I've been decorating during the last few weeks; a truly, truly heinous job that I genuinely loathe. Even worse is when the sun decides to come out as it has done in the last few weeks. The only thing that gets me through evenings of painting ceilings and glossing skirting is the thought of a throat-cooling Pale Ale chilling in the fridge to revive a flagging soul. Here's the pick of a bunch that I've been enjoying.
First up, Theakston's Lightfoot. Named after a Brewery in Masham that the family took over in 1919 (rather than Gordon), Lightfoot (4.1%abv) is sunshine in a bottle. Straw in colour and pleasingly smooth due to a good dollop of wheat in the Grain Bill, this Blonde has cereal and digestive biscuits in the body before mellowing out to a sweet, lemon-tinged finish. Lightfoot is stupidly easy drinking and a welcome departure for Theakston's. It's good to see one of Yorkshire's larger breweries bringing out new wares (it should start appearing on bars fairly soon, I am told) and I start the vote now for Lightfoot to remain a permanent brew. Try it.
Plumbing similar furrows is Wye Valley's HPA (Hereford Pale Ale). At 4%abv this is even easier-going that the Theakston's, and uses only Styrian Goldings. Lemon sherbert and a touch of tangerine round off the nose, but the body is as light as a feather. I really rued not saving this one for some Calamari or Barbecued Chicken - this is a perfect pale for subtle, sunshiny foods.
Titanic's Iceberg (4.1%abv) is advertised as a Wheat beer; although as with the other two, it's not Wheat as you'd expect. Pale Ale with a hefty touch of Wheat is much more accurate, but what sets Iceberg apart is the hoppiness - it's a bitter beer, no doubt about it. A smooth, vaguely almond-laced body just rises and rises with citrussy bitterness that gives it a long finish. It actually seems a great deal more aggressive than it's draught counterpart - but that could just be me. Clear glass being used in bottles is not something I like to see, though.
It's not all bottled action, though. Last week I got to try a good few of Liverpool Organic's beers. Again, perfect for this time of year, Rakau displayed a clean, firm body and a sweet, graperfuit/melon finish. Shipwreck IPA (6.5%abv) was golden in colour, with a lasting head, and masses of sweet malt in the body which offset the generous hop attack at the end of the sip - slightly peppery, slightly spicy, then finishing off with the familiar tropical fruit flavours. I really enjoyed this, and highly recommend it.