Saturday, 20 July 2013

Beers Of London Series: Moncada - Ruby Rye 5.2%

Beers Of London Series
46. Moncada Brewery - Notting Hill Ruby Rye 5.2%

Before I start this review I have a confession to make.
I've had this beer for a couple of months now, having picked it up from Ales By Mail some time towards the end of May, however, having pulled this bottle out to put in the fridge I have seen the expiry date says 06/06/13. I'm also writing this piece prior to opening the bottle so I don't know at this point which way I'll go with this, it may never even be read. I do tend to keep my beer on a stone floor in cardboard boxes and at a constant cool temperature so it should be ok, we'll soon see.
I'm a big fan of Moncada Brewery and their beers, having very much enjoyed the Notting Hill Stout and the Brew Wharf collaboration Rudebwoy Red earlier in this series. The Ruby Rye was launched in December 2012 in time for the festive season which probably accounts for the fact that I've let the date slip. I'm assuming it was bottled on or around 6th December 2012 in that case, and I'd normally refer to the brewery website for some more information but that appears to be down at the moment. Really I've got no choice but to crack open what is effectively a Christmas beer on one of the hottest days at the height of summer. Let's do it.
It pours, true to its name a deep ruby red, it really is a beautiful colour with a nice beige head reminding me of fresh snowfall at dusk. There's some sediment in the bottle, all Moncada beers are bottle-conditioned, and I've just let this slip into the glass but it hasn't clouded the beer at all which I'm rather glad of. There's a gorgeous aroma of milk chocolate and a hint of cold coffee, but this is pierced with some strawberry and blackberry fruitiness that is quite irresistible, and these flavours seen to rotate, one after the other, each time I raise the glass to my nose. I'm enjoying this already. Biting, slightly creamy and bitter over the tongue, it wakes up the taste-buds but not with the mouth-puckering slap round the face of a US style Pale Ale (a phrase I read possibly a little too much for my liking if I'm honest) but rather it pounces like a panther from a tree, shocking and sudden, and I love the sensation. There's lots of berry fruitiness here, blackberries that I mentioned earlier, but also blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants, all resting on a light milky bubbly chocolate with a finish so like a Kit Kat biscuit it's almost uncanny. The more I drink this glass the more the flavours intensify. I'm not getting any of the almost dirty mouthfeel I associate with a beer brewed with rye but it is coming through right at the end coupled with some burnt caramel like the top of a crenme brulee, crisp too, and it compliments the other flavours perfectly. In fact this beer is so tasty it's almost like having a dessert.
This beer is an absolute winner as far as I'm concerned. My earlier fears have been allayed, and I'm inclined to think that I'm having this beer at it's absolute best. If by chance you have a bottle of this in your cupboard or cellar now then I suggest you open it now. You won't regret it.

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