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.
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