There’s a lovely little pub I like to go to called The Royal Hotel. It’s in a village close to me, called Heysham, and to get to it I have a little walk along the Morecambe sea front. It’s beautiful views all along the way, then at the end of it there’s a warm pub, a friendly welcome and many tasty beers.
On one such visit, I sampled Dark Star Brewing Co.’s ‘Sunburst‘, a self-proclaimed summer ale. Most people know Dark Star because of their Espresso ‘coffee beer’. It’s an unashamedly divisive beer with strong tastes, but this summer ale here is a more traditional affair. How does it stack up? Let’s ‘ave a look.
- 4.8% ABV
- Available seasonally (April – September) on draught, or all through the year in bottles
- Brewed in Brighton, England
Look The pump clip is very distinctive, the ‘dark star’ itself being present there and on the bottles too. I guess I like how uncluttered they are – you get the brewery, the name of the brew and then the style, going top to bottom. What more do you need?
In the glass it’s a deep, burning golden orange. Not a rare sight, but certainly welcome! 7/10
Aroma A very intriguing symphony of hops. I know that’s not very detailed, but it certainly invites a taste. Then another, and another… 8/10
Taste A good balance of the sweet and the bitter, with a robust hoppy sting and floral honey. The mouthfeel lets it down though, it’s a bit too light and thin – almost watery, in fact. 6/10
Value Well, it cost me £3.50 for a pint. That’s not especially cheap for the area, and although the beer was nice, the experience didn’t really justify the price. When I go to The Tap house in Lancaster, their beers can be £4.50+, but you know you’re gonna get a cracker there. 4/10
Session It’s a golden, summery ale. In theory, that’s the perfect session sipper, surely? It’s light enough to keep drinking it, and the taste’s ok. If there’s nothing else on, you can have a decent session on this. But the flavour doesn’t really keep you hooked after a couple, so you’d probably move on, given the chance. 6/10
This is a nice beer. There are a couple of taste drawbacks that are a bit of a problem, and the price unusually has let it down too. It must be said, though, that if you see it on the bar (or in the shop) and aren’t fussed about having your socks blown off, then this’ll do the job and slake a bit of your thirst.
Final score: 62/100