At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it was about time Rooster’s got in on the bottling scene. With nothing left to prove in the cask world, it seemed like it was impossible to talk about Rooster’s in the last few years without ending the conversation with the phrase ‘I wish they’d bottle, though…’. Clearly, we want to go out and drink beer, but these days it’s vitally important to get your beers to drinkers who want to stay at home too.
The wait is over, and I have to say that it’s worth it. Not only do Rooster’s bottles look great, but the condition of the first set of beers to be released is good, too. Tom and Ol Fozard have gone with a straight light/dark/strong lineup in Yankee, Londinium (see previous review) and the lesser-known Fort Smith, and for those wanting a primer in where Rooster’s are heading at the moment, it’s a good call.
First up, Yankee. You know what you’re going to get when you pop the cap, and lord knows I’ve sunk enough pints of Yankee (4.3% abv) over the years to practically taste it before it’s poured. Rooster’s marker in the sand, there’s grassy, fresh hop bitterness played off against a softly biscuity malt backdrop, and a long, clean finish. A familiar taste, and one that’s pleasing beyond words. To bottle without including Yankee would have been unthinkable, I would imagine.
Fort Smith – named after the town where Rooster Cogburn lived – is one I’m less familiar with having only tried on cask a couple of times, but based on this outing it’s a beer I need to cosy up to more often. 5.5% abv, amber in colour and again, in excellent condition, there’s an explosion of Mango and Grapefruit on the nose, a smooth, sweet body and a lingering, rising bitterness at the end of the sip which tells you that it’s a loud, proud IPA that manages to straddle both sides of the Atlantic. Wonderfully balanced, Fort Smith is a powerhouse of flavour wrapped up in a very respectable abv.
So, overall, welcome home, Rooster’s. Now, can we have Wild Mule next? It’ll be Summer, soon. Rooster’s bottles are available at Beer Paradise. You can also read Bibulous Me’s excellent review of the bottles (with the same plea for Wild Mule!) here.