Monday, December 21, 2009

2009

I haven’t been super active on this blog in recent times. There have been a lot of changes this year, a new job and a new living arrangement and they have all left their toll. Also the amount of writing I am doing is constantly increasing, Im writing for regionalwines.co.nz, Capitaltimes.co.nz and the Pursuit of Hoppyness this blog has been the one to suffer. However I do still read the blogs , often from work on a Friday night as I have my staff drink. I thought I would do a year in review so here follows my highs and lows of 2009.

Best Beer

Thomas Hardy’s Ale 1979

How could it be anything else? One of my favourite beers and a vintage that was a few months older than myself. Seriously good beer that shows just what amasing things can be achieved with water, malt, hops and yeast. Pure liquid engineering.

Runner Up

Hallertau Porter Noir 2007

A strong porter aged in brett infected pinot barrels. I love brett when its in something big and rich. In my opinion this is the most complex and satisfying dark beer in New Zealand right now, absolutely brilliant.

Best Pint

Twisted Hop Twisted Ankle at Hashigo Zake. Brilliant.

Runner Up

Townshend E.S.B. straight from the cask at The Masons.

Biggest Gripe

O’Hanlon’s giving up the Thomas Hardy’s Ale contract and no other English Brewer stepping up to the mark. I understand all the reasons why but this beer is an absolute treasure and should not be left to the yanks.

Runner Up

The small number of ropy NZ craft brewers. If you can’t brew to a certain standard don’t sell your wares, it damages the whole industry and risks alienating potential punters with bad craft beer experiences.

Biggest Joy

The diversity of craft beer punters I have come to know at Regional Wines. Gone are the days of the stereotypical beer drinker. Its not just rotund middle aged gentlemen buying craft beer. Young students, professional women, middle aged executives, aging hippies they all make up the throngs who make their way to Regional each week to get the good stuff. Its fantastic and its heartening for the future of the industry.

Runner Up

The continuing success of SOBA. I stood down from the committee this year along with fellow founding member and organisational powerhouse Greig McGill. However we stood down knowing the Society had energetic people to take our place. The trademark battle with DB has been successful so far with DB releasing the Saison trademark and hopefully staring defeat in the face over Radler. Membership number have continued to increase and in a reflection of my biggest joy above the members I see at Regional are as diverse as you can imagine.

Best Blog

Boak and Bailey take my vote. The perspective on beer of a London based beer loving couple is always interesting, usually positive and often unique. Keep it up.

Runner Up

Zythophile

Informed accurate beer history in a well writen and thought out format. I cant wait for Amber, Gold and Black in a hard copy.

Others of note

Stonch having morphed to a publicans views its as entertaining as ever.
Called to the Bar at times whimsical and poetic, always entertaining
Tandleman he may be misguided on sparklers but its always a good read.
Pete Brown interesting and always from a unique perspective.
Are you tasting the pith , video blog genius.

Cheers, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Kieran

Chur Chur

At the start of this month Sarah and I flew down to Canterbury for the weekend. We went because Sarah’s friend Nicky was having a Birthday party in Akoroa. We spent one night in Christchurch and one night in Akoroa. The day in Christchurch was pretty much concerned with beer. My friend and BeerNZ main man Craig took us out to Three Boys, to Harrington’s and finally back into the city to the Twisted Hop. The trip to Three Boys was fantastic as I had last visited just after Ralph had started brewing and it was great to go back and see him in his new premises across the road with the big new plant. We stood and tasted bits and pieces from tank for an hour or more and were very rosy as we left. The highlight was tasting the new season plum beer before its release with tasting the new Porter recipe coming a close second. Then it was off to Harrington’s for a taste of their award winning mild the Pig n Whistle. We ended up in a very busy Twisted Hop. Martin gave us a whirl wind tour of the new extensions before we enjoyed a ploughman’s and a few pints. Next day it was off to Akoroa via the legendary cheese store the Canterbury Cheese Monger. We had a great time out o the peninsular although beer didn’t play a big part. It was the first time in four or five years that I had been to Christchurch. I hope to return soon.






Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Pudding

Inspired by Pete Brown and the Beer Widow this year I have made my own Christmas Pudding. Like Pete I blended recipes taking inspiration from Delia Smith but also Nigel Slatter. Sometime ago Wellington homebrew heavy weight Michael Nielson gave me a 600ml pet bottle of 17%ABV eis-imperial stout. Not being able to polish off the lot on my own I tucked the remaining beer into a bowl in the fridge for use in this years Christmas pudding. If the crumbs from the edge are anything to go by the result is fantastic!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Preparations

Things are moving along towards Saturday. The pin of Townshend Old House E.S.B. is now stillaged behind the bar where it will be served directly from the cask, the Twisted Hop bright beers have arrived, I went to Moshims on the weekend to stock up on spices, paneer, chutneys and pickles, the goat will be purchased today. I have a corny of Brooklyn Bulldog on tap at the moment that is tasting fantastic and another ready to go on for Saturday. The forecast is currently for a grey day on Sat with northerly gales, hopefully it proves incorrect.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thomas Hardy’s Ale 1979

On Friday I opened my birthday present and shared it with Sarah. My bottle of Thomas Hardy’s Ale was brewed (or perhaps bottled) 2 months before I was born. This was by far the oldest beer I had ever drunk and in no way did it disappoint.

I popped the crown seal and a faint whisper of gas escaped. I poured it into a jug and left it for 10 minutes to breath. 30 years is along time to be constrained under glass. I was quite surprised at how dark the beer was, a very dark brown. Far darker than the 1999 vintage I had a couple of weeks ago and still darker than the O’Hanlon’s vintages.

The beer poured a very dark viscous brown with the faintest whisper of a white head that disappeared immediately. The aroma featured an incredibly complex cocktail of aged intense malt (Borvril, Milo), marmite, beef stock, citrus (orange flesh) a perfume note, Madeira wine, and a refined sensation of warmth. In the mouth the beer was luscious, smooth and viscous but in no way cloying, full in body yet brisk as a volcano you might say! Flavours of Madeira, a salty note, some liquorice, more orange fruit, and lovely vinous warmth all featured. I had high expectations but I had no idea this beer was going to be this good. Pure liquid engineering!

When I added this to ratebeer I was informed that this was my 100th rate (I don’t do it much obviously) and I was rewarded with a REALLY bad heavy metal music clip from You Tube, weird.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The South Star Brewery (part 1)

With Sarah and the kids having moved in it’s finally time to move the brewery out of the house. Soon there will be no more mashing and boiling in the kitchen, no more cooling in the bath, fermentation will probably continue in the bar for the foreseeable future. There is a way to go yet though. Right now the Malt Store has moved to it's new location and the gas bottles and burners are living in their own shed. Soon a big shed will be constructed in the carport in order to house a mashing and boiling room. Hopefully at some point I will be able to scale up to one large kettle which will allow me to produce 100 litre batches by mashing twice early in the morning and then fermenting in 5 cornys. If any one (Martin Townshend perhaps?) has any advice on how I can procure/construct a 100 litre kettle give me a yell.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Goodbye 20's Hello 30's!

Your Invited to my 30th Birthday & Sarah, Max and Molly’s House Warming

Join us on Saturday the 21st of November to celebrate my 30th Birthday and the moving in of Sarah and the kids. We will have ales from The Twisted Hop, O-Street and Townshend Breweries on draught and an Indian and Thai themed Barbeque.

When: Saturday 21st of November 2pm till 10pm.
Where: The Mason’s Arms 381 Ohiro Rd Brooklyn
Bring a koha for the beer and something spicy for the BBQ

Gifts not expected but if you want to give me something a bottle of Thomas Hardy’s Ale for the cellar would be lovely.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

30 looming

I turn 30 early next month. Inspired by Alex’s gift to Greig and David Woods recent purchase I decided to (cheekily) arrange a 1979 bottle of Thomas Hardy’s Ale as a birthday gift from Sarah. I’m more than a little excited as Hardy’s Ale is one of my all time favourites and I have never had a bottle of Eldridge Pope brewed version let alone one that exceeds the much touted 25 year mark!

I’m currently organising a birthday party for mid November, it will consist of an Asian themed BBQ and Twisted HoHop bright beer on tap.


The 1979 Hardy’s is photographed on our brand new Indian made farmhouse style kitchen table, lovely.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Christening

The christening of the Mason’s Arms (my new bar) occurred this week. The first Thursday Night drinks in the new venue went very well. The rain was teaming outside , and the temperatures were definitely mid winter rather than late spring! Perfect beer drinking weather. A good crowd showed up and the room was filled to bursting at times, but everyone seemed to enjoy them selves, no doubt aided by the pints of Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black (Peoples Choice Remix) that were flowing. The beer was tasting fantastic but it did remind me why I like having at least one low strength beer on tap!, Stu reckons its 5.5% but I suspect it may be a touch stronger.

If you want to keep track of when the Masons is open sign up as a fan of the Mason’s Arms Brooklyn on facebook.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The bar is dead long live the bar!

And the new bar is all set up, its looking pretty sharp if I do say so myself.









Thursday, September 10, 2009

Changing Rooms

There will be some changes coming up at the Mason’s Arms (aka my house bar). I used to get asked occasionally why I had a bar and three beer engine in my living room, my answer was always ‘why would you have a bar and 3 beer engines in your living room?’ However the time has come in my life where I will answer my own question. Sarah has sold her house and we are moving her and 2 of her kids into my house.

Its time for the bar to go...

Well move actually. Over the next month the bar will be moved from the central living area into one of the bedrooms that open off from it. This of course will give me a lounge bar and a public bar (or tap room as I’m tempted to call it even though I am well aware that tap rooms don’t usually have taps in them and this one will). Although Sarah will call the lounge bar the living room of course.

I will update with photos as the new bar takes form.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Real Ale at the Races

Never let it be said that we let a bad beer selection get in the way of a good time. This weekend I made a mad dash to Otaki for a very short weekend away for my good friend Mulchin’s 30th Birthday. I had to be back for work on Sunday and ended up having to race the train an extra stop in order to catch it home!



On Saturday we visited the Otaki Maori Racing Club meet at the Otaki racecourse. We knew the usual suspects were on offer from bar so decided to sort our own beer out. We set up a beer engine in the back of the van and enjoyed the good stuff

To make the weekend special I had organised 3 soft packs, a concept similar to nasty cask wine but bigger and without the nasty wine, filled with bright moderately conditioned beer. So my title is a little disingenuous as it was really bright ale at the races but that didn’t have the same ring to it!



Through the weekend we enjoyed Twisted Hop Goldings Bitter, Three Boys IPA and Three Boys Oyster Stout. All were tasting absolutely fantastic. We had the IPA at the races and it certainly hit the spot.





Thursday, August 6, 2009

Weekend Escape

One of the fantastic things about my new job is that I can have time off with Sarah. At Moores when one of us was away the other pretty much had to be there, a naff situation. Now we can have weekends away and shock horror, when we can afford it, actually get over to the UK. This weekend is Sarah’s Birthday so we will be off to Waikanae for the weekend. Last year we managed to get away midweek to the Wassail Brauhaus in Taranaki, we intended to go back this year but times are tough and we decided we couldn’t afford it. So this weekend it will be good beer, good cider, good cheese, good simple food, chilly dog walks, and warm fires. I cant wait!

The pictures are from a weekend we booked just after I started at Regionals. The beer was Sussex Old Ale , a low gravity old ale I brewed especially for Sarah.






Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Death in the family

So while I was away from the bloggersphere something deeply sad happened. Heroic brewer O’Hanlon’s came a cropper and decided to throw their most beautiful child to the sharks! What am I going on about? Devonshire Micro O’Hanlon’s have decided they had to give up the contract to produce Thomas Hardy’s Ale. Unfortunately for me this is one of my all time favourite beers. There have been un-encouraging noises coming from the English brewing community in regard to someone else taking up the contract, so now it looks like the classic English Barley Wine will be produced in the states. In my new role I was able to check how much was left in the country and secure some supplies for Regionals, I’m also looking to get a case or two my self to add to the 18 I already have in the cellar.


Geoff has written about it here and I have written about it here


I'm Back

I’m not dead. I have just been hell busy. To busy to blog almost to busy to brew. The new job is awesome , there has been a lot to do. Still hopefully this marks the return to my blogging career.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mason’s Mild 3.6%abv

I have a new batch of Mason’s Mild on tap. I have re jigged the recipe and it now is much lighter in colour than it was. The patent malt was giving it a roasty edge that was abit astringent and was reducing its drinkability. The new version reminds me a bit of Banks Original which I have had from the can and rather liked. There’s a bit of diacetyl which hopefully I will keep out of the next batch. Then it will be perfect. Interesting to see it topped the mild tasting in the recent issue of Camra’s Beer magazine. Mason’s will be joined on the bar tonight by the last of Yeastie Boys Kid Chocolate.


Above is the draft design of the Mason’s Mild pump clip Dave has designed for me, they will soon be professionally pressed into real pump clips. Very exciting, yes I’m a nerd.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Audits Progress

A fortnight after brew day I have run Alfred’s Audit Ale from its two fermentors into a secondary vessel where it will slumber in the cellar for a month or two before bottling. I’m not going to give it the full 8 months in secondary that the Merchant gets as having one keg tied up for that long is hard enough!

I took a gravity reading and the ale currently is sitting at 10.5%abv, I don’t think there will be any need to prime the bottles as there are still a lot of sugars left.

Its tasting clean, incredibly malty and sweet with a firm bitterness and some hop aroma and flavour. The hops will come out as it leans up.

.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Good Omens

Yesterday while walking the dog down the valley I made a startling discovery. A stream runs down our valley and just beyond the old Brooklyn Bagel Factory there is a reasonably deep pool which sometimes has eels in it so I always stop there to have a look. Yesterday I was struck by a floral hoppy aroma as I stood gazing into the pool. I looked down and there was a massive patch of hop bines growing up the bank from the stream! I have cut some away and strung them behind the bar, I also took a small bag to the Malthouse last night where an assortment of Brewers Guild members were drinking after a committee meeting. There Dickie Fife told me the hops were immature and still had some way to go before they would be ready to brew with. If the frosts don’t get them it looks like a green hopped Brooklyn IPA might be on the cards!
Now I’m not superstitious but talk about omens, they day after handing my resignation in to sell beer I find a massive patch of wild hops!

Goodbye cheese …Hello beer

I resigned my position at Moore Wilson’s this week. In a months time I will be joining Regional Wines and Spirits, taking responsibility for their beer retail category. It’s very exciting, and I’m sure its going to be challenging.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Alfred’s Audit Ale

I have had barley wine on the mind recently. I have been writing an article for the up coming issue of The Pursuit of Hoppyness on strong blue cheese and Barley Wines as a match. During the course of this Adam has kindly lightened his cellar and we have tried the best barley wine this country ever produced Limburg Oude Reserve 2004. Let me tell you it was fantastic but that’s another story. I have also had my first serious go at brewing a barley wine.
I have held off doing a barley wine up until now for several reasons. Firstly I have been working to fine tune my imperial stout recipe and didn’t want to start trying to perfect two vintage beers until I had the R.I.S. down. Also until recently I didn’t have enough nip bottles. Having collected the empties from every Regional Wine Tasting to have used a beer in nips over the last two years I now have enough to do two vintage beers a year. And so Alfred’s Audit Ale is born…

Alfred’s Audit Ale is named after my grandfather who was born in the draymans quarters above the horse knackering yards. I loved my grandfather and hopefully he would have approved of the beer which will bear his name.

Brewed to a modified clone recipe for my favourite Thomas Hardies Ale I achieved a staggering 1130 original gravity! An initial mash of 5kgs of NZ ADM Pils Malt was left over night at 70C , the runnings of this were then used to strike a mash of 6kg ADM Pils Malt, 4kg Maris Otter Pale Malt, and 200g Dark Crystal. The runnings of this mash were then boiled in the kettle for 3 hours with 60g of NZ Super Alpha 50g of English Goldings added an hour from the end, 50g of English Fuggels and 40g of NZ Styrians were then added 20min from the end of the boil. The wort was cooled to 24c then divided between 2 corny kegs with a sachet of s-04 added to each, the ferment cooled down to 18c over night and has more or less steadily sat there since. I will pitch another ½ sachet into each fermentor after one week has elapsed.

I also made a small beer of 1045 with a second wash of the mash and hopped this with Super Alpha and NZ Cascade.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Golden Ale Challenge 09

It’s taken me awhile but here is the Golden Ale Challenge round up. Last months Autumn Ales Festival included the Golden Ale Challenge where different brewers brewed a golden ale at the same strength with the same ingredients. We ended up having 3 entry’s One from Brendan, one from Ed and one from me. Ed and myself both brewed English style Golden Ales with the character of the NZ hops shinning through. Brendan on the other hand chose to brew a Kolsh. Ed’s Sugerloaf Gold was definitely the best beer, it was bursting with hop aroma , brilliantly clear with a nice malty backbone. My Golden Challenge was a touch on the young side with a bit of diacetyl and raw grain flavour coming through. Brendan’s Kolsh was pretty good, alittle hazy and estery with a subdued hop character that the style dictates. Half way through the evening both Brendan and Ed admitted they had broken the rules and used Golden Promise instead of Maris Otter (Brendan even tried to make out it was some kind of act of solidarity with his Scottish heritage!) so I won by default. I was drinking Ed’s however. I will come up with a porter challenge for winter.

Autumn Ales Fest 09





Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good things

A few good things have happened over the last fortnight. Fulham have trounced Manchester United (If only I were still in contact with Andrew from Huddersfield) Autumn has well and truly started and I have got a gig as a beer columnist for the Capital Times.

Autumn Ales Fest this Sat, the beers are tasting great.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Brewery without malt


The only thing worse than a brewery without malt is a pub without beer. Chicken and egg really. Anyway the former has been rectified the latter was avoided.

Cheers Stu.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Autumn Ales Fest

I havent got time to do a nice poster so here goes ...


Autumn Ales Festival

When ? Sat 28th 3pm on
Where ? Private Ale House 381 Ohiro Rd Brooklyn Wellington
What? Beers from some of Wellingtons best homebrewers including the
Golden Ale Challange entrys.

All Welcome, koha for food appreciated.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Very Special Vintage

When we moved stores late last year we discovered a wheel of Karikaas Vintage Leyden tucked in behind a chilled storage space that had slipped from view and never been cut and sold. The cheese was made in December 2005. While the out side was tacky and musty the centre proved to be spectacular. Leyden is a style of Gouda that is spiced with cumin seeds, the years of aging left a firm intense cheese with an earthy spicy cumin note before a long rich sharp finish. I have kept the cheese out the back cutting and selling it to customers I know will appreciate it.

Last night I decided to try and find a beer match. Rather than go for the beer I thought would work out right I decided I would try a range of beers with the cheese. So last night the boys and myself put the Leyden up against Namibian Ur-Bock, Schneider Aventinus, and my own Merchant of the Devil Imperial Stout.

Ur-Bock

Bock and gouda is usually a match made in heaven, however in this case the cumin seed posed a pretty major threat to a harmonious match. Sure enough the cheese demolished the rich toasty bready bock leaving it tasting watery and impotent.

Schneider Aventinus

The Weizenbock promised to match the spice of the cheese with the phenolic clove character of the beer. However the spices ended up clashing horribly. The cheese also accentuated the caramel and banana in the beer and left it tasting hot.

Merchant of the Devil

This one was always the one I thought would work, and it certainly delivered. While the other two matches ended up in a sweet mess, this match was un-mistakenly savoury. Aged sharp cheese melded with intense roast, cumin seed blended with sharp bitter hops, dried fruit and rose esters in the beer capped the whole match off. Like walking through Moroccan market.

Oh would you look at that , my beer worked best …

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Boys Bitter

I’m brewing a new beer today. Its not often that I come up with whole new recipes as I tend to spend my brew days trying to improve the ones I have. I have a bit of a thing for low gravity beers that can still be characterful. Cask Conditioned Real Ale (there! I will use both terms as that seems to be topic on the month on the blogs) tends to allow low gravity beers to shine with out hiding there attributes under high carbonation and low temperatures.
I have come up with a dark copper coloured, hoppy, boys bitter called Southern Star.

Southern Star (3 keg batch)

Target gravity 1033

Grist:

- 5kg Maris Otter Pale Ale Malt
- 1kg ADM Pilsner Malt
- 500g Dark Crystal

Hops:

- NZ Goldings 37g (60min)
- NZ Goldings 60g (5min)
- NZ Cascade 60g (1min)

Yeast:

S-04

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kingston XX

Golden Promise Pale and Medium Crystal Malt, cane sugar, English Fuggels, English Goldings, NZ Styrians, NZ Cascade Hops, Brooklyn Water, agar cask finings, S04 yeast. 1042 , 4.2%abv.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Beer and Cheese Column #1

Recently I have been writing a column for “The Pursuit of Hoppyness” which is the S.O.B.A. newsletter and magazine. With the second issue to feature my column having just been released I thought I would publish the first column here on the blog. If you are interested the current issue is available for download here.

BEER AND FOOD MATCHING
Ale and Cheese – The Perfect Partners
While the words ‘wine and cheese’ may confidently slip
off the most sophisticated of tongues the combination
itself often pales in comparison to the pairing of beer and
cheese. The sharp, fruity, tannic notes that wine offers
often provide contrast to cheese but there is seldom the
element of harmony that can create a match that is greater
than the sum of its parts. Beer on the other hand contains
a complex array of aromas, flavours and sensations that
can both contrast and accentuate the character of the
cheese.
It is no coincidence that beer and cheese make good
partners as they share both a history and a purpose. Both
beer and cheese are fermented foods where a raw product,
in the first instance grain, the second milk, are transformed
in order to prolong their ‘shelf life’. In the days prior to
refrigeration this was extremely important. Both also can
trace their history to the chores of the farmhouse wife
whose responsibility was both to ferment the grain into
ale and the milk into cheese. Techniques for the production
of both experienced significant improvement at the hands
of Monks who had to provide sustenance for both
themselves and travelling pilgrims, and more recently
both have experienced significant industrialisation resulting
in standardised characterless products. Thankfully both
have experienced a craft revival with increasing interest
in characterful living artisan products.
In each issue I will present a different match of beer
styles and cheeses, drawing on my experience as both
homebrewer, cheesemonger, beer drinker and cheese buff.

The Traditional Ploughman’s

It has been suggested that the ‘Ploughman’s Lunch’ is nothing
more than a cynical fiction created by advertising executives
in the 1960s as a way of growing the food sales in pubs. On his fantastically informative blog
http://zythophile.wordpress.com the English beer historian Martyn Cornell has explored the history of the ‘Ploughman’s Lunch’ concluding that while the name
may be recent - 1957 seems the oldest reference yet found - the tradition of bread, beer and cheese is certainly well established.
But enough with the controversy of history and let us get on to the glorious match that can be made between traditional cheddar and ale. The combination of sharp crumbly aged cheddar and traditional English ale is both the one which jumps to people’s minds when you mention
beer and cheese and the one which I count as closest to my heart.

The Cheese

Much as the New Zealand beer market is awash with mass produced lagers the cheese market is
inundated with young mass produced cheddar. However, characterful products are out there if you hunt. My favourite example comes from Barry’s Bay just out of Akaroa on Banks Peninsula. Barry’s Bay Cheddar is produced in traditional rounds rather than the square blocks that other cheddars are produced in. The rounds are wrapped in cloth before being aged for 2½ to 3 years.
The cheese that emerges is rich, meaty and creamy at the core while closer to the rind it develops earthy notes reminiscent of horseradish and bonfires. The overall impression is of a complex cheese which is sharp with out being overly salty.

There are other examples of Cheddar that are produced in less artisan ways that nonetheless through aging achieve a high quality character. Kaimai Mature Cheddar from the Waikato, Totara Tasty from Whitestone Cheeses in Oamaru and Linkwater Cheddar from my employer Moore Wilson’s in Wellington all sit in this category. All are produced in large cheese factories but gain significant character from several years of aging. With Linkwater, the cheese is aged from 3 to 4 years and emerges with a creamy yet crumbly texture, a rich savoury palate and a sharp finish developing salty protein crystals with time.

The Beer

There are several criteria a beer must tick to stand up to the more characterful of cheddars. Firstly, there needs to be a distinct malt profile, typified by the rich body of the likes of Maris Otter, with its nutty and caramel notes. Secondly, there must be an evident earthy hop character whether it reveals itself just as bitterness or as flavour and aroma also. Finally the fruity character of an English ale yeast helps to bind the whole experience together.

Stylistically the beers best suited to this task range from Best Bitter through Extra Special Bitter and English style IPA’s, with some of the best matches coming from the family of Old Burton winter warmers, an old style now represented by the Old Ale and Strong Ale categories.
English imports such as Fuller’s 1845, Marston’s Owd Roger, Adnam’s Broadside, Theakston’s Old Peculier and Black Sheep Riggwelter do the trick. For a local match try Tuatara IPA or Emerson’s Old 95.

The Match
As with any beer and cheese match, the balance between the flavours involved needs to be considered. Accordingly, the stronger the cheddar, the stronger the beer should be.
With the ‘milder’ aged cheddars such as Kaimai Mature cheddar, where the emphasis is on rich creaminess, a good match can be found in Fuller’s E.S.B. The rich creamy character of the cheese can find a harmony in the nutty English malt profile of the beer, while the marmalade fruit
provides a contrast. Finally, the earthy bitterness cleanses the palate, while the carbonation lifts the milk fats from the palate preparing you for the next sip.

With stronger, sharper, funkier cheddars like Barry’s Bay, a bottle conditioned strong ale such as Old 95, with its rich malt and orangey New Zealand hop character, or Fuller’s 1845, with its biscuit like amber malt character and its assertive bitterness, both provide harmonious
moments where cream and malt blend together. A true union of earthy notes where hops and funky rind character combine and ultimately contrast as the bitterness lingers.

It is a testament to fermented food that such a complex range of flavours are to be had from one of the world’s simplest pub snacks. In the next issue I will look at the combination of goat cheese and wheat beer.

Cask Epic to be brewed at Everard’s

The next J.D. Weatherspoons International Real Ale Festival will feature a cask conditioned version of the New Zealand APA heavyweight Epic Pale Ale. Brewer Luke Nicholas will fly to the UK and brew a batch of the beer at Everards in Leicester. A Kiwi brewer brewing a beer with American ingredients in England, truly a global ale. I think Epic will be pretty good cask conditioned, it will be interesting to see what’s made of it in the UK.


Is that poster really saying the pints will cost over 8 pounds ?!!! or is it a blank for altering in the bar.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rushin Stout 08

I noticed the new vintage of Pink Elephant Rushin Imperious Stout at Regionals the other day and had to pick up a couple of bottles. I initially intended to sling them both in the cellar and try to forget about them. Then other night as I was sweltering (god I look forward to winter, that my chillies, eggplant and tomatoes are growing is about the only consolation) I had the perverse urge to drink a bottle.

Imperious Rushin Stout 2008

Opens with a pop and a hiss. Pours a viscous black with a tight tan head and an oily slickness. Aroma features smoky bacon, berry fruit a green hop note and roasty coffee. On the palate there is sweet malt, a saccharine slightly unfermented note, smoky savoury notes, a hint of ash , burnt currents all leading to a bitter hoppy finish.