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Saxon Thunderbolt ESB

    Brewery: Heavy Metale / Nääs Gårdsbryggeri
    Country: Sweden
    Size: 33cl
    ABV: 5.4%
    Price: 27kr
    Systembolaget: 82866

    Saxon were part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal from the start in the mid 1970s and are still going strong to this day. I’ve always found them to be a “middle of the pack” kind of band, as they were never the best or the worst in their field. Following the example of fellow NWOBHM veterans Iron Maiden, Saxon have put their name a range of their own beers brewed here in Sweden. Of the three varieties of beer available, I decided to go with the Thunderbolt ESB as I wanted to have a nicely rounded range for the tasting. Originally I was sent a bad batch of Thunderbolt ESB that when they were opened were grimy, yeasty and literally undrinkable. Thankfully these bottles were replaced and so I got to enjoy the beer in the way it was intended to be drunk.

    The ESB was light amber in colour, light bodied and had a slight lacing around the glass. The off white head faded fast but that was to expected with this style along with the lack of carbonation. The smell was very nice, with dark fruits, sweet plums and rye bread all evident. The robust malts came through on the tongue followed by a slight spiciness and caramel. With every ESB the emphasis is on the malt flavours but the hop tone pulled through more in the back-end, that faded to leave a nice sweet biscuit caramel on the palate.

    This was enjoyable, yet more adequate than exceptional. It’s not the best example of an ESB I’ve had in my life, but it was pleasant and well made. I think this beer suits the band well, as although it is nicely put together, it never really does enough to set itself apart from the pack. It’s nice example of a traditional ESB though and it does its job.