Mystery Brewing Locksley Ordinary Bitter
Growler 3 days old (This review is the reason I wanted to taste growlers. The taste can fluctuate and it can be interesting to see what happens to the taste.)
Mystery Brewing may be my favorite brewer in North Carolina. The reason I say this comes from the fact that Mystery and its founder, CEO, and head brewer Erik Lars Myers focus on hand-crafting highly flavored beer using lots of different ingredients and not just shoving as many hops as you can in a beer. They also look at brewing as the convergence of art and science. They don’t really have a flagship year-around beer preferring to rotate beers seasonally to keep the ingredients fresh for brewing. They also base the names of all their beers on characters and events from English history and literature.
For this tasting I drank the Locksley Ordinary Bitter. (This is a point of confusion for craft newbies. It is not bitter. Bitters are low alcohol, low hopped pale ales.) This is a beer that needs to be drank immediately. The growler I tasted was 3 days old and the taste reflected that. I can say that honestly because I had this beer off tap the day it was put on and it was a wonderful malty light spring/summer beer.
Locksley pours with a nice clear golden color with a thin head. It had a nice aroma with nice floral and citrus hop aroma and sweet bready/apple malt back end aroma. The taste is where I get the feeling the growler had gone slightly stale. I got a nice herbal and floral taste of hops that was not too strong. When I drank this fresh off the tap, I got more of a sweet bread malt taste. With this growler it trended towards the wet cardboard oxidized taste we all hate.
Even with it not being fresh, this is still a delightful refreshing beer for the spring and summer. It also goes really well with a woody cheddar. As I did the tasting as part of lunch, I ate a nice English cheddar with it and had a wonderful time sitting on my porch enjoying beer and cheese. It is another good example of how the circumstances can shape the perceptions of your beer.
This review brings up two things. First, if you can always drink a beer on tap, do it. Second, if you get a more delicate and malty beer for your growler, drink it quickly. Those beers can turn quickly even if they are filled and sealed correctly.