The Mars is an 11%ABV rye wine from Atom Brewery, with a hefty amount of malt and hops on the bill this one proved to be a potent brew packed full of flavour. Sampled at the Liverpool Craft Beer Expo, they also served this as a half instead of a third pint like most of the other strong beers at the Expo were.
Pumped from a Keykeg into a flute glass, the Mars pours a deep dark roast coffee brown colour with with a thin tan coloured head. Full bodied character, oily, viscous, and laces the glass quite nicely with a quick swirl of the liquid.
On the nose, lots of robust flavours of wood fired bread, sticky treacle cake, dark roast coffee, chocolate cake and a touch of sweet spice. The hop character isn’t too aggressive, some slight notes of pine resin and citrus oil are present.
On the palate, the powerful flavours of the beer really come to life. At 11% the beer is surprisingly easy to drink, the alcohol isn’t too pronounced and the sweet dessert like flavours of coffee cake and chocolate really carry the strength of the beer well. A nice level of spiciness comes from the rye, think sweet spices like mace and nutmeg. Moving on from the sweetness comes a bouquet of powerful hop flavours – citrus peel, pine needles, eucalyptus and earthy notes. The finish is long with a lingering hop bitterness.