Thursday, 29 December 2016

12 Beers of Christmas - Day Ten - Thornbridge Love Among the Ruins

Day Ten - Thornbridge Love Among the Ruins (UK, 7%)

As I've mentioned before on this blog, I regularly underestimate Thornbridge, and tend to mentally file everything they do as "solid but unexciting". This is vastly unfair, and beers like Love Among the Ruins demonstrate that their restraint and subtlety are actually their strongest attributes.

'Sour red ale' is the descriptor on the label, and whilst I can appreciate why they might hesitate to use the term, style-wise its closest relative is the Flanders red. There's a similar complexity and balance between sweet and sour flavours, wild yeasts and bacteria bringing acidity whilst residual malt sweetness and addition of cherries mellow this out beautifully. This recalls balsamic vinegar, and there's also a slight botanical or herbal edge which comes off like old fashioned cough sweets, and a touch of clementine in there, too. The wild elements contribute a hint of musty leather, but nothing especially funky, and the lengthy barrel ageing results in a very dry and tannic finish.

The brewery excel in lager styles, and there's a similar perfectionism and patience at play in this beer. It's a much-needed reminder to drink more Thornbridge in 2017.

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