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15 issue

GOOD NEWS FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE GOOD BEER

F R EE

CRAFT BEER REAL ALES GOOD PUBS TASTING NOTES TRAVEL + other nice stuff

SIX STORIES SEEKING BEER'S PLACE IN OUR WORLD

THE PLACE ISSUE

IMPERIAL STOUTS / BEER SCHOOL / BURNING SKY / YOUR PICS


Photo: Mark Newton

Issue 15 | Contents

Cover illustration by Ciro Bicudo / cirobicudo.com Buy this print at originalgravitymag.com

The Mash /p04 • A sense of place /p10 Essay /p19 • Copenhagen /p21 • Tasting notes /p22 • Your round /p23

ROOTS OF YOUR BEER... ...and why it matters

Do you know where you are, do you know where you’re from, do you know where you are going? Three vital questions that people ask themselves time and time again as life rolls on, but when it comes to beer this triumvirate of brain-teasers is often forgotten. Beer can be made anywhere, it doesn’t matter if the beer that was born in that town is now made in that town 100 miles away. On the other hand there’s almost a mystical connection between a beer and its sense of place, which, let’s be honest, isn’t always essential to the beer (a recent conversation with one of this

issue’s contributors Boak and Bailey about the excellent quality of Young’s Ordinary, which has long gone from its London home, springs to mind), but it’s this mysticism, this sense of the other, this sense of beer being like an oak with its long tendrils of roots glued to the very earth where a tiny acorn once fell, is what our writers have tried to convey in this issue.

that beer does have a sense of place and also visits a brewery with its roots and beers firmly in the west Flemish countryside; Daniel Neilson rhapsodies over Wiper and True’s English Saison, which is also reviewed elsewhere; Emma Inch visits Brighton FC and drinks Harvey’s Sussex Bitter, perhaps the first beer that springs to mind when the South Downs hoves into view.

Roger Protz has done a Michael Parkinson and interviewed an IPA (born in London and grew up in Burton); Pete Brown argues

Elsewhere, Jessica Mason remembers her early exposure to the pub, and Copenhagen inspires its own sense of place. Beer

meets wine, barley wine goes beneath the microscope and we’ve got some cool beers reviewed to whet your thirst. Oh and a little bit of news — November 13 sees the launch of our new website, which will feature exclusive stories and features that won’t be in the printed edition and there’s a regular monthly newsletter, which I would highly recommend you sign up for, so mark 13/11 in your diary! Chin chin Adrian Tierney-Jones, Editor

ORIGINAL GRAVITY The Orval’s run out, what are you going to drink?

Contact daniel@originalgravitymag.com 01323 370430 Advertising originalgravitymag@gmail.com 01323 370430 Website: originalgravitymag.com Twitter: OGBeerMag Facebook: /originalgravitymag Instagram: ORIGINAL_GRAVITY Editor-at-large: Pete Brown Editor: Adrian Tierney-Jones Design & illustration: Adam McNaught-Davis Publisher: Daniel Neilson © 2017 Original Gravity is published by Don’t Look Down Media. All rights reserved. All material in this publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without the written permission of Don’t Look Down Media. Views expressed in Original Gravity are those of the respective contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publication nor its staff.

Pete Brown

Jessica Mason

Emma Inch

Roger Protz

Boak & Bailey

Pete Brown is an author, journalist and broadcaster specialising in food and drink, especially the fun parts like beer and cider. / petebrown.net

Jessica Mason is the Founder & Editor of Drinks Maven. She is an entrepreneur with a healthy interest in what we imbibe. / drinksmaven.com

A freelance beer writer, judge. She produces and presents Fermentation Beer & Brewing Show. / fermentation online.com

Roger Protz is one of the world's leading beer writers, lecturers and tasters. The award-winning author has written more than 20 books. / protzonbeer.co.uk

They write under the names Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey. They live in Bristol and have been running their blog about beer since 2007. / boakandbailey.com

Zinnebir from Brasserie de la Senne – how do they get it so fresh and drinkable at the same time? Beguiling.

Already looking in the fridge for De Halve Maan's Straffe Hendrik quad.

Half a pint of Gaviscon and hope for the best.

If the Orval has run out I will clamber up the rigging for an Adnams' Ghost Ship.

Pint-narf of Harvey's Sussex Best, then – the Orval of England.

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THE MASH

The ART OF BEER BURNING SKY

Burning Sky, in the folds of the East Sussex South Downs, produces world class beer and demonstrates a clear sense of where it was made. The evocative label artwork by Simon Gane similarly conveys this idea. We caught up with the illustrator to understand how the artwork is produced Is a sense of place important to your illustrations and that of the brewery? Massively so! It's always something I enjoy trying to capture, while sketching, drawing comics or designing brewery stuff. It lends itself well to beer, I think because it's a product so tied to certain regions and regional ingredients. It's funny you should ask because the next label will feature Firle, where Burning Sky is based. Whether I manage to capture it is another matter, but at least the beer will be good. How did you first meet Mark? We've been good friends since school. I won't say how long that is. His early homebrewing days never went unappreciated, but we've been working together on beer labels and pump clips since 2001 when he was at Dark Star. Did you find a style that fitted with the beer straight away? It took some back and forth. We knew we wanted a mix of traditional and new, and Mark was

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keen for these to feature my illustrations somehow. I was settled on the somewhat mid-20th century feel to the design elements pretty much immediately, but the logo itself was troublesome. It was based on an idea I'd quickly abandoned without showing Mark, but fortunately he noticed it on my computer when he was visiting. The benefits of a close working relationship there, as well Mark's own artistic eye! They've developed somewhat organically since then. Bringing in cut 'n' paste elements is a reflection of our fondness for punk rock, but also allows flexibility at the design stage. Aside from the logo and type style, they are often quite different from each other in terms of subject matter and colour scheme, but this is craft beer, not corporate beer. The Burning Sky guys run with their influences and passions, so it makes sense that the artwork should reflect that. How do you go about designing a label for a specific beer?  It usually starts with the beer. After discussing ideas with Mark, I'll do a rough version of the design so I can see what space I've got for the image

and take it from there. The Petite Saison label (pictured) probably took the most planning because you can't cover up a character's face like you can a haystack or similar background detail. The final images are inked with a brush, scanned and then coloured, always in the hope that Mark doesn't change the name to something longer! Where do you get your inspiration from for the Burning Sky labels? That's also led by the beer. You've got the Grand Place in Brussels on the Belgianinfluenced Gaston and the Victorian-style decoration on the Imperial Stout and so on. They've gradually encompassed more of my own influences and interests, from the design style to the imagery. Because Mark and I are pals, he's able to suggest things for the labels from other aspects of my work too. For example, the view on the Anniversaire label is based on a sketch, and the

cafe scenes are based on a comic series I once drew. What else do you illustrate for? Yeah, nerd alert: most of my time is spent drawing comic books. That's my day job, so to speak. At the moment, I'm working on They're Not Like Us, a monthly series published by Image Comics in the States, with a couple of other comic projects in the works too. Examples of these, along with process shots of Burning Sky work, can be found on my Instagram and Twitter accounts. / burningskybeer.com / T: @simongane / I: @simonjgane


THE MASH

The 6 PACK IMPERIAL STOUTS

Beer meets... WINE Well, this is an odd one, though given the creativity (and associated gimmicky) rife in the beer world, the idea of a beer with either wine grapes or grape must is not such a surprise. Originating in Italy (well that’s not a surprise either, given the fervent experimentation of some of its brewers), the official name is Italian Grape Ale and we like the idea of it so much that we’ve found three delightful examples for your pleasure.

/ Sharps/Camel Valley, Pilsner 2017 Reserve 6.6% The second outing for this collaboration between Sharp’s and Cornwall’s largest winery saw the beer aged on a bed of Saaz leaf hops for 40 days before it was bottle fermented with Camel Valley’s Champagne wine yeast. The result is smooth and seductive, with hints of fresh lemon and grass, all gossamer and filigree, leaving you wanting more. PB / sharpsbrewery.co.uk

Ladies and gentlemen, please stand, an imperial stout has just walked into the room, a beer of gravitas and history and heritage, a muscular beer with a heft and weight that would bode well if it ever wanted to work as a circus strongman or woman. This is a beer that is ideal for contemplation, a brewing deal struck with the devil perhaps, a beer that, like IPA, was thought to be buried in the archives of history 30 years ago, and again like IPA it has sprung back to life, with the vivacity of a desert flower after the rains. In the 19th century, it was oh so different, imperial stouts (perhaps masquerading under the name of Double or Extra

Stout) were a common part of many a brewery’s portfolio, strong and expansive sipping beers. Then after World War I had decimated the British brewing industry in more ways than one, they declined and by the 1980s Courage Russian Imperial Stout was near enough all on its lonesome. In 1998, five years after it was last brewed, the then owners of the brand, Scottish & Newcastle, announced the end of the beer – in 2011, the beer was brewed by Charles Wells of Bedford, and there have been several vintages brewed since, though at the time of writing the beer seems to have vanished off the radar. Mind you, elsewhere the imperial stout is a healthy monster, a

bold statement by many a brewery, large and small, throughout the world, in North and South America, in Europe, and of course in its British homeland, a demonstration that they’re not afraid of alcohol and heady dark malts. Though sometimes if you want an imperial stout you might find yourself flummoxed as I was during a recent trip to a Mikkeller bar in Copenhagen. I wanted was an imperial stout, but instead I was offered one fermented with Sahti yeast and another one that had cake mix and biscotti. I didn’t know whether to cry or raise a glass to such questionable ingenuity. The imperial stout has come a long way since its gaslit origins and I suspect it will keep on travelling. ATJ

/ Harvey’s Brewery, Imperial Extra Double Stout, 9% Brutal in its darkness, coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, figs and Demerara sugar, alongside an appetising roastiness and subtle hint of Brett.

/ Dark Star, Imperial Stout, 10.5% A boozy stew of dark plum and currant on the nose, alongside espresso and almond liqueur; coffee, chocolate, more dark fruit, a cosy creaminess and a slight hop bitterness round things off.

/ Saltaire Brewery, XS Imperial Stout, 8.9% Intense roastiness on the nose alongside a softer zephyr of chocolate, mocha and dark fruit; rich and roasty on the palate with a dry finish.

/ Brooklyn Brewery, Black Chocolate Stout, 10% If you want an alternative to Sambuca then this is it; it is spirituous, rich and mocha-like in a glass, Herculean in its reach on the palate, a destroyer of worlds and perfect for ageing.

/ Troubadour, Imperial Stout, 9% Roast barley reaches out from the glass, alongside an arch of mocha, chocolate and toffee; the same characters tread the boards of the palate, while the finish is bracingly bitter.

/ Wiper and True, Hard Shake, 10% Hard Shake is the 'imperial' version of Wiper and True's superb Milk Shake milk stout and is loaded with chocolate malts, vanilla and the addition of cacao nibs. It's sweetly smooth and willingly warming for winter nights.

/ Birra del Borgo, L’equilibrista, 10.9% Fine and elegant, softly sour and an ideal beer to dedicate yourself to for at least an hour, this amber-orange grape ale is a blend of 40% Sangiovese wine must with Borgo’s serene saison Duchessa. Time is a further ingredient, as once the beer gains the sanctuary of a bottle it spends a year in the tutelage of the Champenois method. ATJ / birradelborgo.it

/ Fyne Ales, Devine, 7.4% Thought to be the first authentic Italian Grape Ale brewed in the UK, this collaboration with Italian brewery Canediguerra uses grape must true to the official style, but on a British base of a strong and golden ale. The resulting beer is soft and rich and clearly with a punch of grape, but with an underlying bitterness. DN / fyneales.com

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THE MASH

The big PICTURE The Big Picture is a series that focuses on one single image. It doesn't have to be beautifully shot, but it tells a story. You’ll never see a brewer at Cantillon clean away the cobwebs. The lambic brewery in the middle of Brussels is a globally

Beer

BOOKS

renowned producer of classic lambics, a beer fermented in wide open vessels called coolships using whatever yeasts float in through the rafters. It is then aged in wooden barrels and their gueuze is a blend of one-year-old and three-year-old lambics, and there are lambics that have love-ins

20th Century Pub / Jessica Boak & Ray Bailey The authors’ Brew Britannia told the story of British beer’s comeback. Their latest book is a look at the many faces of the British pub in the 20th century, including pub improvement schemes, inter-war Brewers’ Tudor and the rise of the gastro A valuable, entertaining and anecdotal survey of a British institution. ATJ / The Homewood Press

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with raspberries and cherries. That’s where the spiders come in. Flies and insects love the sweet fruit used in the beer, and spiders love to eat flies and other insects. It’s a practical reason, yet, in this issue that celebrates a sense of place, the brewery — unkempt, earthy, dusty — is just as much

The Little Book of Craft Beer / Melissa Cole

Cole sets out her stall immediately in the first paragraph: ‘This is not a book for beer nerds.’ She’s not being rude, but honest in pointing out this is a book for those about to set out on their beer journey – so we have 100 great beers from around the world, written about in Cole’s characteristically chatty style. ATJ / Hardie Grant Books

a finely balanced ecosystem designed to create beer as an immaculately sanitised brewery engorged with stainless steel. The cobwebs are a tiny part of a grander picture that makes Cantillon what it is. This is a beer that couldn't be made anywhere else. DN

The Yorkshire Beer Bible / Simon Jenkins

Subtitled A drinker’s guide to the brewers, beers and pubs of God’s own country, this is a well-researched journey through the highways and byways of Yorkshire beer and brewing by a Leeds-based writer whose pub column has been appearing in the Yorkshire Evening Post since 1992. ATJ / Great Northern Books


THE MASH

The Q&A

Georgina Young, Head Brewer, Fullers There’s been brewing on this site since the 17th century (though brewing took place at Bedford House in the late 16th century), it’s a historic site, a brewery rooted in its place, do you ever feel a sense of kinship with what went before, how do you feel about the link with those who have made beer down the centuries? I think the way that we have brewed beer has been passed down. If you look at the old mash tuns and copper. We are connected to the previous generation of brewers here. We promote from within, having just become the head brewer. Passing down of the baton is normal here. If London Pride was just one moment in London, what would it be? It would be the Olympics. We were so proud to be Londoners, winning lots of gold. We took the world by storm and it was a really amazing day. It was an iconic moment.

Do you dream about brewing and beer or do you manage to switch off when leaving the brewery? I don’t think as a brewer you ever switch off. One of the wonderful things is that you can do your job even when out with your friends. Inspiration comes from all sorts of unusual places. What did you feel on your first day as Fuller’s head brewer? We had a lovely evening when John Keeling announced I was going to be the next head brewer. I’m usually quite chatty, but I was actually lost for words. It was quite emotional and I’m extremely proud to have the title. We want to maintain quality as well as making new and exciting beers. What can we expect from you and Fuller’s in the future, what kind of beers, projects, inspirations and aspirations?

Anatomy of... BARLEY WINE A barley wine is a contemplative beer, the kind of beer that you pour out in small measures, a beer that has rich fruity overtones, luscious maltiness and a fiery booziness. It’s usually dark amber in colour, but there are also pale barley wines, and it’s strong enough to make a cat speak. Because of its strength it has always been a

STRENGTH Some start at the relatively light strength of 7.5%, while others stretch out their limbs towards 12 or 13%. So far no one has claimed a session barley wine.

minority pursuit, but sustained study of its attributes reveals a beautiful beer that could be seen as the height of the brewer’s art. British brewers got there first but now barley wine is produced all over the world with North American riffs on the style invariably more hop forward. Drink deeply and study hard this style. ATJ

AKA Some would say that barley wine is also interchangeable with a Burton ale or even an old ale. Best to keep things simple though.

FOOD

FLAVOUR Lush is the word you might be looking for on the first sip, with rich notes of dark or dried fruit, smooth chocolate, caramel, vanilla and occasionally a bracing bitterness.

It’s an end-of-dinner drink so eschew the port for the barley wine, especially if it’s accompanied by a slab of creamy, pungent Stilton — that way heaven lies.

APPEARANCE Dark mysterious amber or a well-polished mahogany though some barley wines can also be reddish gold in colour. Dive in to an enticing tan-coloured head of foam.

WHERE TO DRINK Because of its strength it’s either a seasonal or brewed intermittently. Scour your local bottle shop

HISTORY ‘The barley wine of the English Rhine’ was a slogan used by a brewery in the 1880s, though it wasn’t until the early 1900s after Bass’ No1 Burton Ale was called a barley wine that it was more commonly used.

WEIRD FACT British barley wine drinkers used to call the style a ‘sitting down beer’, because they had less distance to fall if they’d imbibed too deeply of it. Honest.

We’re doing an exciting collaboration project with a range of different beers that will be in a mixed pack in Waitrose. We were in touch with some of our friends and we’re brewing a lager with Fourpure, New England IPA with Cloudwater, ESB with Moor in Bristol, a saison with Marble, a rye ale with Thornbridge and a smoked porter with Hardknott. I haven't created any of the recipes, instead, we paired each of our six brewers with six breweries and they have brewed a beer. What’s been lovely is seeing how my team have blossomed with the project. I've also been busy with preparing to install a ten-barrel pilot brewery. It will enable us to try out new malts, new hop varieties, different yeast strains and be a bit more adventurous with our beer styles. / fullers.co.uk

THREE OF THE BEST

/ Cameron's, Where the Buffalo Roam, 11.2% Time well spent in bourbon barrels gives this Canadian barley wine a sleek and warming character with delicate waves of vanilla, dried fruit and rich malt. / Arbor, Barley Davidson, 9.7% Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic combine with nine months of barrel ageing to create a luscious and potent, fruity and caramel-smooth palate-pleaser. / Harvey’s, Christmas Ale, 7.5% If you left this burnished mahogany hued and richly malty beauty out for Santa on Christmas Eve he’d be reluctant to leave and demand more.

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THE MASH

Back to SCHOOL Love beer? Learn to brew

Grow your own... BEER Beer sommelier and advocate Ben Richards reports on the latest instalment of his unique project

wort with a variety of hop and ethanol mixtures to create an environment that will hopefully encourage a useful culture.

If there is one thing I've learnt this year, it's to never rely on the British weather. An intensely wet and windy July and August caused continual problems as I approached the barley harvest, gradually damaging more and more of the crop. It got so bad that by the end of a summer that has been particularly bad for organic barley growers, less than half of mine was still standing, the majority of it lying damp and lifeless on the soil.

It's all getting a bit tense as I draw close to the final brew, especially as the weekly podcast is close to being launched as I write. Search for Growing Beer in iTunes to download and subscribe, or you can listen on growingbeer.co.uk.

It was with great relief then that I gathered, hand-threshed and winnowed the grains, and now I eagerly await the results of initial tests to make sure that the barley is good enough to malt and brew with. I still don't know exactly how much I'll be able to brew, but I'm just happy to have reached the harvest with something to show for the year so far.

It’s a long harboured dream for many beer lovers: starting a brewery. And very many have. That there are only a couple of schools in the country seems remarkable in this fastmoving vortex of an industry. Bristol Brewery School is the latest to open, and it has done so with a unique proposition: run the class in a working brewery, the New Bristol Brewery founded by head brewer Noel James. Learn, watch, help, make. I join the first day of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling General Brewing course. It’s one of the most in-depth workshops they organise, running for five days. At the end, most people will sit the exam and get the certificate. Over coffee, I learn the diverse reasons for attending. Some are already brewing commercially and want to get the qualification, some are avid homebrewers with a glint in their eye, another is thinking about a brewery for his pub and one guy has come from Brazil for the course.

equations but, when explained by Jonny, it makes sense. A full range of malts are brought out and equipment in the brewery pointed out. A nice lunch, back into the class room followed by a well earned pint.  This is just one of many courses on offer from a couple of hours on off-flavours or style tastings to a day-long crash course in sour beer or three days about craft brewing. And did we come away with the idea for starting a brewery? Watch this space…  / bristolbreweryschool.co.uk

The hops have been less of a worry, and as I prepare to pick them it's clear that there will be more than enough. It's been a good year for hops, and although my Goldings and Perle varieties have barely done anything, the Fuggles and Cascade have provided a bumper crop. All that's left to do is hand pick each cone, dry them out and compress them down before freezing as I wait to see how long it will take to malt the barley. The yeast is still proving tricky — I've found two strains but neither are quite what I need. I'm going all out this month, as I gather samples from fruits, flowers and insects, while also putting out unfermented

After coffee and croissants we start the class, led by Jonny Mills, a biochemist and brewer at Mills Brewery. The thump of a book lands on the desk, along with some materials. It’s a daunting looking book with diagrams and

NE WS

The winners of The Beer and Cider Marketing Awards 2017 were announced at a packed Old Truman Brewery in London on September 21 2017. The awards, in their third year, recognise the very best in beer and cider marketing and were boosted by a record number of entries and attendees on the night. The big winner of the night was Camden Town Brewer which won Best Beer Marketing of the Year, Best Branding/Design and Best

Event, as well as the Grand Prix 2017. There were also gongs for Brewgooder, Shepherd Neame and Edinburgh Beer Factory. The chairman of judges and co-founder of the Awards, Pete Brown, said: “What a year! The introduction of cider to this year’s awards made the judging process even more fascinating than usual. There was some truly great enteries across the board, but our

winners delivered a masterclass in assured brand building with genuine passion for beer and cider at its heart.” See bestofbeerandcider. com for full list of winners. • For a full, twice-monthly round up of all the news, views and idle gossip from the beer world sign up to a lovely new newsletter at originalgravitymag.com from November 13.

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F E AT U R E

KNOW YOUR PLACE Should beer have a sense of place? Pete Brown kicks off a series of articles celebrating those that do

B

eer’s easy accessibility and unpretentiousness are some of its most appealing aspects. But this down-to-earth nature sometimes causes suspicion of any attempt to make beer sophisticated or classy. Take the on-going debate about the ‘Thirteen quid pint’: non-beer drinkers and many beer fans are united by a belief that no beer, no matter how it was made or how strong it is, can ever be worth that much because it’s ‘just beer’. Another sticky topic is that of terroir, the French term used by the wine industry to argue that a particular combination of climate, aspect and soil type creates conditions in certain places that give their character to the fruit grown and wine made there. Can beer have terroir? Again, winemakers would argue beer is not sophisticated enough to demonstrate it, while some beer drinkers might dismiss terroir as poncey. An additional problem is that beer can be made anywhere: a brewer might buy hops from Washington State and malt grown in Norfolk and still call herself a local brewer, whether she’s in Manchester or Melbourne. But the truth is that beer has always been tied to a sense of place.

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It can be helpful to adopt a close English approximation of terroir, and refer to it as ‘land taste’. This concept is just as important to hops and barley as it is to grapes. How could it not be? Take hops from one area and plant them in another, and their characteristics will change. The citrusy, tropical fruit, dank and piney hops we love from North America are the descendants of earthy, spicy English styles such as Fuggles and Goldings. Bring some Cascade hops back from the States and plant them in Kent, and they’ll take on some of the characteristics of their ancestors.

Beer may be simple but it's four times more complex then wine Norfolk is the best barley growing region in the country because of its light sandy soil, and the cool sea mists that blow in and keep the fields cooler and moister than they should be in high summer, allowing the grain to ripen for longer.

Yeast, invisible in the air around us, goes through thousands of generations for every one of ours, and evolves rapidly to suit its environment. The wild yeasts of the Senne valley create Lambic beers at breweries such as Cantillon, while brewers like Verzet and Rodenbach have their own cultures up the road in West Flanders, creating Flemish red ales. But perhaps the beer ingredient which has the greatest land taste is the one that’s least thought about. When water falls as rain, it’s more or less pure. As it seeps through the ground, ions from the minerals in the earth dissolve into it. It becomes hard or remains soft. It may become acidic or alkaline. When it’s taken from a spring or well, it’s literally full of ‘land taste’, and these attributes have myriad different effects on beer. The Czech Republic evolved into a lager brewing country because its soft water is perfect for that style, whereas London pale ale brewers of the 19th century had to set up satellite breweries in Burton-uponTrent because those beers simply weren’t as good brewed anywhere else. Today, any pale ale or IPA brewer will ‘burtonise’ their water to recreate the town’s unique sulphate cocktail. Beer may be simple. But it’s also four times more complex than wine. Pete's Miracle Brew (Unbound Press, £9.99) is now available.


F E AT U R E

ROGER PROTZ GOES ALL PARKY AND INVITES THE GREATEST BEER STYLE OF THEM ALL AROUND FOR A COSY CHAT How did you become an IPA? I was minding my own business in the East End of London early in the 19th century, quietly maturing as an October Beer, when a geezer at Bow Bridge called Hodgson decided to send me on a long sea voyage to India. Why on earth send a beer to India? Because the posh nobs known as the Raj, who were running India for King and Empire, wanted a more refreshing beer than the milds and porters sent to the squaddies. I was pale and interesting and packed full of hops and survived the long journey in sparkling form. How did your life change? I became world famous! My name changed from October Beer to India Ale or India Pale Ale. Would you Adam and Eve it, but brewers from Austria and Germany came to England to see how I was made and went home to develop golden lager. So did you stay in London? No, I was packed off to Burton-uponTrent where the magic waters there made an even better beer. Brewers like Allsopp and Bass sold squillions of barrels of IPA. By the end of the 19th century, Bass was the biggest brewer in the world.

Roger Protz’s IPA: A Legend In Our Time (Pavilion, £20) now available

What would have been your happiest times as an IPA? Being sent all round the globe – not just India but Australia, New Zealand and even the United States where I won prizes at big beer competitions. Bass in bottle became the first truly global beer.

So where did it all go wrong? In the First World War, the government jacked up the duty on beer so much that IPA was reduced in strength: I became a pale shadow of my former self. And maturing beer for several months went out of fashion: brewers built large pub estates and wanted to sell beer that only took a short time to reach a drinkable condition. Mark Twain said rumours of his death had been greatly exaggerated. Did you die out completely? A few brave souls went on brewing IPA but it took the craft beer revolutions in both the US and UK to restore me to full health again. Drinkers were looking for pale and hoppy beers and I fitted the bill. IPAs have taken off in a big way. I’m the most popular beer style among craft beers in the US now (not that I’m boasting about it). Did you meet other IPAs along the way – did you socialise? I’m a sociable fellow, a good bloke to sit down for a sup and chat. There are now versions of me being brewed in such unlikely places as China, Japan, Italy, Belgium and Scandinavia. There are even Black IPAs – but I give them a dirty look and ask the brewers “Which word in India Pale Ale do you not understand?” Coca-Cola taught the world to sing. What would you like to do? Teach people to learn about the history of great beer styles and to appreciate beer made with passion and a shedload of hops. I’m modest, I am.

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F E AT U R E

The pour saisons DANIEL NEILSON TALKS YEAST, SAISON AND PLACE WITH WIPER AND TRUE

T

he rain hammers down on the Bristol pavements as the early evening traffic stop-starts through St Werburghs. Through the always-open door of Wiper and True’s brewery, owner Michael Wiper is holding a tasting panel of some barrel-aged beers. Silky dark beers, punctured with a spike of whatever was in the barrel, are passed around. But I’m not here to talk barrel-ageing, I’m here to talk Yorkshire, Yorkshire Square to be precise. A Yorkshire Square is a brewing method still widely used, but it’s also a commonly used yeast in the county. Wiper and True used this yeast in their recent beer Yorkshire Square (see p22). It’s an all English brew — the hops, the malt, the yeast — yet on the side of the bottle there is an incongruous word: saison. Belgium’s farmhouse ale, full of spice and fruity notes, couldn’t be further away from the brews of Yorkshire, could it? It could. That Wiper and True has made a beer using 100% English ingredients that tastes exactly like a saison wasn’t a happy accident. In fact it was part of a subtle shift in focus at the brewery: British beers, beers of a place, beers that couldn’t be made anywhere else. Perhaps because of the ingredients, perhaps because of the knowledge, perhaps because of the culture. You can make a mild in the United States with all English ingredients, but it’s not going to taste the same in a bar with the Green Bay Packers

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on the TV. What brought about this change of focus? “There’s been a phenomenal rate of change in the industry, and, as we exported more, I began to look back at our own scene through a different lens,” Michael tells me. “I noticed the respect for British beer and brewing culture abroad. People talk to you about that history and I started wondering to myself who was making the best examples of porters, stouts, stock ales and strong ales, and which breweries would you go to in the UK? I drew a bit of a blank.”  Michael recalls searching Ratebeer and finding that of the top 50 beers, all but five were British styles. But of those, only one was made by a British brewer and that was Norfolk’s Old Chimneys Good King Henry’s imperial stout. Some of the best examples of British styles were being made in the States. For example, the last stock ale, the first actually I had, was by Goose Island (Devon’s Teignworthy Brewery made one several times around about 2000-2 — Ed).   “It renewed our interest in old brewing heritage and styles. We started talking about it here and amidst the context of experimentation for the sake of experimentation — it was exciting but it’s not a USP any more. We started asking what value we were adding to it and decided we were more interested in refinement. We’re starting to become familiar with British yeasts and styles, and we want to tap into the wealth of experience and culture that we have around us. But we’re not interested in simply making historical beers. For example, we started to thinking about brewing with

Daniel's Wild Pub Walks (CAMRA Books, £11.99) is now available.

Brettanomyces, which would been in beers that were made historically, but they feel modern.” Yet Michael is quick to point out that many of Wiper and True’s favourite beers won’t fall out of production. An IPA with New Zealand hops is still an IPA. Berliner Weisse perhaps will fall out of the range, but the one Michael was most upset about was the Belgian saison which he considers one of the brewery’s most accomplished beers. It was this that led him to make a call to yeast supplier WhiteLabs and ask for a British yeast that could taste like a saison. He got a call from the R&D department from a guy who had noticed that Yorkshire Square’s DNA resembled some of that of a saison. They’d never brewed with it, but sent some along. Wiper and True pushed the fermentation temperature and what came out was very much like a saison. A delicious beer, but far from being a novelty, for me it marks a subtle shift in focus from many breweries at the moment: one that takes a glance at what British ingredients, when pushed, can do to a beer. And that’s how this issue came about: beers with a sense of place.


F E AT U R E

Job security NOW EMBEDDED IN BRISTOL, JESSICA BOAK & RAY BAILEY LOOK BACK TO CORNWALL AND THE PART PROPER JOB PLAYED IN THEIR LIVES

S

ix years living in Penzance, not far from Land’s End, changed us in odd ways. We became preoccupied with the tide because it affected our daily lives. For the first time we also became aware of ‘visibility’ as an aspect of weather – could we see the Lizard, or not? We began to think in terms of in- and out-ofseason – gridlock in August, tumbleweed from October to May. And most importantly it made us choose a single beer and really get to know it. Cornwall is a wonderful place but is not the easiest place to be a promiscuous beer drinker. The supplies of exotic guest ales and weird craft beers dwindle after Bristol and it isn’t unusual to go into several pubs and find only the same three cask ales: Sharp’s Doom Bar, St Austell Tribute and Skinner’s Betty Stogs. A huge number of pubs are owned by St Austell, one of the last of those regional dominators, and sell only its products. Fortunately, we like St Austell’s beer, and one in particular: Proper Job IPA. Head brewer Roger Ryman has spoken before of how Proper Job began life as a clone of Bridgport IPA, from Portland, Oregon, a 1990s classic. After many years and many tweaks the cask version has ended up with US-style hop character but just about UK-style sessionable at 4.5% ABV.

Our favourite place to drink it, several pints at a time, several times a week, all year round, was the Yacht Inn in Penzance – a stunning streamline Art Deco pub in dazzling white, echoing the nearby Jubilee Pool. The interior, sadly, had less of the Riviera about it but was cosy enough and importantly had a buzz all year round. Even more vitally, the beer was invariably excellent.

Proper Job was always served, as it often is across Cornwall, with a strange bit of voodoo

the cask had gone on sale and other local variables. Then, every six months or once a year, something would change at a more fundamental level, as if the beer had been digitally remastered. This, we always assumed, was to do with the ebb and flow of supplies of hops – a highly seasonal, temperamental ingredient – in the vast chilled store room at the brewery. Not only did we never get bored of Proper Job, we became more enamoured with each pint. Now, in Bristol, we’ve found a regular supply, and it’s great, but not the same. We don’t know which beer will come to define the experience of living here – perhaps Butcombe Bitter, or something from Bristol Beer Factory, or Moor – but we’ll find it, and we’ll drink enough of it that we get to know its tides and seasons, too. Boak & Bailey's 20th Century Pub is now available.

Proper Job was always served, as it often is across Cornwall, with a strange bit of voodoo: the first half with a sparkler on the tap, the second half without, or vice versa. ‘It’s a bit lively, this one,’ the bar staff would say, as if for the millionth time. Never less than good, on every other session Proper Job at the Yacht would be positively holy, depending on when

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F E AT U R E

Flemish masters PETE BROWN JAMS WITH VERZET, A YOUNG FLEMISH BREWERY WITH THEIR ROOTS FIRMLY PLANTED IN THEIR HOME REGION

V

erzet is a brewery that was built in reverse.

When its three founders – Alex Lippens, Koen Van Lancker and Joran Van Ginderachter – decided to move from home-brewing and cuckoo brewing to their own space in 2016, the first thing they set up was the barrel-ageing room. After that, they bought a labeller and bottling line, and then, finally, the brewhouse itself. “That’s the least important bit — you can do that anywhere,” says brewer Alex. “We invested in what’s important to our identity.” Verzet sits on the outskirts of Anzegem, West Flanders. Just up the road in the town of Roselare, Rodenbach’s famous Flemish red ales sleep in beautiful giant wooden vats, slowly evolving their sharp, ascetic tang. It’s to here that the three young co-founders of Verzet looked when they started brewing in 2012. At that time, it seemed every new Belgian

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brewery wanted to create IPAs with American hops. “We want to make our own beer, not something just because it’s trendy,” says Alex. “Kettle sours are never gonna happen here.” Staying true to yourself means staying true to the area. This part of Belgium is famous for Flemish Red and Oud Bruin beers, both of which acquire their sourness from their slumber in oak or stainless steel. Rodenbach may be the superstar, but the style is widespread. And, it seems, it’s a product specifically of the region it’s brewed in. “We didn’t want to just copy Rodenbach,” says Alex. “So we got our yeast from the first 200 litres I made at home. I collected it from the air outside my house. We got lucky. We cultured it, and added some to five barrels of wort to keep it healthy. It’s a unique culture, a unique species. I’m just worried now that it might narrow down as it evolves.” Each part of the brewery has its own alluring smell. The brewhouse is full of rich, honeyish malt — “here in Oudenaarde, Oud Bruin is made with wort boiled for 24 hours. We add water back in, but the reactions give you melanoidin – those rich biscuity flavours, a new colour

in the palate”. The cold room is swoonsome with hops (English, not American). While the barrel room is redolent of a complex incense Alex describes as “Granny’s cellar”. “We aim to age our Oud Bruin and Flemish Reds for at least a year,” says Alex. This is obviously the part that gets the brewers out of bed in the morning. In the middle of the room stand huge red wine foudres, and around the walls wooden barrels sit in rows, each marked with the date it was filled, and the name of one of the brewers’ favourite musicians. Thom Yorke is here, as is Bruce Dickinson. We linger on Chuck Berry, who died just days before my visit. To his right sit Amy Winehouse, 2Pac and Freddie Mercury. This makes me worry for Keith Richards, next in line on the left. “We love our music, and in some ways we’re like musicians,” says Alex. “We have our idols, but we don’t want to be a covers band. We want to make our own musi." Pete's Miracle Brew (Unbound Press, £9.99) is now available.


F E AT U R E

Brighton rocks IT’S A GAME OF TWO PINTS AS EMMA INCH WATCHES BRIGHTON’S DEBUT PREMIERSHIP MATCH AT A STADIUM WHERE HARVEY’S CASK RULES

I

t takes around 30 years for the water used in Harvey’s beer to filter through the South Downs chalk to the well beneath the brewery. So, the pre-match pints gulped ahead of Brighton and Hove Albion’s debut Premiership clash, might have been brewed with the self-same water that clagged the

Listen to Emma's podcast Fermentation Beer & Brewing Show on Radio Reverb now

mud to the boots of those players who, in 1983, crashed out of the old First Division. But a lot of rain has fallen since and, as the crowds gather, the scoresheet is blank once more. In the shadow of the Amex Stadium, I meet Harvey’s Bob Trimm who tells me that, as far as he’s aware, this is the only club in the Premiership with cask beer on draught at every match. The Albion is certainly amongst only a handful of teams in the Premiership to serve cask beer and it seems that the fans want it: last season sales of Harvey’s reached 9000 pints at some matches — and with the addition of kegged beer this season, that’s likely to increase — making the Amex one of the biggest cask beer outlets in the world. Harvey’s most famous beer, their Sussex Best Bitter, was first brewed in the mid-1950s, at a time when footballers arrived at English grounds after putting in a full Saturday morning at work, and didn’t think twice about training in lead-weighted boots or playing on in goal with a broken neck. And it’s from this cloth that Harvey’s Best is cut.

In the now corporate world of English football, where the opposition team’s full-backs are worth more than the cost of the barely six-year-old Amex, an ale like this might seem anachronistic. But, as Bob explains, “It’s a perfect synergy between the local football club and the local brewery.” And it is. Harvey’s Best is a toffee-rich, uncompromising, stubborn kind of pint that brings together the copper and wood of the brewery with the leather and turf of the pitch. It holds a brief promise of funk from the famous Harvey’s yeast, along with the fruitsweetness that marks the start of the English football season with overripe plums and russet apples, suggestive of snug scarves, conkers on strings and the fast-approaching, dark-by-teatime chill that accompanies the football results on television. The club and the beer inspire the same loyalty, and it is testament to the fans that they are both here, belonging together, in this patch of English countryside, between the sea and the Downs. As the match ends, I can still feel the cool bulb of a rushed half-time pint in my gut, and there’s just enough sweetness left on my lips to catch the salt from the breeze. Sadly, of course, Albion lose two nil. But, as the final whistle blows, Bob turns to me and says, “Well, it can only get better.” And, negotiating that dance between emotion and rationality that fans of English beer and football both share, we head for another pint of Best, and I am convinced that he is right.

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P H O T O E S S AY

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P H O T O E S S AY

HONOURING THE BREWERIES OF GOD'S OWN COUNTRY Beer Yorkshire is an exciting photography book from Mark Newton and beer magazine Hop & Barley. We spoke to the photographer Mark Newton about the project "With the beer scene in the UK constantly changing, I thought it would be the perfect time to create a photographic study of where the industry is at the moment. With new breweries and bars starting up, and older businesses adapting to the new landscape, I wanted to create a snapshot of where Yorkshire is right now. I’ve lived in and around Leeds for about 15 years and the availability of good beer has changed so much. We’ve got classic real ale pubs and breweries, as well as those pushing the boundaries, and I really wanted to celebrate this variety by capturing a wide selection of portraits and storytelling images of the scene. Beer Yorkshire started as a personal project, a way for me to take a different approach to my normal photography work, but after a range of exhibitions I thought it needed to be continued and expanded. So from breweries to bottle shops, festival to farmers I’ve aimed to capture the fiercely independent people who make the beer scene what it is today. "I’ve shot over 85 different businesses for the project; ranging from breweries, bars, bottleshop, designers, farmers, maltsters and more. This way the book will really cover all of those people that are involved in the scene and tell a little of their story through some beautiful photography. "Publishing the book was always going to be a challenge, so partnering with the guys from Hop & Barley has meant that I know the end product will be a beautiful, carefully designed coffee table book. They have been able to bring a fresh eye to the project and really helped to pull out the best images that showcase the scene. "To ensure we can create a high quality coffee table style book we’re currently running a kickstarter campaign which finishes on November 11. As long as we reach the target we’re aiming to have the book out before Christmas, so it would make a perfect present! It will be printed and bound in Yorkshire by Pressison, using G F Smith paper. There will also be forewords from Leigh Linley and Daniel Tapper." Find out more about the project and see more imagery at kickstarter.beeryorkshire.com

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WE BROUGHT THE CLASSROOM TO THE BREWERY

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S H O RT S

MILKMAN WALKS INTO A PUB By Jessica Mason Jessica Mason remembers the very first moments of pub life in the company of her milkman Dad I was four when my mum married the milkman. And we called him Dad, because, back then, he was the closest thing we had to one. I’d wake up at 5am to the scent of the full English breakfast he was cooking. And I’d beg him to take me out with him on his rounds. He obliged. And I readied myself with layers, a bobble hat and fingerless gloves. There were all sorts of different homes, families and properties on the round and yet I longed to know about all of the people who lived within them. There were mansions, there were caravans, there were homes for the elderly, there were semidetached mock Tudors, council estates and tower blocks. According to Dad, they were all the same, really. At each address there were people living who all needed the same thing: milk. I asked him if everyone got along, or if the rich people only hung out together and he shook his head and laughed at me. That’s when he took me to the pub. It was in The Plough Inn to be exact, halfway along the local estate. We had stopped in to cash-up and I matched his pint of ale with a St Clements and a bag of crisps. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply and smelt all the pub scents – the beer and the brass, the fire and the carpet and the blackboard chalk. And I listened too – to the chatter and the thud of arrows into felt, or the clink of glasses and the knock of the cue ball’s break.

I opened my eyes. The fire danced to the snores of a nearby dog. I looked at what was in the glasses dotted around and realised that the man who owned the house fronted with the electric gates and stone gargoyles was drinking the same as Dad. That’s the social equality of beer. It doesn’t discriminate. The pub, as I understood it, was a place where everyone was welcome and fitted in, whatever their story or however wet from the rain they were. The pub could revive smiles, even on the worst of days. And on the best of days, Christmas Day in fact, Dad and I would take ourselves off to the pub to ‘get out of the way’ while lunch was being prepared. He’d have a swift pint and we’d clink glasses with strangers. Every picture on the wall was adorned with tinsel, managing to muddle both the kitsch with the wonderful. And we’d play darts and chat. Every face would smile back. And, for whatever reason each person was there, whiling away the hours on that particular day, it really didn’t matter. Everyone shared one thing: in the pub, those hours were our own. I often get asked why I like beer and pubs so much. And I want to tell the story about the girl who was up before the urban foxes trying so desperately to learn about life. And, instead, thanks to pubs, learned about people, equality, the subtleties of ambience and the things that matter.

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Photos: Clockwise from top left - René Roslev; Maja Tini Jensen; Mikkeller; Mikkeller; Adrian Lazar

BEER

T R AV E L L E R

Copenhagen By Adrian Tierney-Jones

Ace of Spades is being played so loud that it almost sounds palatable. Away goes Lemmy with the chorus line as the guitars try to re-enact what I imagine could be World War 3. As if in sympathy with the aural brutality crashing through the air, the paint-stripped wooden tables and chairs have a similar sense of heavy metal doggedness. Funnily enough though, this crashing of sonic waves on far away shores is great fun – after all I’m in Copenhagen, whose zen-like calmness can make the most horrific of sounds sunny and serene. Welcome to Warpigs, a Mikkeller-linked bar whose beers have achieved a somewhat stellar reputation in craft hotspots around the world. Naturally, I have an IPA, whose name completely escapes me and it’s turbid in the glass, unseeing, orange and glowing, and as fruity as a lovelorn vicar channelling Leslie Phillips. I rather like it, even though I’m still not sure what its name is, which then lets me travel down a totally different wormhole: do we need to know the name of a beer that we have drunk and enjoyed? Probably not, but I should have been more attentive as I am sure I will be back in Copenhagen. Come to Copenhagen, come to Carlsberg came the invitation. Come to Copenhagen, come to see how Carlsberg is weathering and feathering itself as the craft beer storm rages outside in the world would have been a better choice of words. Over a day and a half, the talks, the lectures, the tastings for journalists from all over the world all pointed towards a realisation, we were told, that the way

Carlsberg has been going about things was not the right way (whatever that meant). And meanwhile out beyond the elephant gates this craft beer storm is perfectly realised in Copenhagen as I continue to explore. Fermentoren, just around the corner from Warpigs, was a happy accident, where I immediately felt at home. The interior was all wood and gleaming taps, while candles in 750ml beer bottles glittered on the tables and slow and low blues played in the background. Music posters dotted the walls, once again a reminder of the rockbased background of the craft beer crowd, which made me think that this is why people have been drawn to the whole aesthetic – like rock music, it’s an attitude, a pose, a breaking out of the beers of our forefathers. Perhaps? Meanwhile, my reverie was interrupted by American voices (male and female) asking for tasters; one woman declaimed with judicial authority, ‘I like Belgian ale’. Two friends at the other end of the bar toasted life with stemmed glasses gloweringly full with what I imagined a strong dark beer, perhaps Prairie Paradise, an imperial stout infused with coconut and vanilla and brewed in Tulsa (I’ll be returning to the subject of imperial stouts later on). There are 24 taps, with one for cider, Sheppy’s of Taunton, which means that there’s a little bit of Somerset in this bar. The rest are beer, a compendium of what’s upfront and urgent in today’s beer world (one look at the list and you can imagine

the shivers running down the collective spine of Carlsberg). Boon, Dupont, Fourpure, Beavertown, Crooked Stave, De Dolle, I mouth their names as if in prayer, alongside beers from Dry & Bitter who also produce Fermentorem’s house beer Dad Joke. This is a self-proclaimed brown ale whose roastiness is reminiscent of a good coffee, alongside a chime of fruitiness. I asked for a glass of Dry & Bitter’s Dank & Juicy, which yes was an IPA, juicy and lustrous in the glass, a whisper of West Coast-style allium alongside berry jam on the nose, a restrained bitterness and a fullbodied sway on the palate. It was rather pertinent in the way it perked up my palate and yes it was hazy and yes it could have passed for fruit juice in the candle light, but it was one of my IPA highlights of the summer (tellingly, the other one was from Berlin’s Heidenpeters). There’s an inclusivity to going out in Copenhagen, a feeling that you’re part of something bigger than yourself, though it’s not a banging of the tambourine, we-are-all-methodists kind of joining in. Neither is it the I’m-cooler-thanyou sharp-elbowed elitism that you can discern in London – it’s more of a, let’s say, and I apologise for using the word again, a zen-like calmness. Even though Ace of Spades might be roaring away in the background, there’s no panic, no sense of what’s missing, mindfulness perhaps. Which reminds me, what is missing on the beer list at Mikkeller’s original bar, which

is the one I prefer to the more glitzier foodie alternatives, is an imperial stout. For at the end of the night I really want an imperial stout, I really want to dive deep into the dark pool of danger that an imperial stout brings into the world. On the other hand, this is Mikkeller and there are two self-proclaimed imperial stouts available. However, and a big however, one is fermented with a Sahti yeast and the other is a collaboration between Evil Twin and Westbrook, Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake Break, which has coffee, cinnamon, almonds, cocoa nibs, vanilla, and habanero peppers in the mix. The first one has a soft vinous note on the nose and is sweet and alcoholic, roasty and dirty. The second is soft and sweet, biscuity and vanilla. Both are very drinkable but I just want an imperial stout without all this decretive flim-flam, but this is Copenhagen and as people’s voices whirl about me as if on an invisible carousel I hit the zen button and decide to just sink into the madness of it all. Carlsberg might not have been doing things the right way (though their ReBrew based on their original 19th century lager is rather splendid), but I hope they never make an imperial stout with cake mix or toast in the blend. I think my newly found sense of zen might just take a hike.

/ warpigs.dk / carlsberg.com / fermentoren.com / mikkeller.dk

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TA S T I N G N O T E S

Wimbledon Brewery Savour QUARTERMAINE [6.2%] BEER BRUT [10.5%]

Fyne Ales RAGNARÖK [7.4%]

A masterful English IPA from head brewer Derek Prentice

Savour's Sparkling Beer Brut get off to a tricky start, but finally wins the race

Like Jarl, then you’ll love this imperial visitation

Crate Brewery's Hibiscous and Passion Fruit Sour proves how far the brewery has come

Here’s that rarest of things, an English-style IPA, which unlike the bright primary colours of US-style IPAs (of whatever denomination) is more subtle and softer in the face it presents to the world (think Constable rather than Warhol). Its colour is reminiscent of orange that has had an arrow of amber thrown into its soul, while its nose has hints of flayed toffee, alongside mineral and marmalade-orange notes and what I can only describe as a stickiness. Swigged or gulped, rather than sipped, there is Cointreau-style citrus sweetness, a suggestion of Amaretto, a pithy woodiness, an alcoholic centre, a juiciness and a dry finish suggestive of a character in a Patrick Hamilton novel holding forth in a London pub. ATJ / wimbledonbrewery.com

Savour is a brewery based in a small town called Sanquhar in South-west Scotland and dedicated to brewing 'British Farmhouse' beers that are 'truly reflective of the country in which they are made'. This has proven a tough beer to love: the packaging looks like a cheap champagne substitute. The rhetoric around the launch a few years ago was a little off-putting. But put that all aside because the beer is magnificent. A spicy, biscuity nose with a bit of sugared fruit; on the palate it’s exotic, more candied fruit, and a soft, malty base that leaves it delicate and modest. It’s pitched as part of a range of farmhouse beers. That character is there but it’s wearing its very best clothes. PB / savourbeer.com

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit Fyne Ales’ brewery in the Highlands you’ll get an idea of just how much the environment influences their beers. The water that falls from the sky (regularly) and lands on the mountain above is channelled directly to the brewery. And perhaps it’s Fyne Ales’ acutely sensitive awareness to the surrounding that makes them so special. As I've written before, in my opinion, Jarl is one of the country’s best beers. Ragnarök is the brewery's 'imperial version': twice as many hops, twice the malty body and almost twice the alcohol content. Yet, in true Fyne Ales style, it is particularly drinkable and full of depth. This is a beer to dive into, explore and pull out different elements with every sip. DN / fyneales.com

At a recent tasting evening Crate in Hackney Wick, London, made no bones about admitting their quality control has been variable recently. They claimed they’d now sorted out their problems, and their latest releases suggest they’re right. This vividly pink hibiscus and passion fruit sour beer grabs onto the sides of your tongue and holds tight while it gives your palate a thorough going over, and then there’s a nice, creamy hint of lactose at the end that just tempers everything down a little, allowing you to part amicably. Crate are clearly fans of sour beer with a lemon gose and a straight sour alongside a steam lager, pale, Belgian pale, lager and a cider. PB / cratebrewery.com

Wiper and True YORKSHIRE SQUARE [5%] An fully English beer masquarading as a saison

Drink a saison, any saison, and if brewed to what constitutes its style (loosely speaking, given that the spec for a saison is as hazy as NE IPA), then its leitmotif, hammering away with Wagnerian regularity, is the flinty, crystalline, clove-like, sweetish, slightly sour, off-beat, jazzy, peppery, juicy and dry character. Most breweries, which aim for this, use a Belgian

yeast strain, usually a derivation of Dupont’s. However, Wiper and True took a different route and, after asking White Labs if they had a British yeast strain with a farmhouse/saison character, plumped for one derived from Yorkshire. The result is this gold-coloured, opaque beauty that is juicy, peppery (white

Crate HIBISCUS SOUR [5.1%]

pepper), lemony, with both a tartness and sourness in the background, and dry and refreshing. Belgium comes to Bristol via God’s Own Country. ATJ / wiperandtrue.com

Siren Craft Brew ACID JAM [9.7%]

Boundary Brewing FOREVER AGO [6%]

New Belgium VOODOO RANGER [7%]

Roll out the barrel-ageing…

A New England IPA from the cooperative brewery impresses Pete Brown

Burning Sky LES AMIS DU BRASSAGE [6.2%]

High-flying IPA that deserves to cross the Atlantic

Kiwi collab blend of saison and lambic

How’s this for a beer in the sense of place issue: an imperial Berliner Weisse, aged in bourbon and red wine barrels, in Finchampstead... Berkshire. Whether there is a long, unwritten tradition of strengthening German kettlesoured beers in French or American barrels we can’t say (although I bet someone is already composing a tweet), yet Siren Craft Brew has already created its own magic in an anonymous industrial estate, with this culture of wild experimentation. On paper this beer looks odd, but who cares when it tastes like this? Layers of caramel and cherry alternate, yet there's a sour sharpness that surprises at every sip. Deeply complex and kind of fun. DN / sirencraftbrew.com

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Or to put it another way, what happens when a brewery that’s never made a bad beer has a go at a style you hate? Well, if the brewery is as mature and insightful as Belfast’s Boundary, force and object stop and have a chat and get on just fine. This take on a New England IPA is pleasantly hazy, nice and balanced, with delicate perfume in the mouth. It doesn’t show off. It remembers that it’s meant to be a fruity beer rather than alcoholic fruit juice. And it keeps you coming back for more. And if beer wasn't reason alone, Boundary Brewing is a cooperative brewery owned and run by its members. PB / boundarybrewing.coop

Thirty-five thousand feet above Louisiana and the kindly attendant with a soft Southern curl hands me a New Belgium Voodoo Ranger IPA. It’s rare to see New Belgium beers in the UK, despite them on the upper end size-wise of US craft breweries, so the fact that I’m getting it on a United flight to Heathrow from Houston makes me very happy. It demonstrates how far the US has come (well we see Beavertown’s Neck Oil on a British Airways flight? Probably not). Despite the plastic cup, the huge aromas of, yes you’ve guessed it, grapefruit are layered with an umami layer and it’s quite amazing. She's passing again. I'm getting another DN / newbelgium.com

A rather special beer that Burning Sky’s founder and head brewer Mark Tranter made with Kelly Ryan from New Zealand’s Fork Brewing. It’s a saison, but not any ordinary saison (Jim). For a start it’s spent three years sleeping the sleep of the just in Chardonnay barrels; meanwhile lambic from Giradin was also blended in as well as rose hips. When I tasted the beer in the company of Tranter he told me that the beer had had more peaks and troughs than any other he’d ever made. The result is now available in a limited release of bottles and it is worth hunting this one out, as it is juicy, citrusy, chewy, peppery, slightly leathery, tart and quenching and herbal and dry in its finish. ATJ / burningskybeer.com

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XpA

I n d e p e n d e n t & U n f I lt e r e d

rAIlWAY pOrter

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fIVe pOIntS I pA

fivepointsbrewing.co.uk  

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P23


#MEAN IT

Original Gravity - Issue15  

Welcome to Original Gravity% Issue 15. In this issue, loosely based around a sense of place, we have contributions from Roger Protz, Jessic...

Original Gravity - Issue15  

Welcome to Original Gravity% Issue 15. In this issue, loosely based around a sense of place, we have contributions from Roger Protz, Jessic...

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