ORIGINAL GRAVITY O
CRAFT BEER REAL ALES GOOD PUBS TASTING NOTES ARTISANAL SPIRITS + other nice stuff
GOOD NEWS FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE GOOD BEER
PORTER IS BACK! Why you need to be samplingg London London’s n’ss da dark ark masterp masterpiece pieece thi this is m month onth
BEAUTIFUL BEER LABELS
BRI GHTON’S HOTSPOTS
10 years of brewing never ordinary beers For Thornbridge news and your chance to WIN £100 of Thornbridge goodies visit www.thornbridgebrewery.co.uk Riverside Brewery, Buxton Road, Bakewell DE45 1GS Tel: 01629 815 999 On-line shop www.thornbridgebrewery.co.uk/shop
RED PORTER I PA @FivePointsBrew www.ﬁvepointsbrewing.co.uk
AVAILABLE ON DR AUGHT & IN BOTTLE from good pubs and shops
HANDCRAFTED BEER FROM H AC K N E Y, E A S T LO N D O N
Contents The Mash /p04 | Feature 1 /p08 | Photo Essay /p12 | Essay /p14 | Distilled /p17 |Tasting Notes /p18 | Beer Traveller’s Guide /p19
Who is writing this issue, and the beer they’re most looking forward to in 2015
Adrian Tierney-Jones Adrian is an award-winning freelance journalist, author and speaker writing and talking about beer, pubs, food and travel and how they all intersect. Books include Great British Pubs, 1001 Beers To Try Before You Die and Britain’s Beer Revolution (with Roger Protz). Head of Judges for the World Beer Awards and also ends up on various juries in Italy and Belgium. Read his article about porter on page 8. A. Anything new by Burning Sky, Oh and the BrewDog beer I’m collaborating on with a couple of other writers
WOW Cover image by Elliot Kruszynski (elliotkruszynski.co.uk)
ORGINAL GRAVITY% Contact email@example.com 01323 370430 Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org 01323 370430 Website: originalgravitymag.com Twitter: OGBeerMag Facebook: /originalgravitymag Instagram: ORIGINAL_GRAVITY Visuals: lindoneast.co.uk © 2015 Original Gravity% is published by Don’t Look Down Media. All rights reserved. All material in this publication may not be reproduced of distributed in any form without the written permission of Don’t Look Down Media. The views expressed in Original Gravity% are those of the respective contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publication nor its staff.
Chris Hall is a beer writer and blogger based in London. A member of the British Guild of Beer Writers, Chris is also the co-author of two issues of Craft Beer for Future Publishing: 365 Best Beers in The World and 100 Best Breweries in the World. He is currently working on Beer & Craft, a guide to the best bars and breweries in Britain, due out next year. In this issue he contributes tasting notes. A. Definitely Can-nonball, and the rumoured BrewDog Tokyo* cans.
Thank you indeed. When we were driving around the country, dropping off the magazines in London pubs to Bristol breweries, we never quite expected such as response. It has genuinely taken us back. Twitter is alight with positivity, the kindness of (formerly) strangers means we can now distribute much further, and, thank goodness, the number of partners has grown. This is a free publication, and always will be, but we need the collaboration with our partners. Thank you.
Teninchwheels Teninchwheels is a Yorkshire-born designer and photographer who’s been a resident of East London for more than 20 years. A proud Timothy Taylor fanboy, he became a beer and pub blogger when nobody ever read his Vespa blog. To see more of his photographic work, please visit Moorstoneimages. wordpress.com Blog: Teninchwheels.wordpress.com Contact: email@example.com. In this issue he contributes tasting notes. A. I’m hoping that Howling Hops will return to bottling their utterly sublime Smoked Porter
This is the second edition of Original Gravity% and the focus in these winter months is the soul-soothing porter. In a wonderfully evocative piece by Adrian Tierney-Jones we look at why even the newest breweries are following the old guard and producing this silky, warming beer. Elsewhere we visit the best pubs in Brighton, try a whole new range of beers and take a look at some beautiful beer art.
Thousands of you have been in touch and please continue to do so at originalgravitymag@ gmail.com, or through Twitter @OGBeerMag, facebook .com/originalgravitymag , ORIGINAL_GRAVITY at Instagram and Google+. We’re also presenting our first event, The Alternative History of Beer, with Adrian Tierney-Jones at BrewDog Camden, see page 16. Team
Pete Brown is a British writer who specialises in making people thirsty. He is the author of five-and-a-half books as well as the annual Cask Report, and numerous articles in the drinks trade press and consumer press. He appears regularly on TV and radio, and is a judge on the BBC Food and Farming Awards and the Great Taste Awards. He is a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers, and was named Beer Writer of the Year in 2009 and 2012. Pete Brown writes about the future of beer on page 14. A. I would have to say in all seriousness that it’s a beer I don’t yet know about. Or Jaipur X.
STARRING Longshore Vodka Steven Seagull
WATCH IT NOW
scan here or visit adnams.co.uk
Some Finnish chaps (No goose was harmed in the PDNLQJRIWKLVÀOP
* As awarded by the IWSC 2014
PRINT NUMBER 1 of the first ever Beavertown print by going to orginalgravitymag.com and answering a question.
The ART OF BEER / BEAVERTOWN “I TASTED IT AND WENT ‘WOW! GAMMA RAY NEEDED A POWERFUL DESIGN’” ILLUSTRATOR NICK DWYER THE ART OF THE BEER LABEL BEAVERTOWNBREWERY.CO.UK CARGOCOLLECTIVE.COM/NICKDWYERILLUSTRATIONS After leaving St Martin’s with a graphic design and illustration degree, Nick started working at Duke’s Brew & Que in DeBeauvoir Town in 2012,(actually as a result of being asked to design the first label and seeing how much fun the place looked,) Beavertown’s de facto home pub. For the budding freelance illustrator it gave him a chance to work on the label more closely with Logan from the offset, the result being a more concise representation of the intended idea. “Black Betty was the first label I did, swiftly followed by Gamma Ray although that’s gone through several iterations (see originalgravitymag.com to see earlier “(Thankfully) we all have pretty diverse interests versions). It was my first real taste of craft beer and outside of work/beer, and tend to obsess, discuss I just went ‘WOW’. It really smacked me in the face and I felt it needed some powerful imagery to and get pretty excited about this stuff at work,” Nick Dwyer explains. “And the outcome depends have as many people as possible gravitate to it.” what we’re all into at the time. But it means nothing is the beer doesn’t back it up. Fortunately Before long he was designing all the labels and artwork across the business. But it’s the beer labels it does.” In a few short years, Beavertown has that seem most fun. “When the brewers come up earned a reputation for it’s bold, powerful beers with a beer, everyone tries it and then gets involved that don’t fail to put a smile on people’s faces. They are seriously good and the artwork needed in the naming process. Once we’ve a name, the label tends to be influenced primarily by what to reflect that. Day of the dead skeletons, laser beams, vaguely Masonic symbolism, aliens, spaceships, big bangs, atomic booms and the odd monster. Nope, there’s no chance of Beavertown beers getting lost on the shelf; no chance in hell or whatever dystopian imagining of the future resides in Beavertown Brewery’s Creative Director Nick Dwyer head. There was little chance either of not featuring Beavertown’s labels as the second in our Art of Beer series. They are brilliantly fun and eyecatchingly colourful, and shine as brightly as a spaceman’s laser beam in the fridges.
me and Logan are into. For example, I’m reading The Invisibles by Grant Morrison, which has influenced one of our newest designs. “Good beer and good design tie in, but the beer is what really matters. It’s updating the way of thinking about beer as a quality product, and that quality has to be obvious across the board – concept, ingredients, process and packaging. Working with a can over a bottle is great – it’s pretty much all canvas.” Nick later sends some new artwork for Heavy Water, a sour cherry and sea salt Imperial Stout (which I need in my life). There are two different labels – all stockists should have a mixture – each influenced by research into actual heavy water (used as a neutron moderator in nuclear reactors – knowledge is power) paired with a pretty strong interest in military history. One shows some poor folk being zapped by a scary looking machine; the other has a shocked woman watching a blast through dark glasses. It’s every bit as powerful as a 9% a sour cherry and sea salt Imperial Stout should be. DJN / beavertownbrewery.co.uk / nickdwyerillustrations.com
Hop OF THE MONTH
“These beers represent a new authenticity and way of life” Barley & Hops by Sylvia Kopp
GOLDINGS BARLEY &
HOPS It could have been Fuggles here this month when looking for the quintessential English hop, but Goldings and its varieties just pip it, for being a little older, with varieties thought to date back to 1790. It’s also used often as an aroma hop as well as a bittering hop. In fact, Fuggles and Goldings are often used together to create unmistakable English ales, for example in Harveys Best Bitter. Goldings tends to have a sweet and earthy spiciness, almost peppery. Look out for the variety East Kent Golding, much used in English IPAs. Enjoy the Goldings aroma in:
#1/ Shepherd Neame Goldings Ale, 4.1% This light, golden seasonal beer from Kent brewery Shepherd Neame highlights the light tangy finish apparent in Goldings. It’s available between June and September. / shepherdneame.co.uk #2 / JW Lees Bitter, 4% This beer is a classic Manchester best first brewed in 1828. It’s a clean amber beer that with a zesty finish that showcases Goldings at its best. / jwlees.co.uk
Barley & Hops: The Craft Beer Book / Sylvia Kopp
This is a beautiful book, as you’d expect from German publishers Gestalten who are more at home with architecture, design and art. Renowned German writer Sylvia Kopp edits this far-reaching book that covers most aspects of the craft beer movement from its history, the brewing process, a style guide, and a list of the ‘craft beer pioneers’. There’s also a section on beer and food matching, and recipes. So what does it offer that others haven’t? We’ll it’s easily the most beautiful of books, but also it’s got a much more international focus that will widen your horizons. Stunning. / shop.gestalten.com
Britain’s Beer Revolution / Roger Protz & Adrian Tierney-Jones
Beer in the Netherlands / Tim Skelton
Original Gravity% wouldn’t be here if there hadn’t been quite the revolution in beer we’ve seen. This book for CAMRA, by two of the country’s best beer writers, aims to cover this incredible transformation. The book is broken into regional chapters, with each focussing on half a dozen or so breweries from traditional brewers Fuller’s to pioneers Siren. There’s also in-depth features, ‘Insiders’ view’ from bloggers, retailers landlords, and a ‘Beer Destinations’ page at the end of every chapter. It’s an accessible and authoritative snapshot of Britain’s burgeoning brewing industry in 2015. And yes, keg is fine. / camra.co.uk
Beer guides to the likes of Belgium and Germany have become very popular, running into many editions. But as yet, there hasn’t been one solely for the Netherlands (it’s often lumped in with Belgium). Granted, it’s not a country that comes immediately to mind for a beer trip beyond Amsterdam or maybe a visit to the De Molen brewery, but this book aims to convince us otherwise. Tim Skelton, a resident in the country, has unearthed more than 180 breweries in the ’new Dutch beer scene’. Even on a weekend to Amsterdam, go with this book. In the meantime hunt out Merciless, Rodenburg and Emelisse. / booksaboutbeer.com
PURITY BREWING Questions FOR...
Some breweries find success with a huge variety of beers, while others concentrate on a core range with outstanding quality and consistency. Purity is one of the latter with a core range of four award-winning cask beers and two kegged beers. (They sell all the beers online.) This Warwickshire brewery also set out to be as environmentally friendly as possible – all the water goes through a natural reed bed to clean and then into the river. We visited Purity Brewing and chatted to head brewer Florent ‘Flo’ Vialan between brewing UBU What defines Purity’s beer? They are clean, hoppy and balanced, that’s what underlines all of them. They are full of flavours and the hop leads the way, but they are not extreme. Purity is about keeping a small range of really high quality and consistent beers. Trying to choose a favourite one is difficult – they are all like my kids. I do have a soft spot for Pure Gold as it was the first one I worked on, but I think the hopforward Longhorn IPA will be the one that explodes. How do you see the small-scale brewing scene develop? At Purity we’ve certainly expanded a lot – there’s now 28 of us. But around the country, the quality of the beer has changed with the expansion in microbrewery scene. There’s also what I call ‘hop creep’ with beers getting hoppier and hoppier. I wonder how far it can go. But if we follow the lead of the USA, they are coming
back to more session beers and buying British hops – I think it will come around. If I’m honest, I do think there are too many microbreweries and the ones that concentrate on quality will survive. Only the best. My father is a butcher in France and they started closing when the supermarkets came along, but the best have not only survived but are now flourishing. If you stick to you quality you’ll be fine. Looking after the environment is central to the ethos of Purity Yes, we set up reed beds when we started the brewery. All of our water waste goes into reed beds and they clean the water naturally and then after quite sometime it is safely released in the river. The reed beds are full of fish and wildlife. Also we’ve managed to get the ration of water used for our beer from five litres in and one litre out to three litres in for one litre out. Finally, what beers do you like drinking? I like St Austell beers and especially Timothy Taylor. They brew a lot more than us, but they are of a consistently high quality. And they won at the Great British Beer Festival again with Boltmaker. / puritybrewing.com • There’s also a wide range of beers from other breweries at their Bottle Shack, including Brooklyn, Bosteels, Dupont, Tiny Rebel and Sierra Nevada. / bottleshack.uk
Beer 101 MALT 2/12) Malt is the soul of the beer. The backbone, the palette upon which hops draws it’s flavor. Barley is the miracle grain that embodies large amounts of starch, then converted to sugar during the boiling. That sugar is then fermented to make alcohol. With a brevity that would make any beer writer wince, the barley is soaked to stir up the enzymes and make the husk start growing. At a certain point, the barley is heated to stop the growth. It’s then popped in a kiln to, basically, toast it. The malt that’s on the point of looking burnt is used for dark beers such as porters and stouts, the lighter malts you’ll find in an IPA and the lightest in a lager. It’s also the malt that adds the sweetness of a Belgian beer, and the chocolate and toffee and treacle flavours of a dark beer. Oats and rye can also be used (check out Beavertown’s 8 Ball or Adnams’ Crystal Rye IPA), as can corn and rice. Yet, without hops (next issue), it would be a sweet, cloying ale, circa 1400.
Popcorn cockles We first came across this amazing beer snack in Tom Kerridge’s book, Proper Pub Food, and we make it all the time. Our slight simplification is to buy cockles, rinse them in milk for a bit, drain, and then cover them in a mixture of polenta and plain flour. Deep fry for a couple of minutes until crispy. Douse in salt and vinegar and open a classic English Best Bitter. Simple, and very, very tasty.
“Let me just go get a pair of pliers,” Thornbridge head brewer Rob Lovatt says. It’s a phrase rarely used when beer tasting, but returning with a couple of glasses as well I see why. Around us are 120 wooden Bourbon barrels, and a small nail is all that keeps the contents in. Yanking out the nail, a thin stream of honey-clear liquid pours flatly into the glass. “This is a collaboration between us, Garret Oliver (Brooklyn Brewery’s brewmaster), and Tom Oliver, a cider maker from Herefordshire. (Oliver’s hoppy cider appeared in the last issue of OG%). This Belgian style ale has been in the barrels for a year and Tom has been sending up the lees (the funky sediment at the bottom of the cider) for addition. The result so far is quite astonishing. It’s picked up a cidery acidity, and has just the very mildest hint of the Bourbon. It’ll be one of well over a dozen new beers released this year. In other barrels is a sour brown beer with raspberries. But this is not a fruit beer, the raspberries add the acidity necessary for drinking. And it’s hugely drinkable. “Wood-aged barrelling is a new step for us, but we don’t want to do it just for the sake of it – the needs to be a clear reason for it.” And it’s that sentiment that underpins all of Thornbridge’s beers. Alongside the Kiplings, the Jaipurs and the Wild Swans, there is a huge selection of beers; in their Bakewell tasting room there are around 200 pump clips from over the years. Yes there are the odd collaborations (“but not just for the sake of it”) and a few whims like the surprisingly delicious Peanut Butter Brown Ale, but most of what Thornbridge makes is deeply rooted in the styles of beer.
Back in the main brewery, Rob pours some beer from of a big fermenter. It’s a classic dopplebock beer from Germany. “I enjoy making classic styles, but I want them to be the best of that style. Our Kölsch won a blind tasting in Cologne [home of Kölsch]. We were pretty chuffed about that.” Also among the Thornbridge arsenal at the moment is Biere de Garde and Jaipur X, a 10% version of their best-known beer. Rob is an affable 38-year-old Derbyshire lad who has ‘come home’ after brewing at Courage, ten years at Meantime, briefly Camden Town, and before that university to do microbiology; a useful qualification for a brewer. His office, overlooking the brewery floor, is also next to the lab. There’s a scientific approach to consistency, and it shows. The lab is full of gadgets that check the bitterness, the alcohol, the colour. “Technology has definitely improved the quality of beer. There’s no way beer was this good 100 years ago.” “It is great ingredients and quality assurance, of course, but most importantly is great people.” “What I like about this place is that it feels a bit like a family-run Belgian brewery.” After a morning with Rob, I jump into a 4x4 up to Thornbridge Hall with Alex Buchanan, one of the original brewery team. The hall is a stunning Jacobean style country house, and a small brewery is still in the outhouses out the back. We wander around the gardens and meet Flora. Flora is made of stone but you’ll recognise her: she’s the statue on the labels. Oh, and Happy 10th Birthday Thornbridge. DJN / thornbridgebrewery.co.uk
STRENGTH Powerfully strong and usually between 7-12% ABV.
THREE TO TRY
7-12 % ABV
Anatomy of.. BARLEY WINE
/ Adnam’s Tally-Ho, 7% “Tally-Ho is dark Mahogany red in colour with a rich, fruity aroma and a heart warming sweet raisin and biscuit palate”
A beer to hang on to. They often need a year before being at their best, but some can keep up to 25 years. It’s a beer of course, but barley wine has a predictably slippery definition. One thing is certain: it’ll be strong. Leg-squiffingly strong. Often up to 12% ABV. Indeed, they were partly brewed to compete with wine at the table. Bass No. 1 was the first true barley wine.
FLAVOUR Traditional barley wines needs lots of malts to up the alcohol, but new US wines can be very hoppy.
Also known as Stingo. Modern Double or Imperial IPAs can be equally strong, with a hoppier profile.
Takes a long time in fermentation, maturation and cellaring. It also makes it pricey to produce.
This is one for the Christmas table to go with a plumy pudding or a strong Stilton.
It was developed in 18th century, aged in wood, and sold to rich folk.
/ JW Lees Harvest Ale (8.5%) A fine example of a seasonal barley wine. It is a widely-loved beer and can found in many a cellar. One to keep. / Harvey’s Elizabethan Ale, 7.5% “A strong barley wine is reminiscent of the ‘October Ales’ which were brewed in domestic brewhouses during the sixteenth century”
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International Festival of Beer (13-15 Feb) Taste some of the 1000 beers and ciders entered for The International Brewing Awards. / nationalbrewerycentre.co.uk London Beer Week (16-22 Feb) A huge range of events, tours, masterclasses and offers around the capital. / londonbeerweek.com The Brewmasters: A Theatre of Beer (Feb 18-20) 200+ cask beers from 20 countries at this new Clapham festival at The Grand. Live music Thursday and Friday. / wandsworthbeerfestival.eventbrite.com Craft Beer Rising (19-22 Feb) Taking place at the Old Truman Brewery, and now including a Thursday evening session. Tickets (£1720) include a £5 beer token, glassware and guide. / craftbeerrising.co.uk
31st London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival (March 11-13) 200 real ales from Yorkshire and a range of US craft. / leedsbeerfestival.co.uk Bradford Beer Festival (March 11-13) Bradford CAMRA present 100 real ales, ciders, perries and fruit wines at the Victoria Hall, Saltaire. / bradfordcamra.org.uk Bristol Beer Festival (12-14 March) The 18th CAMRA festival at Brunel’s Old Station. / camrabristol.org.uk/festival Sussex Beer Festival (19-21 March) Sussex CAMRA present their festival at Corn Exchange, Brighton. / sussexbeerfestival.co.uk CAMRA Winchester Festival (20-21 March) In the lovely surrounding of the Guildhall. / winchesterbeerfestival.org.uk
10/10 UBREW New ‘open brewery’ in Bermondsey We hate gym memberships, we love brewery memberships. UBREW is a new concept where you can go along with a few mates and brew significant amounts on beer on professional kit. This means you can sell it, bottle it or, well, just drink it. There’s a bar out front and there’ll be regular events, courses, and workshops. It’s a wonderful idea – we’re already booked in. Plus it’s very reasonably priced too. / ubrew.cc
REPORTING FOR DUTY
The black beer with an evergreen shelf life By Adrian Tierney-Jones
Porter is the beer that returned from the dead. It is the beer that rose from the grave in which it had long laid dormant, an unknown grave, as lost as the tomb of Alexander, all that was left was rumour and conjecture.
Was it the drink of the men who moved London’s goods in Georgian times and gave the beer its name? Did Mr Pickwick enjoy the odd noggin? And was a dinner party really held within a wooden vat at one of the monstrous London breweries that made their name and fortune with porter? Yet porter was real enough to me late last winter as I sat in the cool, shaded confines of the Royal Oak, a Victorian-style corner pub that is a few minutes stroll from Borough Market. The Oak is the London flagship of Sussex brewery Harvey’s and a place where its complex Porter can be studied at length, especially welcome on a cold, crisp and introspective winter’s day such as this. The beer was sleek and sensuous in the glass, a confection of treacle toffee, chocolate, vinous fruit, saddle leather, tobacco box and even hints of dandelion and burdock. It was a beer to be studied and appreciated at length, a beer that beguiled. Over several glasses a series of lines from TS Eliot’s Little Gidding swirled to mind: ‘for history is a pattern/ Of timeless moments./ So, while the light fails/ On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel/ History is now and England.’ Ok I wasn’t in a chapel but the light was failing on a winter’s afternoon; I was in England and there was something devotional in the way in which I regarded the beer in front of me. That’s the problem with porter — it is inspirational, but it can also become an obsession as well. If IPA (or more frequently a mash-up of IPA) is one of the first beers that a new craft brewer thinks about making when they go pro, you could bet your very last hop sack of Citra that the next beer style/variation/thingy they chance their arm at will be a porter (though some ambitious souls have been known to zoom straight into saison). The beer has an aura about it, a gravitas in the glass, a sheen of heritage and the
theme tune of history that makes it so endlessly fascinating. It is seen as the first world beer, the beer of the industrial revolution; it’s London’s beer gift to the world (Burton and London share IPA but porter belongs to the capital). It’s porter.
(though some argue that they are the same beer, the world’s not going to come to an end). I have always enjoyed the lush, smoky, bitter, mocha-like temperament of Anchor’s Porter, perhaps one of the first returnees to the porter fold in 1972; I believe it is one of the best examples of the American style. Then there is Alaskan Smoked Porter, with its rich malt character, peppery hop, stewed fruits and bonfire night smokiness (Stone’s Smoked Porter is an equally smoky ravishment).
However, it’s easy to sit back in an imaginary armchair and pontificate about porter as it was, but what about now? In modern terms porter is Janus-faced as brewers look backwards and forwards as they make it: categories include Imperial porter, Export India porter, LonEveryone’s got a don porter, Dublin porter in the US: porter, Baltic porsome have more ter, table porter, hops in them than coffee porter and is decent; others of course just plain are aged in all manporter (which takes ner of barrels, while us neatly back to “London has a great tradition of people coming in from the Ohio brewery WilDublin). That’s outside. It’s a hugely cosmopolitan place and I’m glad to see the loughby produce the exciting thing number of microbreweries expanding and more making porter. a peanut butter about what craft It is the classic London drink and it’s what made London a cup coffee porter, brewers (for want famous brewing city. which is not just of a better word) pushing the enveare doing with beer “We brew several dark beers at Fuller’s. The London Porter lope but setting up — they are taking was first brewed in 1996 and is inspired by the beers of the Pony Express venerable styles London’s past, the Double Stout that is part of our Past and the Post Ofand bringing them Masters range is faithful to our 1893 recipe, and we went to fice all at once. This back to the future. great lengths to make it as near as we could. might not taste “And when you are in the mood, there’s nothing better than like a porter from American craft drinking porter with oysters or even chocolate.” the early 19th cenbrewers first resurtury but who cares? rected the beer, Sometimes a beer style should be seen as a blank music adding lots of hops manuscript with the notes and the order in which they but still maintainare placed still to be decided. ing the creamy, soothing centre In the UK, porter was slower to return: the late 1970s that in my mind saw porters released by both Timothy Taylor and Pendifferentiates modrhos Brewery, the latter famously supported by Monty ern porter from Python’s Terry Jones. Sadly, Penrhos didn’t last too modern stout
JOHN KELLING, Head Brewer at Fuller’s on porter:
long, while Taylor’s Porter is rarely brewed these days, but this was the first inclination that a venerable beer style was being resurrected. Now the world of British porter is choc-a-bloc with variations on a theme from the likes of Meantime, Kernel, Fuller’s, BrewDog, Elland, Salopian and Burton Bridge, whose Porter has been brewed since the early 1980s (they also produce one with damson juice in it) History? For a long time it was thought that landlords in the early 18th century mixed up three different kinds of beer in their cellar — the famous three threads — and that a London brewer replicated this in his brewery and hey presto porter was born. Nice story, but it didn’t happen that way — porter somehow emerged, brewers didn’t keep records, there was no Twitter and to be honest the story of beer styles emerging into the world rarely approaches an eureka moment. There are no records of Ralph Harwood (for centuries thought to be the creator of porter), running into the street, Archimedes-style, telling all and sundry what he had just discovered. As for porter’s heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries I haven’t got a clue what old time porter tasted like though the tradition of aging, or staleing, blending and the use of brown malt might suggest an exceptionally characterful beer; perhaps the lion of acridity lying down with the lamb of acidity. For the moment though I’m happy to lie down with another glass of Harvey’s Porter and watch the light of the day fade and marvel at the power of porter, the beer that came back from the dead.
20 remarkable porters chosen by OG% over the page
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LEFT HAND BLACK JACK
BREWDOG BRIXTON PORTER
SIERRA NEVADA PORTER
FULLER’S LONDON PORTER
Symphonic. It’s limber, with a big resinous charcol chunks. One of the hoppiest porters here. A profound and important beer. You’ll probably like it , but certainly respect it. 5.8%
After chocolate-orange on the nose, it’s surprisingly light with herby hop notes cutting through the malt. Incredibly drinkable for a 6.8% beer.
A light, easy drinking porter that could become dangerously sessionable. More effervescent than many, mildly hoppy; a casual porter at 5%.
“It’s like opening a veg box,” one of our tasters said. This is one characterful beer and full of delightful roast vegetable tastes. A light, US style and easy for 5.6%.
One of the most classic tasting porters, full of roasted malts. It’s rich and luscious, with a complex depth to it. One to savour on a cold night in front of a fire. 5.4%
FIVE POINTS RAILWAY PORTER
This dark, dark beer is a traditional porterand delivers a lot for 4.5%. Roasted malts are up front and heading towards a stout porter. A heavyweight porter.
This is a flavoursome beer, especially for 4.8%. Full of chocolate and coffee. Could serviceably lubricate a large steam locomotive. Delicious.
ALASKAN SMOKED PORTER 2012
Boom - this is smoked. Seriously so. It’s kept well, and tastes almost oak-barrelled, but has a sourness that makes it really drinkable. 6.5%
This is black. Really black. Liqourish, molasses, treacle, linseed oil. Would shatter if you hit it with a hammer, or perhaps use it to daub a coracle. Loads of flavour for 6.5%. Nice!
THORNBRIDGE BEADECA’S WELL
NAKED BEER INDECENT EXPOSURE
A smoked porter isn’t a sessionable beer, but this gets close. It’s a poised porter, and manages that distintive, and drinkable, Thornbridge-magic-ness.
This is on the lighter side of porters, but still full of chocolatey malts. The addition of Summit hops adds a light citrus flavour. Easy drinking.
EDITOR’S HOMEBREW Don’t shoot me – this extract brew (hey, I’m learning, I’ll be on fullmash soon), but proves a drinkable porter is quite easy to make on a home set up. Give it a go!
This is an amazing full beer for a mere 2.8%. It’s a lively little beer with plenty of savoury character with hints of coriander. Deceptive.
MEANTIME CHOCOLATE PORTER
One of the benchmarks for classic porters. As you’ve read, this is a superlative example – smooth, silky. You can drink a lot of this - relish in its malt.
ANSPACH & HOBDAY TABLE PORTER
drinking a couple
Definitely on the sweeter side of porters, as you’d expect from the name. and has real chocolate added. A dessert beer. 6.5%.
PURITY SADDLE BLACK
BEAVERTOWN SMOG ROCKET
BY THE HORNS LAMBETH WALK
WAEN BREWERY CHILLI PLUM
This dark beer isn’t strictly a porter, but it’s a good example of a beer moving towards a Black IPA style. Good if you prefer your beers on the hoppier scale. 7%
Stacks of depth in this admirably subtle smoked porter. Drinkability remains the priority of Beavertown and the porter is no different. Another class act at 5.4%.
Another brewery firmly rooted in London, the home of porter. It’s won loads of awards for its distnct coffee, cocoa and dark berry notes. Rich and complex at 5.1%.
Probably the lightest in colour of the bunch, and one of the most drinkable. It’s full of chocolate malts, but fresh, lively and plays to its strengths. It’s 4.9%.
Sounds interesting , tastes great. The very slight hint of chilli adds a levity that makes it very drinkable, and a jammy plum on the nose. Full bodied, friendly. See p18.
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ORIGINAL GRAVITY O
1. PRINT PUBLICATION. The core product is Original Gravity%, a free monthly publication in a tabloid newspaper format distributed in more than 300 pubs, bottle shops and festivals around the country. 2. DIGITAL ISSUE. There’s a free online issue that is an exact replica of the print issue. Download it at originalgravitymag.com 3. WEBSITE. This is updated daily with news, views and idle gossip. It will also have beer reviews, destination guides, features, essays and video content. originalgravitymag.com 4. SOCIAL MEDIA. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. This presence is an important part of our business and partners. t. @OGBeerMag f. /originalgravitymag i. ORIGINAL_GRAVITY 5. ALMANAC. We’re producing a gorgeous, thick 168-page paid for magazine out in Summer 2015 showcasing the best writing, photography and art to do with the beer and artisanal spirits.
6. NEWSLETTERS. We’ll be sending out newletters by email focussing on the latest news and events. 8. BRAND EXTENSIONS. Also in the pipeline is an online shop selling artwork, glasses and T-shirts, a workshop tour with top writers and brewers.
ADVERTISING We’re a free publication. We believe that everyone should have access to all the information. This means we rely on advertising to support the project. This is where you can help. You buy space in Original Gravity% and you can use it for what you want. We produce a magazine that promotes beer. The rates are really reasonable. To inquire about advertising please email us at originalgravitymag@ gmail.com We’re here because we’re passionate about beer and spreading the word. We’ll distribute 15,000 copies to more than 300 pubs and bottle shops that sell good beer in across London, and in Leeds, Bristol and Brighton. In six months, the plan is to also distribute in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Chester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Swansea and Cardiff. Oh and Eastbourne, because that’s where we live. We have a full list of distribution outlets on our website (www.originalgravitymag.com). If you can’t get one in a shop, you’ll be able to read it for free on a tablet version.
Almanac Beer Co. / Damian Fagan (co-founder) / Almanac
Anchor Brewing / Jim Stitt / Anchor Brewing
Barcelona Beer Co. / Alex Trochut / Barcelona Beer Co.
Brand Bier / vbat / Brand Bier
LABEL LUST We are currently witnessing a creative explosion from the beer world. Brewers are using innovative techniques and unexpected ingredients to craft beers this ancient industry has never seen. Thirsty for a beer that spent two months at sea? You got it. Perhaps something whose ingredients include beef jerky, donuts, bull testicles or beard hair? We got that too. With more than 15,000 breweries worldwide, it should be no surprise that brands are working hard to separate themselves from the crowd. As the beer shelves get increasingly competitive, design is being emphasized more than ever. Packaging is often the first way a consumer interacts with a brand, making it a great opportunity to stand out. A label can personify a breweryâ€™s craftsmanship and creativity or showcase the brandâ€™s history. Oh Beautiful Beer showcases the elite graphic design the industry has to offer. If you are into pretty pictures and beer, this is the place for you. / ohbeautifulbeer.com Walker Brown / Stranger & Stranger / Stranger & Stranger
Fort Point / Manual / Manual
Harbour Brewing / A-Side Studio / James Darling Photography
Widmer Bros. / Various / Sasquatch Agency
Hopper Whitman / Stranger & Stranger / Stranger & Stranger
Jacksonville Beer Week / Kendrick Kidd / Kendrick Kidd
Kagua / Mitsuyoshi Miyazaki / Nippon Craft Beer
Kaiju / Mikey Burton / Mikey Burton
Mateo & Bernabé / Moruba / Moruba
Mikkeller / Keith Shore (in-house) / Mikkeller
Moa / One Design / One Design
Otley / Smörgåsbord / Smörgåsbord
Pilsner Urquel / Pilsner Urquel / Pilsner Urquel
Ponysaurus Brewing Co. / Baldwin& / Baldwin&
Shiner / McGarrah Jessee / McGarrah Jesse
St. Stefanus / Brandhouse / St. Stefanus
Steamworks / Brandever / Brandever
Tarantino Brewery / Ciro Bicudo / Ciro Bicudo
Underground Beer Club / Mundial / Mundial
Upslope Brewing Company / Anthem Branding /NA
Drake’s Brewing / Molly McCoy / Molly McCoy
Where can beer GO FROM HERE? I love the Christmas break. Almost more than Christmas Day itself, I love the slow, eternal bit between Christmas and New Year, when time stops and you’re in a world of grey mist and perpetual twilight, and the only sensible thing to do is curl up with a good book and something nice in a glass. Just as you’re starting to get used to it though, New Year’s Day throws you back into the real world. Traditionally, that first week back is a gentle easing up through the gears, getting yourself accustomed to work again. By Friday, you’re pretty much up to speed and back in the routine. Not this year. This year, it was as if someone had pressed a pause button at noon on Christmas Eve, and at 9am on Monday 5th January that pause was released. Conversations that were halfway though resumed as if no break had happened, and were joined by new ideas that people had been saving up and hatching. The first few weeks of 2015 have been the busiest period of my career as a writer to date. And amid brewery visits, new beer launches, the judging of competitions and award schemes, talks and tutored tastings, consultancy and – oh yes – writing assignments, there’s one question that everyone has been asking after the ‘Happy New Year’ small talk: what’s next? Making predictions is always a bad idea, because they never come true and you look like an idiot. In the early noughties I was working for an ad agency where we were asked to predict what life would be like in ten years. If I’d said then that the hippest people in towns and cities would be listening to folk music, wearing beards and drinking real ale, I would have been kicked out on my arse in less time than it took Mumford & Sons to lose their credibility and become tiresome. If I were to say now that Galaxy was to become the next single hop murky pale ale
sensation, or that complex blends of malt would replace sour as the next obsession of railway arch breweries, I’d almost certainly be proved wrong. But there are some big trends I can see happening, and its easier to predict their trajectories. After the arguments about the definition of craft beer died out, the next big topic recently has been: is craft beer a bubble, and is it going to burst? And if so, how long do we have left ? Certainly, the pace of new brewery openings can’t be sustained, and beer’s newfound role in the media spotlight will eventually be replaced by craft spirits, cocktails, or maybe even decent adult soft drinks such as Dalston Cola or Square Root. But I simple can’t picture the tide of good beer going out again. We went through this with wine in the eighties and early nineties, and no one is asking when we’re going to get tired of big New World flavours and go back to the comforts of Liebfraumilch. Chardonnay was ubiquitous for a while, then it became passé and everyone switched to Pinot Grigio. But the longterm trend of more people drinking more wine and everyone gradually becoming more knowledgeable about it has continued for thirty years. In the US, the craft beer movement is also thirty years old now, and people are still asking if it’s a bubble. When you have the children of craft brewers growing up and starting their own breweries in turn, you’d thing this kind of talk would fade. It should. Whether you call it craft or not, the taste for good beer, well made, has gone mainstream. Now it’s growing
up and maturing, and there are different emerging segments of people who drink good beer. In 2014 I was talking to publicans who ran working men’s clubs and backstreet community boozers who said things like, “We tried some of that Brooklyn Lager and it flew out, so we’ve put a permanent draught font in. What else have you got?” There will always be craft beer snobs, but tasty beer no longer belongs to them exclusively. As ‘ordinary’ drinkers acquire a taste for American-style pale ales and proper pilsners, the crafterati are moving to more extreme flavours, places to which they expect the mainstream not to follow. But big flavour is a trend that’s happening across a much bigger canvas than beer: the shift to real coffee from tasteless granules, the growth of spicy cuisines, the popularity of strong, mature cheese – wherever you look, people are chasing bigger hits on the palate. Why should beer be any exception?
Pete Brown hops on in his DeLoren and heads into the future of beerland. Is it a dystopian nightmare of corporates chomping craft brewers like PacMan, or is it a hop-strewn Arcadia?
The big brewers will play their part in the normalisation of craft. While it’s had it’s critics, 2014’s Beer For That campaign was an extraordinary admission of what’s on the beer agenda: companies that own their very existence to mainstream lager spent £10 million advertising beer styles they don’t even make because their research told them this was the most interesting and motivating thing anyone could say about beer. The AB-Inbev response to this is to buy craft breweries as if they were on price promotion in Tesco. Other brewers are developing different strategies. Some of the beers they launch will be laughably bad, travesties of what good beer should be. Others will be great, the product of technically excellent brewers being let off the leash. Expect more beers like Thwaites’ Crafty Dan and 13 Guns – from a brewery not exactly famous for flavour, they’ve
been winning awards across Europe in blind tastings. These big brewers will help bring more people into interesting beer, and hoppy pale ales will become as common on the bar as Peroni or Staropramen. The much-trumpeted shortage of American hops will drive some brewers to be more imaginative, but over time those citrusy flavours will become commonplace. After a shaky start, English-grown Cascade hops are improving. And we can’t write off good old Fuggles and Goldings – last year, half of the English hop harvest was exported to America, where the next big thing for craft brewers is English style ‘session ale.’ So hang on, am I saying the whole trend of new and different beers brewed by small brewers is simply going to be assimilated and normalised by the old guard? Are we going to come full circle and end up just drinking cask ale and lager made by big brewers? No, I don’t think so. The mainstreaming of craft beer will continue, and I am saying that’s a good thing. But this will spur the creative end of the beer spectrum to new heights, to maintain their otherness. The big brewers will never match the dynamism and flexibility of the little guys. For those people who care about who brews their beer and how rather than simply whether or not it tastes good, there will always be something new to discover. There is actually a trick to successful trends forecasting: you just have to remember that most things stay the same, and that when new things that do come along, they’ll very quickly start to feel like they’ve always been around. So on that basis, I will risk one bold prediction about what things will be like in ten years time. From the lofty perspective of my hover board, sporting my silver jumpsuit and Apple iMplants that channel the internet straight into my brain, I’ll be saying the same thing then that I keep saying now: there’s never been a better time to be a beer drinker.
Original Gravity + BrewDog
BEYOND PUNK IPA BrewDog has a wide range of fascinating, innovative beers that goes further than you’d imagine from its core range. Team OG%, including beer blogger Chris Hall, headed to BrewDog Shepherd’s Bush to taste them. Here’s what we thought and what the people behind them have to say about them. You can buy BrewDog beers at www.brewdog.com/shop
Zeitgeist ABV: 4.7%
Hop Fiction ABV: 6.5%
OG% say: “This schwarzbier is a German-style black lager. It has a really clean, dry finish, with a malt-forward taste. There’s a grassy nose, with roast barley notes, and is on the sweeter side of things. It smells a bit like a frappacino, and it crosses over the venn diagram between cold-brew coffee and a bitter German lager. A great entry point to other beer.
OG% say: The Prototype Challenge is BrewDog’s way of getting great feedback for new beers. Jackhammer and Dead Pony Pale Ale came out of this process. Four are released at the same time and the winner sticks. It’s hopped at every step and sounds as though the hop factor should be turned up to 11, but this is very well rounded.
OG% say: Wow. This is a classic hefeweizen – a style you don’t mess around with, brewed with Weihenstephan, the oldest continuously operated brewery. The German beer has the warm, nourishing banana and bready flavours, but the lime and apricot hop flavours come through at the end to sharpen it. Well rounded and very palatable.
BrewDog say: Hop Fiction was the result of a totally new process for us – this IPA wasn’t dry-hopped, or even kettle-hopped (as most beers are). Instead, we added the hops only at the forerunner stages – in the mash and whirlpool, and the result is an upfront blast of mango, lychee and stone fruit.
BrewDog say: Weihenstephan are European brewing elite at its most timeless, so a collaboration with our hop-crazed brewteam could only ever lead in one direction. India Pale Weizen is a meeting of minds, philosophies and history. A tapestry of US hops matches perfectly with the iconic German beer style.
BrewDog say: Zeitgeist is our single-hopped schwarzbier that turns on a sixpence (or Deutschmark) from the classic grapefruit citrus of Cascade into the long, dry roasty finish that ends with a slight smoky edge.
Abstrakt AB:14 ABV: 10.2%
India Pale Weizen ABV: 6.2%
Shipwrecker Circus ABV: 10.5%
OG% say: This is probably the best beer in the Abstrakt range – a series to explore different, weird and wonderful brews. The Abstrakt 14 is an imperial weizenbock aged in oak barrels. They call it their banoffee beer, and it is a sweet indulgent beer with an earthy, wood finish. Buy two and save one for a few years. BrewDog say: Our intrepidly fearless head brewer Franz came up with this, an oakaged imperial weizenbock. Featuring hops from three different countries, it carries Franz’s unique trademark of boldness and character from start to finish. Oh, and bananas.
Konnichiwa Kitsune ABV: 8.2%
OG% say: Amazingly, this barley wine is a collaboration between BrewDog and US brewers Oskar Blues. Alongside its Christmas pudding aroma and fig and date flavours is a hop character that grounds it. It’s crying out for a strong piece of stilton.
OG% say: This is our favourite series of BrewDog beers that has already given us Vladimir, a protest beer against Putin. This double IPA is made with yuzu , best described as a ‘craft lemon’! Its flavor is pronounced and manages to be juicy and crisp.
BrewDog say: When we got the chance to invite Dave, Stephen and Chad from Oskar Blues to Scotland for a collaboration, we knew the boat was going to be pushed out. A long way out. The result of all that pushing was this US-style barley wine, shimmering with a sweet viscosity and a boozy finish that got them all the way back to Colorado.
BrewDog say: This yuzu-infused power IPA was originally brewed for our Japanese friends, and is hopped with enough Amarillo, Citra and Cascade to bring down Godzilla. Although, he’s probably more interested in chunky buildings than colossal mandarin, grapefruit and lime notes. But you never know…
ORIGINAL + Adrian Tierney-Jones + GRAVITY G
l T erN At I v A T h E
e E R
r Y i T S H 16
A PUNK TASTING SESSION Come and enjoy a thrilling jaunt through the punkier side of beer
BrewDog Camden | Sunday March 15 | 3pm
5 beers, 2 hours, 1 great event Tickets available here! http://bit.ly/18MNe0D
GIN DESIGN In a small red brick building in East London, drinks of great character are being distilled. We went to their rather lovely bar to catch up with distiller Tom Hills We first visited the East London Liquor Company on a launch of a collaboration beer between Beavertown, Dogfish Head and the ELLC. The result, still available at the bar, was a Londonerweisse, an English take on the Berlinerweisse. It was sprighlty, mildly sour and almost G&T like. Also available was an incredible cocktail made with ELLC Gin Batch 1, tonic syrup, spiced beer sugar and a Londonerweisse beer foam. These guys, it is clear, know what they are doing.
LONDON DRY GIN, 40% 1
This is almost a complete drink – like the tonic is ready to go. It’s a British wheat spirit infused with lemon and grapefruit peel, coriander, angelica root, juniper berries, cubeb berries and cardamom Gin was distilled in this part of London a couple of centuries ago and it’s a drink, much like porter, that is grounded in London. ELLC’s London Dry Gin sticks to that tradition. “The concept is that this is a ‘gateway’ gin,” Tom explains. “It’s not too brash and we haven’t sourced a crazy botanical from Mars, but it’s an entry point to craft spirits and priced at only £18.
“There’s always a responsibility when you’re trying to portray something with a long history, but for me it’s all about the liquid in the bottle.” After studying biochemistry in Bristol, Tom decided that the world of academia or, worse, big pharma, wasn’t for him. “I saw the craft distilling renaissance and I decided I wanted to get into it and started working for a gin company and through sheer determination.”
PREMIUM GIN: BATCH 1, 45% The addition of Darjeeling tea is inspired, and offers a great interplay between the other botanicals including coriander seeds, cassia bark, angelica root, pink grapefruit peel and cubeb berries “The concept for this was a nod towards the quintessential British drinks of tea and gin and mixing them,” says Tom. “We were inspired by the old East End and industrial heritage of the tea industry. It’s not common to find Darjeeling tea in gin, in fact I’ve never seen it, and then we built the rest of the recipe around it.” The mixologists at the bar have an ever-changing cocktail menu and to go with it, they added a homemade Darjeeling tea liquor and added sour cherries.
PREMIUM GIN: BATCH 2, 47% Unlike any other gin we’ve had. “It’s like a spice rub for pork,” one taster said. It’s a very savoury, almost meaty, gin infused with sage, thyme, fennel seeds, orris root, lavender, lemon peel and a bay leaf . “Batch 2 is probably my favourite one to make and to drink. People are often taken aback by the savoury taste. It’s the most Marmite of them and they aren’t common botanicals. We started with the concept of an English country garden – a herbaceous walk through the countryside. We use 11 botanicals and we even treat a couple in different ways. “I’m a huge fan of the Negroni, or this works well a G&T with a sage leaf in it.”
SMALL BATCH VODKA, 40% This is an insanely clean vodka, buttery and hint of sea salt. A smooth and satisfying taste. “The vodka is made from the same base spirit – 100% British wheat. It’s distilled once and then we run it through a fairly complex process to strip out all the impurities,” Tom says. But what Tom is really excited about is their new project: whisky. “Due to our size and nature we’ll never compete with the big distilleries so we’re going down the most rogue and unusual route we can. We’re making an American Rye style first, and we’ll keep changing the recipe, playing around with different grains and yeasts. We’ll keep things as single cask too so they’ll be limited edition. “We have the opportunity to go a bit nuts – some will be very interesting. We get to experiment and play with new casks. We can really push the boundaries of what people think of whisky.”
Tasting NOTES Brass Castle Brewery BAD KITTY (5.5 )
Kiuchi Brewery HITACHINO NEST (5.5 )
Beavertown Brewery HOLY COWBELL (5.6 )
Waen Brewery CHILLI PLUM (6.1 )
Vanilla, bonfire toffee and port come to the fore in this dark porter – perfect for the fireside
Bright, clever and nuanced take on the classic Belgian witbier
Beavertown surprise no one by releasing yet another near-perfect can of beer – this time an India Stout
Chilli and plum collide with the dark lordly flavours of porter and the result is pyrotechnically perfect
They may only have been going since 2011, but Malton’s Brass Castle have already picked up a barrelload of gongs, including a SIBA regional award for Bad Kitty, their 5.5% dark porter. It pours an opaque black with subtle carbonation and a shallow, espressocrema. Get your nose in the glass and that vanilla makes its presence known. Take a sip and you’re into robust, sweet bonfire toffee, hints of burnt toast and a touch of port which gives way to a gentle nuttiness fading into a lasting dark chocolate finish. A good beer for important fireside conversations or to go with any Christmas cake you might still be eating in February. And doesn’t ‘Brass Castle’ sound brilliant when said in a Yorkshire accent? TenInchWheels / brasscastle.co.uk
It’s not just the little owl on the label that make Hitachino Nest beers so distinctive. Their aromas and flavours are often complex, nuanced and delicate: reminiscent of precision-brewed German Kölsch, Alt or Helles, but with exotic and flavourful panache of Asian fusion cuisine. Plus, you can buy this one in Waitrose now (of course). The White Ale, broadly a take on cloudy Beligan witbiers like Hoegaarden, is a soft pale gold beer with an aroma of baking bread, citrus and coriander. The first sip lays a foundation of cheesecake-base and sweet-yet-sour orange cream. Further tastes add layers of lemon zest, sweeter orange and spicy, tingling nutmeg, building to a spicy yet delicate finish. Chris Hall / kodawari.cc, jamesclay.co.uk
While the style pedants wrestle over whether this new release is a black IPA, a hoppy stout, or none of the above, you can get on with drinking it. The as-ever outstanding artwork, depicting a tropical-coloured beast lurking in the depths of a moonless night, is a fitting allegory indeed for this brightly hoppy and darkly decadent stout. The very thing for blasting out the cobwebs in the brittle beginning to the year, this roasty and round-bodied stout punches with crispy, chocolate-coated coffee beans on the left and resinous pine on the right, ending with a sticky, tropical fruit uppercut in the finish. It curiously combines some of the best aspects of Beavertown’s core beers, perfect for when you can’t make your mind up. Chris Hall / beavertownbrewwery.co.uk
Chillies and plums configured and cohabitating in the glass? Whatever has the world come to? Calm down, it’s only beer though this is a rather special beer from mid-Wales. It’s midnight-black, as dark as the night late in the stages of an old moon, with an intriguing nose of raw chopped chilli and milk chocolate (think mole sauce perhaps?). There’s chilli heat in the background of the beer with chocolate, mocha coffee, some hazelnut and the sweetness of ripe plum all of which combine to create an extravagantly flavoured beer that I reckon would face up to a plate of chilli dogs and cause fireworks in the mouth. Adrian Tierney-Jones / thewaenbrewery.co.uk
Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof LEIPZIGER GOSE (4.5 ) Salt in a beer?Innovative Yes indeed, especially a Leipziger Gose, one of the rarer beer styles of Germany Belgian rye beer from oneifofyou’re Bristol’s leading breweries This is the only Leipziger Gose that is brewed within the city limits of beautiful Leipzig, though you can also try Original Ritterguts Gose (brewed in nearby Chemnitz) at the bar Gosenschenke ‘Ohne Bedenken’ (apparently frequented by Putin). It’s over here now as James Clay have brought kegs in
this autumn, perhaps the first time this beer style has been available in these islands. It is cloudy and orange-yellow in the glass with a salty, delicately spicy, fresh ozone-like nose, which also has a suggestion of greengages. On the palate it is spicy, it’s a restrained spiciness, with the salt adding weight to
the mouth feel. There’s also a boiled lemon sweetness alongside a tart wheatiness, while the finish has more boiled lemon sweetness, with saltiness and spice of coriander. This is an exceptionally quenching and drinkable beer and to lock it into a style then think sour wheat beer. ATJ / bayerischer-bahnhof.de
Lacons EXTRA STOUT (4.5 )
Elgood’s Brewery COOLSHIP (6.7 )
Sharp’s Brewery ATLANTIC PALE (4.5 )
Wild Beer Co WILDERBEEST (11 )
Classic early 20th century Extra Stout given a contemporary makeover
An East Anglian lambic? And why not…
A juicy, tropically fruity character gives this pale ale a lustrous and luminous sheen
An introspective beer, a poem of a beer, an epic
This is part of Lacon’s Heritage Range and influenced by a 1916 recipe from the original Lacon’s (albeit with Centennial and Amarillo). It’s dark in the glass, somnolent even, with a crimson tide around its edges, topped by a slim collar of foam that colour-matches that usually found on top of the best espresso. Why not wave as waves of chocolate (not too sweet, perhaps a dusting of cocoa) and a sweet and skittish under-note of ripe plum pulp and blackcurrant join in with the aromatic fun. It’s a bittersweet mouthful, a sideshow of mocha and chocolate, nothing too overbearing, plus an inkling of orange, before it waves farewell with a desert-dry finish in which mirage-like notes of citrus orange and bitterness briefly shimmer. Adrian Tierney-Jones / lacons.co.uk
Good lord, an ancient family brewery on the edge of the Fens looks to the Pajottenland for inspiration. Elgood’s Coolship is a lambic-style beer that has surprised (and delighted) many – while everyone is producing IPAs Elgood’s have gone in a completely different direction. The nose of this copper-coloured beer is musty, reminiscent of mustard, has a hint of sherry and a soft grapefruit sweetness. It’s tart and softly acidic, and there’s a pleasing soft sweetness in the background. Here’s some Stilton with which the beer is a brilliant companion with the sharpness of the beer muting into fruitiness when meeting the salty creaminess of the cheese; an absolute symmetry in their relationship exists, all too reminiscent of Da Vinci’s Last Supper. Adrian Tierney-Jones / elgoods-brewery.co.uk
It’s Sharp’s and yes the shadow of Molson-Coors looms in the background, but I’m drinking the beer not the company. Since having my first bottle of it last year, I have fallen hard for this brisk, crisp pale ale, this delicious, lustrous and shining light of a beer. Its nose is juicy, its palate is juicy and this juiciness is playful and engaging, making it a beer you want to hang out with. It’s bittersweet, tropically fruity (mango) and a beer to drink lashings of, a beer to drink fresh, a beer I would love to drink straight from a tank. It’s the colour of bruised gold, or perhaps with Proust in my thoughts I recall the cellophane wrapping that used to encase, Shelob-like, bottles of Lucozade when I was a kid. A thoroughly modern pale ale that dares to speak its name. Adrian Tierney-Jones / sharpsbrewery.co.uk
Sometimes we need a beer for refreshment; a noisy beer, a look-at-me beer, the opening bars of the first movement of Mahler’s 6th kind of beer. There are other times when the desire for a solitary, contemplative glass of something equally introspective and thoughtful slides into the slipstream of the soul – a beer akin to a poem; something from Eliot, Heaney or Thomas perhaps? Wilderbeest is that kind of beer, a selfstyled Imperial Espresso Chocolate Vanilla Stout that is a creamily comforting, smoothly vanilla, hedonistically chocolaty and coffee-like alcoholic fantasia. This being Wild Beer Co there is also a version aged in a Burgundy Pinot Noir barrel. If you find one, do let me know. Adrian Tierney-Jones / wildbeerco.com
Beer TRAVELLER Beer traveller’s guide to...
Brighton’s place in the Beer Traveller’s series was never in doubt. It’s a thrilling city on the edge of the sea, known for a laissez-faire attitude to life since the Prince Regent discovered its waters. Today, it’s beer people go to discover. The Sussex brewery scene is thriving, and Brighton’s pubs reflect the best of beer.
BARS & PUBS
9. Prince Albert This is one of Brighton’s most interesting music venues – not something that normally goes hand in hand with great beer, but three Burning Sky casks were available when we visited and more guests on tap. It’s surprisingly cosy, welcoming and, just a great pub. 48 Trafalgar Street, BN1 4ED (01273 730499) / facebook.com/ThePrinceAlbert
1. The Basketmakers The Basketmakers is the only brewery-tied pub suggested here, but it’s one of Brighton’s lovliest pubs. There’s a very wide range of Fuller’s beers all immaculately kept, but it’s the venue that you go for. 12 Gloucester Road, North Laines (01273 689006) / basket-makers-brighton.co.uk
10. The Southover This is a classic neighbourhood pub, but with a particularly good selection of beer, such as Naked Beer Co and 360° when we visited. 58 Southover St, BN2 9UF (01273 601419) / southover.pub
2. Brighton Beer Dispensary An utterly essential stop in Brighton. This cosy pub is a joint venture between South London’s Late Knights Brewery and the Brighton Bier Co. There’s always a ‘light’ and ‘dark’ mystery tap on at a good price, plus an ever-changing selection of cask. Ciders are given almost equal billing. We go a lot. 38 Dean Street (01273 710624) / brightonbier.com
11. Black Dove Esoteric place this. And fantastic. Beer wise: Kernel Table Beer, Marble Beers from Manchester Lagonda IPAD or Dobber, on tap. A good selection of bottles too: Alchemy, Siren, Odells, but the place itself is a fabulous in its Victoriana, opium den style. A late night place to waste away the hours. 74 St James’s Street, Kemp Town (01273 671119) / blackdovebrighton.com
3. The Cow This Seven Dials pub aims firmly at the craft beer market – tapas, big burgers and craft beers – this is a US-style resto/pub. Alongside the regulars such as BrewDog and Brooklyn on tap, you’ll find a couple of kegged local beers (e.g. 360° and Firebird). 95/97 Dyke Road, Seven Dials (01273 772 370) / thecow.pub
4. Craft Beer Company The Brighton branch of the Craft Beer Co selects some local beers among the long range of taps serving the likes of Thornbridge. There are plenty of bottles to choose from too. Near Brighton Beer Dispensary. 22-23 Upper North Street (01273 723736) / thecraftbeerco.com 5. The Evening Star The most important pub in Brighton? This is Dark Star’s own pub, but also has a wonderful range of beers from around the county and country, including many one-offs and hard-to-find specials. 55-56 Surrey Street, nr train station (01273 328931) / darkstarbrewing.co.uk 6. The Hand in Hand This has long been a Brighton mecca for real ales and has been a brewery for donkey’s years. It’s now owned by the Brighton Bier Co who, despite moving to a larger premises, will keep great beers here. 33 Upper St James’s Street, Kemp Town (01273 699595) / brightonbier.com 7. The Hare & Hound This is a large pub in the up-and-coming stretch along London Road (The World’s End across the road is worth a visit too). It has Meantime ‘Brewery Fresh’ unfiltered beer on tap, plus plenty of other kegs, including some local ales. 75 London Road, BN1 4JF (01273 682839) / thehareandhounds.pub 8. The North Laine Brewery & Pub This expansive brewpub should be applauded for the great beer made on the premises (and distributed around The World’s End, and many other pubs in the Drink in Brighton chain). Our pick is the lager, and the American IPA but there’s a malty English IPA and a new Pale Ale. / drinkinbrighton.co.uk
12. Brighton Bier Company This fast-rising brewery is just about to move to a larger premises from the Hand-in-Hand brewpub in Kemp Town. The beers are pretty traditional with tasty twists and an emphasis on drinkability. Their Underdog Best Bitter, 4.2% is delicious as is their new range of 3.3% beers, from its Thirty Three series. Grab the South Coast IPA, 5.5% when it’s on too. / brightonbier.com 13. Dark Star Dark Star are a hugely important beer in the development of the beer world. Many credit Dark Star’s Hophead as the beer that changed their attitudes to beer. Today, they make superlative beers, often on cask. The best place to get them is the Evening Star, don’t miss it. / darkstarbrewing.co.uk TRY: Hophead (if you haven’t) Revelation (if not). 14. Downlands Brewery Brewing is full of characters, and Downland Brewery’s Widdie is one of them. Naturally his enthusiasm comes through in his flavoursome and uncompromising range of beers. They are available across Brighton (try the Wagon & Horses) and if it’s on, grab the WIPA West Indian Pale Ale, 6.5%, with Sorachi Ace, or the fabulous Devil’s Dyke porter, 5%. / downlandsbrewery.com
BOTTLE SHOPS 15. Trafalgar Wines Unassuming is how you’d describe the frontage, but inside is one of the south coast’s best selection of beers. For your specials, pick up your local Burning Sky Monolith bottles, your Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, Wild Beer’s Put it in Your Pipe. And alongside are beers from across the world: Bristol Beer Factory, Odells, Thornbridge, Westmalle. Our local. 23 Trafalgar Street, BN1 4EQ (01273 683325) /@trafalgarwines
16. Southover Wines In the Southover neighbourhood of Brighton is another off licenece quietly supplying a great range of beers. Last time we were there, we grabbed some rare beers from Siren. Southover Street (01273 600402)
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Published on Feb 13, 2015
Published on Feb 13, 2015
Welcome to the second issue of Original Gravity% This issue we'll be focussing on the rise of porter, beautiful beer labels and where now fo...