Over the last couple of years, in the name of research, I have been sampling a huge volume of craft beer. The growth of craft beers has been huge as beer drinkers become more sophisticated in their tastes. Whilst glancing through Virgin Train's Facebook pages earlier this year I read a post about the launch of 'Tilting Ale', a British real ale that has been brewed especially for Virgin Trains by Macclesfield brewers RedWillow Brewery.
The collaboration between Virgin Trains and RedWillow is aimed at improving the choice and quality to the passengers who travel up and down the UK on Virgin's high speed services. At the time I had no plans to be travelling anywhere by train in the near future but still keen to try out the new pale ale, I typed up a quick email to Virgin Customer Service in the hope that they could further my research.
After a lengthy wait for a reply, I received an email apologising for the tardiness in getting back to me, but also informing me that they had arranged for the brewery to send a couple of bottles out to me in order for me to sample and review.
What I kindly received was a presentation box which included two bottles of Tilting Ale and a branded pint glass carrying the same designs as the bottle label.
After a few hours chilling, (the beer - not me), I was ready to sample the goods. Virgin and the guys at RedWillow claim that the specially formulated pale ale evokes the spirit and speed of our tilting trains. A high-speed whoosh of flavour tilts smoothly into a light, hoppy taste and arrives, right on time, at a clean finish of bitter. Perfect for sipping at 125mph!
I have to agree! The Tilting Ale is definitely my kind of beer - golden in colour with fresh citrusy aromas with a light touch of hops. My first bottle went down very easily, maybe too easily - at 4.1% ABV, Tilting Ale would make a very good session beer but unfortunately as it is only available for sale on board Virgin Trains, your sessions could be limited to trips up and down the East or West Coast Mainline.
I think it's great that a company like Virgin have tried to offer something unique to their travellers and fantastic that they allowed an independent brewery to become involved with their innovative project.
Oddly enough, as I write this post, I am sitting in a Virgin Trains first class carriage on my way to London. It's still early but I think it's only a matter of time before I get my laughing gear around my next Tilting Ale. After as they say.....'When in Rome.......'