I figured this beer would be a contender to Newcastle, the beer that really kicked up my love for beer when I first started drinking. At a glance, it looks like Newc, maybe a little darker. A rich brown with some deep red tones. Clear, too. As clear as a brown liquid can be. Holds a head pretty well, too. It's got a nutty aroma, more than anything. A little coffee, too. I expected more malt on the nose, and I was surprised that there wasn't any.
It tastes good. If I were in England on St. George's Day (whatever that is), I'd have one. That said, it's not great. Upon first taste, it really fell short. It's not really flavorful. It's bitter, and not in a good way. There's not much else to it. The aftertaste does leave a something to be desired. Again, it's just bitter. There's nothing else to it. My first impression of this ale is that it's only really perpetuating the notion we have in the US of the milquetoast Englishman.
The funny thing about this ale is the deeper into the glass it get, the more I like it. The more it warms up, the more enjoyable it is. It tastes and smells better. The richness I've been expecting is coming out in waves. It's got much more of a complex flavor, and a powerful nose. I've never really taken much stock in beer served "warm," but this one sure should be. Here in the US, we like our beer ice cold. The more flavor in the beer, the warmer you should drink it, like Wells' Bombardier Ale. Less flavorful beers, like MGD (which I enjoy), need to be consumed ice-fucking-cold to experience the "flavor." Why? Because there isn't any, so the warmer it gets, the worse it tastes. Ever drank a warm MGD? Exactly. A beer like Wells' Bombardier Ale gets completely covered up at fridge temperature. The closer it gets to room temperature, the more it shines. There's no place I know of that would serve this beer at 65°, so if you see it in a bar, I'd pass this one up for a Newcastle, if you're looking for a brown ale. Unless you're in a proper pub. In England. Then add another +0.1 to "aroma" & "mouthfeel", and +0.2 to "taste," and feel good about ordering a pint. This is not, however, a beer to drink after a long, hot, Southern California Summer day. I'd gladly take an ice cold MGD over this one.
Here's my attempt at a new scoring system:
1.0 is perfect in each category,
0.1 is the complete opposite of perfect.
Use your imagination for everything between.
The perfect beer would be scored "4.0/4"
Wells Bombardier Ale