Ale Tasting With Ed Harcourt

Just because we could, basically…

Sometimes, you hear a calling, and you have to respond to it. And when Clash heard that Ed Harcourt had worked on his own beer, and that he was Really Quite Into His Ale, we figured: that’s reason enough for a feature, right there. Because we like ale, too.

Ed’s having a pretty smashing 2014. His own mini-album, ‘Time Of Dust’, was released recently to some splendid reviews – not least of all Clash’s own – and he also worked extensively on Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s celebrated fifth LP, ‘Wanderlust’ (review).

But music took a back seat for a couple of hours as we – Clash and Ed – set about tasting some beers, including his own, in the name of Customer Research. We do this for you, readers. We do this so that you know what beer is right for you, the next time you’re presented with what can only be described as an eclectic selection…

Reviews by Ed. Clash just sat there and laughed, to be honest.

(Thanks to The Draft House of Goodge Street, London, for having us – do, please, pay them a visit as they are most excellently stocked.)

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Beer name: Dead Guy Ale – Rogue Brewery, Oregon (bottled, 6.6%)

Colour comments: “Nice, amber, ruby colours. Quite steamy.”

Nose: “Hints of banana. Melon. The smell of a small beetle after it’s been crushed by a shoe, either accidentally or on purpose.”

Tip of the tongue: “Bigger hops, definitely on the palate, the roof of the mouth. Weird combination of sweet and bitter.”

Back of the throat: “Very smooth – as smooth as Michael Bolton, on a hot summer’s night.”

Down-in-one-able: “Yeah, if you were a seasoned drinker… but maybe leave the cab running outside. If you were on the run from the law, you could probably down it – though running may be arduous given the percentage. It’s from Oregon, so very hipster.”

For fans of: “Brooklyn Lager and Sierra Nevada.”

Out of 10: 8.5

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Beer name: Ed Harcourt’s Dark Heart  (An Edwardian Brown Ale) – Signature Brew (bottled, 6.8%)

Colour comments: “The colour of Paris in the 19th century.”

Nose: “Smoky, like… like a woodsman’s fire.”

Tip of the tongue: “Oh, ambassador, you are spoiling us… with your flavours of liquorice, chocolate, and Satan’s scaly pecker.”

Back of the throat: “As it trickles down the gullet, one can feel an everlasting shadow, masking the soul.”

Down-in-one-able: “I don’t think so. Not unless you’re Siberian, and an actual bear.”

For fans of: “Getting drunk rather quickly.”

Out of 10: 11

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Beer name: Torpedo Tall Boy Extra IPA – Sierra Nevada (can, 7.2%)

Colour comments: “This is the colour of Tintin’s face, with a hangover.”

Nose: “A hint of Bulgarian honey, combined with the aroma of George Osborne’s conscience.”

Tip of the tongue: “It snaps on the tongue like a baby crocodile, with a real bite. Like Verne Troyer on a bender.”

Back of the throat: “Quite hoppy. Sliding down the throat like the white rabbit. It feels like a river of shame.”

Down-in-one-able: “Unadvisable. Unless you’re Robin Williams in The Fisher King.”

For fans of: “For fans of… giving up… and nihilism.”

Out of 10: 7.5

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Beer name: Mastodon’s Black Tongue, Double Black IPA – Signature Brew (bottled, 8.3%)

Colour comments: “It’s the colour of Blackbeard’s bile.”

Nose: “I’m getting black cherry… growing somewhere in the stable that houses the four horses, of the Four Horsemen, of the Apocalypse.”

Tip of the tongue: “It’s weirdly light on the tongue, and therefore deceitful.”

Back of the throat: “It pops in the throat, like a weasel breakdancing on your grave.”

Down-in-one-able: “Ambitious. Perhaps if you’re one tentacle short of a squid.”

For fans of: “Drowning in their own nightmares.”

Out of 10: 10

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Beer name: Delirium Tremens (bottle, 8.5%)

Colour comments: “Look at it, it’s the colour of Michael Heseltine’s hair.”

Nose: “Smells like Brian Blessed’s tent, on Mount Everest.”

Tip of the tongue: “Beats on the tongue with a croquet mallet, while screaming the Icelandic national anthem.”

Back of the throat:Be-bop a-lula, I don’t mean maybe…

Down-in-one-able: “Not unless you’ve forgotten your own name.”

For fans of: “Killing brain cells.”

Out of 10: 9

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Thanks, Ed. We really must do this again. Maybe with some sensibly percentage’d booze, though. Find Ed Harcourt online here

Drinking buddy: Mike Diver

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