Side note... the Audley was recommended as a place to get some great pints kept on well maintained casks, and some traditional British fare. The pints delivered, and the fare did live up to the unfortunate reputation for English food. Perhaps I should have been more wary as the recommendation came from a co-worker who's idea of the finest food is steak and chips...and only steak and chips. From, well... pretty much anywhere.
Anyhow, tonight's homebrewed version whisked me back across the Atlantic in one tilt of the head. Left out of the fridge for 15 minutes before pouring. A frothy, fluffy 2 inch head forms after an aggressive pour down the middle. Ruby color, slight chill haze, getting more clear as the beer warms. The pour likely knocked a descent amount of carbonation out, and the restrained (for me) CO2 probably ended somewhere in the 1.8-2.0 neighborhood, likely a full 1.0 volume step above where you usually find cask conditioned ales, which suits my American palate just fine.
The wonderfully expressive Burton yeast backed up and complimented the bready malt sweetness in an earthy and satisfying way. This beer starts sweet and full. Wonderful mouthfeel, but not cloying or stomach filling. Just enough backing, balancing bitterness and some woodsy Willamette flavor and aroma. A touch of drying roast from the chocolate malt on the finish? Asks for another big, full mouth of the brew. This certainly has more going on the stuff I had on cask, essentially it just seemed like more...which is exactly how this beer was formulated.
Makes for a full, layered beer that would make for a great session with friends and family, solo style as a one-and-done at the pub, or yes, even paired up well with a big plate of steak and chips.
Bottom line, I'd be very proud to serve this to a Brit who is searching for a real ale in the states.