It was a slow start Sunday after what can only be described as a thorough research session at the Beavertown Extravaganza the day before. I did my best to try as many beers as possible, all in the name of finding new beer to stock in the shop but I think I might have had one imperial stout too many (if that is possible) and the memory gets a bit hazy as to what I was drinking towards the end of the session. Highlights that I recall include Firestone Walkers Mother’s Milk, a barrel aged imperial milk stout and Oud Beersel Oude Vieux Lambiek which was a sour, funky, antidote to the rich, filling imperial stouts that seemed to make up the bulk of my consumption. It was like being a kid in a candy store with more beer to try than you can really imagine and there weren’t the same issues that dogged the event last year. Definitely put it in your diary for next year, even die hard cask fans were catered to with Fullers having a range of cask beer available for sampling.
The Orval Experiment
Orval, as I have written before, is one of my all time favourite beers yet there is one aspect of why it is held in such renown that I have never experienced before, time to change that. Funnily enough time is what it is all about. Orval is highly regarded as evolving in the bottle, a just bottled version tasting very different to one with a bit of age on it. So over the last few months I have been saving a couple of bottles from each batch we order and currently have beer with bottling dates ranging from 31/05/2017 right through to the 19/07/18. Now I just have to decide when to start opening and comparing the beer, the temptation is to keep hanging on. I will let you know how the experiment goes.
Tatsfield Beer Festival
This Saturday the Tatsfield Beer Festival is being held, appropriately enough in Tatsfield. Tom, one of our regular customers, has put together the beer list with a little help from us and there will be around 40 different local ales to enjoy. My pick to try first would be Burning Sky’s Aurora Australis Pale Ale, a twist on the standard Aurora the Australis uses NZ hops for a grassy, tropical, pungent note. Find out all the details about the festival here.
BBF and Salopian
Last weekend we had the two Bristol Beer Factory beers on and the hoppy Independence was definitely more popular then the mellow amber ale Fortitude. I reckon go back three years ago when we first opened and it would have been the reverse, tastes have certainly changed. The two Salopians though have been neck and neck in popularity, with many of you struggling to decide which one to go for. My pick is the Auric, the Pale is good but the Auric, well, possible contender for beer of the year? If you haven’t tried them side by side yet best be in quick, the Salopian Pale is almost finished.
Not only new arrivals but two new breweries this week and from either end of the spectrum, the first being a traditional German brewer, the second an American based Cuckoo brewer.
Schwaben Brau Das Naturtrube 5%
Schwaben are from Stuttgart and as you can imagine they brew a range of the traditional German styles. The Naturtrube featured here is unfiltered so slightly hazy in the glass. Bread and biscuit aromas greet your nose and on tasting there is a wave of hay or maybe straw with a gently bitter finish.
8 Wired Flat White 5.5%
Flat white’s are a mainstay of the Antipodean coffee culture and in the last couple of years have really gained in popularity here in the UK. A strong coffee taste folded into velvety milk mark out the best flat whites and in their beer 8 Wired have captured these elements perfectly. Coffee aroma, sweetness and richness from lactose and a slight warmth from the alcohol. Flat White to go please.
Stillwater Artisanal Spaced 3.8%
Spaced from Stillwater Artisanal is our first beer from this much talked about American cuckoo brewer and it certainly is interesting, in fact even now, a few days after trying it I still can’t make my mind up as to whether I like it or not. Billed as a low gravity IPA a twist comes with the addition of spelt and rye in the brew. These grains give a unique taste and feel to the beer, there is a spiciness and a very full mouthfeel which belies the low strength. I thought the hopping was restrained, perhaps not as much as I would expect for an IPA. As I said, it is certainly something different and I would be fascinated to know your thoughts on it.
Mike and Ruth