Name: Little Valley Ginger Pale Ale
Bottled/ Draft: Bottled, conditioned
Head: Enthusiastic! Escaping from the bottle, but short lived in the glass
Taste: Also light; better on the nose than the tongue
Comment: Little Valley are one of the few breweries who make a point of producing only certified organic beers – in this case, the beer is also Fair Trade (the ginger and sugar). When I saw that I was a little puzzled as to why you would need sugar to make Pale Ale – I still don’t understand it, although I think it’s reflected (and not in a good way) in the final product.
Now I love ginger. I love beer. A proper ginger beer (by which I mean, an actual beer fortified with ginger, rather than something like the most excellent Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer) is a fine thing indeed. This, however, isn’t it.
On opening, the beer is escaping from the bottle – frankly, as this is bottle conditioned, I only take that as a good sign but in the glass the head is a big-bubbled, short lived affair that is gone by the time I’m drinking.
On the nose, there’s plenty of great ginger, but in the mouth it’s just a hint. There’s no malt in evidence, a little bitterness, some citrus notes and, well, not much else. It smells the part, but then fails to deliver.
Looking back at my note on their Withens IPA, it seems that maybe the Little Valley brewers just don’t like malt in their beer – unless I’ve just been unlucky with the ones I’ve picked so far.