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Ah summer, it's just around the corner. Which corner? I couldn't rightly say. But since I'm not a meteorologist, I don't have to. What I is, is a beer drinker and, dare I say it, a connos...hmm, I can dare to say it - not so sure I can spell it though. Me like beer con mucho gusto.
Right, never mind that. Today I'm reviewing a beer I first drank last summer and never got around to properly documenting. Well, it's nearly summer now, so let's see what all the fuss was about, shall we?
Golden Champion Ale is produced at the Badger Brewery (founded in 1777) in Blandford St Mary, Dorset by Hall & Woodhouse Ltd. Apparently, the badger is a very prominent local animal - hence the name of the brewery. They brew a range of cask and bottled ales, but I'm not going to list them here, or tell you about the brewery. If you want to know any of that, go to their website.
Speaking of badger's, and other animals...
A man went to his mate's fancy dress party with nothing but a naked girl on his back. 'So what are you supposed to be?' the host asked. 'I'm a snail.' The man replied. 'What a load of crap!' the host spat. 'How can you be a snail when all you've got is that naked girl on your back?' 'That's not any old naked girl, mate,' the bloke replied, 'that's Michelle.'
Back to the beer...
THEY SAY: "The light, refreshing character of our award-winning golden ale is distinguished by its subtle elderflower aroma, reminiscent of a summer's evening. Champion is particularly rewarding when served chilled."
Champion pours a pale, golden-yellow colour - clear and bright, with a small white head that quickly shrinks and only leaves minimal lacing on the glass. The aroma is very fruity - a little orangey, perhaps. It seems a little like cider, but not really of apples (if that makes sense!). It's quite floral too, but since they actually add elderflower essence to the brew, that's hardly surprising. I can also sense a hint of honey, but very little from the malt.
It's medium-bodied and has a slightly fizzy and lively mouthfeel. Taste-wise, it's sharp, tangy and bitter up front, before turning a little sweeter (but not much), and very definitely drier. Again, I'm reminded of cider without apples, but there are lots of other fruity flavours vying for attention: pineapple, lemon and orange. There's very little malt character - perhaps a little sweet caramel effect, but there's a good perfumey flourish from the hops towards the finish - which is decidedly dry.
• The Verdict •
At 5% ABV, this is a very light and sparklingly refreshing ale. It's aimed at the summer market, and I can't find any argument with that. This would be a perfect beer to quench a hot summer's day thirst. Indeed, I can visualise myself sinking a pint or two of this whilst sitting in a beer garden, minding my own business yet minding other people's raucous kids at the same time (as you do). It would probably go best with light foods such as salads or snacks, but because of the quite prominent flowery and fruity flavours, it might be best on it's own.