A Trio from The Celt Experience
I’m not being flippant when I say that I don’t really know much about modern Welsh Beer. Aside from the classics – the story of Wrexham Lager, the big boys (boyos?) of Brains and the more well-known (and loved, I might add) names of Purple Moose, Waen and Otley, the first ‘new beer’ I’d had from Wales of late was the power-chord blast of Tiny Rebel Brew Co, a thoroughly modern gang who, in my opinion, still place great value on balance of flavour, despite rocking all the right notes in terms of branding and placement.
I’d been hearing things about The Celt Experience for a while – good things – but only managed to get my hands on their wares late last year when they popped up in Booths. From the striking black-and-metallic labels to the considered, tastefully brewed beers within ,the whole package shouts mystery, whilst projecting the rural, almost gothic feel that the brewery’s advertising suggests. Overall, The Celt Experience brew in three sub-ranges; Core (where these beers come from), the esoteric Shapeshifter series and Ogham; beers of a stronger, more contemplative feel. Having tasted these base beers, I hold high hopes for the rest of the range.
Golden (4.5% abv) is up first; a graceful poem to doing all the little things right. Burnished gold, the aroma comes alive with Citrus jelly undercut by fresh, herbal grassiness. The body of the beer – vital for a golden ale – has a good weight to it, rich with grain and cereal before more orange and lemon washes through to clean things up. The bitterness is robust and long-lasting, making this a pale ale with a voice – a pale ale that will please seasoned hop-heads.
Bronze (4.2% abv) lives up to its name – Copper hued and lively, with a nose like freshly-baked flapjack, all oats and honey. Before the sweetness has a chance to settle on your tongue, more of that aforementioned bitterness arrives, turning the entire pint on it’s head. Thick, creamy and bitter? Rich and refreshing? You bet. Misplaced or not, Bronze reminded me of the best Kentish ales; robust and almost stinging in hop attack. Wonderful stuff; and nice to drink something with a considered British – style hop profile, too.
Finally – and trust me, I didn’t want this tasting to end – comes Bleddyn 1075 (5.6% abv). The brewers describe it as an IPA; but I personally felt that it had more akin to true strong Pale Ales, such as Three Tun’s Cleric’s Cure or Hop Studio’s Vindhya, such was the balance of malt and hop. Semantics, perhaps – the bottom line is that Bleddyn is a fantastically balanced beer that’s not to be messed with. Amber in colour ,there’s nutty, creamily-rich biscuit again that gets hammered into oblivion by waves of Grapefruit-led bitterness, high and dry, then finishing sweet again, leaving a trace of alcohol warmth behind.
As you can probably tell, I really, really enjoyed this trio – and it’s a shame it’s taken me so long to put them up here. The Celt Experience’s beers are starting to appear on bars in Lancashire and Yorkshire, so don’t miss a chance to catch them. After all, the more we drink, the more they’ll have to make and send over, right?
Do pop over to the website; it’s one of the better ones out there and has some lovely, moody photos of the gorgeous landscape from whence these brews were….well, brewed.
Posted on 26/01/2014, in Uncategorized and tagged Beer in Wales, Beer Review, Bottled Beer Review, The Celt Experience, Welsh beer. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.
Bleddyn 1075 on cask just sings, superb stuff. You really must seek out their new stuff, everything I try is really good, they seem to be hitting a rich vein at the moment.
I cant wait to try some of their stuff on Cask!
Nice review Leigh – they have been around for a while and seem to have found their mojo in recent times. There’s a launch/introduction by them at Port Street Beer House this Thursday (I, almost inevitably, will be somewhere else – at least the somewhere else will be Bruges). I have to say I’m always a bit surprised at the reputation Waen has in the blogosphere – apart from a couple of interestiing brews I’ve always found their beers to be quite ordinary.
I’ve only had on of theirs and thought it was good – yes, they do enjoy a good profile, don’t they. I saw that MTB but it was sold out; I’m sure Bruges is a good reason not to attend!
I managed to pick up the golden last week in wales and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the three oghams in my cellar even more so now.
I picked these up in South Carolina at the weekend, very much looking forward to them!
South Carolina – excellent!
I reckon Celt are underappreciated in Wales and the UK at large. They have a strong export presence, with beers in the US, Russia and China amongst others (possibly the biggest exporting Welsh brewery), and have done some very interesting collaborative beers as a result. Look up Cell Rebirth if you get chance, it’s Tom Newman’s experimental pilot plant and promises to have some very weird and interesting things coming out of it.
Will do, buddy!
Hey Leigh, I discovered Celt myself only a few months ago, they are doing some top notch stuff. Look out for the “Ogham” range, the Triple in particular is superb
will do matey!