Mad Yank: Watchkeeper’s Promise and Impeach’d

With a name like Mad Yank, you might be forgiven for thinking these beers are pricey imports from somewhere obscure in the Midwest. As it turns out, they’re made a lot closer to home, Pinner in northwest London, to be precise. And an American living in the US calling themselves a Mad Yank would be a bit like me calling myself a Looney Limey: technically correct, but unnecessary.

Despite apparently being mad at Mad Yank, they’ve come up with an excellent point: why spend all that time and money importing expensive American craft beers when you could just import the brewer?

Watchkeeper’s Promise

This beer is brewed in collaboration with Fisher House, which offers military patients and their families somewhere to stay when receiving treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Fifty pence from every sale goes to University Birmingham Hospitals Charity, which is pretty damn cool.

It’s just a shame my experience with this beer was a huge disappointment.

Mad Yank Watchkeepers Promise
Watchkeeper’s Promise on the left, roughly the same colour as the brown sauce next to it

I’ll admit, neither I nor my drinking buddy knew quite what to expect when ordering a Biere de Garde. What arrived was a deep ruddy brown glass of toffee. “Looks like a bloody Mary” my companion noted, before proceeding to call it “thicc with two ‘c’s”. It’s horrifying comments such as this that form the basis of our friendship.

Watchkeeper’s’ aroma is woody, green, and a bit sour. It smells at the same time underbrewed and overbrewed: bready, underfermented sugars and “I should have sterilised better” sourness. Something isn’t right here. I begin to wonder whether this beer has been kept properly.

There’s more confusion on the palate. It’s a cacophonous mix of peat smoke, oak, and cardboard. “It tastes like the smell you get from a mash tun!” exclaims Conor, to my further confusion. “On some whisky distillery tours they’ll let you stick your head in the mash tun to smell them heating the malt.” As the flavour develops it turns medicinal, a bit like Laphroaig (you can see all the whisky comparisons piling up now) then back to wet bread to finish.

I was disappointed with this beer at first, but given my subsequent experience with beers on draft at this particular venue, I suspect the problem here is with how the beer’s been kept and served rather than the beer itself. Particularly given the quality of what Mad Yank produces in bottles…

Impeach’d

First off, I have to spend a few moments admiring this beer’s excellent label. Having spent over 9,000 hours working in Photoshop, I can certify this as the most convincing work I’ve ever seen.

Mad Yank Impeached detail
It’s the body shape that gives it away: Trump has never been that thin

Apparently this beer was in the pipeline long before impeachment proceedings began and was set to have a different name. But when serendipity strikes, you’d be a fool not to take advantage.

Impeach’d gives off a tart, green aroma of underripe peaches – no surprises there really, given that’s precisely what they’ve brewed this with. The palate balances that tartness out with that sherbet powdery sweetness characteristic of milkshake IPAs. The result is a beautiful balance, neither sickeningly sweet, mouth-puckeringly tart, nor dull. The sour and sweet flavours linger long into the finish. I’m torn between savouring each sip slowly and guzzling it as quickly as I can.

Impeach’d is a refreshing delight, both in terms of its humour and its flavour. And it gives me hope that Watchkeeper’s Promise is worth another shot – next time I’ll be ordering it in a bottle. 4/5

 

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