Via the magic of Twitter, I was lucky enough to land myself a mixed case of Worthington’s beers recently. Given my oft-stated love for White Shield
, this excited me immensely. This was exceeded, however, when I opened the case to find some real gems.
First up – Red Shield (4.2abv). White Shield’s younger, fresher, cousin is a Blonde at heart; Pale Straw in colour, with tonnes of Lemon on the nose. There’s that touch of Orange peel that I swear I can get with really on-form White Shield lying underneath all that, leaving you in no doubt that this is a light, lively beer that made me crave more sunshine and beer gardens. The bitterness is gentle, and the finish soft. The bottle did get a little flat towards the end, but this really is a minor quibble.
Celebration Ale is a whole different beast. This was the one that piqued my interest in the first place, and I wasn’t disappointed. Brewed to celebrate their new premises, Celebration (8%abv) is nudging towards Barley Wine town; dark, burnt Amber in colour, with bonfire toffee and boiled sweets on the nose. It’s a smooth, juicy beer – very drinkable for it’s strength – with that aforementioned Orange/Lemon pith levelling the fairly sweet body. The body carries a little more complexity than just sugars, though – with Almond, a touch of Raisin and Digestive Biscuit making an appearance. Strong – yes; Sweet – yes. However, the beer is balanced, and in a Barley Wine, that’s all you can ask for. I could drink a whole lot more of this.
Finally, the big Daddy; P2 (8%abv). A lot’s been said about this beer in the past year or so; and rightly so. It’s immense. Both in terms of quality, taste and balance. Birthed using the original recipe that was shipped to the Czar’s Imperial Court, I’d have to commend the Russian’s taste. Smoothness is the keyword here; there’s a lot going on but all wrapped up in Velvet. On the nose, there’s phenols, Dundee cake and a touch of Bonfire Smoke. All these flavours come through on the taste, however the smoke drops into the background and a molasses-like note pops up, backing up sweet raisin, plum, and a full, port-like finish. It’s not dry at all, but is remarkably light for all the flavours coming through. A wonderful, consummate Imperial Stout, this is another beer I really wish I hadn’t have left it so long without tasting. If you’ve not – then track some down immediately.