Scarborough Fair IPA from Wold Top Brewery is reviewed by Steve Crotty. Part of our Wold Top Brewery take-over issue.
“A beer that’s this good has nothing to be ashamed of. Neither do the brewers. Even if it doesn’t taste of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (sorry)…”
Scarborough Fair IPA
Wold Top Brewery
Beer number two on my Wold Top odyssey is an altogether different animal from the Golden Summer I had earlier. It seems that Wold Top, just like everyone else, have had a go at making their own IPA. Brewery owner Tom was as forthright when I went on the tour, stating that everyone had asked them why they didn’t make an IPA, so they went ahead and did it.
Other than the fact it’s an IPA, which is interesting enough, this beer is certified as gluten-free, as it is made with maize which contains none of that horrible gluten. It was originally put to the brewery to do this for a lady in Essex who suffered with coeliac disease (but that’s detailed more thoroughly in the brewery tour).
A livelier head is present on the Scarborough Fair than there was on the Golden Summer, but it has a similarly quick dissipation to nothing. Unlike the Golden Summer, however, there is almost no carbonation. Indeed, you would become bored quickly playing a game of count the bubbles as it would be too easy. This leads the nose to disappoint somewhat, with orange rind being present and not much else.
Thankfully the taste is far better. The bitter orange rind is the first thing that hits but is followed by sweeter hints of orange segments bursting with juice. Backing this all up is the hearty punch of booze that should be noticeable in all IPAs worth their money. It’s certainly not a lily-livered IPA, but neither is it one of the overtly brewed hop-bombs that replace flavour with strength. For those who know their hops, Scarborough Fair IPA uses Progress, Cascade (again, they seem to be fans) and Willamette. I don’t know my hops, so my summary is this; it’s a boozy orange-fest.
The fact that it is gluten-free yet still has so much punchiness, flavour and goddamn gumption is impressive. I can’t say it’s true to the IPA style, as the term has become so diluted that it doesn’t really have a specific style anymore (other than being fairly strong), but I can say this; I would drink several more of these. Of the two I’ve tried so far, it is just slightly outranked by the Golden Summer, but that’s no bad thing. A beer that’s this good has nothing to be ashamed of. Neither do the brewers. Even if it doesn’t taste of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (sorry).