Traditionally this is the season for Bond films and what could be better to watch one with than a secret themed beer? I leafed through the Freeview Box and picked the Spy Who Loved Me. The label mentioned a "citrus lemon aroma" and a "toasty bitter chocolate orange flavour with a final assertive bitter finish." It sounded pretty intriguing, but the only way to find out was to open the bottle. This beer is certainly as lively and full of action as a Bond movie. When I opened the bottle I almost ended up wearing the beer. I poured the bubbling frothing beer into my worried beer glass and had to drink off a fair lump of the froth to stop it from escaping. Cheeks bulging and sporting a fluffy new white moustache. I quickly realised the suave sophisticated side of Bond had disappeared every time I tried to fill my beer glass with this deep almost black pressure-cooker of a beer. If the Tasmanian Devil was a Bond villain, I'm sure he'd be less lively than this beer. I realised I was more like Elmer Fudd whilst trying to pour it.
Once I'd finally managed to pour all the beer from the bottle into the glass and cleared up all the froth from my top lip and up my nose, I decided to have a sniff from a relatively safe distance. I can agree that there was a hoppy lemony type citrus smell from the foamy blackish beer. There was a smoothness to the taste to start with, which was very quickly replaced by a heavy toastiness. There was bitterness here in spades. Like the early alternative end to a Bond film where the bad guy had got bored and finally shot Bond, instead of devising some daft way to kill the secret agent with some crazy weapon that the Bond would escape from and blow up the Baddy's base. I could say that there was a citrus zest and orange undertones, but amongst all that toastiness I could only pick up mild hints. There was definitely chocolate malt as the flavour moved from smooth to burnt toast to a dark malted chocolate flavour. I enjoyed this beer, as like most Bond films, it was dark, mysterious and full (REALLY full) of action. There was also a stab of bitterness at the end of the flavour, like a naughty Bond girl kneeing the hero in the nuts at the end of the film as he decides to go off with the other slightly hotter girl instead. Of course, just before the bad guy shoots him!
Information of the bottle;
5.6% volume in a 330ml bottle. Brewed by the Hardknott Brewery in Cumbria.