The planets are certainly in alignment today, and thankfully not in a scary, Dark Crystal sort of a way. Not only is it Drinky Thursday, but Elbow are soon to appear on the telly performing a free show in the wonderful Manchester Cathedral, and I took delivery of eight bottles of this specially-brewed, limited edition ale named after their most recent and lovely album and made not too far from here at the Robinsons Unicorn Brewery in Stockport.
There have been things a bit like this in the past I’m sure as industry promotional gifts, but those tended to be of existing products with new labels and logos on them as opposed to this endeavour, a commercially-available pint (well, half-litre) that has been designed in conjunction with the band themselves “after a series of tastings”. Quite.
Now. I have seen people talking about Real Ale, and I also have helpful “Taster Notes” on the back of the bottles to ensure that I’m not just bluffing my way through this. Proper Terminology may well be employed throughout, but I make no guarantee of accuracy, seriousness or sobriety. It’s drinkies, after all.
According to the first part of the notes, this is a “Golden Ale”, which has a certain romantic quality in itself although other reviews say that it’s possibly more of an Amber. Personally, I can’t tell the difference between Golden and Amber (which is one reason why I’m never allowed out to by jewellery on my own), but holding it up to the light gives a pleasing glow to the glass regardless of where the light orangey-brown hue falls on the colour chart of choice.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from celeb-based reality TV shows, it’s that the words “Rich” and “Well-balanced” can rarely sit together without giggling. Here, it’s rather apt. It’s certainly a tasty beer, but it’s not chewily so and can be savoured or thrown back as per the recipient’s desire. It has also been noted as having a fruity aroma and an orange-zesty flavour; I don’t know if this counts as at least one of my five a day, but I’m claiming it as such – along with Fruit ‘n’ Nut bars (two, surely?) and Toblerones (practically muesli in my house), I’m claiming it as such.
As you may probably glean from this, I have been “reviewing” this with possibly more gusto than was strictly necessary, but for all the flowery gubbins spouted above, it’s a genuinely enjoyable drink. As well as the fact of it being rather pleasant, it fits in well with Elbow’s place in the indie-rock pantheon; down-to-earth, Northern, of the folk and for the folk. It could well open the doors for other band/drink tie-ins as well, I for one will be somewhere towards the front of the queue when the first corks are popped from the first case of celebratory Stone Rosés.