Suthwyk Ales Skew (500ml, 4.6% ABV)

Three things about Southwick:

  1. They stock good beer.
  2. They make good beer.
  3. They can’t spell.

Suthwyk Ales Skew is a golden ale, a style revived (though not invented) in the 80s to combat the global rise of lager. Beers like Exmoor Gold and Hopback Summer Lightning did a great job of aping lager’s golden good looks while delivering a stealth attack of tangy, bitter hops.

Skew too is a golden hue, and like those other beers, probably features only pale malt. Darker beers get their colour from other forms of malted barley such as crystal malt (which gives toffee and caramel flavors) or black or chocolate malt (for roasty, toasty flavours). Golden ales keep it simple, and Skew extends this simplicity by only using a single variety of hop: the famous Challenger, used in many a British ale.

Suthwyk Ales SkewIf you’re thinking a recipe this basic might result in a lack of flavor or complexity, you’d be wrong. After all, wine is just grapes that have gone off, and that tastes pretty good.

In line with its easy-drinking ethos, Skew’s sediment does a very good job of sticking to the bottom, allowing maximum beerage during the pour. There’s a little froth on top. The odor is of oranges and a surprising yeastiness which reminds me more of Belgian beer than English ale.

On the tongue there’s orange, apricot, peach, and a hint of spicy pepper. The aftertaste is crisp and dry – slightly reminiscent of tea. It makes me salivate (photo not included) and leads inexorably to another sip …

Too many mass-produced beers have a murky, confused taste. Not so here. Free from any unnecessary additions, the character of the hops and the barley – which is grown just up the road from the Southwick Brewhouse – are allowed to shine. A supremely drinkable beer, and a local classic.

Written by Richard Salsbury


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