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04-05-2012, 11:23
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Yesterday evening, there was a documentary on Channel 4 about the World’s Largest Snake, a 48-foot monster that lived 60 million years ago. By coincidence, I happened to be sampling a serpentine-themed beer in the form of Wychwood Snake’s Bite, described as a “cider apple fruit beer”, and currently on offer at Morrison’s at a very reasonable £1.25 for a 500ml bottle..
In my youth, a Snakebite – a mixture of bitter and cider – was considered a distinctly edgy and dangerous drink, something favoured by bikers, punks and crusties that no respectable person would touch with a bargepole. Many pubs would refuse to dispense them, full stop.
While making a nod to the name of a Snakebite, this one is definitely a fruit-flavoured beer, not a cider or a beer/cider mix. It comes in Wychwood’s trademark brown glass bottle with apple green highlights on the label. On the back of the bottle it says “Give in to temptation with this sinful blend of traditionally crafted beer, infused with Cider Apples. Forgive yourself for enjoying its truly distinctive, refreshing fruit flavour.” The strength is 4.2% ABV, although the picture shows it as 4.0%.
It has an unusual sour fruit aroma which is quite un-beery. It pours a pale amber colour, more like a palish bitter than a lager, with a slight orange hint. There’s a decent initial head, but it quickly dissipates to a thin collar of foam. Carbonation is evident, but not overpowering.
The initial impression of the flavour is distinctly sweet, with a subdued apple fruitiness, and little evidence of hops. However the more sour, tart character returns in the aftertaste. Well chilled, this would be a thirst-quenching beer on a summer’s day.
It’s an interesting experiment, and considerably better than I might have feared, but ultimately to my mind rather falls between two stools.

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