I mentioned St. Peters Ale in passing in my quick review of the Comrade earlier this week and thought it would be pertinent to write a quick review of one of my favourite Ales to date.
For the uninitiated, an Ale is a bit bolder than many “over the counter” lagers and their derivatives which are commonly consumed in North America. Terms like Cream Ale are not a homage to this ancient style and the all-too-common (yet noteworthy) Pale Ales (or IPAs) are also a departure from a classic Ale.
I was bottle-fed Molson Export (for the sanity of my family I will admit this is not actually a fact but is indeed a metaphor). My father claimed he had paid for at least two of the bricks in the old Molson brewery that we would pass on the way to Exhibition stadium.
He would insist on drinking his beer warm and still prefers it this way). Like cheese, many of the wonderful flavors of beer – particularly ales – can surface at room temperature. This certainly takes away from the cooling effect of a frosty beverage on a hot day but is a lovely way to taste the subtleties underpinning a beer and, in my opinion, makes a fabulous pairing with cheese in this state. I don’t advise you to drink Coor’s Light warm (or any other temperature) but wholly recommend trying a few beers such as St Peters warm to get a different take on a wonderful beverage.
St Peters Golden Ale is lovely. Bottled in Sufolk (suf-uck, not suf-folk), England it’s bottle is a charming little number almost resembling an early 1900’s medicine bottle. The green glass protects it’s contents from harmful effects of the sun and is a bottle that makes most designers weak in the knees.
The beer pours a dark golden color and I find it’s taste comes in two waves. The first profile is a sweetness and crispness that excites and refreshes before a small wave of bitter kicks in (often just after swallowing) and dies out before maturing. Many ales can have such a distinct bite – the wonder of this beer is how quickly at arrives and departs. I recall my first experiences with Wasabi as I write this – a sudden punch of heat that was often gone as quick as it arrived. This bottle has a similar kick without the spicy heat.
Like many full-bodied beers this is not something I would have a lot of in a single sitting. It really is fantastic with some firm, strong cheeses and goes well with red meat as a main. I enjoy it with snacks as opposed to a meal so that it can share the limelight and not just offer a sideshow. This is one worth concentrating on, enjoying and most certainly sharing.
Available in many LCBOs and very few bars I have found that this is a great way for many to enter the world of Ales. Buy at least two, serve one warm and the other cold and see what you like best!