This is another ale that I’m returning to, having previously reviewed it less than fully, though this is possibly the last time that I’ll be able to review Chiltern Brewery’s Anniversary Ale. It’s a limited edition beer, brewed in 2010 to mark the 30th anniversary of the first Chiltern Ale from the eponymous brewery, bought from a local supplier long since gone.
It claims to be a ‘champagne ale’, and the first impression is of a champagne shaped bottle that opens with a satisfying pop as a result of the plastic stopper beneath the conventional cap. The ale is obviously rather darker than champagne (a sparkling amber colour), and the aroma is floral with undertones of caramel. The head lasts extremely well, and, whether because of the age of beer or deliberately, needs to be poured with care because of the sediment that has accumulated at the bottom of the bottle. The first sip of this 6.1% ABV ale is also reminiscent of a champagne, a little biscuity with a very slightly dry and bitter flavour, but this is once again followed the sweeter notes of caramel and biscuit.
This is a very accomplished ale that absolutely stands up to the ‘champagne’ label, needs to be savoured without the distraction of food, and is an wonderfully appropriate way to celebrate a significant brewing heritage at Chiltern Brewery.