Blue Hills has been covered before on Original Gravity, but I've never gotten around to reviewing anything from its single-malt single-hop (or SMaSH) series, Antimatter. I reviewed a SMaSH beer a few weeks back with Backlash's Famine Belgian Pale Ale and, though I found it pretty decent, it definitely didn't stand up to any of the Antimatter series. This is the fifth Antimatter so far and it's definitely one of the best; an English mild style ale. Using only Ashburne malt and Goldings hops, this British style pub ale features a balanced dynamic of sweet to floral notes and fits squarely in the session style of ales occupied by milds. Past entries have included an altbier, a kölsch, an American pale ale and a golden blonde ale and this fits perfectly in the repertoire the brewery has been building with this series; it's minimal, low-alcohol, deceptively complex and quite flavorful to boot.
With a mildly strong pour, I got about a finger-and-a-half of foamy white head that dissipated fairly quickly to a small half-finger ring encircling the surface. The body is a semi-cloudy orange with golden bronzed leanings with middling carbonation activity rising from the bottom of the glass. The murky, cloudy look of the foam on top of the beer is pretty beautiful. My first sniff involves a scent I can only associate with honey graham crackers, followed up with a slight fruity and floral hop aspect. A bit of untamed ester flavor is noticeable here and there, too, though
This is a great example of both an English mild-style ale and a SMaSH beer. Creating this beer was definitely the next step in the logical progression for the Antimatter series. Though I think this has less overall interest than Blue Hills' altbier did, this is certainly drinkable, refreshing and an extremely simple but interesting beer that will impress both fledgling beer drinkers and those jaded by more extreme ale styles alike. I encourage everyone to pick up a bottle of Antimatter 5 before it disappears forever... and grab whatever you can of the series while you're at it; they're worthy! Cheers!
The official breakdown:
- Style: English Mild Ale
- ABV: 4.6%
- Appearance: Beautiful translucent gold with copper and bronzed highlights. Small frothy head that deteriorates slowly but surely over time. Lazy carbonation
- Scent: Honeyed, sweet malt, light biscuit/cracker, restrained floral and sweet-leaning hop notes; bready and simple but on point given the recipe
- Taste: Nicely toasted, sweet malt character combined with a somewhat slight, angular bitterness in the finish. Great balance between the malt and hop varieties
- Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp with a simple but deep palate. Carbonation is initially fizzy but peters out over the course of the glass
- Drinkability: Excellent, like every Antimatter beer. Worthy of conversation, too, given the slight complexities afforded by a simple, open palate