This is because in my mind's palate I'd built an expectation of this being a spicy, fruity number with perhaps some adventurous hopping. What I got, however, was a cloudy, earthy, malty beer that somehow managed to typify the best things about cask serving while falling in line with what I imagine to be a cask-virgin's greatest concerns; it's lack of carbonation and cellar temperature perfectly suited the beer's overall murkiness of both appearance and flavour.
Bottled N17 Rye Ale is much clearer to begin with, and a a few shades paler; this glass would be a dead ringer for Lucozade in any family pub. The nose doesn't find much outside of the husky, dry, sawdust graininess except for the slightest flash of some toffee malt depth. A million miles from the standard Irish red this isn't, yet the toffee malt that dominates the flavour does show some restraint in letting some of that grassy dryness through before falling away to reveal a lingering back of the mouth bitterness that seems to be the main play area for the rye and hops. It's here that, with time, the bitter, roasty, every so slightly peppery namesake makes itself known, but not quite enough to warrent a headline billing. At least, not for this palate.
Drinkable and enjoyable fare from N17 that I'd like to try from the keg, if not very exciting.
A salute to the N17 crowd too for making granola bars and doggie treats with spent materials - why isn't everyone doing this and where can I buy the doggie treats!?