I've been meaning to get my hands on some of Thwaites's new Signature Range since seeing them advertised at last month's Winter Ale Festival. OBJ (6.5%abv) landed at Veritas this week, so I loped off for a pint.
OBJ (Oh Be Joyful) is a copper-hued Winter ale - the fairly sizeable abv comes through in the thick mouthfeel, but it remains a smooth pint. Tan of head, there's not a great deal going on in the nose except for Toffee and Caramel, and this continues through into the sip. Underneath all that toffee-apple sweetness there's a touch of Dundee cake spiciness, and a subdued bitter finish. It's a difficult beer to place at times, because it's strong enough to not really be sessionable, yet smooth and balanced enough to fit that bill. There's hints of a Barley Wine in there, but again drunk in a pint that seems at odds with OBJ's image. Maybe bottled - so it can be sipped over an evening - OBJ might find a little niche.
OBJ's altogether an intruiging and enjoyable beer. I'm a fan of seasonals, one-off's and specials, and I commend Thwaites on stretching thier muscles and giving us something new to look forward to in 2011. You can see the whole range here. If you want more Thwaites action, you can read Fletch's recent encounter with perennial favourite Nutty Black here.