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GUEST BREWERIES INCLUDE APPLE COUNTY, BRECON BREWING, CELT EXPERIENCE, CYCLOPS (CWRW IAL COMMUNITY BREWING), GEIPEL ,GRAY TREES, GWYNT-Y-DDRAIG, HALLETS CIDER, MANTLE BREWERY, OTLEY BREWERY, PALMERS UPLAND CYDER, PIPES, PURPLE MGSE, TROGGI, TUDOR BREWERY, WAEN BREWERY, WILCES, WILLIAMS BROTHERS, AND Y-BRYN
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Mike Hughes is an illustrator based in Aberdeen, originally from Inverness. His work takes influence from skate culture and his own love of illustration. His work often has a natural chaos, blending drawing and colour to give a fresh contemporary look. When he’s not working he is spending time with his girlfriend, out on his bike or, of course, at the bar. You can see more of his work at www.m-hughes.com.
In Hop Pursuit
Mark Dredge is the award-winning writer of the books Craft Beer World and Beer & Food, with his third book, The Best Beer in the World, published in October 2015. This month he begins a regular column in Ferment looking at a different beer style each month. You can follow his boozing on Twitter and Instagram: @markdredge.
A Guide to Saisons
Melissa Cole Certified Cicerone® and beer & food writer Melissa Cole is one of the UK’s leading beer experts. Author of Let Me Tell You About Beer, international beer judge, collaboration brewer, sommALEier and regular festival presenter, she can be found propping up bars all over the world but she sometimes manages to be home in London. Matthew Curtis is a London-based freelance beer writer and speaker. In 2014 he co-authored Craft Beer: The 100 Best Breweries in the World for Future Publishing and is currently working on the follow up, Beer & Craft: Britain’s Best Bars and Breweries, which will be self-published later this year. He is the author of beer blog T otal Alesand can be found getting enthusiastic about beer on Twitter @totalcurtis. Craig Ballinger is a writer, caterer and drinker living and working in London. The giant chip on his shoulder is testament to his Mancunian heritage. Writing about beer evolved from a habit of writing on beer: “to some writers, drink is not only a means to an end but often an end to his means.” @ByCBallinger Lynn Bremner studied at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, starting with visual communication and continuing in photographic and electronic media. Her work extends across a number of mediums, mainly photography and illustration. She now works as the operations manager and resident photographer here at Beer52. Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org and @Lynn_Bremner. Hungry Bears’ Blog is run by Rich and Sal from their little flat in Welwyn. It’s a collection of recipes brought together to inspire other people with little kitchens (and little time!) to tuck into good, homemade food. Check them out: www.thehungrybearsblog.com. Jordan Harris is a recently qualified freelance journalist and beer writer residing across the Severn where he is drinking his way through the great ales of Wales, is the author of The Grill & Barrel blog, dabbles in street food with his hot dog pop-up shop, Drunken Sailor and works in the dark art of PR. Follow him on Twitter: @jordsharris Charlie Whatley London based documentary and editorial photographer – www.charliewhatley.com
A worldwide hop shortage: Has craft beer become a victim of its own success? By Erin Bottomley.
Saison is beer’s Soup du Jour: A guide to saisons and farmhouse ales by Mark Dredge.
Hops in High Definition
How British breweries are taking back the IPA by Matthew Curtis.
Homebrew Recipe – IPA
By the Two Thirsty Gardeners
Down But Not Out
Batemans & brilliant beer by Melissa Cole
What we’re drinking
Our top beer picks this month.
Tasting trends in West London by Craig Ballinger.
Two Thirsty Gardeners Nick Moyle and Richard Hood digging and swigging their way through the seasons – www.twothirstygardeners.co.uk
Alex Haylock – Beard. Pedant. Proofreader.
Takeaways get a bad rep when it comes to their beer, but why do the majority stick with a boring bar? By Jordan Harris.
The Rockstars of Brewing
It is our turn to say thank you for all of the support we have received for Ferment! We are very proud of the direction that we are heading in and it wouldn’t be possible without your continued support. We have some of the best beer writers and the most talented illustrators in the country working with us and that has helped to make Ferment a great success thus far.
Take on pimms by Erin Bottomley.
We always like to hear what you think so please do get in touch with any comments or suggestions. We have big plans for the future and are delighted to have you all on board for the journey. So once again I would like to extend our gratitude for your kind words and positive feedback.
By Rich & Sal at the Hungry Bears’ Blog.
The ABCs of beer’s ingredients by Melissa Cole.
Breaking Down Beer
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Contact For all advertising and contribution enquiries, please contact Erin Bottomley at email@example.com or call us on 0131 554 5527. Get in touch on Twitter @Beer52HQ You can write to us here at Ferment, 16/4 Timber Bush, Edinburgh, EH6 6QH, UK. Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 3
IN HOP PURSUIT A worldwide hop shortage: has craft beer become a victim of its own success? By Erin Bottomley Craft beer has a love affair with hops; we love discovering new varieties or enjoying old classics, but one way or another we just can’t get enough. This obsession with hops has changed the face of the hop industry in both the US and the UK. Due to the rise in popularity of craft beer, hop growers have had to work hard to keep up with the ever growing demand, but has the demand outstripped total supply?
But with this rapid growth comes issues, of course. There has been a worry within the beer world of a potential shortage of particular hops which could damage the continued growth of the craft beer industry. Craft beer has greatly influenced the hop industry as more and more growers move away from the high yielding alpha hops to low yielding aroma hops favoured by craft brewers; this has affected the industry greatly and could cause a shortage of some varieties in the future.
Craft beer now accounts for 11% of the overall beer market in the US. In 2014, craft brewers produced 22.2 million barrels, Due to the nature of any agricultural and saw an 18 percent rise in volume crop, it takes time to balance the supply and a 22 percent increase in retail dollar with the increased demand. Keeping value. ‘This steady growth shows that craft up with consumer preferences can brewing is part of be a real challenge as a a profound shift freshly planted hop field in American beer takes 2-3 years to become As with any culture – a shift According to industry, if the established. that will help craft Ann George of Hop Growers demand is high of America ‘Nearly 99% brewers achieve their ambitious the US hop industry is and the supply is of goal of 20% market forward contracted at the share by 2020,’ said Bart low, prices will grower so very little of the Watson, chief economist inevitably rise. supply is “on the spot”’. at the US-based Brewers This means that if there is a Association. This change in beer production growth has in many ways saved the US forecasting this can cause there to be too hop growing industry. In 1990 there were much demand for a particular variety. 120 US growers: by 2005 the number had Brewers then have to be very precise in shrunk to just 45. Nowadays, the industry their projected hop needs to ensure the has been growing rapidly with some hop growers can get the fields established farmers struggling to keep up with the ever and produce the desired hops. Small growing demand. breweries have to get in there early if
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they want a cut of the hops grown, as industry has been given the confidence bigger breweries will have forecasted it needs; due to the increased popularity well in advance and in some cases of craft beer, investments in the area will take all of the supply. This kind of have increased and although supply forecasting can be difficult in a rapidly may be tight for a few years it is likely growing industry and can sometimes that it will move closer to an equilibrium leave brewers as the industry grows and without the matures. According to hops they George, the hop But this of course affects the need, forcing them to find price of hops. As with any industry has alternatives. industry, if the demand is high shifted from a and the supply is low prices Jim Solberg of Indie 70/30 split of will inevitably rise. One area Hops has found that that has particularly been since American IPA alpha/ aroma to affected is aroma hops; due styles have been the exact reverse to their increased popularity leading the way, hop in the past 5 amongst craft brewers varieties with rather production has increased by years! aggressive flavour 140% in just four years, from characters like 10,000 acres of aroma hops Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade, Simcoe, in 2010 to 24,000 by 2014. According Citra, Chinook, Crystal, and Mosaic in to George, the hop industry has shifted particular are difficult for the supply from a 70/30 split of alpha/ aroma to to keep up with. To combat this many the exact reverse in the past 5 years! farms have increased their acreage These aroma hops are lower yielding to guarantee the crops and get more so the yield per acre has significantly hops in the ground, as well as investing reduced. As a result the lower producing more in research and development aroma hop varieties must have a higher to increase overall yields. Indie Hops price per pound in order to produce have been working with the Oregon the same return per acre. As these hops State University by funding an exciting are now in higher demand and have a breeding program that will result in lower yield the price rise that has been new hop varieties with greater disease witnessed in recent years seems set resistance, yields and aroma/flavour to remain, with aroma hops currently profiles that will give consumers what trading at $3.83 per pound, up 13% they desire. Fortunately, of late the hop from just two years ago. Thus the very
popular new flavour varieties that are in short supply are more expensive than more well-established varieties that are in relatively plentiful supply.
UK hops that have heavier flavour and aroma profiles seem to be the ones coming to the fore. He also sees huge potential in the export market for more traditional hops such as Goldings that haven’t been so readily available in the past.
But what about in the UK? Although in comparison the UK produces much less hops than the US, the industry has seen significant change in the last few years. So the price of some hops is rising and Along with the US, in the UK there some are becoming harder to get hold has been an overall shift from alpha of, but do we have reason to panic? Will to aroma hops. Because of this there all our beautiful hop bombs be replaced has been a lot of development of new by hop extract alternatives? Unlikely. varieties with more aromatic properties; The demand may be high and at times the UK is also one of the largest outweighing the supply but there is no importers of US hops. The demand for reason to throw in the craft beer towel these American hops, driven by the just yet. In many cases this just forces popularity of the American style IPAs brewers to use their ingenuity and and hoppy pale ales has seen more US knowledge to work out ways to make hops sold per year their beers with hops that in the UK than ever are more readily available, Do we have before. ‘Growers and in the process creating reason to in the US have some brand new beers had to respond for us to try. They have panic? Will all to the increase in had to make changes to our beautiful popularity by planting the hops they use to fit more acreage; this year in with supply, which in hop bombs be alone an extra 2,418ha some cases causes a cycle; replaced by (5976 acres) have been as one hop becomes too planted,’ Paul Corbett difficult to get hold of hop extract says of Charles Faram, brewers move to another alternatives? one of the largest hop hop which is then in high suppliers in the UK. ‘That demand and the first hop is a 16% increase in one year, almost becomes more readily available, which unheard of in the past!’. helps to bring some balance to the industry. This competition with the US has seen the UK industry suffer in recent years, It will be an uphill battle for growers to but Corbett sees a very bright horizon. keep up with increased demand but as Charles Faram’s growers are planting more varieties come into play and with more of the popular existing varieties more research and investment into the in response to demand, and they have hop industry, it should be possible to also developed their own breeding continue to satisfy our thirst for hops. programme to produce new varieties with more intense citrus, fruit and floral flavours. Their first two varieties, Jester and Olicana, have doubled acreage each year in response to demand. The
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 5
MARK DREDGE’S GUIDE TO SAISON AND FARMHOUSE ALES
Saison is beer’s Soup du Jour: A guide to saisons and farmhouse ales. By Mark Dredge
t one time these were beers brewed by Belgian farmers in their farmhouses using whatever ingredients they had and drunk by their farm workers. How they went from there, via near extinction, to their ubiquity today isn’t quite clear, all we know is that beers in the farmhouse tradition are more popular than they’ve ever been and they’re developing into craft beer’s broadest, most-experimental style. Traditional Saisons Saison is beer’s soup du jour. While the context is different today to when Wallonian farm workers needed something to quench their thirsts and provide liquid nourishment while they worked the land, the essential taste qualities remain as they did back then: moderate alcohol (5-7% ABV), well-attenuated (so dry to finish) and relatively bitter (though not aromatically hoppy). The yeast is a defining characteristic and it kicks out pepper, spice and the occasional smoky note, where the beers may or may not contain wild yeast. They have a liveliness in their carbonation, they are appetising yet satiating, they can be complex or delightfully simple, and they have a sexiness that’s partly due to its bucolic past and a little to do with how it’s enticing and exciting in the present. Must Try: Saison Dupont is the textbook-defining example that’s zesty and dry, firm yet delicate, quenching, satisfying and beguilingly mysterious. Fantôme Saison is a powerful beer bursting with life, with citrus, with an edge of farmyard and funk, then a long bitter finish. Today’s Saisons What actually is a saison today? Because as a style it’s opened itself up to more experimentation than any other type of beer. The traditional taste of a saison is ideal as a base for craft beer’s more creative additions, so as this much-loved style pours through the imaginations of brewers it’s coming out with familiar qualities and then getting spun in limitless different directions: loads of citrusytropical hops, wild yeast to bring some funkiness, they could be brewed with fruit or spices, could be soured, could go through barrels, could be 3% ABV or
9% ABV, could be gold through black. A saison can be very many things today. Must Try: Boulevard Tank 7 is an extraordinary 8.5% ABV beer, spicy with yeast, massively citrusy with American hops, sharp like rhubarb; Brew By Numbers make a range of saisons with late-hops added to give delicious juicy fruitiness which is playful with the fragrant yeast; Beavertown’s Quelle Saison is light-bodied, lemony, puckeringly tart then bursts with tropical aroma from being dry-hopped. Faithful Farmhouse
While some brewers explore the extremities of creativity, so others seek to simplify things and look back instead of forward, recreating styles truer to the originals (or at least to the ideals of the originals). Beers in the farmhouse family are a great fit for this faithful treatment given the intangible romance of
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brewing using local grain, water and wild yeast and flowing closely with the seasons. The results are beers uniquely of their place, beers with terroir.
Must Try: Burning Sky beers are brewed in a barn in Sussex and their rolling range of saisons take inspiration from the season, like using elderflower in summer and rosehips in autumn; Texasbased Jester King brew in a farmhouse and make good use of the surrounding land, where their Le Petit Prince is made with indigenous wild yeast, local souring bacteria and their own well water. some
While brewers explore Bière de Garde the extremities This is France’s entry of creativity, into beer’s style guide. so others seek Compared to saison it’s typically sweeter, stronger, to simplify fuller-bodied, less hopped things and look and longer-matured (‘garde’ means ‘for keeping’), back instead traditionally developing a of forward, cellar-like quality through recreating styles time, though that musty element is more of a truer to the hangover from history than a modern tasting note. Less originals.
seductive than saison though still a fascinating farmhouse style even if few brewers make one. Must Try: Brasserie De SaintSylvestre’s Gavroche (and their 3 Monts) have a richness of smooth malt, some caramel, an earthy depth, some fruity esters, then a warm herbal finish. Table Beer and Grisette These would’ve literally been beers for the table, an alternative to water, low in alcohol and refreshing. They disappeared for decades – centuries even – but have come back and they are now light saisons, quenching, dry and with their own depth of yeast spiciness, likely different from years ago but tasty in their own new way. Must Try: The Kernel’s Biere de Table is a riff on their ever-popular Table Beer using a different yeast to make it dry and spicy, floral and citrusy; Partizan have a range of Grisettes, often with added fruit, spices or herbs, which all help to highlight the natural fruity, spicy and herbal flavours in the beer.
Photos: Lynn Bremner
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 7
HOPS IN HIGH DEFINITION
How British breweries are taking back the IPA. By Matthew Curtis
remember my first taste of a modern American IPA as if it was yesterday. There I was sat in Odell Brewery with a flight of beers in front of me. Each small glass of beer was carefully considered before tasting it. We had worked through pale ales, wheat beers and scotch ales before eventually arriving at its eponymous IPA. The aroma was like nothing I had ever experienced before – heady, dank scents of pine, grapefruit and skunk spray almost overwhelmed my olfactory. I marveled at how these huge aromas manifested on my palate, the grapefruit was there and it was joined by mango and lychee while all the time being wrapped around a scaffold of sweet, biscuit-like malt flavours. None of this prepared me for the finish. At the time I found it bitter to the point of being almost unpleasant but the more I drank it, the more I got used to it, until it became something I craved. That glass of beer set me off on a journey that I’m not sure I’ll ever complete. I arrived back from the States in a bind, I was finding it increasingly difficult to enjoy the beers I used to love. Traditional British bitters and pale ales no longer gave me what I needed, I began constantly seeking out beers with more intense and interesting flavours. This search led me to breweries such as Marble, Thornbridge and BrewDog and while I began to fall in love with British craft beer it was the imports from the USA that still got me the most excited.
The first genuinely convincing problem with making beer this way British interpretation of an American is that over time, as hop essential oils IPA I fell in love with was Magic evaporate, the beer can become stale. Rock Cannonball. I marveled at the Too often do tired, old imports arrive Huddersfield in the UK already tasting of brewery’s creation, burnt sugar and breakfast This wasn’t which tasted way cereal. When it comes just an more advanced than to IPA, drinking fresh is imitation of any beers being always best. produced by many of an US IPA, its peers. There was Many modern British this was riding breweries are now almost volumes of resinous pine sap and pithy grapefruit completely eschewing across the balanced by a stern malt speciality malts, often backbone. This wasn’t just high plains brewing with a grist made an imitation of an US IPA, on horseback, up of entirely pale malt. This this was riding across the gives the beer significantly high plains on horseback, side by side less unfermentable sugars, with our side by side with our creating a dryer platform American brethren. that allows delicate hop American notes to shine in high The British Craft Beer scene brethren. definition. Some of the has come a long way in more accomplished IPAs a very short space of time. It moves at being brewed in the UK, such as those an almost breathless pace, constantly from Bermondsey’s The Kernel, are evolving in an effort to find new ways a cascade of juicy fruit flavours and to impress seasoned beer lovers. While taste very different to the dank and kettle sours and blended saisons might bitter interpretations of the style that be the current beers du jour, it is the originated from West Coast USA transformation of the IPA that has been . the most significant shift since brewers Where once British brewers were trying began emulating their favourite American their hardest to recreate the American beers a few years ago. IPA they are now adapting the style into something new and exciting. It In the US, brewers tend to favour could be said that the IPA is a style that speciality malts such as Crystal or has been done to death and back again Victory, which give their beers a but this new wave of ultra juicy and darker colour, fuller body and most extra pale IPA is proving this theory importantly unfermentable sugars. wrong. With this new interpretation, These sugars provide the balance to British brewers are taking the modern the intense bitterness and dank aroma American IPA back for themselves and that is the signature of this style. The making it their own.
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Here are five of the best pale and juicy, modern British IPAs for you to track down: The Kernel – IPA Various The benchmark for the style, with the single hopped Citra variant being the daddy of them all. Thornbridge – Halcyon You’ll wonder how they manage to pack so much citrus and tropical fruit flavour into a beer so pale. Majestic. Buxton – Axe Edge Be spellbound by the depth of pithy, resinous citrus in this wonderful beer from the Peak District. Be warned it’s impossible to have only one. Pressure Drop – Pale Fire Not necessarily an IPA and cloudy from a high protein content – don’t be put off by its appearance, this tastes just as incredible as its stronger counterparts. BrewDog – Born To Die This lager pale double IPA has now sadly died, you’ll have to wait for the next release to taste one of the most accomplished beers the Scottish brewer has ever produced.
Photos: Lynn Bremner & Erin Bottomley
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 9
Nick Moyle and Richard Hood are better known as the Two Thirsty Gardeners, who are designers by day and brewers by night. The pair’s obsession with home brewing started as kids of the 70s, growing up with parents who regularly made their own drinks from homegrown produce. In 2008, fuelled by a desire to get away from their computer screen,s they made a bid for fresh air and freedom and built their own cider press and in 2012 launched their digging and swigging website Two Thirsty Gardeners. The site has inspired thousands of loyal followers, many of whom are eagerly turning their homegrown food and foraged goods into booze. For all their homebrew recipes check out their first book Brew it Yourself – out now.
Photo: Lynn Bremner
TWO THIRSTY GARDENERS’ HOMEBREW – IPA
ndia Pale Ale (IPA) was born out of necessity in 19th century England. By ramping up the alcohol content and using extra hops for their preservative powers, brewers were able to supply beers that were more likely to make the long ocean journey to India without spoiling. Until recently IPAs had drifted from their original hoppy heights to become nondescript, bland bitters. But American beer revivalists latched on to the style and used it as a base to play with new, intense hoppy flavours. Now the choice of IPAs is huge, which suits Rich, who makes a beeline for every new variant he finds – but even he reckons this recipe is one well worth coming back to.
1. Put the crushed crystal malt into a pan with 2.25l/79 fl oz/ 9 cups water (use a grain bag if you have one). Heat until the mixture reaches 65–72°C (150–160°F) then cover with a lid and steep for 15 minutes at this temperature, stirring occasionally.
4. When the 45 minutes are up, add the remaining aroma hops and remove from the heat. This will preserve the intense, fresh hop fragrance and add a level of complexity to the ale.
Making time: 2¼ hours Fermenting time: 1–2 weeks Maturing time: 1 week 100g/3½oz/¾ cup crushed crystal malt 100g/ 1lb 9oz/4 1/3 cups extra light dry malt extract 1 handful of bittering hops (20g/¾oz) – eg Goldings, Target, Columbus 1 handful of aroma hops (20g/¾oz) – eg Cascade, Nelson Sauvin, Citra Ale or brewer’s yeast ½ tsp white sugar per bottle, for priming
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2. Remove the grains and add the malt extract. Bring to the boil until the liquid rapidly foams, then turn the heat down to keep it from boiling over. 3. Add the bittering hops and continue with a steady boil for around 45 minutes. 15 minutes before the end of the boil, add half of the aroma hops to the pan.
5. Add 2.25l/79 fl oz/ 9 cups preboiled and cooled water, to help bring the overall temperature down. Give it a good stir to aerate it, and when it has sufficiently cooled to below 24°C (75°F) strain the liquid into your fermentation vessel of choice.
6. Add the yeast according to the instructions on the packet and leave to ferment somewhere warm – around 15–24°C (60–75°F) is ideal. 7. When fermentation has finished, usually after 1-2 weeks, you’re ready to bottle your brew. Sterilize the bottles and drop half a teaspoon of white sugar into each one. Carefully fill with beer using a siphon, stopping before you reach the sludge at the bottom of the fermenter. 8. Cap the bottles and gently shake to dissolve the sugar. Put them somewhere warm for a couple of days to kick-start the conditioning fermentation, then move to a cooler spot and allow at least 1 week for the beer to mature in the bottles before drinking.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT BATEMANS & BRILLIANT BEER. D
isturbances in the beer matrix all over in the past few weeks and my oh my it’s been an interesting study in watching fanatics turn on a dime yet, as so often happens, missing the bigger picture by a very long string of code.
lot of the mid-size brewers or, to be honest, they just don’t seem to ‘get it’. Taking Batemans as an example: outside of its fantastic and much-loved traditional range of beers the brewery has a fabulous beer in Yella Belly but the inconsistent branding and disconnected NPD programmes beyond this seem to have just equalled confusion for drinkers.
First off, Firestone Walker takes some sort of investment from Duvel Moortgat and hardcore knuckle-heads the world over start screaming that they aren’t ‘craft’ any And whilst I’m sure they hoped non-beer more, but there was nary a whisper over drinkers and the younger generation here about Batemans alike would embrace things downsizing because like the flavoured Bohemian If a they can’t compete range, it would appear it kind wonderful with the swathe of new of fell between both stools, businesses benefiting hence why, I imagine, it’s for family from Progressive Beer the axe… and whilst I quite brewery like liked them and used them Duty (PBD). in quite a few tastings I was Batemans Personally I don’t honest with the brewery struggling think it’s just PBD about what I thought was that’s going to isn’t enough their lack of longevity. cause problems for of a call to breweries like Batemans. However, I don’t want to arms then I Businesses like this rely beat Bateman’s with a big extremely heavily on stick here, not only because don’t know supermarket sales and I like both Stuart and Jaclyn what is. they’re now under insane a lot personally but because amounts of pricing pressure they are certainly not alone as companies like Tesco take out their in finding this new market difficult to accounting ‘discrepancies’ on suppliers navigate, I could give you much worse and everyone else wants to price examples of a failure to ‘get’ modern beer match. but the less said about Wadworth and Greene King’s ‘craft’ ranges the better… And you can’t discount that whilst there are smart regionals out there like Before I leave this subject though, there Fuller’s and St Austell, with visionary is a very serious and much wider point brewers at the helm, it’s hard to here, as Stuart Bateman points out when point to a really robust New Product talking to Roger Protz for his website Development (NPD) programme that’s Protz on Beer, who seems to be the only aimed at the modern drinker from a person to cover this story so far.
‘PBD was introduced to encourage and US El Dorado was officially a new entrants to the market who could ‘juicy banger’ (©@ChrisHallBeer!) invest in new plant, lissom tropical fruits on employment, training a plumptious body that Creating and marketing... It reminds me of the syrup cracking wasn’t designed to from canned fruit cocktail; be used to undercut it made me smile and wish beers on brewers who would I had more than two bottles, ramshackle struggle to compete due which I think is the best to receiving less or no recommendation I can kit, damn duty relief or significant give and the Coffee Stout these guys economies of scale. is a lightly acidic coffee can brew. chocolate joy. ‘Brewers brewing below 3,055 barrels a year pay half the total duty, At the budding but brilliant Food Meets which equates to a saving of around £64 Beer at Borough Market, London per barrel or 27 pence per pint at the bar Brewing Company wowed me with its when VAT is taken into account.’ Wham bar-esque Tap East collaboration pHuscia – a Morello cherry and Twenty seven pence at the bar, just think raspberry berlinerweisse, paired with about the future price of beer from the Richard Haward’s oysters – I was in smaller breweries you love now and total heaven. how much more it is going to be as they expand, and it’s not difficult to come to And finally I got to visit Mad Hatter the conclusion that this has got to be the Brewery in Liverpool and thoroughly next battle with the Chancellor if the UK enjoyed the experience. Creating cracking beer industry is to maintain its current beers on ramshackle kit, damn these guys momentum. If a wonderful family brewery can brew. The rhubarb & custard made like Bateman’s struggling isn’t enough of a me sigh with childish delight and I can’t call to arms then I don’t know what is. wait to crack into the Salted Caramel Quadrupel with my friends at Norfolk North-Western & Eastern Promise Brewhouse as we make our audit ale to celebrate Maris Otter’s 50th birthday (see On a happier note, I had the great my new ingredients column on page 22) privilege to try some superb beers in the for more details. last few weeks from London to Liverpool right the way across to Slovenia! And a bit of excitement was added to the day by having to take brewer Marc Let’s start with our Slovak friends at to A&E with a finger half hanging off, Pivovarna Pelicon, just being made fortunately it was on the way to the train available in the UK from Imports station so I could just chuck him out of Scotland, the El Dorado pale ale brewed the moving cab at the door, I’m all heart with experimental Slovenian Cascade you know…
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 11
WHAT WE’RE DRINKING...
Cloudwater Session IPA
Beer Project Brussels Dark Sister
BrØnher The Drunk Hop
A robust and powerful session IPA from one of Manchester’s hottest new breweries. Cloudwater make beers to go with the seasons so this session IPA suits a summer’s evening perfectly. It has a strong hoppy aroma with notes of fresh pine, citrus fruits and slight earthy undertones. For a session IPA this packs a punch with big flavours of grapefruit, spiced blood orange, lemon sorbet and resinous pine. A dry pithy bitterness towards the end will keep you coming back for more. Also drinking Grisette and Cream Ale.
Lervig Lucky Jack
Now for something completely different... Gosnells is inspired by the heritage of traditional mead, but created with a modern twist. Best served chilled, Gosnells can be enjoyed either straight from the bottle or gently poured into a glass. Floral and fresh on the nose, the mead leads with hints of citrus and gentle carbonation on the palate with the sweetness of the honey rounding it out to a full, crisp and refreshing finish. Brewed in Peckham from a base of honey, water and yeast. The perfect drink for a hot summer’s day – give it a go!
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With the Dark Sister, our Belgian Saison yeast esters disrupts what one can expect of a classical Dark IPA. It is a mahogany-black pour with a light beige moussy head. Attractively perfumed bouquet of milk chocolate, spices, blood orange, grapefruit peel, coffee grounds and caramel. Medium body and carbonation with a dry finish and well balanced bitterness. Enjoy her dark soul!
Drunk Hop represents an innovative the lager style and is considered by Ratebeer as one of the best Pale Lagers in the world. 100% malt Pils-Lager with an additional dry-hopping at the end of the process that provides the beer with a really particular character, and the unmistakable mark of our Brønhër´s dip in the brewpot. Easy drinking and malty beer, it embodies an approach to the fashionable southern Europe IPA style, but dressed in a lager character.
Lervig’s Luck Jack is an unfiltered & unpasteurised American Pale ale, From the west coast of Norway- brewed with Amarillo, Chinook and Citra Hops. Although the hops are the dominating flavour and aroma, the beer is easy drinking due to its light body from the pale malts and caramel malt. It offers a golden colour with 45 IBUs, grapefruit, tropical fruit and floral hoppy flavours & aromas.
WHAT WE’RE DRINKING...
Brewfist Caterpillar Pale Ale
Vocation Brewery Heart & Soul
6° North Hop Classic
BrØnher Drink Me Alive
Caterpillar Pale ale is a rye pale ale, brewed in collaboration with Christian Skovdal Andersen from Beer Here. It uses Columbus and Motueka hops. Caterpillar’s aroma is big and bold and bursting with oranges, lemons and floral notes with a hint of spiced apricots. The addition of rye gives an earthy backbone with flavours of malty toffee and burnt sugar that flows into a long, fresh and tart finish.
The White Hag Tuireann Bán
This is 6° North’s Belgian IPA style and easily BrewBob’s favourite! It was the first beer they brewed 2013 when they opened the brewery with inspiration for the brew coming from De Ranke’s XX-Bitter. The nose is bursting with super juicy aromas of fresh, bitter citrus fruit and dried apricot. They use European hops so the character comes through a little grassy and leafy then moves on to a full-flavoured, well-integrated, balanced and thirst quenching palate. Pair with spicy foods and charcuterie with green olive tapenade.
First canned batch exclusively for Beer52 members. This is Vocation brewery’s Heart & Soul. Created to have all the hoppy goodness of an IPA, but brewed to a sessionable strength. Its intense fruit-salad character comes from generous additions of US West Coast hops. A full bodied and fruity beer, with notes of passion fruit, grapefruit, gooseberry, pineapple & mango.
A blend of two different lager and ale varieties of the same recipe fermented separately and matured together. Smooth, medium-bodied and with a very refreshing character. Brewed with hops directly brought from the Americas by Christopher Columbus aboard his ship La Pinta de Cerveza, this is an experimental Cream Ale in the Brønhër style: extra malt, extra hops and our Cascade of Columbus dry hopping. Featured in this month’s 10 pack.
Tuireann was renowned for being the Gaelic God of Thunder, and Bán is the Irish word for white. Tuireann and his family were well capable of brewing up a storm, so it’s appropriate that this cloudy White IPA carries his name. The Irish lovechild of a Belgian Witbier and an American IPA. Similar colour, body and esters as a Witbier with noticeable hop aroma, flavour and bitterness. Featured in this month’s 10 pack. Also drinking Bran & Sceolan, Irish IPA.
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 13
IMBIBING BRANDS: TASTING TRENDS IN WEST LONDON By Craig Ballinger ‘New ways to increase profits from drinks sales.’ The bus lumbered through the traffic, tossing us gently as it stopped off everywhere on it’s way to somewhere near where we needed to be. It must’ve been at least 40° on the top deck of the 390 but we were determined to get to the Kensington Olympia. It was early afternoon on the hottest day of the year, a bad time to be travelling from North London to the depths of West. We were moving very slowly, a couple of morning joints putting jelly around our feet and cotton wool around our heads. Still, our minds were sharp, alive to the details. Melting into the contour lines of the scarlet seats of a modern London bus I tried to take note of the scenes that passed, to piece together how this world was intrinsically tied to the terrible drink that was being touted at the Imbibe Live booze trade show. Charlie Whatley, the photographer, had his eye to his camera and his lens to the window. In this time of rapid economic empire building the only thing being built is luxury flats. People love buying expensive, worthless things.
Deep in the commercial centre of the city #ChooseHappiness passed in my eyeline every few minutes. The new Coke slogan is on the side of most buses, reminding us the scum are winning. ‘Brisk, hoppy and not too strong.’
‘small batch’ beers. They seem sure that all it takes to sell craft beer is to add some artwork and ‘funky’ fonts. Greene King would be at the show hopefully highlighting their craft line, with its designs that look like bizarre clip art illustrations and more fonts than is ever necessary. Crucially, the beer tastes bad too. Their Yardbird Pale Ale isn’t “full of hops with a lasting fruity flavour”, it’s an over-carbonated irrelevance that tastes like they’ve just taken some old batches of their cask IPA and blasted gas into it.
In our aggressive capitalist economy small brewers and distillers are seen as competition to the giants. In Germany, where ‘craft’ isn’t nearly as important as the Reinheitsgebot purity law, Becks have taken strange steps to keep up. They’ve come up with a brave but tepid ‘English’ pale ale, an Aussie-inspired They seem bland amber and an sure that all apology-note of a pilsner ‘inspired by it takes to sell [their] foundation in craft beer is 1873’.
‘Pick up a convenient, perfectly mixed drink from the brand you love.’
We’d prepped badly for the torturous bus ride. Generic to add some London corner shops all If InBev are clawing about the same stuff. The only artwork and sell in the dark in Germany things worth drinking are the looking for the microscopic ‘funky’ fonts. strong drinks - Gold Label, market share they’ve lost, Dragon Stout, Kestrel Super, then this explains the scenes we’ve seen Wray & Nephews. To avoid looking over here. Beyond the meaningless sale rowdy we went for cans of mixed drinks; of Meantime to Miller, we’ve had big if you’re rich, drinking at breakfast its breweries like Brains, Greene King and seen as sign of your excess in success Guinness try to charm us with their but if you’re poor, day-boozing is
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confirmation you’re a fucking tramp. I was taking my research seriously – our subtle beverages were horrors from Jack Daniel’s and Malibu. Judging by the weird flavour of Jack Daniel’s Honey Lemonade, the brands were serving us the shit we deserve. Baked off in the Great British summertime, trying to avoid the risk of fines from uniformed jobsworths, I endured the JD weirdness. It tasted like chilled chunder sourced from a 17-year-old’s birthday party. If we wanted honey drinks we should be drinking Gosnell’s mead from Peckham, but we’re in big boy territory - no artisan sparkling mead, no real honey. Everything must be made cheap. Get the high fructose corn syrup in and think nothing of it. Hide everything behind branding and rhetoric. We know what’s going on here but in the name of journalism, it’s always worth trying the shit before you trash it. ‘Enriching people’s lives with the very best savoury snacks.’ We escaped the bus intact, only slightly sagging around the edges. We needed food and liquids quickly. It was much cooler in the streets but the sun was still
pounding us into the concrete. We were mad to have been on the bus for over an hour. It was 3:00pm and there was still a walk ahead. Two and a half hours of the conference to go. We settled in a shiny pub with pints of Frontier lager. I stared at my glass. ‘New Wave Craft Lager’ stared back. These are the words chosen by the good people of Fuller’s to sell us their subtly disconnected lager brand, but what do they mean? Fuller’s is a good brewery, I’m fond of ESB, but their lager is nothing beyond ‘refreshing’ and will be a hit with those who don’t like beer but want to look like they do.
marketing campaign out of each other. ‘Are we even going the right way? I swear we should already be there.’ We were heading towards the spot on the map, but the spot was all wrong. ‘We are going the wrong way. But only slightly. We’ll be there in 10 mins.’ ‘I’m not sure that’s true.’ The road stretched for miles directly into the heat, the pavement white with sunlight, not a shadow in sight. ‘I know where we are and it’s not near the Olympia.’ ‘My head can’t take this sunshine.’ ‘Shall we go back, find your hat, go back to that pub and sit the fuck down?’ ‘A sherbet-like tingle on the tongue.’
My hat was never found, we probably My thoughts were cut short by the walked the wrong way again. We sat arrival of crackling and hot wings. The down to pints of Estrella and chance to have my life felt a cool sense of failure. enriched by KP snacks It doesn’t On the neighbouring table a at Imbibe was slipping matter how man talked loudly to a suit away but I was about about the view from the to eat perfect buffalo big a brand fairway and the money-inwings and sensational gets so long the-bank nature of London crackling so all wasn’t property. His slicked hair lost. I felt suitably immersed as the booze whilst his body in beer culture – I’d turned is good; that glistened tried to burst out of his white over more thoughts on a shirt. Another financial sweaty journey than I would the way to bastard made himself clear have in a few hours of win people into his phone. It was time to marketing and sales talk. over is by escape West London. ‘An unmissable event for making great Oddbins saved the return anyone who wants to beer, not by journey – I blasted cold cans improve their drinks IQ.’ bullshitting. of Beavertown like they were juice and ignored the blazing We followed the map and heat. Charlie was back at his camera. I staggered about in the heat. Charlie looked around the top deck of the bus. snapped the journey as my mind swam The only other person up there was a about. I’d been tilted all day. I chased Hispanic Hunter S. Thompson lookalike. shadows, trying to stay out of the sun, Staring blank-faced from behind tinted alternating between saving my balding aviators, the guy was sucking a Caprihead from the sun with my hat and Sun and leaning forward onto the vacant removing it to stay cool. We were in the seat ahead of him. His face didn’t twitch. thick of Kensington High Street when I realised my hat was gone; I’d dropped it, Maybe this was a sign. I’d failed as a fuddled and beaten by the heat. journalist. I couldn’t get us to the place, I couldn’t get the story. Or maybe I knew I thought about what the people would the story before I left – that essentially be like at the conference – sales reps it doesn’t matter how big a brand gets so cutting loose on company accounts, long as the booze is good; that the way leaving business cards and miniatures to win people over is by making great on the bedside tables of Travellodges. We should go about asking if anyone’s got any beer, not by bullshitting. That there will always be terrible booze and the terrible gear and watch as the horror unfolds, as people who drink it. everyone begins to slope and melt before slipping off to fuck the award-winning
Photos: Charlie Whatley
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 15
Takeaways get a bad rep when it comes to their beer, but why do the majority stick with a boring bar, what beers go best with a curry and where can you find a decent craft curry house? By Jordan Harris
one are the days of the customary curry house offering. Indian cuisine is no longer just a quick and easy option after a Saturday night out on the tiles or a lazy Friday evening in. Indian restaurants have upped their game, they’ve stepped up to the plate and filled it with an innovative array of dishes, but whereas their food has gone that extra mile, their beer game has remained static, stereotypical and sub-standard. Menus are being renovated to go beyond the kormas, the masalas and the vindaloos. Today you’ll see regional Indian favourites and creative culinary delights, such as spiced soft shell crab or Keralan fish curries, on which to feast, but walk into the vast majority of curry houses and you’ll be faced with the same zoo-like draught offerings of Cobra and Kingfisher, perhaps a Tiger if you’re lucky. ‘The beer sucks,’ exclaimed presenter and Certified Cicerone®, Sarah Warman
of BrewDog. ‘It’s bland and uninspiring,’ she continued.
‘I think that the proprietors of these curry houses usually opt for a safe beer and are unlikely to try and talk to their ‘For the most part, I leave Indian patrons about different beer offerings,’ restaurants on the hunt for hops,’ she suggested Jonny Tyson, an Accredited said, but why is it that Beer Sommelier and restaurants serving food Certified Cicerone®, who India is in inspired by the country blogs under the name the very that lends its name Beer Wrangler. to perhaps the most beginnings of But stereotypical lagers popular style of craft its own craft aren’t solely confined to beer, offer such poor lagers? Indian restaurants. beer boom.
‘The majority of Indian restaurants stick to the most popular beers such as Kingfisher and Cobra,’ explained world-renowned Indian chef, Pramod Nair. ‘The smart marketing by these breweries has achieved success with a formation that is less gassy than its competitors like Bangla, Lion and Lal Toofan,’ Nair, who has a collection of accolades, including Wales’ Best Indian Chef, continued and he’s not the only one in thinking so.
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Walk into a Mexican cantina or burrito bar and you’ll be faced with the likes of Corona, Modella and Pacifico or try a Tapas joint and you’ll more than likely be stuck with Mahou, Alahambra or San Miguel. ‘Indian lagers make an obvious choice for Indian restaurants,’ Sarah continued, ‘however, they’re only an obvious choice insofar as Carling would be the ‘obvious’ choice for pairing with a British dish.
‘Just because it’s the nation’s most consumed, it doesn’t mean it is the best pairing, it just means it is typical of the origin of both food and beer,’ she continued. ‘These breweries all make a mass produced, low cost beer that has a flavour profile that is the least offputting to the greatest number of people,’ argued Gregory Kroitzsh, the Managing Director and Head Brewer at Mumbai’s first microbrewery, The Barking Deer. ‘That is what makes it successful,’ he continued. ‘But it doesn’t make this beer very interesting for people who love craft beer. Craft beer is a very different product serving a different demographic,’ and it’s an opinion echoed by the Beer Wrangler. ‘I think in recent history, the local curry house has been the domain of the late night hungry drinker, and as
Our Top Craft Curry Houses It’s not all doom and gloom at the bars of takeaways, as a handful of venues are actively going against the grain to enhance their craft offerings, and here are our top craft curry picks that are leading the pack. VDeep – Leith
the majority of beer sold in the UK since the 1970s has been pale lager, it has been a ‘no brainer’ for them to offer an Indian branded lager to refresh the palate when ingesting copious amounts of rich, fatty and spicy delights,’ Jonny argued. A mindset has been created therefore, with both the customers and the restaurateurs alike, that lager, or country-specific branded lager, are the best to pair with any meal from said country and thus, innovation, as far as the beer menu is concerned, dies.
Such a stance is understandable, but a shame as it far from mirrors India’s blooming beer scene, where the whispers of a craft beer revolution are getting increasingly loud in the ears of the slithering Cobra (if snakes even have ears).
perfectly complement the common flavours in many a curry and the lightness of the beer balances the richness of the dish well. Or try an India Pale Ale and not just because the name implies it. The hoppy bitterness of an IPA balances the sweeter curry sauces but can also amplify and accentuate the spicier dishes. It also makes a perfect palate cleanser with the likes of a bhaji and other deep fried dishes. Or you could go a totally direction altogether and pour yourself something a bit darker.
It has been a ‘no brainer’ to offer an Indian branded lager to refresh the palate when ingesting copious amounts of rich, fatty and spicy delights.
‘India is in the very beginnings of its own craft beer boom. There are approximately 45 craft brewers in India today,’ Gregory, whose own range includes a Bombay Blonde, continued. So what should you be sipping whilst tucking into your curry? Well, it doesn’t have to be a lager and it certainly doesn’t have to be from India, because let’s face it= a pint of Barking Deer IPA may go swimmingly with a Goan Fish Curry, but it may take you a while to track it down.
‘There’s a reason the Jamaicans love stouts with their jerk,’ exclaimed Sarah. ‘Spice and smooth malt richness work well together,’ but a chocolate porter also goes hand in hand with the sweeter curries, naans and sauces that use coconut in the recipe.
Featuring a range of rotating and house drafts, bottles and cans, VDeep is the love child of Scotland’s Williams Bros Brewery and the culinary genius, Hardeep Singh Kohli with Ruairidh Skinner at the helm in the kitchen. But they don’t just stop with their own bar, they’ve brewed a cardamom infused IPA called VindaBrew that will be the first in a range of beers available for trade purchases designed to give restaurants and takeaways a craft option to Cobra. Bundobust – Leeds Born from a handful of successful and sold out food and beer pairing events, Bundobust was launched in July of last year and offers an eclectic range of beers, from the likes of Saltaire, Magic Rock and Mikkeller to their own Coriander Pilsner on tap, to accompany their Indian Street Food. Dishoom – London A Bombay Café with restaurants in King’s Cross, Shoreditch and Covent Garden, Dishoom not only seeks out beer to pair with its signature dishes, it has brewed its own aromatic rye IPA with London’s poster boys, Beavertown.
So whatever the reason for poor pints and a lack of craft in curry houses themselves, whether it be a lack of knowledge, demand or willingness to change their stereotypical ways, the joy of ordering a take away is that you can bring your own booze to the party. So push the boat out and fly a little further than a Kingfisher to explore the vast array of pairings that an Indian menu lends itself to.
Photos: Paul Johnston
‘Indians love wheat beers,’ explained Gregory, whose bestseller in his pub is Barking Deer’s Belgian Wit, and there’s no surprise why. Zesty orange peel and coriander seeds are often used in the brew, which Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 17
Logan Plant (L), Jos Ruffell (M) and Jasper Cuppaidge (R) perfecting their brewer’s boyband pose.
THE ROCKSTARS OF BREWING TAKE ON PIMMS
Camden’s exciting barrel aging department.
Camden Town Brewery hosted a collaboration brew day with Jos Ruffell (Garage Project) and Logan Plant (Beavertown). Three brewers at the top of their game brewed up a storm to make a beer inspired by the British classic Pimms. Brewed with juniper, peppercorns, citrus fruits, and, of course, cucumber, mint and strawberries, this ‘fruit cup’ beer is bound to impress. New Zealand, British and Australian hops were used to represent each of the brewers and make it a full cross country collab We were treated by Camden to a lunch with the brewers and a brewery tour as well as getting to try out some of Garage Project’s finest beers, some of which are the most experimental beers the Southern hemiphere has to offer.
Delighted to try Garage Project beers on tap: Tournesol, Sauvin Nouveau & Bossa Nova were all beautifully complex and delicious.
‘Jos is the best executor of crazy. I have always marvelled at Jos and Logan for their extremely experimental style. Here we have the extremities of beer; the British and the Kiwi versions ’ Jasper Cuppaidge 18 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
‘The only way we can sell more is by selling more together‘ Jasper Cuppaidge
Newly launched – Triple Day of the Dead: an 11% black lager brewed with chipotle chilli, cocoa and agave and aged in tequila barrels and Hellbender: an 11.2% barleywine, a leviathan of a beer made with over a tonne of malt and a mountain of American hops.
Photos: Lynn Bremner
‘In brewing, culture and community are the most important thing to maintain a positive environment and the same mindset. It is very powerful stuff.’ Logan Plant
‘Craft brewing is such an open environment that you can learn so much from seeing how other people work. This is why collaboration is key’ Logan Plant Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 19
ONION BEERELISH BY THE HUNGRY BEARS’ BLOG
ith the BBQ season firmly upon us we’ve gone in search of the perfect accompaniment to those sizzling sausages and bulging burger baps. Hot, sticky and gone before you know it. No, we’re not talking about the British summer, we’re talking about Beerelish (or Beerrelish for those not looking for an interesting name for it). This saucy number will give your bangers that extra bang! Now, we’re no strangers to the love pairing that is beer and onions – our beer onion soup is testament to that – but this relish ramps up the sticky, sweet beery combination that we adore so much. It’s simple and easy to make but the key to it is to take your time with the onions, as they love a bit of special attention. Our mantra?Keep them low and slow.
are our beer of choice for this relish and we recommend using the Vocation Heart & Soul IPA, as its veritable mix of fruity flavours add complexity to the relish. It’s a winner with sausages but you can pair it up with any BBQ meats like chicken, burgers or maybe kebabs. It even goes well with jacket potatoes and sweet potatoes mixed in with some cream cheese and spring onions. If you’re getting the BBQ on why not whip together this relish whilst the coals are heating up? We promise it’ll be worth it. If you do give this recipe a go make sure you send us a snap, we would love to see what you try it with! Tag us on instagram @thehungrybearsblog and @beer52HQ, or a tweet @hungrybearsblog and @beer52HQ
Prep Time: 5 mins Cook Time: 35 mins Total Time: 40 mins Author: The Hungry Bears’ Blog
1. Slice your onions into rounds about 1cm thick. Add to a large saucepan along with the olive oil and butter and set on a medium to low heat. Cook gently for 15 minutes to soften completely. 2. Add the beer, sugar and thyme to the saucepan and stir. Turn the heat up until the pan is simmering gently and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until the mixture reduces to a thick sticky consistency. The relish should have darkened in colour to a light brown, as the onions soak up the beer and sugar and caramelise slightly.
Ingredients: 2 Large red onions 2 Large white onions 11⁄2 tsp Light brown sugar 1⁄2 tsp dried thyme 150ml beer 1/2 tsp butter 1 tsp olive oil Small handful of fresh chives
3. Take the mixture off the heat. Finely chop the chives and stir through. Serve warm on top of your favourite BBQ meats. If you want to store the relish use a clean glass jar and refrigerate. Use within a month of making.
Photos: Hungry Bears’ Blog
What you should end up with is a wonderful jammy, sticky onion sauce that carries the beer flavour too. IPAs
20 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
Photos: Hungry Bears’ Blog
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 21
Photo: Erin Bottomley
Breaking down beer: the ABCs of beer’s ingredients By Melissa Cole
e may all like to think we are approaching black belt in beer drinking but how much do you really know about beer making? To answer all those burning questions about brewing you never knew you had, we’ve got beer writer Melissa Cole to break down the ABCs of beer’s ingredients and, because it’s the heart and soul of any brew, she’s decided to start with pale ale malt, so grab a cold one, kick back and prepare to be edumacated. Are you sitting comfortably, beer in hand and ready for a science lesson? No? Good, because the science of malting is insanely complicated and I’m not remotely qualified to write all the equations; however, I can tell you quite a bit about why it’s important and what the different varieties actually do… so, if you’re still with me, your first question should probably be ‘Melissa, what the hell IS malt?’. I could just put it simply by saying: ‘It’s watered, germinated, dried barley kernels that are used in the brewing process to create sugary liquid called wort that yeast feasts on and creates CO2 and booze’, but I think I’m being paid by the word so I’ll string it out a bit!
And I can’t think of better words to start the deeper explanation of how malt is made than those used by John Mallon in the Brewer’s Association Malt book. ‘Malting consists of three relatively simple steps: steeping, germination and kilning.
This means that those humble grains, that aren’t even the size of a little fingernail, become these magical packages of starches and preserved enzymes that brewers convert, in the mashing process, into the sugary liquid that is the very basis of beer – wort.
So that’s the basics of malting dealt with, so now we need to address what the ‘This process transforms a plant into a importance of pale ale malt is? Basically, brewing resource; a ready natural source it’s the heart and soul of most ales. of nourishment for the yeast.’ British grains in particular, because of our temperate climate, are well suited So, how does that happen? Well, once to this form of malt and the UK’s way the grain is harvested and checked for of ale brewing, which is single step disease or damage, the maltster starts mashing (basically, putting hot water in the steeping process, which raises with the grains and leaving it to stand). the barley grain’s moisture content to allow for germination under controlled These grains are kilned relatively lightly, conditions. resulting in biscuity, toasty flavours, very little potential for vegetal off This is then followed by the kilning flavours, and a deep gold colour but, process, which brings down that most importantly, they have excellent moisture content to a point where enzymic potential, which basically growth is halted. This can then be means you can get a lot of sugars out of used to develop flavour and colour those grains which also means you get a characteristics that are imparted to the lot of booze! beer – from white bread to brioche and through to raisins, toffees and caramel So, hopefully you now have a kernel of and out the other side to milk chocolate, knowledge about the subject of pale ale dark chocolate, coffee and burnt. malt... until next time my nerdy buddies!
22 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
This year Maris Otter, the first ever barley variety bred specifically for malting, is 50 years old and brewers from all over the globe (and some beer writer or other...) are brewing one-off beers for a festival in Norwich which is on from September 17-19 details can be found here: www.h-banham.co.uk/ marisotter50/
Photos: Lynn Bremner
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 23
D R I N K T H E F R ES H EST B E E R f ro m b rewe r y to yo u r g l a s s i n 4 - 6 we e k s of b e i n g b rewe d
Jo i n t h e U K ’s No . 1 C raf t B e e r C l u b a n d g et T WO F R E E b e e r s i n yo u r ﬁ r s t b ox
£4 - where sold
G o to : w w w. b e e r 5 2 . co m /fe r m e nt