It’s not that long ago that my daily commute took me straight through Maida Vale, where the Moncada brewery is based, so I feel a little pang of nostalgia as I look over their stall. It’s not often that blonde ale brings back memories of my tiny Muslim landlady yelling at me to get my bike out of the house, but hey, each to their own.
The Notting Hill Blonde is pale yellow and cloudy – Moncada doesn’t use isinglass in their beers, so they’re suitable for veggies and fish-eaters alike. It’s fresh on the nose and a little grassy, but not too much. It’s like smelling a beer with aromas of freshly cut grass, not snorting a lawn.
I take my first sip, and…ugh. Whether or not the beer is actually good, Moncada has a way to go in learning how to serve their beer. Commercial gas-pumped lagers are served just above freezing because that masks the taste. But for a craft ale, surely that can’t be necessary? And now I have to wander around the market cradling my cup in both hands, trying to warm it up as best I can. I look like a raccoon clutching a packet of raisins.
Finally, the Blonde is warm enough to actually taste. There’s floral, bitter hops to start, and then…that’s it. There’s no malt. No other dimensions. It’s just a bit floral, and that’s all there is to it. Frankly, after all that malarkey trying to warm it up to a reasonable temperature, I’m disappointed.
Sorry chaps. Either I’m missing something and this beer is just too hip for me, or it needs a
bit lot more work. 1/5