I was told by someone in the shop the other night that last Monday was the day where the highest number of divorces are filed each year (yes, we like to keep conversation topics light at my work…). Couple that with the up-coming ‘Blue Monday’ and you might think my selection of ‘sour’ and ‘bitter’ brews here was intentionally chosen! It wasn’t, but if the shoe fits…Nevertheless, hopefully these will cheer you along for a bit if you have the post-holiday blues.

Anderson Valley: The Kimmie, the Yink and the Holy Gose

330ml/ 4.2% abv/ £3.20

First up this week we have a wonderfully titled gose from Anderson Valley CA. The words ‘kimmie’ and ‘yink’ mean ‘father’ and ‘son’ in Anderson Valley’s local ‘Boontling’ dialect, so those of you who like a pun can hopefully see where they’re going with this one. A sharp nose with tropical papaya hints and a touch of hay carry on to a really mouth-watering stab of sourness on the palate. There’s a kind of creamy texture and the papaya fruit still hangs around with possibly a touch of mango as well. The sourness passes quite quickly leaving the tropical notes to linger on the finish.

Rocket Brewing: "First Contact" Farmhouse Ale

330ml/ 6.3% abv/ £3.70

What exactly is a farmhouse ale? Well, traditionally it refers to a number of (cheap) beer styles that were made during the winter to keep the farm workers going throughout crop planting and harvest. Most of the ones I’ve come across have been saisons and this one definitely tastes that way too. Aromas of lemon sherbet with funky Brettanomyces come through with a sour lambic note that is clean and not too aggressive. Smooth carbonation and a great limey citrus finish that still supports the earthy hints round things off nicely.

Orkney Brewing: "Orkney Gold" Gold Ale

330ml/ 4.5% abv/ £2.00

Something a bit richer and more bitter from Orkney Brewing. This has nice aromas of dried stone fruits with a touch of honey and light hoppy and malted notes. The palate is crisp and bitter with refreshing hop and zesty citrus flavours. The bitterness really stays on the finish in a beer that packs a bigger punch than its modest abv might otherwise imply.

Left Handed Giant Brewing Co: ‘Red 5’ West Coast Red Ale

330ml/ 5% abv/ £3.00

My first English offering this week is the wonderfully bitter ‘Red 5’ from LHG. It’s fresh and heavily hopped with a strong nose of pine and tree resin. There’s a hint of something tropical just coming through which becomes more apparent on the palate. The bitterness is sharp, but slow to arise, fooling you into thinking this is just a resinous fruity ale before blind-siding you with a hit of mouth puckering dryness which hangs around on the finish.

Brew By Numbers: 00/00 5th Anniversary DDH Pale Ale

500ml/ 5.8% abv/ £3.00

Bringing the bitterness right down, this was brewed with five different hops to mark the brewery’s 5th anniversary. Dry hopping keeps the flavours light and aromatic, but was not at all what I was expecting! Pale and cloudy it looks almost like a wheat beer and smells weirdly like an IPA / New Zealand sauvignon blanc hybrid (yes; wine, it smells a bit like wine). The gooseberry and passionfruit aromas are so fresh and dominant and there’s grassy hop note too. The palate is light, tart and really refreshing with a delicate dry bitterness. The fragrant passionfruit really comes through now and continues onto the finish which is juicy and fresh. Hands down this is my top beer for the week: lovely!