I came across Portmadog-based brewer Purple Moose this summer when I was walking in Snowdonia. Beer is the perfect relaxant after a hard day’s hike and scramble on the Snowdon Horseshoe so there we were in a Beddgelert campsite toasting the day’s exertions with some cwrw Cymreig da (fine Welsh ale) from Purple Moose. Iechyd Da!
Here’s the lowdown:
Purple Moose Snowdonia Ale (3.6%): This is an extremely sessionable golden-style ale. There’s a little Crystal malt in the mix to give an amber edge to it and it’s pretty effervescent. The hop mix is an interesting blend of Pioneer for bittering, and Styrian Golding and Lubelski aromatics from Eastern Europe.
It won Gold in the Champion Beer of Britain Competition “Bitters” category in August 2012, an accolade well earned.
Purple Moose Glaslyn Ale (4.2%): Named after the river Afon Glaslyn, which runs from Snowdon to Purple Moose’s home town of Portmadog, this beer is bitter style which promises fruit in the flavour and a “well-balanced hoppy finish”. The nose certainly promises to deliver on the fruit front with a floral lemon note while the colour is murky deep amber, more typical of the bitter style.
The taste also errs towards malt in the taste and there’s a prominent bitter hop finish. For me, a bit of an identity crisis here: a beer that smells like a golden but delivers like a bitter. It definitely works for the first pint.
Purple Moose Madog’s Ale (3.7%): Back to the light stuff and the (again murky) red beer Madog’s Ale. Not just light in ABV but also in body. The thin head dissipates quickly and left me with a rather underwhelming experience: a middle of the road bitter that failed to ignite my senses although it certainly stays true to the “bitter” category.
I would rather session with the Snowdonia Ale, given the choice.
Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose (4.6%): I loved the deep, dark, woody colour straight off the bat. There is something powerful in the hue and if we “vote with our eyes”, as they say, then this wins. Toasty malt wins in the nose and follows through in the bready taste. There are distant raisins in the mix, a hint of coffee if you’re searching for it and a tidy bitter finish. Another, please!