Marks & Spencer have featured in this column before – not because they’re sending us beer, begging to be included (they’re not*), but because we genuinely rate their beers very highly – and having a store within walking distance of Nick’s house helps. It’s therefore not a surprise to us that some beer aficionados are also impressed by the line-up of bottles sitting between the bread counter and household detergents. A panel of judges have sniffed, swirled and spat out countless mouthfuls of booze and crowned the store ‘Retailer of the Year’ at the International Beer Awards 2015.
As if walking off with the star prize wasn’t enough they’ve also got to find room in their office reception for the 15 bronze medals and 11 silver trinkets awarded to individual beers from their range. Another beer, Mosaic Pale Ale, fared even better, scooping a rare gold medal, and it’s that much lauded brew we’re respectfully shoving down our gullets tonight.
One of a line of single hop beers, this pale ale is loaded up with an American hop newcomer – mosaic was created as recently as 2012 – which has intense tropical mango fruit aromas and fresh, citrus flavours. Close your eyes, concentrate hard, and you can even imagine a twist of lime loitering in the background. It’s a superbly refreshing beer, light and juicy with a delicate herby bitterness.
Mosaic pale ale is produced for M&S by Adams brewery, who picked up a few silver and bronze gongs all for themselves at the International Beer Awards, and another three in collaboration with M&S.
It’s great to see large retailers not only stocking quality beers but also being actively involved in bringing hop flavours to our attention by commissioning single variety beers. It can only be helpful for consumers to learn more about the ingredients involved and, as with wine buffs who return to a favourite grape, allow beer drinkers to pick out future beers with a favourite hop. I’ll definitely keep my eyes out for more beers that use mosaic and will hunt down some fresh hops to use in my own home brews. But in the meantime I’ll be happy to take the short walk to M&S for a regular mosaic fix.
*If anyone from M&S does want to send us beers we’ll gladly accept them.
Brewery: Adnams, Southwold, Suffolk
Beer name: Mosaic pale ale
Hops used: mosaic