A trio of new brews imported by Legends Limited, the same fine folks who brought us Black Cat, SkullSplitter and Dragonhead Stout, has just arrived in Boise. All are from the Yorkshire brewery Daleside that originally opened its doors as the Big End Brewery in 1988. That makes it a relative newcomer to the British beer scene, but it's how well you craft your product that matters, and all three are worthy.
A look at the labels of each gives the impression that the brewery has a much longer past. Clever marketing that draws on ancient recipes and centuries-old Saxon crypts lends a sense of history. Their Old Leg Over refers to the Yorkshire countryside with its many streams, stonewalls and stiles, each requiring a "leg over" to traverse. Based on their cask-conditioned ale, this copper-colored beer opens with sweet and nutty malt aromas. A nicely balanced brew with soft malt up front, and smooth, crisp hops in the background. Finishes with clean citrus and just a hint of bitterness.
The formula for their Morocco Brand Ale is said to date back to a 300-year-old recipe authored by James Grahme of Levins Hall, who kept it safely hidden in a garden plot during the English Civil War. Grahme created his ale after the English acquisition of Tangier and the dark-skinned Moroccan peasants newly subject to the British crown were thought to have inspired the name for his dark-colored brew. It does sport a nice, light coffee color. The aromas are of toasted yeast and citrus, while soft hops support the smooth, lightly sweet malt flavors. A touch of spice and caramel adds interest to this delicious brew.
My favorite of the three is Daleside's Ripon Ale, named for the seventh century Yorkshire cathedral considered one of the finest in Britain, and the only spot in the country with a complete Saxon crypt. This bright amber ale offers aromas of baked bread fresh from the oven along with subtle hints of tart apple. An eminently quaffable brew with an rich, frothy head, it has a creamy malt flavor with well-integrated hops and light apple and peach fruit on the finish that lingers with a remarkable persistence. All three of these tasty brews are available in Boise now and should be priced around $3.50 for a 500 ml. bottle.