter finish”, or at least I think that’s what my drunkenly scrawled notes said.
It’s a clean, golden beer which, just like ‘Citra’, has a well-crafted light malt base on which to play with the hops. In this instance they’ve used a combination of American hops Amarillo and Summit. The former has become such a popular addition to beers that there have been reports of shortages in recent years. It’s one of those fruity numbers that is variously described as having gooseberry, grapefruit or tangerine flavours. Summit is deployed more as a hop weapon, knocking the imbiber into a bitter frenzy with bold hop doses that pack a spicy punch and add more citrus character to the beer. It’s responsible for that “long-lasting bitter finish” or, as the brewery declare, “an intense bitterness that’s as sharp as a macaw’s screech.”
In combining these hops, the Oakham brewers have created a beer packed with fruits and spices that add a depth of character you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a golden ale. It’s equally delicious fresh from the barrel or poured from a bottle and is evidence of a quality beer from a brewery at the top of its game.
Beer supplied by Beer52
Brewery: Oakham Ales, Peterborough
Beer name: Scarlet Macaw
Hops used: Amarillo, Summit
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