I’ve always had a soft spot for Cheddar Ales, and tend to gravitate towards them when I spy their bottles on the offy shelf – reliably tasty beers, wrapped up all resplendent in their Frank Newbould-inspired packaging.
They are also responsible for some of the finest beer names ever displayed on a pump clip. ‘Mild Cheddar‘, anyone? How about a ‘Bitter Bully‘? And of course the GREATEST BEER NAME OF ALL TIME, ‘Gorge Best‘.
For their latest booze – Firewitch – they have cast aside their normally vibrant colour palette for a label more mysterious*, one that hints upon the dark, savory secrets that lie within the bottle.
The name in fact refers to the magenta-pink wildflower that inhabits the upper slopes of Cheddar Gorge, the glacial cleft that carves through the hills behind the Brewery. The flower, (not that I’ve ever sniffed one**) is said to have a ‘spicy, clove-like fragrance’, – the perfect moniker then for this traditional saison, a beer style packed with hops and peppery spices.
It’s a naturally conditioned booze, medium bodied and pale, with a slight haze. Crack the cap and a spicy Mendip mist rolls out of the bottle, carrying with it a hint of banana, not a million miles away from the fruity waft that a decent Weisbeer emits.
Take a gulp and it’s classic saison, a complex cornucopia of coriander, grains of paradise and zesty fruit, followed by a long, bitter orange, hop finish. The perfect booze to accompany a sunny floricultural foray amongst the craggy slopes of Cheddar.
Brewery: Cheddar Ales
Beer name: Firewitch
Hops used: Sorachi Ace, Calypso, Pacific Jade
* Think ‘Boozy Blair Witch’.
** Or seen one. Do they even exist? We need proof!
This beer was sent to us by Cheddar Ales. We’re fans of the brewery to agreed to review on the condition it was good enough. It was.