Reaper is a very metal name for a beer, especially a beer that is flavoured heavily with tea, but who are we to say that tea isn't metal?
This is the latest brew from Abbeydale Brewery's Reaper range of beers from their brewers emporium, which champions new and innovative brewing styles and is what produces the more edgy beers that Abbeydale brews. Reaper are all wheat beers, which is a delightful play on words to have a double meaning of reaping the wheat if you're a farmer, or reaping souls if you're an ethereal being.
This one is made with Earl Grey, the tea that's flavoured with Bergamot and has a very distinct flavour that I wouldn't normally associate with beer. In my previous encounter with Earl Grey beer this has led to mixed feelings, the beer and the tea neutralising each other somewhat, but this is a different kettle of...beer.
Earl Grey is an acquired taste with it's bitter tea flavour mixing with the floral bergamot, so this beer may not be for everyone and as with all beer, it's each to their own. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and i'll be sure to keep an eye out for it again.
The aroma is what you would expect of a wheat beer, with a slightly sweet and malty scent that also combines with the very fragrant bergamot from the tea to make it quite an exciting aroma, for tea fans at least.
The pour is a little darker than many other wheat beers, but not too much so, leaving a foamy, yellowy head. As you pour the bergamot is boosted to be the primary scent, with the maltiness struggling to compete but not in an oppressive way.
At first, the taste is quite malty, but the bitterness of the tea cuts through nicely along with a touch of citrus towars the rear of the flavour profile. The airy, floral flavour of the bergamot seeps into every part of it and leave you with a really odd sensation in the mouth.
The aftertaste is like after taking a sip of weak Earl Grey tea with a slight sweetness from the malt to balance out the bitterness nicely, leaving a slightly drying sensation in the back of your throat which means you keep coming back for more.
As with most of Abbeydale brewers emporium beers, there's a skeleton on the front of this one. Naturally, it's holding a scythe, but whether it intends to reap wheat or souls remains wonderfully unclear. The shadow of a robe around the bones suggests the latter, but then it's also stood in a wheat field so it's open season for interpretation.
The vivid purple coffin lining along with the muted orange background and detail on the wheat makes it quite a pleasing can to look at, with the Abbeydale ruin in the background that's synonymous with all Abbeydale can designs.
The detail on the back is, as always, insightful into the ingredients and thinking behind the beer, giving an indication of what is in it along with the more boring stuff that has to feature there.
We got ours in our local bottleshop, but if you want to get it online you can get from in packs of 6 from Abbeydale's brewery shop for £19.50 which works out at £3.25 a can.
Don't fear the reaper, take a chance on it.