Yeovil Star Gazer (500ml bottle, 4.0% ABV, Vegan)
There’s a long tradition in Britain of naming beers after the effect they might have in the event of overconsumption – Tanglefoot, Old Thumper, even Riggwelter. Star Gazer seems like it might be in this category, but at only 4.0% it’s pretty easy on the constitution. Perhaps Yeovil Ales were more aiming for a more thoughtful, contemplative, philosophical vibe. They describe it as a ‘special’ beer, which, to be honest, could mean anything.
Once freed from its glass prison, Star Gazer is a pleasing copper colour, with the sort of shaving foam head you might expect from a hand-pumped beer served with a sparkler, in t’ Northern manner.
The aroma of sweet malt becomes a kind of chocolate biscuit flavour on the tongue, while herby, floral hops are present throughout. Could these be German or Czech hops, rather than the usual English varieties? Whatever they are, they work beautifully in conjunction with the malt.
It’s a light beer, smoothly bubbly and very easy to drink, with a dry, bitter aftertaste and a long finish courtesy of those herbal hops. If it’s not quite a best bitter, it’s certainly a close cousin.
Star Gazer might be low on the alcohol, but there’s nothing bland or anonymous about the flavour. ‘Special’ it most certainly is.
Written by Richard Salsbury