The dexterity, diversity and range of beer

One of the things I love about beer is its diversity. Whether it's in matching to a particular food or just your mood, there is always a beer to suit and a flavour to match.

The range, and I suppose I mean 'range' in the vocal sense, is almost dauntingly vast when it comes to beer. From the squeaking soprano top notes of a piercingly sour lambic to the sweet and sultry bass growl of an imperial stout, beer really can do it all.

Two beers which I drank recently, within a day of each other to be exact, brought sharply into focus for me that even within one country beer is truly unique in diversity of styles and flavours.

The first was a light, almost effeminately graceful wit beer that was one of the most refreshing yet deftly executed beers I've drank all year, the second was a bruisingly powerful hop monster of an imperial IPA which balanced candy malt sweetness and wildly fruity hops in the same way that heavy metal balances drums and guitar, with everything turned up to 11.

Troublette Caracole Wit 5.5%

Pouring pale white gold with a whispy head this elegant looking beer gives off aromas of clean lemon and a hint of sour green apple alongside yeasty, spicy coriander. The flavour is supremly refreshing and light with citrus, a touch of yeasty dryness (but no hop character as such) and a faint sourness with a clean, verging on watery finish.

As it comes up from fridge temperature the fruitiness really comes out and you get that orangey spiciness so classic of Belgian wits. Effervescent and champagne like in the mouth this is superbly refreshing and balanced, adding up to an extremely drinkable beer.

Troubadour Magma Triple IPA 9%

Pouring an aptly glowing deep orange, the Magma is slightly hazy in the glass with a pure white head and perfect carbonation. The aroma is really quite unusual yet completely fantastic, with a huge smack of fresh peach followed by boozy orange liqueur.

The flavour doesn't quite live up to that stunning aroma but its still pretty damn good, with a precarious balance between Belgian boozy heat, orangey hops and candy malt sweetness which tips more and more towards sweet booze as it warms. Don't get me wrong though, the hops are there and alongside intense fruit salad there's a peppery bitterness which sweeps in at the end to clean things up.

So there you have it. Two very different beers, which both deserve your attention, but shout for it in very different ways.


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