Brewed by Wells and Youngs in Bedford this Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale reminded me of a time we were travelling back from a holiday and had stopped at a service station for dinner. There was a French couple sat at a table nearby and the woman said "Sticky toffee pudding" quite loudly. It was a fairly bizarre moment as such a heavy French accent stating the name of a very British pudding was rather arresting! I do rather like sticky toffee pudding, especially with custard, but that's beside the point. And if you're a regular reader you'll know I rather like my ale too. I do rather like French women as well, but that's also beside the point. There was a time when I was young, and that does seem unlikely looking in the mirror these days, when my parents took me and my sister on holiday to France. We were ordering in a restaurant one lunchtime and a rather attractive woman in a French Maid's type outfit came up to me and pinched my rather chubby cheeks stating in a French accent "What a cute little boy!" Hence I've been rather taken by French women's ascents (and French maids outfits) ever since.
I digress Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale... The label promised this ale would be "full of rich sticky toffee-ness", which sounded good to me after a huge steak lunch down town. On opening the bottle there was definitely a toffee sweetness to the bitter hoppy odour of this dark amber ale. It poured thickly into my beer mug with a good frothy creamy head. On taste there was a strong hoppy bitter kick mixed with a light toffee sweetness to start with. The toffeeness intensified, not over poweringly mind you, to then almost apologetically bump into a heavy malted flavour. The toffee mixed with the malt to follow through into the aftertaste. I wouldn't say this was the sweetest ale I've ever tasted as some of the chocolate ales and porters have been quite sweet and perfect for pudding, but I certainly wouldn't eat anything savoury whilst drinking it. This makes a perfect late night ale, it's bitter and strong flavoured enough to make your tastebuds sit up, but with an added sweet and mild creaminess to send you off to bed feeling rather content with yourself. I'll certainly have another one or two or more at some point. So don't be put off if you don't like sweet pudding ales, as this is a hammerer. It slaps you with strong bitterness to start with, then gives you a sweet cheeky pinch and makes you feel on top of the world. A sensation I doubt you'll forget in a hurry!
Information on the bottle;
500ml bottle at 5% volume. Ingredients included; natural mineral water, barley malt, sugar, hops, yeast, caramel, and natural toffee flavouring.