Tuesday, 25 August 2015
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
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
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.
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Tuesday, 11 August 2015
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.