Tuesday, May 4, 2010

That's Epic

My latest Column from www.captialtimes.co.nz

BACK in February I attended a very special tasting. Kelly Ryan, an ex-pat Kiwi and head brewer of English craft brewer Thornbridge, presented a range of his beers at The Malthouse. Having studied food science and brewing for DB in New Zealand, Kelly set off on his O.E. finally landing the job of head brewer at what is widely regarded as one of England’s most exciting new generation brewers. Thornbridge Brewery started out in an outbuilding at the Thornbridge stately home in Derbyshire. Now with production split between a larger new brewery and the manor house site, Kelly and his brewing team including ex-Wellingtonian homebrewer James Kemp, produce some fantastic beers including a spectacular New Zealand hopped pale ale, their hoppy aromatic flagship IPA called Jaipur, a black IPA which gives more than a nod to the Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black, a number of barrel aged imperial stouts, and my favourite, a strong chestnut honey infused dark ale called Bracia.
Unfortunately none of these wonderful beers are imported into New Zealand, however, thoughtfully Kelly dropped in on his mate Luke Nicholas from Epic before heading back to the UK and the two of them came up with a Stout for our winter. While Kelly often showcases NZ hops in the beers he brews in the UK, for this brew he and Luke used a lot of English ingredients. Weighting in at 6.8%abv Epic Thornbridge Stout was brewed with English Maris Otter, Brown, Crystal, & Munich malts, Roast Barley and English Target and Brambling Cross hops. Pouring a pitch black Epic Thornbridge Stout has a fruity zesty hop aroma with a hint of roasty malt, which continues in the mouth leading to a dry smooth finish. Epic Thornbridge Stout is available from The Malthouse and will soon to be available in bottles from Regional Wines and Spirits. Cheers

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