We are between the seasons at the moment: a bit cold, a bit sunny, you could be tricked into having a beer outdoors only to have to scurry in blue-handed after two sips. So I'm thumbing my nose to seasonal drinking for this post and having a winter beer and a summer beer in one sitting. I think there's a definite touch of SAD in the way the Odell brewery has named them.
There's not a whole lot of winter comfort in the moniker Isolation, for instance. And, frankly, there's not a whole lot in the beer either. It looks the part: a rich chestnut amber, and 6.1% ABV is plenty for any amount of cockle-warming, but bizarrely it's all hop. There's a little bit of caramel in there I'll grant you, and some lovely gunpowder spice, but the dominant flavour is soft and succulent fruit. Overall you get a pleasant, easy-drinking and tasty ale that's hard to criticise for anything other than a lack of the oomph suggested by its winter stylings. Definitely a cheerier beer than the label implies.
If Isolation is the moody one, there's a slightly psychotic touch of the giggles about Levity. I'm sure the character depicted on the label is supposed to be leaping upward, but the illustration suggests a gentle swaying motion to me. Anyway... the visuals are a bit poor here: a murky and uneven haze with little more than a skim of froth passing as head. It's billed as an "amber ale" yet lacks the reddish tones normally found in these. On tasting, a blast of rough bitterness kicks things off, skewed by a touch of stale oxidation. After a second the malt arrives on the scene to calm things down and the end result is a smooth and full-bodied beer with a long aftertaste. Once again, and I'm beginning to think of this as an Odell signature now, the hop flavours are peaches and nectarines, sweet and juicy with barely a hint of tartness.
All that written and I've just looked back on my review of Odell St Lupulin from last year. A lot of the observations I had there I'm finding again here: nicely sweet and fruity but ultimately a bit boring for beers of this strength. I'll persist with the range and hopefully there's something to match the excellent IPA in there.
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