Friday, 17 August 2012
The Kernel - Pale Ale Motueka CCC 4.9%
I do love a Kernel beer, and in fact I can't recall a reviewer or blogger who hasn't praised at least one of this south London brewerys fabulous brews (I am half-expecting to be contradicted about this, but such is life).
I picked it up at Utobeer earlier this week, and as Motueka was a hop variety I wasn't familiar with I was anxious to try it.
The Motueka hop was developed by New Zealands HortResearch agriculture institute by crossing a New Zealand breeder selection (approx. 2/3) with the Saaz hop (1/3), it was initially called Belgian (or "B") Saaz as it was first selcted by a notable (and undisclosed) Belgian brewery. Named after the third largest area in the Tasman Region of the South Island (Nelson is the largest, a name familiar to New Zealand hop lovers), its high alpha acid content and pedigree make it a useful dual purpose (bittering and aroma) hop.
As to the CCC on the label, I'm guessing that it may have the addition of ome other hop varieties to further balance the flavour and aroma, possibly Cascade, Columbus and Challenger, and would be grateful if anyone could confirm this or put me straight.
Time to taste.
It pours a cloudy dark orange with a yellow-amber edge with an off-white head.
The initial aroma is big with tropical fruits, lime and grapefruit but with a surprising dusting of nutmeg.
Smooth and a little watery over the front of the tongue, when it gets to the back however it grasps and prickles before slipping nicely down the throat.
There's the merest hint of spicy white pepper in the taste before some sharp and dry pineapple mixed with lemon and lime juice bursts in the mouth backed with a wash of sweet caramel.
The finish has some light dryness with the ghostly echo of tropical fruit and toffee, before fading ever-so slowly.
Another lovely beer from The Kernel, perhaps a little lacking in strength of flavour but this is only in comparison to their stronger 6-7%+ beers. It is certainly more flavoursome than most sub-5% Pale Ales, and exceptionally well balanced.
Catch it if you can.