“ Brand: Badger / / Type: Ale „
Whilst on a camping trip to the New Forest a couple of months ago we took a trip over to Blandford to visit the Badger brewery. Over the last few months I had become slightly partial to their particular brands of ale and decided to take in the brewery tour on the Saturday, When we arrived the brewery tour was unfortunately not operating due to a private function but whilst in the shop we came across a special offer on Badger's Long Days at £8 for 8 bottles, a bargain compared to the normal rrp of £1.40. It was a beer I'd never tried before though and the contents of this review are my findings.
Who Are Badger
The Badger brewery was founded in Blandford Forum, Dorset by Charles Hall in 1777 on it's original location at the Ansty brewery, named after a small village near Blandford, and the production of ale commenced. In 1847 Charles Hall's son joined forces with George Woodhouse to form the Hall and Woodhouse partnership and to this day the Badger brewery remains under the family run companies ownership. It was under this partnership that the Badger log and name was decided upon.
In the early 1900's they built a new brewery at the current Hall and Woodhouse site in Blandford and it too was named the new company branding and the Badger brewery was formed. Unlike a number of the other regional breweries the Badger brewery seems to be able to expand and cover a regional demand without selling out to one of the more affluent City names.
What's in a Name
It's been quite hard to source the inspiration for this particular brand of beer but it's origins point to it being a summer season beer. With a rather summery combination of flavours it's not surprising really that the ale takes it's name from the long summer days that the people at Hall and Woodhouse hoped you would enjoy their beers during. Launched in 2009 this is one of the newer additions to the Badger range.
In the Bottle
Now given my surprise at how much I'd enjoyed a bottle of Golden Glory I decided to try Badger's more recent addition to the summer time pallet, Long Days. This ale boasts a combination of summer fruits including raspberries with an underlying aroma of hops and malt. Upon opening the bottle I wasn't too sure what to expect, but I can certainly say it wasn't the smell that came forth from the top of the bottle. My initial thought was that smell of vomit that often sets off the gag reflex in the back of the throat. As you pour the pint into a glass the smell improves considerably and almost transforms into a very subtle malty scent with a hint of raspberry, but it takes a bit of time to get over that initial smell.
Once in the glass it seems to have an almost reddish tinge to the normal golden colouring that the other Badger summer ales have. The head forms in a slightly grey fashion on the top and if your not quick will have disappeared before you even get to your first taste. After the initial smell however my first thought was not to how it tasted but how I was going to drink 8 bottles if opening the first one made me feel sick.
It was then that I opted to take the plunge and have my first sip of Long Days. The initial taste is very much overridden by the hops and the malt, which aren't perhaps as underlying as Badger were perhaps hoping. Soon though the taste of summer fruits come through and unlike the smell the taste is actually rather pleasant. I think the best word I could use to describe it would undoubtedly be sweet. Once the taste clears there is another sweeter taste coming to the fore and throughout the drinking experience your mouth will taste of raspberry.
Where Can I Get It
This is a bit of an odd ale if I'm honest. Other than in summer ale packs in the likes of threshers I've not actually seen this particular ale outside of the Badger brewery shop where it was retailing at the time of my visit for £8 for 8 bottles. Despite the preference to sell it in bulk I found it a struggle to drink more than two in any one sitting and personally found the summer fruit flavouring a little too sweet, which perhaps explains why it hasn't been rolled out around the supermarkets like Golden Glory and Golden Champion.
So I Should Try It Then?
I've been asking myself for weeks whether I would actually recommend Long Days as it is a bit of a strange one. If I were basing it on the original smell then I would certainly advise staying well clear. The taste of the ale however does win your round and in small doses is actually very nice. The combination of the summer fruits with the malt and hops actually gives this a nice flavouring, although it is far too sweet to drink more than a couple. If you like fruit based drinks then I would recommend it, just try and avoid getting a wiff of the bottle before you decanter it into your glass.