In a world seemingly dominated by IPA's it's nice to branch out occasionally and try something quint essentially English, and what could be more English than an English Pale Ale from Marston's, one of the biggest brewers and pub owners in the UK? OK so we have to ignore that Marston's are owned by Carlsberg who are Danish for a start, and I don't know about anyone else but I think of stouts, porters and bitters as been more traditionally English, but maybe that's just me. Regardless EPA is my last beer from the 6 bottles of hoppy stuff for £6.99 I picked up from LIDL a couple of weeks ago, so far it's been a mixed bag but I'm hoping this EPA lets it finish on a high note.
Marston's EPA comes in a nice hop themed 500ml bottle with a guy on stilts picking hops. It's all very green and pleasant especially as it's winter and it feels like ages since I last saw some greenery. The beer pours a very clear yellow straw colour with an initially impressive head which fades as fast as it forms. EPA very much has the look of a standard, although slightly paler than usual, pale ale. I always point out at this point that I'm much more of a dark beer drinker, but I'm trying to put that to one side for the sake of this blog, and more than a few light beers have surprised me enough to convert me to the cause.
The EPA aroma is among the weakest I've ever smelt. You'll pick up some citrus and some malty scents, but they are very mild. Is it just me or is citrus just the in thing at the moment? It really feels like 70-80% of the light beers I've reviewed in the last 6 months have been predominantly citrus based, which isn't a problem, it's just all getting a bit samey now. Hopefully the taste will have something a little more unusual than the smell. Its not that I don't like citrus beers, it's just that when you're doing a blog like this you do want to mix things up a bit.
The texture is light and refreshing as a pale beer should be, however the taste very much matches the smell. EPA manages to not be too hoppy or too citrusy, or too strong, or too sweet, or too bitter, it's not too much of anything, and in truth it's much ado about nothing. There's no stand out flavours or features to EPA, it's just a not unpleasant, quite bland pale ale. I don't want to give this a bad rating though because it's not a bad beer, it's just seriously dull, but if you saw it in a bar, and it was this or a lager I'd say get this every time. So I'll give EPA from Marston's Brewery a fairly generous, but far from spectacular 5 out of 10. It's about as middle of the road as a you can get.