Verdant have crept into all our lives almost without us noticing. Unassuming and without great fanfare, I’m sure we all have a massive spot in our hearts for these pale ale mammoths of the UK craft beer community.
Beers like Bloom, Headband and Lightbulb have been providing us hop fiends with enough juice to complete our five a day for some time. If you fancy something a little more potent, their continual smaller batches push the boundaries of just how much hop flavour it’s possible to impart on the senses – See The Physics and Don’t Tell Gus are two recent examples of these stand out beers.
Needless to say, we were incredibly excited when they announced the release of their first imperial stout that hasn’t seen the inside of a bourbon barrel – will their skill with dark malt match that of their skill with hops?
Thanks to the good work over at Little Leeds Beer House, I found myself the happy owner of a growler full of this much sought-after beer… Friday, George’s Darkness Begins.
It’s a no nonsense, no frills imperial stout standing tall at 10% and it pours out of the growler thick like black oil, sticky in the glass and bursting with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans. On gentle agitation, it gave up hints of vanilla and red vinous sharpness to counter the strong coffee as the small brown head of very tight bubbles formed and quickly dissipated in the glass.
It should be highlighted that this is a beer without adjuncts – and it’s all the better for it. It’s oily, coating your mouth with milky coffee, leather, sticky molasses, stewed prunes and figs and then that red wine hint comes creeping in to add further complexity. It isn’t full on sweetness like many modern stouts – it has an ever-present bitterness that harks back to a time before every stout seemingly had the contents of your biscuit tin thrown in at the end.
Verdant – you are no one trick pony. Not at all. The future is very exciting for Verdant and we cannot wait to see what’s next. How about a cherry version of this beer? I know, I know – I said it was better without adjuncts but now I’m curious…