Friday, February 15, 2013

Pretty Things X Ale November 22, 1838

The Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project is based out of Somerville, Massachusetts.  They are a tenant brewer, not owning their own brewery, but renting others' brewing equipment.  This 7.4% ABV beer is part of their Once Upon a Time Beers From History series based on old recipes that have been rediscovered and recreated. This is the twin to the February 22, 1945 X Ale.  They are both a mild ale originating from the same brewery, but the recipe changed over the years greatly.

According to the bottle: Mild was a hugely popular style for more than a century (1800-1900's). Here, we have released two Mild ales side-by-side; two beers from opposite ends of that period, brewed by the same brewery. If you drink both, you will drink the same brand from the same brewery, separated by 107 years. Over those years, Mild changed considerably; something these beers amply demonstrate. Though bearing the same name, X Ale, in character they could hardly be more dissimilar. The 1830's saw the beginning of a boom in Mild ale brewing, which in 30 years became England's favourite beer. This beer, 1838 X Ale is a typical London Mild of the era: bigger and more robustly hopped than modern versions. Brewed from 100% pale malt and Kent hops, this is a straightforward, uncomplicated beer, much like the working classes who first drank it. The colour is also much paler than you might expect. From this original form, Mild was to undergo many transformations, culminating in the second beer in this series, February 22nd, 1945. Drink them side-by-side to compare how the beer style evolved. - Ron Pattinson.

The beer pours a cloudy dark yellow and golden. There is a tall half-inch head of white foam. The aroma is tangy, grassy, floral, over grain. The taste is grain, a surprising smokey and peaty note, tangy, grassy and fairly bitter. There is a long, lingering bitter aftertaste. This beer is interesting, but for enjoyment I would drink the 1945.  The 1945 is completely recognizable to the modern drinker, this is fairly unusual, but it is interesting to drink a time capsule, so to speak.

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