Wychwood Brewing

English pale ale is often my default choice when I can’t decide what kind of beer I want. When done right, a pale ale can be a very satisfying beer. Pale ale can trace its history back to 18th century England. Refinement in malting and coal refining techniques brought the introduction of paler malts than were previously available. Because of these new paler malts, pale ale was originally named because it was pale in comparison to darker brown English ales.

Today, English pale ale is more or less synonymous with ESB, the big brother to English bitter and best bitter. Often, this style of beer is referred to as an ESB when served on tap and a pale ale when served in bottles. Pale ale often enjoys a malt forward profile with a distinctive bitter finish. With an alcohol content often under 5%, pale ale makes for a great session beer.

Wychwood Brewing’s history starts in 1983 when Paddy Glenny founded a brewery on the former site of Clinch’s Brewery. Clinch’s history dated back as far as 1840 before being closed in the 1960s. Paddy named his new brewery the Eagle Brewery before subsequently renaming it the Glenny Brewery. When new ownership took over in 1990, the brewery was again renamed Wychwood after the nearby Wychwood Forest. 

Today, Wychwood produces more than a dozen beers ranging from light pale ales to dark English ales. Today, I picked up a few bottles of Goliath, taking advantage of them being on sale at my favorite beer store. Goliath pours into my glass a slightly hazy light copper color, sort of the color of marmalade. Barely modest carbonation supports a dense, white head with good retention. Slight haziness makes me thing this beer may have been dry hopped.

At first blush Goliath’s aroma seems almost too mild for its own good. Definitely something there, just not enough to be very forthcoming. What aroma is there at first gives me hints of citrus and caramel. Below that is a very faint earthiness. Beyond that, nothing to report.

Goliath seems like a medium bodied brew. Up front Goliath offers a modest malt presence. As with the nose, malt comes out as caramel. Caramel moves into slight buttery notes which compliment the caramel well enough. Malts move into a combination of slight juiciness and a faintly minerally quality. Finish is dry and lightly bitter.

Overall, I find Goliath to be a pleasing enough pale ale. Flavors are modest without being overpowering and the balance is nice. I wouldn’t mind if there was a bit more in the nose and maybe a little more presence on the palate. That being said, Goliath comes together as a pleasant, lightly refreshing pale ale. Give Goliath 7.5 out of 10.

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