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By Melissa Cole
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Shouting into the Void
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. Richard Manders. Invented concrete. Illustrator currently studying for his masters at Camberwell UAL. Interested in all projects in need of illustration. www.themantrout.tumblr.com Writers: Pete Brown is one of the UK’s most respected beer writers. Over the last twelve years he’s written five and a half books about beer, pubs and cider and why they matter. His next book What You Are Drinking? was recently fully funded through Unbound and will tell the story of beer's four key ingredients; hops, malted barley, yeast and water. 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. Each month Mark looks in detail at a different style of beer. You can follow his boozing on Twitter and Instagram: @markdredge. 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 London-based beer writer, speaker and photographer. Founder and editor of beer blog Total Ales and UK contributor for online US beer publication Good Beer Hunting. 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 Jonny Garrett is a freelance beer writer and co-founder of Youtube’s Craft Beer Channel, travelling the globe talking irreverently to brewers, geeks and chefs about the world’s best drink. He’s made no money, won no awards or made his mother proud. @BeerChannel Nick Moyle is a beer writer, home brewer and one half of the Two Thirsty Gardeners, authors of the book ‘Brew it Yourself’. He lives in Somerset and hence gets occasionally sidetracked by cider, but always returns to beer www.twothirstygardeners.co.uk 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
By Melissa Cole
By Pete Brown
Uniquely Local Beer Experiences 06 By Mark Dredge
More Than Just a Backbone
A Guide to Malt Production by Matthew Curtis
East Coast IPAs
By Jonny Garrett
Brewing for Ninkasi
The Goddess of Beer by Nick Moyle
What We’re Drinking...
This month the beers were chosen by Melissa Cole
By Craig Ballinger
Leeds | Beer City
By Erin Bottomley
Beer from America’s Heartland
Duvel Moortgat introduces Boulevard Brewery & Tank 7 Ale
Beer52’s Top Ten Beers
Beer52’s Beer Buyer Heather Picks her top ten beers from our online shop.
Pale Ale Blondies
Ben Hargreaves is a copy-editor and proofreader. Basically, he likes words.
By Hungry Bears’ Blog
Breaking Down Beer
The ABCs of beer’s ingredients by Melissa Cole
This month Melissa Cole has taken over! The beers in this month’s Beer52 box are a selection of some of her favourites as well as the tasting notes and suggested food pairings found on pg 14. Let us know what you think of her beer picks. Cheers, Erin Bottomley
For all advertising and contribution enquiries, please contact Erin Bottomley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 07414 632260. Get in touch on Twitter @FermentHQ You can write to us here at Ferment, 16/4 Timber Bush, Edinburgh, EH6 6QH, UK. Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 1
Shouting Into the VoId Words: Melissa Cole Illustrations: Mike Hughes
AMRA is dead, long live CAMRA! was the decidedly awkward message delivered to the nation over breakfast the other day. In what can only be described as a ‘car crash’ interview, CAMRA founder member Michael Hardman lurched from one gaff to another leaving an amazing opportunity to get the word of beer and CAMRA out to the nation perched on its hind legs begging. After opening the interview by insulting Naga Munchetty’s intro, he then proceeded to fumble and faff his way through an excruciating few minutes of utter waffle, before delivering the immortal line “craft beer doesn’t exist”. In just four tiny words, Hardman made an already tough job for CAMRA a thousand times tougher, by turning back the clocks 10 years to the ‘us vs them’ mind set - and didn’t do one thing to make it any better in the one minute fifty nine seconds he was flapping his lips on national TV. But it’s not just what he said, it’s the way he said it: patronising, sneery and confused but totally convinced the world would know what he was banging on about. He thus embodied the worst of what people think of CAMRA and the need for the Revitalisation project in the first place.
And there could be another happy consequence of this and that’s clearing the field for a host of the beer-focused industry bodies to stop feathering their individual nests and form a single, cohesive voice for the UK beer industry.
I’m genuinely depressed by this. I was overjoyed when I first heard rumblings about this around three months ago; it seemed to me that CAMRA acknowledged it had an ingrained issue with coming across a bit like the elderly relative everyone tries to ignore as they say racist things - and, in one interview, Hardman managed to convey the impression this is exactly how it will stay. Personally, I think the best thing would be for Hardman to quietly take a step back from any public role for the Revitalisation Project and allow some of the younger, more dynamic faces in CAMRA to come forward and represent the organisation – all of whom should be lauded for the brave step of undertaking this consultation and ensuring input from all sources, not just the loudest voices at the AGM. But all this aside, I have a modicum of faith in CAMRA getting this right and becoming a tremendous lobbying force for pubs, which in the face of epic pressures are closing at an alltoo-rapid rate. And there could be another happy consequence of this and that’s clearing the field for a host of the beer-focused industry bodies to stop feathering their individual nests and form a single, cohesive voice for the UK beer industry.
It’s time to dismantle the old boys’ network and the incestuous mess that constitutes so many of the existing bodies. Instead, it’s time to create strong, targeted, professional messages coming from what is, increasingly, a very strong, targeted and professional force in the UK. Anyway, I don’t want to be all doom and gloom so let me tell you a daft story. Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to brew with my dad, Michael Cole, for his 70th birthday. He’s the man who has been most important to me for the longest, whose approval I still crave and whose company I adore. He is also the person everyone can blame for my lousy sense of humour and total irreverence for most things. Littered throughout the brew day at Tap East, with the fantastic Jonny Parks and some kind donations from Simply Hops, were tales of very naughty things my dad got up to when he was a kid. One particular highlight being when he was caught playing hooky from school by the Queen, whilst peeing up against a tree in Windsor Great Park and then got thrashed twice, once for playing hooky and once for lying about having seen the Queen and, in amongst some other unprintable stuff, there was a story told about me as a child too.
I don’t know whether I was either unaware of this tale or I had simply forgotten but it came to light as we were discussing fermentation temperatures and Dad started talking about how he used to homebrew and ferment it in the airing cupboard. Apparently toddler me was as nosey as the (supposed) adult I’ve become and, one day, I managed to get into the airing cupboard and attempted to use the fermentation bucket, full of beer, as a handy lever to pull myself up. Unfortunately the rather tall and thin, therefore quite unstable, nature of said bucket made for a very poor choice of grabbing surfaces. My dad arrived to see what I was up to just in time, as I was almost washed down the stairs by a tsunami of fermenting ale – a demise which 40-year-old-me considers a very good way to go!
It’s time to dismantle the old boys’ network and the incestuous mess that constitutes so many of the existing bodies. Instead, it’s time to create strong, targeted, professional messages coming from what is, increasingly, a very strong, targeted and professional force in the UK. Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 3
Photos: CAMRA, Riona Campbell & Erin Bottomley
Words: Pete Brown
4 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
lot has changed since 1971. Back then, Elizabeth II was Queen, the Tory government was arguing about Britain’s membership of the European Economic Community, we lived in fear of terrorism and extremist politicians were stoking fears about immigration. Hang on, let me try that again. A lot has changed since 1971. Back then, decimal currency was only just being introduced and the average price of a house was £5,632. The war in Vietnam was still raging and American astronauts were speeding around the moon’s surface in a lunar rover. E-mail, pocket calculators and microprocessors were all invented that year, and mainstream popular culture was cheerfully racist, sexist and homophobic. The average weekly wage for men was £28, and a pint of beer cost 12½p. This was also the year that the Campaign for the Revitalisation of Ale was formed by four young journalists who were frustrated with
socks-and-sandals and personalised pewter tankard brigade. They were anti-social, condescending, arrogant, even occasionally xenophobic in their contemptuous dismissal of ‘eurofizz.’ In part, I made my name as a writer by aggressively attacking CAMRA. It was easy to do, because impersonal monoliths make great targets. The problem was, I soon realised CAMRA wasn’t an impersonal monolith at all. It was a coalition of diverse interests with some clever, thoughtful people at the top of the organisation, many of whom agreed with some of my criticisms. As is so often the case, it turned out the geeks were simply a vocal, visible minority. CAMRA’s membership has almost trebled over the last decade, as the pursuit and celebration of good beer has gone mainstream and accessible, attracting people of all ages and genders. Real ale is in sustained volume growth. And there’s a new stereotyped beer geek in town, still bearded, still strident, possessing what he imagines to be a much broader
Founders 10th Birthday – L to R: Jim Makin, Ben Mellor, Michael Hardman and Graham Lee
CAMRA fought a bold and imaginative campaign to preserve and promote cask ale and force brewers to continue to provide it. By the late 1970s, CAMRA was being described as the most successful consumer organisation in Europe
the appalling quality of beer. In the months that followed, the four founders learned that the tasteless, gassy beer that bloated them and gave them hangovers without quite getting them drunk was aggressively pasteurised, artificially carbonated and served under pressure from kegs. Whereas traditional British beer was unpasteurised and unfiltered, and underwent a slow, secondary fermentation in the cask, giving it a natural sparkle. The difference between cask and keg wasn’t the only indicator of good beer – there was a lot of crap in cask too – but for the four beer fans, it was the most meaningful distinction. They changed the name of their group to the Campaign for Real Ale, with ‘real ale’ being a term they invented to describe cask beer. CAMRA fought a bold and imaginative campaign to preserve and promote cask ale and force brewers to continue to provide it. By the late 1970s, CAMRA was being described as the most successful consumer organisation in Europe. However, if you study history, the nature of any revolution is that the instigators quickly become perceived as reactionaries by the waves of activists who come after them. By the time I started writing about beer in the early noughties, I believed CAMRA were doing more harm than good. They gave real ale an exclusive, geeky image. Their beer festivals were alienating to anyone who wasn’t part of their
approach to beer than his predecessor, but in some ways still as blinkered. Real ale is craft beer. While there are some in CAMRA who see the new wave of craft beer as a threat, opening the door to fizzy keg beers regaining respectability they don’t deserve, and many craft beer fans who believe real ale is stale and boring while USinfluence craft ales are exciting, by any sensible definition they’re two aspects of the same thing. If you won’t take my word for it, get in touch with Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, Deschutes, Odell’s or any of the founding fathers of the American craft beer movement and ask them what they were hoping to do, who they were trying to emulate. But, thanks largely to their efforts, craft beer is now much broader than cask ale. Craft brewers are focused on quality whatever format they deliver their beers in, and most drinkers want to know about flavour, style and provenance rather than the presence of extraneous CO2 in the cellar. And, finally, after years of criticism, CAMRA has acknowledged this. At the start of this month, CAMRA announced a consultation process involving as many of its 177,000 members as possible. Booklets and questionnaires will be delivered to every member, and fifty meetings will be taking place across the country to canvas views on what CAMRA should do now.
Founders – L to R: Ben Mellor, Michael Hardman, Graham Lee and Jim Makin
Real ale is craft beer. While there are some in CAMRA who see the new wave of craft beer as a threat, opening the door to fizzy keg beers regaining respectability they don’t deserve, and many craft beer fans who believe real ale is stale and boring while US-influence craft ales are exciting, by any sensible definition they’re two aspects of the same thing.
Should it broaden its definition of good beer? Should it switch its focus and become a group fighting to preserve the Great British pub? Should it ditch its focus on cider? Everything is on the table – it may no longer even be called the Campaign for Real Ale. The membership will decide.
different opinions and beliefs then formulate a coherent way forward out of it. But if it’s done well, it should shed light not just on the future of CAMRA, but also on the future of enjoying great beer in Britain.
This is a bold and brilliant move on CAMRA’s part. I don’t envy the people who have to pick through so many Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 5
UNIQUELY LOCAL BEER EXPERIENCES Words: Mark Dredge
he worldwide spread of craft beer means that we can drink pilsners and pale ales everywhere from Alaska to Auckland. But the progressive-seeking trends often overlook the traditional beers which have been passed down through generations and which, in their small pockets of the world, continue to be brewed and enjoyed today. Here are some of the beer world’s most uniquely local drinking experiences. Lithuanian Kaimiškas is a broad type of farmhouse beer (Kaimiškas means ‘village beer’), where a visit to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, will present you with beers unlike any you’ve tasted before. There are many variations of Kaimiškas, including light and dark, but none give easy points of reference to other styles. Hard to describe concisely, the distinctive, defining thing about these beers is the yeast, which is unique to the beers and has been passed down through the generations – this yeast can kick out diacetyl (buttery quality) and fruity esters which go with the malty beers. The fun is in drinking them in ceramic mugs and exploring a type of beer that you can’t taste elsewhere. Another, rarer, Lithuanian beer to look for is keptinis which is made with barley that’s baked into bread loaves before being mashed with warm water.
Scandinavia is another area continuing threatened by the rise of popular farmhouse brewing traditions. Finnish pilsners. Spontaneously fermented Sahti begins with juniper and water with the unique micro-flora in the being heated together over a wood fire, air around the brewery, these beers typically in a sauna. The hot junipermature for up to a couple of years infused water is gradually poured over (though most are drunk between 12the malts for the mash. It’s later strained 18 months) in large wooden barrels, through more juniper gradually turning sour and then a baker’s funky. What makes The worldwide and yeast is added. When these special is that to spread of craft taste true lambic you ready you get a lightly refreshing tartness, typically need to be very beer means some sweetness, plus close to the brewery that we can the herbal fragrance where you’ll be poured of juniper. Norweigan drink pilsners glasses of this flat, sour Maltøl also begins with into chunky-based and pale ales beer juniper-infused water tumblers (the fat-bottom and wood-fired pots and glass was there as everywhere the most traditional use in case from Alaska to reinforcement ‘kveik’, or other ancestral any drinker wanted to Auckland. yeast strains. Maltøl is bash a sugar cube into an umbrella term for their beer before drinking various beer types, where typically it). More than any other beer, this they are lightly hopped, unfiltered is a taste of where it’s brewed, with and uncarbonated, while colour and the environment’s yeast and bacteria alcohol content varies (some are also giving the beer its unique taste. raw, or unboiled, and others are boiled for hours). What’s most fascinating is Vietnamese Bia Hoi is the exact how Sahti and Maltøl rely on ancient opposite of something long-aged like methods; they are brewed using passed- lambic. This Vietnamese speciality down knowledge and techniques, made is one of the freshest beers in the with the senses rather than science. world, brewed just a few days before you drink it. A light, unpasteurised Belgian Lambic is brewed in a rice lager, bia hoi means ‘gas beer’ or small area around Brussels and has ‘draft beer’. It’s fermented to 3%-4% remained stoically true to tradition in alcohol but doesn’t undergo lager’s even when its existence was usual maturation, instead it’s kegged
6 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
and sent to bars where it’s drunk the same day it arrives – this eliminates the need to pasteurise the beer in the warm climate. The beers vary from gently bitter and pleasantly refreshing to being chubby, sweet and estery (think banana, strawberry, plus butter), often with a caramel-like quality found in Czech pilsners. Brewed fast and drunk young, the fun is enjoying many very cheap (under 20p a glass) glasses while sitting on busy street corners, eating snacks, surrounded by locals. Zoigl beer dates from years ago when, in central Europe, towns shared communal breweries, with those citizens that held brewing rights taking turns to make beer They fermented and matured it in their own private cellars before selling it locally. This process largely disappeared except from in five towns in northeast Bavaria. Today we can look at the zoigl calendar and see which beer is available on which day, with the brewers taking turns to first brew and then sell their stuff. Expect unfiltered golden lagers, doughy malt and fragrant hops in balance, where you’re really enjoying a zoigl for the place, the history and the communal experience of brewing and drinking, rather than just the liquid itself.
Photos: Jim Kelly, Prashant Ram & Bernt Rostad
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 7
hen people think of brewing they almost immediately think of shiny, stainless steel tanks, brewers clad in boots and overalls drenched in water, steaming mash tuns being emptied of warm grain and bucketfuls of bright green hops being liberally dumped into boiling wort. What people don't often think of is the multitude of processes that need to occur before any of this can happen. Beer's story begins way before even a drop of hot liquor hits grains of malted barley. It actually starts at the farm, where skilled professionals grow hops and grain to incredibly exacting specifications. Brewers are a demanding bunch and the crops they desire are notoriously difficult to grow. It’s not the brewers but the maltsters that lay down these specifications though – malt production being one of the most vital processes in the brewing chain. You've probably heard the names of several well-known hop varieties such as Mosaic, Bramling Cross and Amarillo, they're regularly used to market a beer and make it sound more appealing after all. When it comes to barley you've likely heard of the Maris Otter variety, which has been in production since 1965. But how about Pearl, Concerto or Archer? On the surface malted barley and its production might not seem as interesting as the flowing green fields of hops in the Yakima Valley but, in reality, it's as interesting, if not more so, than the brewing process itself.
Words: Matthew Curtis
Jutting out of the skyline, like a scene One of the most interesting facets from Blade Runner, are the grain silos of malt production is the traditional of Norfolk's Crisp Maltings, the largest method of floor malting, where grains independent producer of malted grain are steeped in water to begin the in the UK. They're headquartered process of germination and then laid in the picturesque village of Great out on stone floors while this process Ryburgh, about a forty-minute drive takes place. Germination is the most northwest of Norwich. Crisp produces important part of creating malt. It's about 255,000 tons of malt annually, during this process that the cell walls the majority of which is actually used within a grain of barley are broken for the distilling of down in order to release products such as the starch, along with the Malt is the whisky. Brewing all-important enzymes soul of a beer,” that convert these makes up the second largest part starches into sugar during says Crisp's of Crisp's business brewing, so that yeast can Managing and, of this, 8% is convert this into alcohol. designed for and supplied Director Euan to the craft beer industry germination malt Macpherson, After specifically. On a recent is then either kilned, “Hops are just roasted, or both to visit to Crisp they were coy about exactly how fast the lipstick.” produce the desired this sector of its trade was flavours, be it light and growing, but the indication was that it snappy pale malt through to rich was both rapid and exponential. and dark chocolate malt. These days floor malting makes up just 1% of “Malt is the soul of a beer,” says Crisp's Crisp's total production. The other Managing Director Euan Macpherson, 99% is produced at an industrial scale “Hops are just the lipstick.” And I to exacting specifications in 220 can see what he means, hops are tonne batches, 10 times the size of exciting because of the way brewers a floor malted batch and equivalent have used them and the way hop to 2,880,000 pints of beer. It’s a forward beers are talked about - but process in which the bubbling grains malt plays a vastly more important in the giant steeping tank resemble role than I think many people realise. something similar to the primordial Malt is regularly described as being ooze and the equally massive kiln is the backbone or foundation of a beer essentially a huge sauna, albeit one but, in reality, it's so much more. It filled with grain instead of hot coals. makes up a vastly greater proportion of a beers makeup than hops and “We've got to keep our floor malting therefore deserves greater reverence facility as it connects us back to our from drinkers. roots,” says Crisp's Technical Director, Dr. David Griggs. “But we've also got to
8 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
keep pushing forward, Crisp is about profitability through complexity.” An example of this is a variety of malt produced by Crisp called Clear Choice. This malt is engineered to significantly reduce the amount of polyphenols, the chemicals within malt that are the primary cause of hazy or murky beer. Despite many people blaming yeast or modern hopping regimes for cloudy beer, up to 60% of beer haze is in fact caused by the malt. This is often triggered by brewers using techniques such as dry hopping during active fermentation, which prevents the polyphenols dropping out of the beer during conditioning. In trials carried out by Crisp it's been proven that even using Clear Choice malt as a small part of a beers grist results in a clearer finished beer. The only thing that may put a brewer off using this malt is its increased cost. What's clear to me is how vital malt production is to the long chain that eventually results in a beer in your hand. It might not be as exciting as the latest hop variety or strain of wild yeast but in terms of the scale of beer production worldwide it is vastly more important. So maybe it's time to get excited about malt, especially as we live and drink our way through a hop shortage. Next time you take a sip of your favourite beverage try to remember that malt is more than just its backbone. In last months piece on Black IPA, Matthew Curtis mistakenly stated that Cascadian Dark Ale takes its name from the Cascade Hop. In fact, it’s named after the Cascade Mountain Range in Oregon. The author apologises for this misinformation.
Photos: Matthew Curtis
MORE THAN JUST A BACKBONE – A GUIDE TO MALT PRODUCTION
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 9
EAST COAST IPAS
Photos: Trillium Brewing Co & Alchemist Brewery
Words: Jonny Garrett
10 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
ules are made to be broken, and this approach has done wonders for craft beer so far. Just ask Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada or Steve Hindy of Brooklyn Brewery what people thought of their hoppy, bitter beers in the early 1980s. Flying in the face of market forces and big business they rewrote the brewsheet entirely. Now there is a new clique of American brewers on the east coast breaking all the rules those founding fathers wrote. Their pale ales are so cloudy they could clog a CAMRA member’s throat, while the complete lack of bitterness might do the same to a hop-head. You see, unlike pretty much every IPA you’ve ever had, these beauties owe everything to yeast.
As they say, what goes up must come down. As much as absurdly bitter beers are exciting, vitalizing and delicious, experimenting with hop bitterness and piney citrus aroma became harder to do. To be practical about it, there’s only so many hops you can fit in the kettle. Add to that the fact that some breweries had absolutely nailed the West Coast IPA recipe, and you can see why something had to shift.
In keeping with the strange habit beer styles have of blossoming locally, A low-IBU, yeast-forward India pale ale may sound like something a focus group the north-east of the US took up the challenge. Going against all the previous at AB Inbev would come up with, but rules of brewing IPA, these it actually represents new breweries invented a the next step in craft Now there is new IPA style with hugely brewing’s evolution. a new clique complex recipes that blurred boundary between hop, Until very recently of American the malt and yeast aromas. there was one main school of thought brewers on they all use a in brewing with big hops, the east coast Vitally bastardised version of a invented by the leading breaking all British ale yeast, the best lights of craft brewing on of which is Conan, the US West Coast. Having the rules those known used in the world-famous pioneered the use of highfounding Heady Topper. More alpha grapefruity hops, brewers set about creating fathers wrote. generically these strains are known as Vermont yeast, very clean, aroma-less but there is nothing generic about what yeasts to let the citrus of the flowers they add to beer. shine. Without the distraction of fruity yeast esters like banana, clove and peach, Imagine the kind of aroma you might the sharper aromas of pine, resin and get from a really good English bitter grapefruit were concentrated. This logic – banana, peaches and apricots, or led to stunning bitter beers like Stone even dates – but layered with sweeter, Ruination, Ballast Point Sculpin and creamier malts like oats or wheat and a Lagunitas IPA. tonne of late-addition aroma hops. As you may have noticed, this style of brewing caught on somewhat, and now you can get a West Coast-style IPA anywhere in the world. Everyone who wants to create a faithful version uses the classic, clean US05 yeast or similar. With the focus purely on the hops, brewers all over the world entered an arms race of who could brew the bitterest, most aromatic IPA. The head brewer of Russian River (which makes the seminal Pliny the Elder) called this
orange juice, over-ripe mango and apricot. Mingled with a hint of alcohol and sweet malt, it’s intoxicating. But the biggest surprise is yet to come, as you take a sip and feel this fruity, soft cloud fill your mouth, then swallow to find zero alcohol on the throat and practically no bitterness.
phenomenon the “lupulin threshold shift” – where a once very hoppy beer is suddenly made to seem pedestrian. It all culminated in Mikkeller’s 1000 IBU imperial IPA, which isn’t half as good as Ratebeer will have you believe.
That’s not to say the beers aren’t extreme, these breweries have just found new forms of extremism. I’ve seen walls less opaque than some of these brews, which has put off many of those who don’t understand the processes and beliefs behind them. Their aroma and drinkability have to be witnessed to be believed but, sadly, that’s very hard to do. Breweries like Trillium and the Alchemist are famous for never shipping their beers out of the state, even insisting fans come to the brewery to try or buy the packaged beers.
And not just any hops. Some use the big C American hops like citra, but many are turning to newer hybrid hops like mosaic, equinox and el dorado. Not content to stop there, they have adopted a new technique of dry hopping – adding hops to the fermenter to really boost the aroma – where they throw the hops in while yeast is still kicking up a fuss in primary fermentation. It’s not a science (yet) but brewers have found that dry-hopping in the midst of all those chemical reactions can intensify the aromas and might even involve some interplay between the yeast and the hops. Either way, from Alchemist’s Heady Topper to Trillium’s Scaled to Treehouse’s Julius, it results in a remarkably tropical, sweet aroma. I’ve been reminded forcibly of Tropicana
Their dedication to quality, freshness and experimentation is proof that any talk of a craft beer bubble is unfounded. It’s also proof that breaking rules doesn’t mean making something less accessible. The fact that Treehouse and their compatriots have pushed boundaries only to create something more drinkable is a testament to their skill and the longevity of good beer.
Want to try some in the UK? Having tried a select few after months of hunting, I finally realized that the best way to drink this style regularly was to brew one myself. After tasting their amazing session IPA Hepcat, I decided Gipsy Hill could put a low-IBU juice bomb together and discovered kindred spirits in founders Sam McMeekin and Simon Wood. Our 7% el dorado, azzaca and equinox-hopped East Coast IPA is in the fermenter clouding up nicely as we speak. On the 30th April we’ll be holding a party at the brewery to celebrate the launch of Drifter. You can watch the video of the brew at www.youtube.com/ thecraftbeerchannel
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 11
BREWING FOR NINKASI, THE GODDESS OF BEER Words: Nick Moyle
orget Newton’s unravelling of the wonders of gravity, Fleming stumbling upon penicillin, or even the first realisation that the earth is round – man’s greatest ever discovery is beer. Although the precise time of this monumental event is undocumented, it’s likely to have happened when grain was first cultivated, around 13,000 years ago. And while evidence of beer guzzling exists from the 5th century BC, it’s from the relatively modern times of 4,000 years ago that we find the first ever recorded beer recipe.
skirret in order to make a more authentic Mesopotamian beer. Handily, the plant is perennial and has been cropping up in the garden every year, so I was able to dig up a clump and despatch them to his lab in Birmingham.
Matt’s first task was to create a recipe he could sensibly follow, by piecing together information gleaned from translations of the Hymn to Ninkasi along with archaeological evidence, geography and meteorological data. This research would reveal more clues to the ingredients used and methods deployed Hailing from Ancient Mesopotamia, to turn them into booze. From there on the recipe takes the form of a poem it was a case of brewing like a Sumerian dedicated to everyone’s favourite in a 21st century environment, as Matt deity, Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess explains: “I used home brew techniques, of beer and brewing. gathered from various Unfortunately, the sources such as Papazian’s Forget unknown writer was The Homebrewer’s more fixated upon Companion, to help with Newton’s poetic verse and efficiency and sterilisation, unravelling of lyrical composition to and combined them with the wonders be overly concerned ancient modifications with precise instructions, to produce the beer as of gravity, leaving much room for accurately as possible.” Fleming interpretation, particularly when it comes to the rather stumbling upon So, how did my skirret vague ingredient listing of enter the fray? Unlike my penicillin, or ‘sweet aromatics.’ own casually brewed pale ale, it wasn’t a simple case even the first Historians have long since boiling up the roots realisation that of debated what those aromatic with the rest of the grains the earth is adjuncts might include but and seeing what happens. have come to the agreement round – man’s Matt’s methods took much that a prominent constituent more effort. “Cleaning and greatest ever would be the now outpreparing the skirret took of-fashion root vegetable some time, before I boiled discovery is “skirret”. Being someone and mashed it into a paste, who likes to brew with home beer. along with radish, to create grown ingredients I figured skirret would a mixture with a slightly bitter, vegetal be a worthy addition to my vegetable flavour. I then baked the paste into patch, so I tracked down some seeds ‘bappir’ loaves which were eventually and successfully raised my own plants. added to the beer at ‘flame off’, allowing them to break up and impart as much of Skirret is a relative of the carrot and the ‘sweet aromatic’ flavour as possible.” parsnip (it’s also known as “water With all that work just to create a bit parsnip”), growing to around six feet in of aroma and bitter flavour modern length, it displays clusters of small white brewers should be eternally grateful for flowers above ground and a jumble of man’s second greatest discovery: hops. straggly roots below. It is these roots that the plant was mainly grown for. They A few weeks ago, Matt sent me a couple have a flavour similar to the parsnip, of bottles of his Mesopotamian beer – a and were used as a cheap food for “black beer” at 5.6% ABV and a lighter farm workers until fairly recently, but hued “seriously strong beer” at 6.4% they’re a chore to clean, which probably ABV, each using a different combination explains why you won’t find them at of grains in the mix. He also warned your local Tesco. me that the liquid had a more porridgy consistency than contemporary In the spirit of home brew adventure I beer and “to remember…that it’s a decided to make my own skirret pale challenging beer.” ale. Rather than follow any historical process, I simply boiled up the roots and Modern tastes have evolved a fair bit in strained the liquid into my fermenting the intervening 4,000 years since the bucket along with the rest of the wort. Hymn to Ninkasi was written and I’m The beer tasted good but, apart from not sure contemporary drinkers would an increase in cloudiness, I’m not sure be as keen to honour the goddess with it had much of an impact on the end anything other than profanities if their product. local barman served it up. It’s fair to say my unauthentic pale ale was a much Earlier this year I received an email tastier tipple. But criticism aside, it did from a brewing student, Matt Buist, have a surprisingly beery taste to it, desperately trying to tack down some something also noted by fellow students 12 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
Photos: Nick Moyle
who were treated to a sample during one of Matt’s Neo-Assyrian seminars. “Most people, myself included, weren’t particularly fond of the beer” Matt adds “but lots of people noted how the origins of beer are evident in the brew. Even if they’re masked by the odd vegetable and egg flavours and slight sourness.” The Greek historian Xenophon (430 – 354 BC) was known to water down these ancient strong beers to make them more palatable. And although this technique did garner more favour among Matt’s guzzling guinea pigs, it also had the flipside of creating more of the stuff to drink. So while it fails to match up with modern beers it’s perfectly reasonable to imagine it going down a treat with Sumerians, providing a suitably refreshing reward after a hard day draining marshes and converting them to agricultural land. It’s malty, has a mix of aromatic, bitter and sweet flavours and, most importantly, contains a decent dose of alcohol. Present day brewers are having a riot cherry picking methods and ingredients from long forgotten recipes, but nearly all of them come from a time when hops were the flavouring of choice and I doubt there will be much call for skirret in contemporary brewing circles. But whatever beer we drink next, maybe we should all raise our glasses to Ninkasi and offer our thanks for the part she played in man’s greatest discovery.
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WHAT WE’RE DRINKING... BY MELISSA COLE
Boulevard Brewing Tank 7
Northern Monk Eternal
DouGall’s 942 Northern Monk is undoubtedly one of the most exciting breweries in the UK right now. Eternal is the beer that has impressed me as there’s no hiding place for faults: all the flavour of an IPA with an English sensibility of sessionability.
Spicy, herbal, peppery – I could go on and on about this beer but I’d get ridiculously carried away. Instead I’ll just leave it to this advice: try it with a fish Thai red curry, it’s sensational.
Hillside Brewery Over the Hill Vedett is always a crowd pleaser and this classic wheat beer is the epitomy of simple refreshment. As the nights get lighter, chuck a few prawns on the BBQ and you’ll be right.
4 .7 %
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4 .1 %
8 .5 %
Vedett Extra White
Brit Andrew Dougall is slowly taking the Spanish market by storm as it grows out of its ‘shouty Amerianhopped beers only’ phase. His understanding of balance and drinkability is displayed best in this beer, in my opinion. It is somewhere between a lager and a pale ale, it immediately screams “drink me in the sunshine, I’ll be even better” with its zippy carbonation, subtle but refreshingly citrus hops and a clean end.
Brighton Bier Brighton Bier Tiny, in the middle of nowhere and turning out great British classics and a sprinkling of more “craft” offerings, I love finding gems like this. This mild is, quite simply, a great example of the style, full of flavour, drinkable as hell.
Quitting the City for brewing is always going to endear head brewer Gary Sillence to the beer community but that only goes so far. The Pale was good first time out and has been getting better ever since, a simple supping beer full of lush peach and bitey nettle notes.
WHAT WE’RE DRINKING... BY MELISSA COLE
Arundel Smokehouse Porter
Hart Family Brewers Opal
Celt Experience Bleddyn 1075 I’m not normally one for smoke beers but this hits all the right spots – coffee, chocolate, subtle beech smoke and that the brewery worked with a neighbouring business to create their own bespoke smoked malt is very pleasing indeed.
I’m saying goodbye to an old friend in Bleddyn in style, sharing it with all you lovely people, as it’s being removed from Celt’s permanent range shortly. A booming IPA that is redolent of ripe berry fruits and pine, I’ve always enjoyed this beer and I’m sorry to see it go, although I’m sure the replacement will be stellar.
Arundel Sussex Bier
Celt Experience Goddess of the Spring Lager with a bit more life is how I like to describe this beer. It does all the jobs you’d like a pilsner to do but with a bit more pizazz because it’s a homage to the Vienna style. Light malt biscuit notes and a great herbal hop character, combined with a respectable maturation period, make this a jolly good supping beer indeed.
A belter this beer; I was in love from first sniff (not a phrase you should use regularly or you may find yourself in trouble!). Anyway, this seems to take all the elements I like from both German and Belgian wheat beers and pull them together, aromatic & spicy but not too sweet due to its big orange peel and nettly hop finish. Lush with creamy butter chicken.
Wild Beer Co Epic Saison
Goddess of the Spring is an exciting and fun addition to the Celt portfolio, its syrupy strawberry nose seems like it’ll be too sweet but, when you dive in, you soon learn that there’s a strawberry boot lace bite of sherbety sour which makes it like drinking a childhood candy favourite.
They could easily have called this tangerine dream as the meld of dry, peppery saison yeast and full-blooded American hops combine to feel like you’re eating a whole tangerine, skin and all! A beer I adore with subtle North African spiced mackerel and fruity bulgur wheat.
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Words: Craig Ballinger Illustrations: Richard Manders
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he 16:20 to Brighton left London out. Just feed it batter and doughnuts Victoria on time and took us are created. Sugar and serve. We got with it. I had the company of cinnamon too because we know what an old friend from Manchester, Finn, the fuck is going on. and he was in for some adventure time. The plan was one of impulsive I was tempted to engage the baseballyouth – I’d made a new friend, Kebb, capped staff in catering banter but I on a recent Arabian crusade and wasn’t sure they had the language for promised to see my nonsense and feared his band play live. I’d come at them weird. I They had all As my youth is in just shouted “CATERIN’!!” the canned fact leaving me, I’d as I walked off with my organised well with doughnuts – to show my hits – we pre-booked tickets approval without looking blasted and train beers. The mad. We scranned the finest beer shop in North doughnuts and watched through East London sorted out one of the fairground the latter – get yourselves the best of rides twirl. The pistons to the Londis near Stoke of the octopus-armed Vocation, Newington common and machine pumped and clear the shelves! They had Magic Rock lights flashed as the and Moor on riders were twirled and all the canned hits – we blasted through the best of the quick ride. tossed about. More bright Vocation, Magic Rock and lights sucked us into Moor on the quick ride. the arcades. The sound of chugging change and obnoxious The day was still with us when the games filled a room with various train got in and the beers had got us excitement. loose. We pencilled in a sunset zoot on the beach to level us out. To turn the Empty all pockets into machines! Give knife beforehand we burst directly into some 10p’s to those pushers! the The Evening Star. It’s illustrative of the place that only a minute walk from I was 60p up for a the station you can get an ideal beer. while but gravity Finn got into Magic Rock’s endlessly just wasn’t with refreshing grapefruit pale on the train me, those slippery and found more of it in the pub. I little silver couldn’t resist something weird from bastards. I lost my Alphabet – I was there to drink Dark initial investment of Star but a treacle and black pepper two quid eventually porter was too much of a rarity to and bowed out. We ignore. We couldn’t stick around too moved on and went long though, the sun was starting to shooting for a while set. – it was an intense period on * House of the Dead 3. With We sat on concrete and looked out a pump-action on the charred skeleton of the old shotgun in my pier. We’d missed the sunset but there hands and zombies was still a decent glow to put a bit coming up fast, I had of cinema on everything. I enjoyed to adapt. It was vicious the image of the blackened remains but we held together against the sky and skinned up. People as a duo. We should littered the beach, relaxing into the start training for the evening. As the light faded we walked coming war on these along the beach to the remaining pier. things. They should do The neon strip in the sea became a House of the Dead: bolder against the sky as I struggled Commons where we with conditions underfoot. Fat, loose go in blasting pasty stones and an inconvenient incline Etonians in their back ensured a turbulent time as we blasted pockets, with bonus the burner, talking and fumbling the points for picking up lighter. With perseverance, we found all the greasy cash that joy in the struggle. bursts out.
Back on dry land I had double jelly legs – everything was shifting about. I hoped the night didn’t turn towards the uncontrollably pissed. Those are younger days. The sweaty dancing days of one-bombing nobheads. We needed the pier to pick us up, this fantasyland of snacks and gambling. We quickly found hot doughnuts; wonderful stodgy hoops of fried, sugar-coated delicious matter that solve everything. I marvelled at the fantastic machine that churned them
Our pockets were as empty as a drunken promise so we headed towards the gig venue. Searching out an en route eats we stumbled into a skate park to watch the moves of today’s youth. Finn’s a skater and he admired the park – there’s nothing like it in Manchester. They wouldn’t want gangs of youths having any fun. Better to keep them bored and pissed off. We watched a group of kids on their boards, declaring themselves with sick, casual
moves. We agreed that we’ve both “The greatest standup comedian of his got no time for scooters as we exited age” and an inspiration to gobshites the park, walking over graffiti on the everywhere – turns out he took some tarmac commanding: cues from the late, great “GO VEGAN”. blackface music hall Corner star G.H. Elliot aka The shops are Within minutes Chocolate Coloured Coon. we were ordering Entertainment ain’t what my favourite a chippy dinner at it used to be. places. Even Bardsley’s of Baker Street. We took a window * in my Glorious seat and I got a Harvey’s Armada, a solid local bitter. Socialist Full of chips, we got back As the scene settled I Republic we’ll into the street to find saw we were in The Max the gig. It was held in a have them. Miller room, a museum, a confused former pub now Where else shrine to a stranger. Who serving as something was Max Miller and why akin to a tea room in a would you get was his trademark outfit tight village hall. I got encased in glass? Turns out papers and a Guinness that was he was a guy who played shit beer at any poured from a can into the nobhead in music a glass and then fired halls. The Cheeky Chappie. time of day? up on an illuminated Like a Southern George Formby in platform. We live in the future, we’re a loud suit. He’d probably have been on the space Guinness and it’s all annoying to go to the pub with. Or really unnecessary. We stood amongst maybe he was actually a sad drinker the chintz and tables and took in the hiding behind the comedian’s mask. moves of Pürple, my man Kebb’s band. They contain a good level of pleasure and it was all over Kebb’s face, his mouth routinely twisting into a great smile. Fine guitarist too.
The space was awkward but the band were great. We should’ve been in a garage. I’d cater the beer and we’d have more room to rock out. Maybe I’ll become a gig promoter – they’re always having a blast and doing the coke. I needed a drink and found treasure in the fridges. There’s always something in the fridges. I got into Punk IPA, in neat combination with Laphroaig. £2.50 whiskey isn’t a bad way to go. The band joined us – a three-piece of young housemates, Kebb (guitar and vocals) Josh (drums) and Ben (bass and fine backing). They were the nicest guys; it occurred to us that we might have to fuck them despite our straightness and our girlfriends. We eventually got into the night in pursuit of the afterparty. We headed out with the crowd into the wonky streets of Brighton, stocking up on essentials at neon oases. Corner shops are my favourite places. Even in my Glorious Socialist Republic we’ll have them. Where else would you get papers and shit beer at any time of day? Finn was going on about “too much beer, man”, so I found more of the local dad ale and got a decent little bottle of Teacher’s to please him. He’s mad, of course, there’s always room for a light ale. He was hitting the Teacher’s to smooth his edges and he was right too – it worked hard. * Soon after, we were at a tiny student party. It was a big place but the party was only in the living room, kitchen
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Beer Tales and garden. You’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties, skinning up and indoctrinating some poor bastard. I got hold of a very well-informed young man, part-Saudi, and we discussed being ruled by lunatics. And of the slave trade routes that never closed. Of the stream of people from South Asia to the Gulf. All facilitated by the world’s finest people traffickers: the British. The Empire didn’t establish those trade routes for nothing. You can hand back the sovereignty but you always keep the business interests. That’s the model.
out?” Same old questions. Wires are always crossed at times like this. Looking back, maybe I looked like a total dad blasting ale, going on about politics, drinking Teacher’s, smoking grass. Times have changed, I’m married and drinking maturely these days. I document my drinking, which if not part of the problem may be
part of the solution. Admission is the first step – we’re all on the spectrum. These kids were probably all on prescription pills, doing it the neat and tidy way. We rolled home via a late snack from another corner shop. I picked up a Guinness that I knew I’d barely touch but could well have
After a good hour with my man I returned to the gang. They thought I’d pulled. I did get his email. I can’t go around fucking everyone – that’d only confirm people’s suspicions about joining cults. I later met a psychology student who was having none of my shit. She didn’t like me saying that if we all sat down with a psychologist we’d come out having at least ticked one box.
“Yes, of course.” The man pointed to the fridge. I’d regressed to that happy place. The soft blend of pissed and stoned that’s no more trouble than a packet of Branston Pickle Mini Cheddars can’t sort out. No spinnies, just corner shop samosas. Fucking dream eats. We all bought various drinks and snacks and went back to Kebb’s for a sit down. We were joined by the house rats that live with the boys. As I mashed out, the rats climbed around me, friendly and playful. I was delighted. I’d rather hang out with rats than psychology students. * We woke up in a fuddle, stretched out on couches fully clothed. Dead phone, powdery mouth, bladder bursting. The headache was liveable to the point I felt tempted to go antiquing. I had a need to stare at old sci-fi books, but limited my Sunday activities to a punnet of life-saving grapes from a market stall. Berries are a great way to get liquids effectively into your body when you’re suffering acute dehydration. They’ll put some vitamins inside you too, but I’m not sure they’ll truly recover your tatty liver.
“We’ve all got a madness if you want to call everything a disorder.” “You can’t say ‘mad’.” She got her friend to say the same. Apparently I can’t go around calling people mental. I liked her attitude, I’ve never had to talk to me but I can imagine it’s poor at times. There was general by-the-numbers party vibe about the thing, a sense of a condensed party experience. By the music there was a guy with daring hair, a guy always bunning zoots and a babe who looked kind of moody. And there’s always an unapproachable crowd of dicks on the couches. The music took a turn and we danced like Mancs with the boys from the band to a soundtrack of the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays – if the roundfaced psychology student would’ve been charmed, it would’ve been just like old days. Suddenly, some bastard put on Uptown Funk and the illusion was shattered. “Do we have to bang someone
for breakfast. Good old ubiquitous Guinness, not really any good but always there for you. “Do you do samosas?” I burst into a shop after trying a snack in the hands of one of the guys.
Looking back, maybe I looked like a total dad blasting ale, going on about politics, drinking Teacher’s, smoking grass. Times have changed, I’m married and drinking maturely these days.
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A brew and a bacon baguette outside the station completed the comeback. We slithered back to London, feeling like the holiday just wasn’t long enough – going places always means coming back. We were in a pub within 20 minutes of getting off the train, trying to recover our direction. Our phones were dead and we had an important engagement to keep; the regression was over. We sat in a big Fuller’s place, welcoming and warm like the living room of a relative that always has decent biscuits. The clamp of the headache had eased off; we’d survived without visible damage. Hopefully it’ll never get me and I’ll just gently gain character – a curious drinker, barrel-aged.
LEEDS | BEER CITY
Words: Erin Bottomley
spotlight on one of the best beer cities the north of England has to offer.
With so many bars, restaurants, and breweries to choose from we have selected our favourites. It is safe to say we love Leeds and think that it needs the attention it absolutely deserves as one of the most exciting and dynamic craft beer cities.
Northern Monk The Old Flax Store, Marshall St, Saw Mill St, Leeds, LS11 9YJ
Photos: Erin Bottomley
One of the most exciting breweries in the UK at the moment. The beers these guys are offering are incredible, so good in fact that Melissa Cole chose their Eternal to feature in this month’s Beer52 box. So, what is so exciting about Northern Monk? Well, firstly, their beer. Their core range features some real treats such as the New World IPA which is a 6.2% IPA.It combines US, British and Australian hops to give those big grapefruit, pine and resinous flavours and aromas. The hop quantities Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 19
Photos: Erin Bottomley
used are inspired by the original IPA recipes. From the light to the dark, their Northern Star Mocha Porter is incredible; dark chocolate, coffee, hazelnut flavours make this a perfect full bodied dark beer. And their beers go so much further than their core range. The last time I was visiting their focaccia gose was on draught and way too tempting to pass up. It was the perfect balance of saltiness and herby aromatics, coming from the rosemary, that one was never going to be enough. To top it all off the guys running the show are so passionate about what they are doing and happy to share and explain the beers on offer. The guys sat down with us and chatted through the different beers on offer and showed us some of their incredible one-offs. We got to try one from their Seven Deadly Sins range: Lust, a strawberry, rose petal and hibiscus saison. If there was ever a beer that tasted of lust then this was definitely it! Their Deadly Sins range is an amazing concept like so many of the other beers they brew. Another on the list that evening was Northern Industry – a cascadian dark ale. Northern Monk teamed up with Hide and Seek records to brew this beer to go with a specifically designed album that showcases musical talented for all across the UK.
Then it was onto something with even more of a kick, with their Opeth 25th Anniversary Stout that was brewed in celebration of the band’s 25 years together. The golden wax top already signalled we were in for a treat. Rich, dark, opulent and utterly divine. They are soon to release a second collaboration with Opeth called Communion, a 5.1% pale ale. And if their beer wasn’t reason enough to love these guys they must have one of the best brewery taprooms. Situated in a the Old Flax Store, they have designed the place so it is a real experience when you visit. With the bar directly above the brewery, you get a real sense of the beers before you have even tried them. So, their beers are tasty, the location is perfect and they are innovative and passionate about what they are doing. Consistency, quality, fun and a sense of humour is evident in everything that they do.
Bundobust 6 Mill Hill, Leeds, LS1 5DQ Where Indian street food meets craft beer! In many ways it is a beer bar that serves Indian street food, as their beer selection is akin to some of the best beer bars around. They have the likes of Thornbridge, Mikkeller, Northern Monk,
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Kirkstall, Magic Rock (the list goes on) all on tap – they even have their very own curious coriander pilsner! All of these are perfect to pair with their incredibly tasty curry offerings.
a Yorkshire twist. Their Sunday roast menu looks particularly delicious, couple this with the pub’s cosy and relaxed atmosphere, and it sounds like our ideal way to spend a Sunday.
And the food will blow your mind. Forget heavy, oily British curry offerings – Bundobust serve up the freshest, lightest and tastiest South Indian influenced sharing platters. With little pots of vegetarian delights their combinations of colour, texture and flavour are incredible. The mini massala dosa (rice pancakes dry fried and stuffed with potatoes and onions, with lentil soup and coconut chutney on the side) are particularly moreish .
With a great selection of beer on both keg and cask at the bar there is the perfect beer to match any of their food on offer and they even offer up a little help with a suggested beer pairing for each of their pizzas.
Black Swan 37 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BT Set over two floors, the Black Swan caters for both the daytime and nighttime. This spacious and comfy bar is perfect for a pint, a bite to eat, a coffee or a sit down evening meal. It really does cater to everyone’s taste. On the ground floor they serve up one of their two food concepts, their sourdough stone baked pizzas. Simple food done at its best, with their Yorkshire blue cheese and basil pizza seeming to be a particular favourite. Meanwhile upstairs they serve up fine British cuisine with
North Bar 24 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NU Making the big claim as the first craft beer bar in Britain, this bar lives up to its strong reputation. The selection of rare and hard to find beer is impressive to say the least. Opened in 1997, North Bar soon dropped its regular beers, such as Kronenbourg and Guinness, in favour of beers inspired by Duvel, Chimay and Anchor. It is the location where the first ever Brooklyn Lager, Sierra Nevada and Erdinger were poured in the UK. This history of quality is paramount to the care that goes into their beer and drinks selection. It is no wonder that this bar is famous, and it certainly deserves the good name it’s built for itself. The decor is simple and stylish, which lets the beers on keg, cask and in the fridges be the real star. It would be
Feature impossible to list all of the beer on offer but they range from beers brewed just down the road, to a huge selection of Lowland beers, to the unexpected and rare – even going as far as to hide three bottles of Westvleteren 12, celebrated as one of the best beers in the world and certainly one of the most sought after, around the bar for the customers to celebrate the new financial year. This is the place to go if you are looking to expand your beer horizons.
Friends of Ham 8 Wells Rd, Ilkley, LS29 9JD There are now countless places serving up their version of craft beer and charcuterie, and in many cases it can be a disappointment as people try to jump on this recent trend without getting it quite right. At Friends of Ham this is most definitely NOT the case! Their mix of incredibly sourced meats and cheeses paired with an awesome selection of draught and bottled beer makes them the top players when it comes to this somewhat overdone pairing. The Nduja and avocado on toast is simple yet delicious. Their array of sharing boards serve up something for everyone so whoever is sourcing their produce really knows their stuff; they have a deliciously creamy blue spanish monte enebro, spicy oily chorizo, and it might just be because it is made in my little home village on the south-west coast of Ireland but it was amazing to see Gubbeen cheese on the menu. As I said, their buyer knows where to go to get the best quality produce.
Photos: Friends of Ham
And that’s before you even get to the beers with regular offerings from Beavertown, Magic Rock, Kernel, Weird Beard, Fallen, Wild Beer Co., Wylam and a wide ranging array of bottled beers.
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BEER FROM AMERICA'S HEARTLAND
Photos: Boulevard Brewery
Duvel Moortgat Introduces Boulevard Brewery & Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
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t is likely that for most craft beer drinkers the name Duvel sounds familiar. The characteristic example of the Belgian Golden Strong Ale, Duvel was initially named Victory Ale to commemorate the end of World War I. It was only during a tasting, when a local shoemaker declared that this deceptively strong beer was “nen echten Duvel” or “a true devil”, that the name Duvel was born. The beer became so popular that the Moortgat family brewery, brewers of Duvel, renamed themselves after their flagship and are to this day known as Duvel Moortgat. Established in 1871, Duvel Moortgat is an independent family-owned brewery driven by quality, craftsmanship, and passion.
The Boulevard story begins in 1988, when founder John McDonald started construction of the brewery in a turn-of-the-century brick building on Kansas City’s historic Southwest Boulevard. A vintage Bavarian brewhouse was installed and the first batches of beer were produced in the fall of 1989. That November, the first keg of Boulevard Pale Ale was delivered – in the back of John’s pickup truck – to a restaurant just a few blocks away. Proud participants in the revival of the regional brewery, much of Boulevard’s sales come from within a fifty mile radius of Kansas City.
In 2006, a major expansion adjacent to the original brewery raised Boulevard’s brewing capacity to approximately 600,000 barrels per year—a sizable increase from the 6,000 barrels From its origins as a small farmcontemplated in John’s original based brewery in Belgium nearly 150 business plan! Then, in 2014, Boulevard years ago, Duvel Brewing Company Moortgat has became part of the Boulevard is grown into a global Duvel Moortgat family family of brewers, of brewers. proud to brew encompassing brands “Kansas City’s Along with their like Duvel, Chouffe, Hometown De Koninck, Vedett, flagship Pale Ale, Maredsous, and Liefmans Beer”, satisfying Boulevard also brews in Europe, to Ommegang, the Midwest’s bestthe region’s Boulevard, and Firestone selling craft beer, Walker in the United States. thirst for fresh, Unfiltered Wheat Beer, along with 8-Acre flavourful, Here in the UK, the latest Hoppy Wheat Beer, Duvel Moortgat beers to Single-Wide IPA, Popgreat-tasting gain distribution come IPA, Bully! Porter, ales and lagers. up from Boulevard Brewing KC Pils, Heavy Lifting Company in Kansas City, IPA and a rotating Missouri. Why not take a little time to lineup of award-winning artisanal get to know the brewery behind some beers through their Smokestack Series. of the best selling craft beers from America’s heartland. One of the most popular beers in Boulevard’s Smokestack Series is Founded in 1989, Boulevard is proud the Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale. The best to brew “Kansas City’s Hometown selling saison in their region, Tank 7 Beer”, satisfying the region’s thirst for was brewed with a bit of luck. fresh, flavourful, great-tasting ales and lagers. Here’s the story in Boulevard’s words: Most breweries have at least one
piece of equipment that’s just a bit vegan? Try it with mushrooms or persnickety. Here at Boulevard we have mushroom-based sauces. For cheese, fermenter number seven, the black soft or semi-soft washed-rind cheeses, sheep of our cellar like Taleggio, are a perfect family. Ironically, match. You could call when our brewers it fate, but they Tank 7 is brewed were experimenting with variations on a called it Tank alongside Long Strange traditional BelgianThe Calling IPA, 7, and so it is. Tripel, style farmhouse ale, the The Sixth Glass, Dark perfect combination of Truth Stout, and Tellelements came together in that very Tale Tart, the year round selections vessel. You could call it fate, but they in the Smokestack Series. Additional called it Tank 7, and so it is. seasonal beers and various limited and special release offerings are also A Belgian-style farmhouse ale, the first available throughout the year. sip of Tank 7 begins with a big surge of fruity aromatics and grapefruitKnown for their full flavour, distinctive hoppy notes. This citrusy, spicy hop characteristics, and unsurpassed aroma and flavor is followed by a soft, quality, Boulevard beers are sure to sweet malt flavor and a prominent become quick favourites here in the hop bitterness, tapering off to a UK. Currently, Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale peppery, dry finish. Light to medium and Single Wide IPA are available in body, this straw-colored ale has an through select retailers and there will effervescent mouthfeel, but don’t let be special seasonal releases to look that fool you—Tank 7 has a relatively forward to throughout the year. high alcohol content at 8.5% abv. So raise a glass and give Boulevard a At the dinner table, Tank 7 pairs warm welcome! especially well with herb-roasted chicken, pork, or fish. Vegetarian or Duvel Moortgat UK
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 23
All on sale in
Photos: Erin Bottomley
Beer52's Online Bottleshop
BEER 52 ’S BEER BUYER HEATHER PICKS HER TOP TEN BEERS FROM OUR ONLINE SHOP.
Hello, I think we’ve been aware of each other for a while – you will have know that someone buys the beer you drink and I hope you all enjoy the beer I pick! I’m the beer buyer at Beer52, it’s a great job but not all plain sailing. For each of the beers you get in your box, I reject ten more. Everything we send out is of the highest quality and I aim to make it interesting and, above all, enjoyable on a monthly basis! So when James (founder of Beer52) and Erin (editor of Ferment magazine) asked me to pick my Top Ten beers from the Beer52 shop I was delighted. Feeling slightly like John Cusack in High Fidelity, I set about the agonising process of singling out ten beers from our great selection. So, without further ceremony and in no particular order, here’s my Top Ten. If you don’t believe me, feel free to try them yourself! Cheers, Heather 24 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
Lil’B | Evil Twin Brewing Billed by Evil Twin as an Imperial porter it has just what you would expect from a top quality beer of its kind. With a full and treacle-like mouth feel, a long lingering finish and a chocolatey, dark fruity and molassesy flavour, this is a decadent dessert beer. Best enjoyed with time to think and little distraction, the complexity of this beer is thought provoking enough by itself.
DBA | Firestone Walker DBA or Double Barrel Ale is Firestone Walker’s first and trail blazing ale. Arguably more Walker than Firestone, this one gives more than a cursory nod to Firestone’s English roots. It’s now a Californian classic and a tribute to cask fermented English Pale Ales. It’s got a bitter citrus and floral hop character which gives way to vanilla, caramel, toffee and coconut from the wood.
Årh Hvad | Mikkeller
Punk IPA | BrewDog
Bommen & Granaten | De Molen
Loosely translated as “Say What?!?”, Mikkeller bills this beer as an Orval clone. It’s not a bit like Orval but it’s yummy nonetheless. It’s a Belgian style with a characteristic candied orange peel profile and sweet and sour finish. It’s moreish and delicious, and I’ve chosen a 500ml can because sometimes 330ml is just not enough!
Neither BrewDog nor their Punk IPA need any introduction. The keystone of the UK craft beer industry and go to IPA. It’s easy to see why this has won the hearts of so many UK, and worldwide, consumers. This one’s a symphony of hops blended over a clean and robust maris otter extra pale background. The result is an easy drinking beer with bold hop flavours, piney citrusy, lychee, mango and other tropical fruits make this one a winner. Best enjoyed as a go to, if you haven’t checked in with Punk for a while, give one a go.
Bommen & Granaten, which translates from Dutch as Bombs and Grenades, is an 11% Barley wine that packs a punch. True to de Molen style, it’s not a barley wine following English or American tradition. This leaves a surprisingly clean and crisp finish not becoming to it’s 11% ABV. It’s got more fresh fruit than you’d expect and a bitter finish where normally a barley wine would give way to lingering sweetness. Best enjoyed when trying not to make too much sense of it.
Hop Flood | Evil Twin Brewing This one’s for the hop lovers amongst us. It’s a 7% Amber Ale and absolutely delicious; as the name suggests, it’s all about the hops. Big American, piney, citrusy hops with subtle earthiness and enough malt to keep it all well-balanced. Best enjoyed planning your summer adventure.
Ten Fidy | Oskar Blues Ten Fidy is epic. Fresh, aged, on draught or in a can you really can not beat it! It is the ultimate celebration of dark malts and as far as imperial stouts go, this is God!
Caractère Rouge | Rodenbach This is a special beer, a labour of love for the brewers at Rodenbach brewed in collaboration with twice Michelin starred chef, Viki Guenes. With that kind of introduction it’s got a lot to live up to. This Flanders red is aged for two years in European oak barrels before spending a further six month resting on cranberries, cherries and raspberries. The result is a beautifully complex beer, led with undertones of wood, caramel, tobacco and leather. A clean, sophisticated beer with a long finish. Best enjoyed as a personal treat or with people you really, really, really like. £2.50
Mango Lassi | Omnipollo
Easy Jack IPA | Firestone Walker
Like its namesake, this is one of the most refreshing drinks there is. It is juicy and tart with a hint of salt to keep you coming back for more. Be warned it is so moreish that one bottle might never be enough. Naturally pairs perfectly with hot and spicy curries.
An easy drinking session IPA to round off the list. I love this one because beer doesn’t always need to be complex and mind boggling. Sometimes it can simply be damn good.
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 25
PALE ALE BLONDIES
am definitely pro chocolate brownie, so when I came across blondies I was highly sceptical whether I would be able to enjoy them without thinking “I wish it was dark chocolate...” The thing with blondies is that they open up the possibility for a whole new world of potential flavour combinations. The lighter and in some ways sweeter cakeyness of the blondie allows it to be paired up with bold fruity, nutty, sour or even salty ingredients. For us, it’s this contrast of super sweet and bold flavour that give blondies such an intriguing edge.
So, given the choice, would I pass up the blondie for its better known counterpart the brownie? No, but equally I wouldn't choose a blondie over a brownie either. They are very different and certainly both delicious and in my view shouldn’t be pitted against each other. If the option is there I’m ordering one of each!
26 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
Photos: Hungry Bears’ Blog
When considering what beer should form the basis of our blondie batter we decided it would need something with strong flavour and a fruity edge. Enter the Eternal Northern Monk IPA – this light blonde beer has long citrus pith flavors and a tangerine aroma. Ideal for pairing up with sour cherries and sweet white chocolate.
Recipe: Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 40 mins Total Time: 1hrs 10 mins
Ingredients For the blondies: 300g Plain flour 400g White chocolate (100g melted, 300g rough chunks) 110g Butter 120ml Eternal Northern Monk 4 Large eggs 150g Caster sugar 150g Soft brown sugar 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract 150g sour cherries halved Pinch of salt
For the Jam 150ml Sour cherry juice 50g Caster sugar
Instructions: 1. Preheat your oven to 175°C. In a small heat-proof bowl melt 100g of the white chocolate over a saucepan with a small amount of boiling water on a low heat. 2. Add the butter to the chocolate and stir together until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and add the beer, mixing well to ensure everything is combined. 3. In a separate bowl using an electric whisk beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla for a few minute until silky and smooth. 4. To the egg mixture add a small amount of the chocolate butter mixture and stir through well. Next sieve a small amount of the flour (roughly 3-4 tbsp) into the egg mixture and mix through until incorporated. Continue these alternating steps until all the chocolate and flour have been mixed in. Add a pinch of salt and mix through. 5. Lastly fold in the halved sour cherries and the remaining 300g of chocolate chunks to the mixture, saving back a few cherries to place on top before you bake. 6. Line a deep sided baking tray with baking paper and lightly grease all sides. Pour the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. 7. To make the jam add the sour cherry juice to a pan with the last of the sugar and boil rapidly for 5-10 minutes until syrupy. Be careful not to overcook or burn the jam and take care when handling as this will be very hot. 8. To finish the blondie place the last of the cherries evenly across the mixture, then spoon drops of jam and drizzle the remainder over to create a patterned effect.
9. Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes. The blondie should be golden and crisp on top but soft in the centre. You can check with a sharp knife or skewer by inserting fully into the blondie. If the surface cracks slightly on top but the inside is still slightly wet then it should be ready to remove and cool. 10. When cooked, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack in the tin for 15 minutes to allow it to firm up. Using the baking paper to help you, remove the blondie from the tin and continue to cool. Slice into chunks as you desire and enjoy with a nice cold beer! Try giving this recipe a go and get creative with your swirly cherry jam on top! Don't forget to send us a pic and let us know how it tasted! Tag us on instagram @thehungrybearsblog and @beer52HQ, or tweet us @hungrybearsblog and @beer52HQ. For more recipe inspiration head over to our blog thehungrybearsblog.com. Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 27
28 FERMENT Discover craft beer at Beer52.com
BREAKING DOWN BEER
e covered the basics of what water means to a brewer last week and this week I thought we’d dive into the most famous of beery water towns – Burton-on-Trent. The stature of Burton as the spiritual brewing centre of the world all started in the 1820s when brewers in Burton decided to take on the London brewers at the increasingly popular export of pale ales to India, via the East India Company. Mother nature took a hand by providing the brewers of the area with a water source full of gypsum for their beers, with the resulting beer being better than their London rivals and more efficient to boot. This, combined with the “iron horse” coming to town to allow for a domestic supply sent out along the railways to thirsty drinkers in the later 1830s, meant at one point during the 1800s Burton accounted for around 25% of the beer production in the UK.
Photos: Alan Burnett
The ABCs of Beer’s Ingredients: What’s in a Drop? By Melissa Cole
But, I can hear you crying, what the hell does this water do? Patience my friends, it’s coming.
now easily mimicked by the use of chemical analysis of existing water supplies to learn what needs to be done in order to mimic it.
I first became aware of Burton being But why is there that sulphurous edge? important early in my career when I Well, that’s because Burton water is happened to remark to a notoriously very gypsum (calcium “handsy” member of sulphate) rich, which the beer community: The stature means it’s full of sulphate “My beer smells… of Burton as ions and is perfect for well, to be honest, brewing pale and highlylike farts” and he the spiritual hopped beers. promptly responded: brewing centre “That’s Burton The reason for this is that snatch”. He nearly of the world the chemical composition got punched for his pains all started of the water extracts – for which I have no less colour from the in the 1820s doubt that many women and gets better in the industry would when brewers malts bittering extract from have applauded me, but in Burton the hops and makes the that’s another matter happier and more entirely! decided to take yeast efficient – although if you on the London are modifying your water, Back to the most you’ve to be careful, if you uncharming phrase brewers add this in excessively “Burton snatch” – high quantities it creates a certain basically, it refers to the more-thanurgency in the stomach area, if you faintly sulphurous edge that you get know what I mean! on very fresh pale beers and that are a characteristic of those brewed in Burton-on-Trent, but which is
Moving swiftly past this potential side-effect, it would probably be helpful to give you a comparison in order to show you how water sources differ – let’s take London water for an example, which we will take a look at alongside Dublin in the next issue. In comparison to London water, Burton’s natural make up, taking an average of various sources, is roughly 25 times higher in sulphates, which is one of the six main ions which affect mash pH (something we’ll get to in a later column). So, along with the important aesthetic side effects mentioned above, the really sciencey bit that you need to know about Burtonised water is that it helps you with your ‘hot break’, which is brewing-speak for the coagulation of proteins during the boil, which means you get nice clear wort before it goes into fermentation, which is a good thing, even if your end beer is murky… which is another subject entirely and I will leave to another day!
Discover craft beer at Beer52.com FERMENT 29
DRINK THE FRESHEST BEER from brewery to your glass in 4- 6 weeks of being brewed
Join t he U K’s N o . 1 C raf t Be e r Cl u b and g et £ 10 of f yo u r f i rst box by e nte ri n g th e code : FE R MENT1 0 w h e n yo u s i g n u p Go to: www.beer52.com