Fiddler’s Elbow Ale
Fiddler’s Elbow – Imported Ale
Wychwood Brewery – Witney, Oxfordshire, England
Info: (From bottle): “Fiddler’s Elbow is a wonderfully refreshing ale brewed with choice malt and hopped with Styrians. It has an earthy hop aroma balanced by juicy malt, with a tart citirc fruit in the mouth and a long, quenching, hoppy finish.” And from the site: “This wheat-brewed refreshing summer ale is 4.5% ABV in bottle. The addition of the choicest English wheat malt perfectly complements the use of Styrian Goldings hops. The end result is a wonderful combination of citrus and floral aroma, with tart citric fruit flavours and a long hoppy fruity finish. A wonderfully refreshing beer.“
As I step yet again out of my pilgrimage for more stouts and porters and the like, I was taken by surprise by the very cool looking bottle! Yeah, yeah, not something one should normally do when seeking out new and different beers (ya know, that whole ‘judging a book by its cover’ nonsense), but sometimes that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back of indecisiveness, ya know? It is a really cool bottle, too.
The pour is a golden, crisp, lightly foamy pour that instantly releases the beautiful scents within. Off the bat you get a spice note, a rindy fruit note, and a very clean hoppy note that is certainly a precursor to its bitter mouth-feel. It has an interesting, coy background odor that could only be hay. There you have your earthiness indeed. Another swirl, a sip with a drag of air through pursed lips, and you, too, will be pleasantly surprised by this delightful ale. It incorporates several differing flavors immediately upon drinking: a lilting floral note, a spicy citrus note, and a hoppy, bitter finish. Now this is an ale with a medley that is proportionately equal to the sum of its parts. Everything flows so cleanly and pleasantly together that it’s almost built upon a trilogy of complexity; yet with such a deviation between tastes that it could be mistaken as coming from three separate beers. Very interesting and very nice. This beer would accompany pastas with cream sauces, crab, or salty ham really nicely. I would even try it with some milder cheeses. Excellent.
Rating: * * * *
Ales do have a tendency of becoming bogged down by their own too-deep complexity, but this choice stands out.