Thanks to a lost package and a heap of re-brews, we’re opening up Slow Lane’s account for 2023 a little later than usual, but it’s about as classic a Slow Lane triple release as you could ever hope to receive.
First up is Like A Chimney, Slow Lane’s pitch perfect take on the historical beer style, lichtenhainer. I gotta say, the Venn diagram for people who like sour beers and people who like smoked beers probably doesn’t contain a great deal of overlap. Which is a shame when the all too rare lichtenhainer comes along. Popular throughout central Germany towards the end of the 19th century, they're a unique mix of smoke, wheat and lactic acid in which the best examples don’t go particularly hard in any direction and instead strive for moderate amounts of each.
Like A Chimney is absolutely slotting into the best examples category. It looks remarkably like a gose in the glass and leads with a sweet woodsmoke character. What’s cool here is how the smokiness presents mostly through aroma only, with the beer itself tasting similar to an unsalted gose with notes of lemon, elderflower cordial and a low level lactic tang. It’s soft, rounded and genuinely refreshing! Just bloody drink one! It’s good!
I don’t think there’s another brewery in the country more committed to making barrel-aged IPAs than Slow Lane. Ageing your IPA in oak for a couple of months is rather contrary to the Fresh Is Best® movement but, with Timeless Pieces, the results speak for themselves.
Of the similar beers that Slow Lane have released over the last few years, I reckon this one is the most likely to fool someone in a blind tasting. Timeless Pieces started with a kveik ferment, sat in oak barrels for two months with Brettanomyces, and was double dry hopped with Mosaic during fermentation and again in barrel. The Mosaic plays a starring role with big aromas of juicy ripe mango, stonefruit and some earthy, yeasty goodness lurking underneath. On the palate are pineapple and Bretty leather with a cracker-like malt body on a moderate bitterness. For a beer that’s months old, it’s bright, hoppy, bone dry and extremely easy-drinking. Fantastic stuff.
For Christmas 2022, Slow Lane tried chasing the pink elephant with a Delirium Tremens-inspired Belgian red ale. Instead of using actual fruit and spice to make this pudding of a beer, Merry Merry lets the combination of four malts, Saaz hops and Belgian yeast bring a bit of yuletide cheer to a very Belgian, very strong ale.
Pouring a gorgeous deep brick red, the beer leads with huge Abbey yeast esters and phenols providing plums, candi sugar, tawny Port, dark fruits and black pepper spice. In the mouth are toasted fruit loaf and distinct almond/cherry amaretto-like notes right at the forefront. For the love of Christmas, please don’t drink this big boy cold: there’s so much complex warming fruit and spice going on, it’s not only very naughty, but Santa himself will rappel down your chimney (or kitchen extraction hood) and shoot you with a gun. And he’ll be right to do so.
Published February 24, 2023 2023-02-24 00:00:00