Are You Tasting the Pith? - 6th March 05
The Williams Bros. Brewing Co. (WBCC, should I need to type it again) is a brand set up by the Heather Ale brewery to accommodate their new house brands. I have two bottles in front of me, making up half the range. The other two appear to have prior engagements, and Messrs. Red and Joker are nowhere to be seen, the latter only available in cask form..
Williams Gold (3.9% abv) will hold few surprises to fans of pale Scottish ale, but for those unfamiliar with the style, let me summarise. Bright, golden and clear, nose has a slight citrus hop note, and a pale stone fruit malt note. It's really clean and fresh on the palate, quite complex (and given that there are seven types of malt used, this is unsurprising) although that's not to say challenging - this is a beer that one could easily persuade one of Wychwood's "Lagerboys" to drink, perhaps even permanently converting them. The finish is long and dry, with hints of nuttiness and vanilla. It's a bit of an enigma really - it's not an overly complex beer, but is very rewarding to drink. No fuss or frills, just very enjoyable.
Williams Black (4.2% abv) - actually Williams Dark-Brown-With-Ruddy-Highlights - has a deep mocha note to it, along with a background fruitiness that barely makes itself noticeable on the nose. The palate is quite dry, plenty of hops doing their work without lending too much flavour, with the mocha notes bursting out at the finish. Despite all this flavour, it too is quite light and easy to drink, reminding me of a Czech black lager in terms of lightness flavour and moreishness of drinking.
The creation of a brand specifically to market these "house" beers is a smart move. It distances them from Fraoch's more esoteric range, and they are good quality, typical of their locality and style, and very refreshing - and sometimes, that's all a beer needs to be. Oh, and great labelling too.
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