Summer Wine Brewery - Rouge 5.8%
Rouge is an odd word. In French it means red. Fair enough you might say, good name for a Red Hop Ale and so it is but before I get onto the beer I'd like to do a little exploring.
Rouge, in English is most commonly used as a cosmetic term as a product used to redden and emphasise the cheekbones. This is also commonly called blush, or blusher, and as a consequence all of these terms have come to mean red or reddened, for example, sun-blushed tomatoes or blush rose wine.
It is also commonly misspelled as Rogue, which when it comes to beer means something else entirely.
According to the Summer Wine website, Rouge is dry-hopped with Simcoe & Cascade. I'm sure most of you reading this are familiar with the term 'dry-hopped' however, just in case, it's a process whereby (mainly) aroma hops are added after the wort has cooled and as the beer ferments to enhance the 'hoppiness' of the finished product.
Let's get stuck in.
It pours a reddish amber reminding me of the colour of damson skin, and with a loose off-white head. There's a lovely fruitiness in the aroma with some enticing plum and tangelo notes and a touch of spicy peach. Very dry and biting over the tongue, there is lots more fruit here but it's far more subtle. Satsuma, red grape juice and the merest hint of cherry tartness is all underpinned by some gentle rolling grapefruit sharpness. As dry as it is over the tongue, the finish by way of contrast has some little pockets of juiciness and I am surprised to find a little kiwi fruit coming through which hadn't been apparent earlier on.
This is a wonderfully light but punchy beer with loads of fruity flavour which skips and dances its way around the palate evading the grasp of the ever-present dryness. Simply delightful.