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Scarborough Fair - abv 6 per cent; £2.20/50cl
IPA’s (India Pale Ales) appeared during the mid 19th century as a result of the need to produce strong, heavily-hopped beers to withstand the long sea voyage through tropical regions to the imperial regime in India.
During the 20th century, alcohol contents and hop rates fell steadily until the term IPA became virtually meaningless, being simply a badge attached to any old pale beer.
Thankfully, a new generation of brewers is putting this situation to rights, including the Wold Top Brewery set up in 2003 by the Mellors’ farming family in the East Riding.
Scarborough Fair IPA boasts an abv of six per cent and three different hop varieties, as well as the farm’s own barley malt and maize.
Shiny amber with an impressive head, it has a rich, sweet, buttery nose, fresh and appetising, with a hint of banana and citrus hops. The flavour is strong and fruity with peach and orange up front, and toffee, butterscotch and a cool mintiness to follow. All of this is beautifully balanced by a robust, marmalade-peel bitterness. Despite the six per cent abv, the big, lasting, tangy, bittersweet finish cries out for a second pint.
Five-star stuff, and as an added bonus, with a gluten content less than 20ppm, it can be drunk by those poor souls cursed with coeliac disease.