Well, that's the sunny weather pretty much done for, it seems. Still, it gave me the opportunity to crack open some of those summer beers that we all know and love - pale, zingy, crisp and refreshing, and perfect for al fresco drinking.
One surprise entry amongst last weekend's usual suspects - Thornbridge's Jaipur, Wensleydale's Coverdale Poacher, Copper Dragon's Golden Pippin and Ilkey's Mary Jane to name but a few - was Marks & Spencer's Essex Summer Ale, bought purely on a whim whilst buying food because (in a childish voice) it had a pwetty label.
Closer inspection reveals this little treat to be brewed by Crouch Vale, brewers of such fine beers as Brewer's Gold and Amarillo. Essex Summer Ale follows much in the same path, although more complex than Brewer's Gold - straw in colour, but with a real tropical/Juicy fruit aroma, and a real C-Hop hit on the tongue. A slightly grainy body is lifted with an ever-so-slight hint of minty grassiness at the end of the sip. I enjoyed it immensely, and would happily drink it again. So there you go. Moonlighting occasionally works.