Andwell Sovereign (330ml, 9.0% ABV)

A huge Union Jack in the shape of a postage stamp. The name ‘Sovereign’. A beer made in honour of the Queen of England’s 90th birthday. Yes, Andwell’s Sovereign is a paeon to patriotism. So, what style is it? An English bitter, perhaps, or a London porter? Maybe one of the more ‘special occasion’ British styles, like an imperial stout or barley wine?

Nope, it’s a cross between a German doppelbock and an American Pale Ale. Someone at Andwell has a sense of humour.

Sovereign is a copper colour with a head that starts as a big fizz and subsides to a little lacing. Aromas of toffee, raisins and fruitcake rise tantalisingly from the surface.

Unsurprisingly at 9% alcohol, it’s very full-bodied, with a slick booziness that is its very own warning to drink in moderation. On the tongue it’s sweet and bready, with a wine-like character that seems quite at home in a beer of this strength.

The alcohol hangs around, spirit-like, for a long time after the rest of the mouthful has gone down the hatch.

Although Andwell describe it as part American Pale Ale, I think it’s more on the doppelbock side. Or perhaps it’s actually a barley wine in disguise – an English style pretending to be German.

Sovereign is robust, long-lasting and will have your head off if you don’t show it sufficient respect. A bit like the Queen, then.

Written by Richard Salsbury

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