It is mid-afternoon on a Wednesday in January. It has reached that point in the month where most of us have failed on our resolutions and attempts to make January a “dry month”. Down on the South Coast, the Dancing Man Brewery launch is taking place. It’s currently quiet. Three of the four beers are visable on the bar. I have ordered my first pint of Pilgrim’s Pale Ale.
First impressions, it’s not bad, but it’s not really amazing either. It has an overall bitterness to it, and a mixture of fruits on the aroma, ranging from grapefruit to pineapple and sweet apples. I can’t really say much more than that, it doesn’t inspire me to. It’s that sort of pale ale.
The second beer, Troubadour, is described by their tasting notes as “a beautifully balanced session beer”. It’s 4.1% in strength and light brown in colour. On the first mouthful my initial thoughts are that it seems rather watery. There’s some hint of malt in there, but overall it doesn’t really feel like a beer. Actually, thinking about it, this could be held up as a perfect example of a dull brown ale. I like brown ales, when they’re done well. Sometimes, nothing is quite as enjoyable and refreshing as a well made brown ale. Unfortunately, this is nothing like a well made brown ale.
Due to space on the bar, only three of the four beers available for the launch are currently on the bar. The third one on at the time of writing is Big Casino, a 5% IPA. The tasting notes claim that it is loosely based on an American IPA, so I’m sure I could be forgiven for expecting something good.
Aromawise it’s full of citrusy and hoppy aromas, the tasting notes say that a combination of Styrian Goldings and Galaxy Hops go into this beer. Certainly, I think this is the most appealing that Styrian Goldings has seemed in a long while. Tastewise it’s a slight disappointment, yet still the most enjoyable beer of the three currently on. In a market currently filled with American hops (and for good reason, I challenge anyone to deny that overall they’re lovely), it seems good to come back to the standard taste of beer when I first started drinking.
At around twenty to six the Big Casino has been replaced by Fiddlers Jig, a 4.8% beer. As far as brown ales go this is much, much nicer than the Troubadour. The small amount of chocolate malt shines through to actually give some taste to the beer. This has changed everything, between this and Big Casino, Dancing Man have made beers that will entice me to come back again.
I spoke to Aiden the brewer earlier on and he told me he had plans for a mild and stout. The brewery itself is small, four fermenting vessels each containing approximately four 9s.
Overall I’m not really impressed. Still, it’s early days yet, and they might improve or create something worth coming down for. As it is, the fact that Southampton and Totton now have new breweries of their own is rather exciting. I only hope that things go well, and that Southampton follows in the footsteps of the other beery towns of the UK.