My brother and I had a rockin’ billy cart when we were kids. I don’t remember if we made it or we found it, but it was a great little machine: proper rubber wheels, a rope for steering, and one of those plastic chairs you get in school halls (but with the legs removed) as our own racing car bucket seat. We used to pick up some serious speed in that bad boy, and if I’m being honest as a guy in my 30s I think I’d be scared to ride it today lest I get thrown and break a hip or something.
I’ve also got memories of the first time I tried Slipstream’s Billy Cart. It was about a year after Slipstream first opened. Billy Cart was labelled as a rye pale ale then, and in a sea of ho-hum mid-strengths it stood out as having solid, distinctive flavour. This one I’ll happily turn back to today without fear of injury to my person.
It achieves plenty of character for a mid-strength: there’s freshly made orange syrup on the nose; there’s some front palate pineapple and back palate biscuit; while the rye is gone from the name, it’s still in the recipe, and it brings a light spice that adds a layer of flavour; and a noticeable bitterness closes out a respectable body. Billy carts can sometimes give you a rough ride - particularly if the road is as gravelly as our childhood street was - but this ride is smooth to the end.
When you ride a billy cart, you get to feel the wind in your hair, but don't have to deal with traffic, exhaust fumes, or the abominable cost of petrol. Winning all round.
- Mid-Strength Pale Ale