Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Beer In Pictures Number 10 - Which Beer Glass Should I Choose?

Believe me a man's choice (or woman's) of beer glass is a vitally important part of the imbibing culture, it marks the transition from being 'just a customer' to being 'a regular' in their favourite pub. When they walk through the door, the bar tenders hand is already reaching for their drinking vessel of choice marking their status at the bar. Here's a handy guide to choosing your own special glass.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Ug ug glug glug. Feel like a lucky stone age man tasting heaven from Caveman's Evolution #7

Somewhere in deepest, darkest Kent there lies a pub called the George and Dragon, beneath said pub lies a cave (cellar) where the magic happens and the most innovative real ales are created. I like the Common Ancestor idea so much, from each mash two brews are created one strong IPA and another lower strength session pale. this has always been a tried and tested brewing technique but Caveman Brewery openly exploits it to their advantage. Another quirky Caveman idea is the Evolution range of ales and it was number 7 that ended up on the bar this weekend.

Evolution #7 is an innovative, lively, zesty brew. Tangerine meets sponge cake, honeydew melon topped with crystallised ginger with hints of banana, grape and nettle pop create a fascinating wonderland for the taste buds. Too much flavour? I hear you ask. Is there such a thing?

On the back of the palate there's a little antiseptic astringency tucked up with crab apple and cucumber. A little floral foolishness, wild meadow flowers fade into the finish but the aftertaste is fragile. Any promises of robustness alluded to on first sipping of this pint are simply broken on the journey. Flavours fade and refresh after each mouthful but do not sustain long enough during conversational interludes and the delicacy of the aftertaste is gone all to quickly making the experience a little vapid.

The deep, white head clings to the glass all the way down leaving a meniscus after each mouthful. Pale golden on the eye with an ABV of 4.7% Evolution #7 drinks somewhat above its strength which might seem to contradict earlier comments on this ale's lack of substance but somewhere halfway down the glass it all starts to make sense.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The History Of Indian Pale Ales

First brewed in the 18th century, the original pale ales were a lightly hopped beer with a pale appearance; hence the name - pale ale. During this time, pale ales has begun to gain popularity among traders in India. From this grew a demand for export-ready pale ales - beer which could weather and mature during the journey to eager customers oversees. Beers of this nature quickly became known as Indian Pale Ales; the ancestors of the IPAs we know and love today.
While British IPAs grew in popularity, it wasn't long before other countries cottoned onto this style of beer. America, for example, had also begun brewing a similarly high strength beer before 1900. Today, America is a key player in forging the future of brewing and craft ales, mainly thanks to the wide range of hops available which include varieties such as Chinook, Simcoe, Tomahawk and Centennial. Given the depth of taste and aroma achieved from these finely tuned hop varieties, some IPAs need only contain one hop strain, rather than a variety which is quite common in other kinds of IPA.
In the past seventy or so years, the experimentation of craft brewing has lead to the creation of Double and Triple Indian Pale Ales. Also known as Imperials IPAs, beers of this nature usually contain a higher alcohol content - usually above 7% ABV - and are considered very 'hoppy' brews. Even more recent, is the rise of Triple or Quadruple IPAs; with the former ranging from 8% - 12% ABV and the later running right up to 40% ABV. Modern brewing techniques - such as freezing beer a number of times after fermentation - has paved the way for huge advances in the scope of ABVs available to craft brewers. In fact, the record for the 'world's strongest beer' was once held by a quadruple IPA which weighed in at a staggering 41% ABV.
A historic and exciting craft beer, the IPA shows no sign of disappearing from behind the beer or from the shelf of beer lovers the world over.
Harvey McEwan writes to offer information amd advice on a variety of areas, from technology to holiday destinations. Read through Harvey's other articles here to find out more.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5665198

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Pigeon Fishers - Test Brew A

It's been a long time since I've been so excited about my job. I've worked in the pub trade for nearly thirty years and most of that time under the 'old school' kind of pub landlords who've spilled more beer down their collective shirts than I could ever drink, worked in the industry man and boy and strangely hail from Yorkshire, in February this year all that changed when the Derby Tup welcomed a new landlord.

Not only is the new guy younger than most of the pub trades die hard tenants but he's a local lad and a brewer to boot. While most real ale brewers do just that Ade Cole chose to take on a pub that was falling into decline and bring it back to it's former glory. The Derby Tup now has a new future as a brewery tap and after some frustrating delays Thursday 6th August 2015 saw the launch of Ade's first brew since his move in to the Tup.

Test Brew A was greeted by a small buzz of excited banter from the regulars who immediately appointed themselves chief tasters and chief critics, however any preconceptions were quickly shot down in one mouthful of this mid-strength hoppy pale from Pigeon Fishers and they soon began debating the nuances and suggesting tweaks to the brewer. Not only was Test Brew A voraciously imbibed by its home audience but it brought real ale explorers in from far and wide to be a part of this great new adventure in ale.

Brewed with Amarillo, Columbus and Williamette hops this is a beautifully complex, bitter and dry pale ale. On first tasting from the top of the cask there was an extremely strong hit of pink grapefruit and the dryness stripped the palette to the point where the only drink I wanted to follow this with was a glass of water but that was a pre-tasting on the Wednesday, The following day I plunged into a full pint and found the citrus had mellowed and the dryness abated enough to let the true flavour of the hops shine through.

This time I'm drinking an ale to be reckoned with. Hibiscus flower met tangerine and red apple mingling with light grassy notes supported by creamy butterscotch and soft oats on the back flavour. The dryness more mellow, replaced with a balance of sherbet and liquorice.

On the nose scents of cola, raspberry tea, violets, rose petals and grass newly sprinkled with morning dew pleased my olfactory senses.

The head offered a nice light openly aerated foam which clung to the glass forming a meniscus, white in appearance perfectly offsetting the pale golden hue of the ale.

With an ABV of 4.2% a decent mid strength ale to ensure more than one pint is quaffed and still leave room to try other ales on the bar.

Overall Pigeon Fisher's Test Brew A is an assertive pale ale, pungent, aromatic with an aggressive bitter bite.

Monday, 15 June 2015

One For Sorrow Two For Joy - Pica Porter - Magpie Brewery

I found Pica Porter in my local micro pub, it was causing quite a stir at the bar simply because it's labelled a porter but is brown, thinner than most porters and has a more distinctive hop character.

Formerly badged as midnight porter before the brewery's rebranding, pica initially has a strong ozone aroma, the nose is hit by a salty seaweed freshness that's unusual in any ale let alone a dark. Once the aroma had settled the flavours really began to come through, a pleasant fruity hop hit with plum and raisin and a good amount of liquorice finishing with that deeply comforting chocolate malt experience which is expected from a modern porter.

If you can get past the fact that the idea of a chestnut porter jars the senses a little this is a great ale full of surprises as you go down the glass. It has a an ABV of 5.0% which is expected of dark ales and a white tight head.

Bob Douglas, Ken Morrison and Nick Sewter set up their six barrel brewery off Iremonger Road in Nottingham within a few yards of the Notts County (nicknamed The Magpies) football ground in 2006.  After Nick sadly passed away in 2010 but was succeeded by his son Gavin. They brew a wide range of different styles of ale from hoppy blonds through to traditional copper ales to rich dark porters and stouts, they pride themselves in using all British malt and hops.

Pica Pica is the latin name for the eurasian magpie a member of the crow family.

The brewers often get asked about the magpie rhyme, this is the oldest I can find,

One for sorrow, Two for mirth
Three for a wedding, Four for death (or birth) 
Five for silver, Six for gold, 
Seven for a secret, Not to be told
Eight for heaven, Nine for hell 
And ten for the devil's own sell!

However this is the brewers favourite version,

One for sorrow, Two for joy;
Three for a girl, Four for a boy;
Five for silver, Six for gold;
Seven for a secret, Never to be told;
Eight for a wish, Nine for a kiss;
Ten for a bird that's best to miss.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Nightfall - Cross Bay Brewery

Not only is Cross Bay Morecambe's only brewery but it proudly boasts over twenty beer styles produced by their twenty eight barrel plant, that notwithstanding Nightfall is my first Cross Bay ale. On the low ABV side of the session ales this well balanced bitter shows their brewing pedigree superbly.

Smooth and well rounded Nightfall sits nicely in the mouth and has a gentle fruity taste with a hint of spice and a slightly resinous undertone. An easy drinking bitter with sweet fruit and woody notes which proves to be extremely moreish and the perfect accompaniment to a roast ham sandwich or a handful of pork scratchings. Nightfall is clear amber to the eye and has a hint of tropical fruit on the nose, it laces in concentric rings and its that pleasant symmetry which sums up this ale's character perfectly.

For more info from Cross Bay follow their blog.

"Inspired by...nightfall across the bay, illuminated by a full moon." Cross Bay

ABV 3.8%
Nightfall - Silver Award - Standard Bitters - SIBA North West Beer Competition 2013 (October)

Going Coco Loco Down In Erm Barrow Hill - Grafton Brewing

Okay so the title doesn't quite ring...

I was dragging myself round the Barrow Hill Roundhouse on Rail Ale trade night after a long shift at work looking for the kind of dark oblivion I adore in an ale when the bar tender pointed me to Coco Loco.

Ah rich chocolaty malty goodness I thought but no not that kind of coco greeted my lips. Then I realised this is my old nemesis Grafton Brewery they of the scathing Pint of Pernod review remember? Paper thin pump clips and the promise of a magical gem from a small brewer with big imagination.

On first look Coco Loco is dark and inviting, poured straight from the cask the head was barely existent and the ale itself a little warm but hey its a worn in glass at a festival, you know how it goes.

First sip and a massive coconut hit shocks me out of my complacency, its like drinking a half pint of Malibu but this time in a really good way. Smooth liquid silkiness with a full mouth feel meets fresh and full of hidden malty notes fighting to the front of my palate rounding this ale off beautifully and making it exceptional from start to finish. However this will not be an ale for everyone, it is very sweet and has a lot of vanilla, the cola is there too with a spike of lemon but personally I love it. Hats off to John, Richard and Danny at Grafton Brewing for creating my personal ale of the festival.

COCO LOCO - 5.0% abv 
Doncaster CAMRA Beer Festival - Best Speciality Beer 2013
South Notts Beer Festival - Best Beer Overall 2013
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