Beer meets ... cider

BEER MEETS CIDER

Several years ago travellers through the cider-lands of the USA (ok, Pete Brown and Bill Bradshaw researching their World’s Best Cider book) came back with reports of hops being added to cider. Just like the reaction to some of the stranger tales in Herodotus’ Histories, hops in cider seem outlandish. However, since then hopped cider has become a familiar sight in the world of craft cider, a spearhead, perhaps of what happens when cider meets beer as this three exemplary examples show.

/ Mills Brewing/Oliver’s Cider, Foxbic 4.7%

Mills Brewing always brew with wild yeasts. For this one, they brewed a pale ale in the lambic style and then fermented it on Tom Oliver’s cider lees (the sediment from the bottom of barrels of fermented cider) for eight months. The result is gently tart, distinctly, without being too sharp.

PB / @MillsBrewing

/ Thornbridge/Brooklyn, Serpent, 9.5%

This started with a Belgian-style golden ale. Then the beer was put into wooden barrels and lees from Tom Oliver’s cider makers added. Lees? These are the naturally formed wild lees created in cider fermentation. After a year’s slumber the beer was bottle conditioned and the result is an elegant and eloquent beer that is tart, vinous, earthy, full-bodied and dry. ATJ

/ thornbridgebrewery.co.uk

/ At The Hop, Oliver’s, 5.5%

Hopped ciders can be pretty vile in the wrong hands, but Tom Oliver has an unequalled grasp of flavour and how to balance it. This medium cider, infused with cascade hops, doesn’t quite taste of cider or beer, but some quite wonderful third dimension in its own right. PB

/ oliversciderandperry.co.uk


Building the UK's first mobile coolship

BUILDING THE UK’S FIRST MOBILE COOLSHIP

London Beer Factory is making a mobile coolship that will travel the UK capturing the wild yeast and bacteria 

The London Beer Factory has announced a crowdfunding campaign to build the UK’s first mobile coolship.

They said: “With it we will travel the UK capturing the wild yeast and bacteria that naturally occur all around us. Every beer will be a living record of each area we visit – and the friends we make along the way.”

Sim Cotton, co-founder of The London Beer Factory, said: “We got the idea from trips to lambic breweries in Belgium and from hearing how breweries are starting to use installed coolships in America. Taking it a step further, I thought by travelling around the UK we would be able to recreate what the Belgians have been doing for hundreds of years – with a unique, modern touch.”

“We wanted to crowdfund the coolship because it is an intrinsically community affair. We are literally going out into the public and making beer – taking the operation away from the brewery and into the world. Secondly, the more supporters we engage the more people learn of the process, gain an appreciation for, and can choose to drink this style of beer.’

‘We have got interest from brewers already and are keen to start heading out to do joint coolship brews! It’s really an essential part of the concept as we will need locally sourced wort to ferment – which again adds to the locality of the beer.’

What is a coolship?
Coolships are a traditional, flat, open-topped cooling vessel used by the Belgian brewers of yesteryear. Designed to cool down wort (unfermented beer) while also capturing micro-organisms (including yeast) in the air – coolships allow for the spontaneous fermentation of beer.

The barrel ageing
The wild-yeast wort they capture will then be taken to The Barrel Project (a conditioning space and taproom) where it will be transferred to French oak wine barrels living for two to three years, while undergoing a slow fermentation and souring process before being blended and bottled. This maturation time allows the yeast years to chew through the complex sugars, creating a myriad of flavours and aromas, and a unique, exceptional beer.

For more details visit Crowdfunder here.


Duvel’s Scottish origins

DUVEL’S SCOTTISH ORIGINS

When World War One ended, the Moortgat’s family brewery produced Victory Ale as a way of celebration, a beer that eventually morphed into Duvel in the 1960s. Katrien Bruyland tells the tale of this gorgeous golden ale and reveals a surprising Caledonian connection.  

Albert Moortgat was never expected to become a brewer. That was the job of his eldest brother Joseph, but then in 1914 Joseph passed away. After this sad event, the gossip in Breendonk was that the Moortgats would cease brewing. However, with a determination condemning him to a visionary’s life in Belgian strong ale, Albert swore: ‘Like hell we will!’

‘My grandfather was an open-minded, combative man.’ 

Veerle Baert-Moortgat loves to tell tales of “bompa” Albert Moortgat. A member of Duvel Moortgat Board of Directors, Veerle Baert-Moortgat keeps the fondest memories of the man who gave the beer world a strong blonde devil to dance with. ‘Until I was 16, I spent every weekend at my grandparents in Breendonk. On Sunday, we would rise early for a bike trip. After mass, the men went off to tour the village pubs. At the villa, across the road from the brewery, I waited for what I knew was next. Lunch waiting to be served, my aunt went outside to ring a bell. The men never responded. Every time, I had to go and fetch them. Even as a child, I knew the itinerary. If they weren’t in one pub, I continued to the next. I never failed to find them.’ 

Saint Arnold is the patron saint of Belgian brewers, while Gambrinus a legendary beer-loving king. In Duvel Moortgat’s 1984 comic strip story about the origins of Duvel, the heavens’ lack of tasty beer causes an angelic uproar. It follows paradise’s two biggest beer experts back to earth. Their mission? To find a beer to stop the angels’ mutiny. 

The official Duvel story on the company’s website doesn’t stray far from the romantic comic strip line depicting the family’s story in beer. In his quest to tailor a beer after the First World War, based on the popular ales of Belgian’s British allies, Albert is said to have embarked on an epic journey across the North Sea. In Edinburgh, Younger’s Brewery was said to having shared their yeast with the Belgian visitor, while the story claims Albert returned with the yeast in an aluminium milk jar. 

At less than 30 kilometres from Breendonk, John Martin already imported British beer in 1908. Ten years before the First World War, Younger’s beer was available in Belgium. The strong ale being live beer, it makes no sense that a technically skilled, perfectionist brewer would choose a time-consuming journey to harvest yeast in Edinburgh instead of cultivating yeast from a bottle of imported ale. However, Moortgat worked with Professor P Biourge, a world-renowned yeast expert, who is said to have combined several strains from the Edinburgh yeast to be used in Victory Ale. 

Albert was trained by the best. A skilled perfectionist with a penchant for cleanliness, nothing escaped his scrutiny. ‘He kept the brewery impeccable’, says Veerle Baert-Moortgat. His focus on hygiene would later land him a contract to bottle Tuborg. Surfing on the popularity of Danish luxury pils, Albert’s brother Victor sent Duvel samples to each pub that ordered Tuborg. Duvel boomed.

From dark and strong, Victory Ale became the pale blond and equally strong Duvel in the 1960s. The transition is mainly credited to Albert’s collaboration with Jean De Clerck, a professor of the University of Louvain brewing school. Meanwhile, the true story of Duvel is told by its yeast. The truth is still there for everyone to smell. The key? 4VG or 4-vinylguaiacol. While considered a phenolic off-flavour in bottom fermented beer, 4VG is well-known to aficionados of top-fermented Belgian style golden ales. Duvel has a subtle 4VG character. Leffe, being the quintessential example of 4VG beers, offers strong hints of clove or ‘sausage-type meat’ aromas.

Chris Bauweraerts is co-founder of Brasserie D’Achouffe, which Duvel Moortgat purchased in 2006. He suggests discerning noses will still be able to detect Belgian beer descendants of the original Younger’s yeast that, somehow, found its way from Edinburgh to Belgium. Raymond Moureau, who worked at Brasserie Grade, told Bauweraerts that Jules Grade – as Albert Moortgat years before him — went to visit William Younger’s in Edinburgh. He came back with yeast. Brasserie Grade both brewed Vieux-Temps and Leffe. Are Duvel and Leffe unsuspecting cousins? Both being of British ale blood, they most definitely are. 

 

Read Issue 20 of Original Gravity here


Siren to ask for minimum £750,000 for canning line and increased capacity

Siren Craft Brew launches crowdfunding campaign

Siren Craft Brew launches crowdfunding campaign

 

Siren to ask for minimum £750,000 for canning line and increased capacity

Siren Craft Brew, one of Ratebeer’s Top 100 Breweries in the World, has launched their first crowdfunding campaign through Crowdcube.com.

The brewery, which picked up CAMRA’s Supreme Champion Beer of Britain award this year, is raising a minimum of £750,000 which will go towards a new canning line, increased capacity and lab & efficiency improvements. The brewery has also said if it reaches £1.5m in overfunding it will fastrack plans to open two city centre bars.

People will be investing for equity in the business, along with some ‘rewards’ including discounts, exclusive events, brewery tours and more.

Darron Anley, founder, said: “Following on from the momentum of an award-winning year and some hard work behind the scenes, we’re in a great position to start our next phase of expansion. Craft beer in cans is a huge opportunity and to get the best possible equipment, we needed to bring in some external investment.”

He added: “Crowdfunding is something we’ve been asked about a lot over the years. All being well, this round of funding will allow us to keep growing sustainably, while concentrating on what we do best – the beer.”

People can invest in Siren Craft Brew on Crowdcube at: http://www.crowdcube.com/Siren


The Q&A: Kyle Larsen, Head Brew Siren Craft Brew

THE Q&A

Kyle Larsen, Head Brewer, Siren Craft Brew

Where did you brew before and what brought you to the UK?

I brewed at Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River, OR and before that at Full Sail Brewing also in Hood River. Well, Siren brought me to the UK really. I was looking to brew for an innovative and exciting brewery, preferably outside the states, and well Siren ticked those boxes. I hadn’t previously heard of Siren but they got a great recommendation from a colleague in the UK so I sent a resume and as luck would have it they were in the market for a head brewer.

What do you do if not brewing, fishing, racing fast cars, eating?

I hang out with my three kiddos and wife they are my best friends really. We like to travel quite a bit so currently I’m enjoying exploring the English country side. I also love making bread and mountain biking. Two things I try to do as much as possible but maybe not as much as I’d like.

How do you design a beer?

I generally design a beer by starting with what I envision the end product turning out like and then working backwards. I’ll write out a description of the beer first and then figure out what raw materials and techniques will get me what I’m looking for. After that I cross my fingers that everything turns out good.

Is Berkshire boring?

No not for me. I love the country side and traditional country pubs. The only thing missing is a good craft beer pub… luckily we are going to be opening a tasting room and event space at our new warehouse/barrel home so it won’t be long until Finchampstead gets even better.

In our love of hops we forget about water, are you a water bore?

Is that a small animal that? If so then yes!

You have barrels for wood aging, do you see a day when breweries ditch wooden barrels in a similar way as the great porter breweries did, or is this wowing of wood just a settling back into the past?

I think barrel aged beer is here to stay. Barrels are great for so many reasons I don’t see why I would ever stop using them. DN

 

/Sirencraftbrew.com


Read Issue 20 here for free

READ ISSUE 20 FOR FREE HERE

In Remembrance of beer past and future

Memory is a great trickster, on a par with Loki (that’s the character of Norse myth not Tom Hiddleston btw). The years roll by and a pub or a beer we frequented when the world was young changes, becomes warm and tender in the embrace of memory, taunts us almost with its insubstantiality — was the beer really that bad/good; did the reek of tobacco or the streak of meanness in the regular customers really matter; what was the first beer whose branding meant something? As you might be able to guess, memory and time are the twin themes of the latest issue of Original Gravity, that wisp of smoke on the horizon, that biscuit dipped in tea that creates something greater than the act, the remembered glass with friends who are no longer friends.

Boak and Bailey have seized upon the Portuguese word saudade, which describes a vague, melancholy yearning for something/someone/somewhere that has been lost, or is slipping away, and applied it in their own distinctive way to beer. Pete Brown investigates the fifth (or missing) ingredient of beer — time — something which it is all too easy to forget about in this world of Sunny Delight-lookalike IPAs, whose brewers call for them to be drank as soon as the can is brought home. Talking of time it’s 100 years since the war to end all wars came to an end and Katrien Bruyland tells the tale of that most enduring of Belgian beers Duvel (and also manages to uncover an intriguing connection it has with Leffe). Elsewhere San Francisco and Belfast’s pubs are celebrated with gusto, I try to understand what led me to end up writing about beer and we celebrate heritage beers and anatomise porter (that’s porter porter btw, not pastry or puff adder porter). Do take the time to enjoy!

Adrian Tierney-Jones, Editor

 


Review: Fyne Ales, The Mystic

Tasting Notes: Fyne Ales, THE MYSTIC [9.7%]

The kind of barley wine that turns every sip into an occasion and a moment to remember

This is a lightly smoked barley wine, potent and muscular, complex and quite content to be sipped as the sun goes down. A winter beer yes but also ideal for drinking in the spring to remind yourself that winter has thankfully just passed. Light amber in colour, pulsating with a Bakewell tart aroma and a secondary note of Isley-like iodine smokiness, the carbonation is gentle, the mouth creamy, with a variety of toffees, chocolates, fudge and dark candied fruit being handed around by a much loved great aunt. There’s a power and intensity about the beer, a heft and a weight, yet it’s easy going in the way it delivers. A masterpiece of a beer and definitely one to age to see how the mystery of beer changes through time.

ATJ / fyneales.com


Beer & Cider Marketing Awards Shortlist

SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED FOR BEER & CIDER MARKETING AWARDS

The Shortlist for the 2018 Beer & Cider Marketing Awards has been revealed. Winners of the awards, which set out to discover and celebrate the UK’s best marketers and campaigns across the industry, will be announced at an event at London’s Truman Brewery on September 20th, 2018.

The Shortlist for the 2018 Beer & Cider Marketing Awards has been revealed. Winners of the awards, which set out to discover and celebrate the UK’s best marketers and campaigns across the industry, will be announced at an event at London’s Truman Brewery on September 20th2018.

The Shortlist of the awards, which are open to all brewers and cider makers with a presence and focus in the UK, is as follows:

BEST ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN

Camden Town Brewery – Hells Lager – The Garage Soho

Thatchers Cider Company

 

BEST ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS

Bright Signals – Tennent’s Lager

Fuller’s Brewery

 

BEST BRANDING/DESIGN

ByVolume/Orbit Beers

Hiver, The Honey Beer

North Brewing Co and Refold

Designers: The Potting Shed Design / Client: Gareth Chandler – Winslow Brew Co.

Signature Brew

Small Beer Brew Co.

Zerodegrees Microbrewery

 

BEST PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN

Marston’s Brewery – Beer Town Film Festival – Vital

Meantime Brewing Company

Old Mout Cider

Tribute Ale – We’re happiest in the pub poll

Wire and Tennent’s Lager – Making Mates With Influencers

 

BEST INTEGRATED CAMPAIGN

Bright Signals – Wire Media – Republic of Media – Lucky Generals – Tennent’s Lager

Innis & Gunn, Studio Something

Marston’s Brewery – Beer Town Film Festival

St Austell Brewery – Tribute ‘Quality Speaks for Itself’

 

BEST BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS CAMPAIGN

Charles Wells

Camden Town Brewery – Beer School

Content Coms

St Austell Brewery: celebrating five years of Nicholson’s Pale Ale in 2017

Thunderclap Creative – Pillars Brewery

 

BEST INNOVATION

Hawkes

Meantime Brewing Company

Small Beer Brew Co.

 

BEST NEW LAUNCH

Cave Direct Beer Merchants

Small Beer Brew Co.

Wye Valley Brewery – 1985

 

BEST USE OF SPONSORSHIP

Brakspear

Paolozzi lager, Edinburgh Beer Factory

 

BEST USE OF MERCHANDISE/POINT OF SALE MATERIAL

Camerons Brewery

Fourpure Brewing Co.

 

BEST CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY INITIATIVE

Brakspear

HEINEKEN / Star Pubs & Bars

Toast Ale

Hiver the Honey Beer

 

BEST TARGETING OF ALTERNATIVE MARKETS

Big Drop Brewing Co Ltd

Club Soda

 

BEST EVENT

Club Soda

Fourpure Brewing Co.

Marston’s Brewery – Beer Town Film Festival

 

BEST STUNT/GUERRILLA MARKETING

Badger Beer and Joint

Meantime Brewing Company

Tiny Rebel

—-

Beer & Cider Marketing Awards co-founder and Head Judge Pete Brown commented: “The spread of entries we’ve had this year was the best yet. Together they showcase a real broadening of creative ideas in the beer and cider market – and it really is in both beer and cider. After somewhat muted debut in the awards last year, cider has come through very strongly this year. The judges’ discussion was robust and yet mostly positive – it kept us busy well into the evening! There are going to be lots of insights to be learned from this year’s winners.”

The awards are run in partnership with national drinks supplier, Matthew Clark. Justin Wylde, Category Manager – Beer, Cider and Soft Drinks at Matthew Clark, commented: “There is no better example of an industry celebrating all that is great about beer and cider. Supporting these awards is important to us as it highlights all the creative work that goes in to showcasing categories that have grown in popularity and truly champions the marketing prowess of not only the big guys but the smaller independents doing incredible things to excite consumers to brands.”

For more information go to www.bestofbeerandcider.com

To buy tickets for the event go to http://beermarketingawards.co.uk/buy-tickets/


Safe

SAFE

We love the comfort and care that a pub provides, but not all of them are equal in the welcome they provide. By Emma Inch

I’ve pushed open a lot of pub doors. The flush of warm air, the growing babble of chatter, and the scent of beer-tainted wood have rushed towards me many thousands of times. But, as I stand on the threshold of an unfamiliar venue, even before my eyes adjust to the yellowed light, even before I lift my palm away from the door handle, the feeling that most engulfs me is often not one of comfort, but one of ‘will I be safe here?’

Some people achieve immediate contentment, even in a pub they’ve never previously entered.

They find relief in an anonymous corner where they can muse over a solo pint, or they boldly claim space in which to celebrate successes with friends, or share quiet intimacies with lovers. But the privilege of never having to wonder whether what makes you different will also make you the target of abuse, harassment or violence is a luxury not always afforded to everyone.

Throughout my drinking life I’ve been asked to leave a pub on the grounds that it’s a ‘family friendly venue’; I’ve witnessed a friend being ejected for giving his male partner a dry peck on the cheek; I’ve had a fellow customer shout homophobic abuse in my ear whilst the bartender calmly continued to ask me to pay for my pint.

Once, I had to shield my face from flying glass as the pub windows were kicked in by bigots outside, and I still remember the sharp, breathless fear in the days following the Admiral Duncan pub bombing, not knowing if it was all over, or who and where would be targeted next.

I’ve encountered whispered disapproval, open mockery and the saliva-spraying, salacious questioning that forms the threatening precursor to abuse should any query be left unanswered. Pubs have not always been safe spaces for me, and many — including, I’m saddened to say, a few of the pubs closest to my own home — remain places that I am simply too afraid to enter.

But, that’s not to say that all pubs are sites of fear for me. At times, the pub has also been a source of enormous strength. When I first came out as lesbian in the early 1990s, gay venues were places of great wonder to me. When I entered them, I found people who looked just like me — and people who looked like no one I’d ever seen in my life — and the pub became a location in which anything might happen: a meeting of minds, a brushing of arms and the promise of a beer-drenched kiss. I met many of my best friends and most of my partners in pubs, and I learned the importance of those spaces for bringing people together, offering validation, and creating resistance.

For a while I only drank in gay venues, always seeking them out if I went somewhere new. I could plot my way across the country, from city to city, via my mental map of the best gay pubs. Even in other countries, some in which homosexuality was barely legal, I sought out subterranean gay bars, sometimes ringing the bells on unmarked doors in order to be snapped into dark alcoves where my authenticity was appraised before I was allowed passage into the pleasures below.

In much the same way that we drew on music to comfort, unite and coalesce, those of us who were excluded also used those hot, dark, beer-sweaty spaces to gain some sort of affirmation. And, all these years later, as I enter gay venues, that feeling of strength is still there. As the beer pours into my glass, I feel the good humour, and, just sometimes, the anger that has protected me from the hostility of the world, and I understand that it’s not by chance that Stonewall — perhaps the best-known symbol of resistance to prejudice and hatred — is a New York bar.

Of course, I no longer drink exclusively in gay venues. Many have disappeared, victims in part perhaps of our new ways of interacting with the world. And, in common with many other beer lovers, I am forever chasing that feted brewery, the brand new beer, the brew that will make my taste buds dance outside my mouth.

And, as I re-draw my mental map of the country, I’m back to pausing at the door, considering my safety. I anticipate the shared glances between other drinkers, the trivial hesitation of the bartender’s hand, the almost imperceptible smirk, and the just-too-slow welcome. I jump at the soft shove as someone passes by me on their way to the bathroom, and at the visceral roar that goes up each time a goal is scored or a glass is smashed.

But, somehow, the worst of it is that even though in the vast majority of pubs I am not abused, and no one ignores, insults or ridicules me, as I leave I still sometimes feel like I’ve narrowly escaped something, as if just this once, I was permitted to experience that unequivocally benign harbour that draws other people in and holds them safe.

And I feel gratitude.

And I wish that I didn’t.


Beer Meets Love

Beer Meets Love

We’re getting all mushy in this feature, when beer meets, love. Ahhh

Love is in the air or has the neighbourhood prankster popped a St Val’s card through the post-box? Whatever, spring is also around the corner and our thoughts turn with the sure steadiness of a merry-go-round to love and romance and also a glass of beer at the bar. And just like love, beer comes in all shapes and sizes, in all kinds of moods and mazes, but whoever or whatever you’ve found to fall in love with, why not celebrate this sense of gladness with this trio of tempestuous romantics. ATJ

/ Siren Craft Brew, I Love You Honey Bunny, 6.3%

Love is the only answer when you’re faced with Siren’s self-proclaimed honey smoothie IPA (blossom honey and oats have gone into the mix), and you know what it’s rather good – lemon-yellow in colour, blessed with a juicy fruity nose. I took a gulp and uncovered more fruit, a smooth hint of sweetness in the background and a dry and bitter finish. / sirencraftbrew.com

/ Thornbridge, I Love You Will You Marry Me, 4.5%

Named after a well-known well known piece of graffiti in Sheffield, this blonde-hued beer has a subtle aroma of strawberry sweetness on the nose (real strawberries) alongside a hint of citrus, while there’s more strawberry on the palate alongside citrus, a refreshing tartness and a creamy mouth feel. An elegant thirst-quencher and a passionate pint. / thornbridgebrewery.co.uk

/ Marble/Fuller’s Gale Prize Old Ale, 10.9%

There’s a romance about Gale’s Prize Old Ale, a beer that used to be regular but then became a special occurrence when Fuller’s bought the brewery. With this expression, Marble has brewed the beer and left it to sleep in four separate barrels. This one has a kiss of Brett, dark fruit and the deep vinuousness of the barrel. / marblebeers.com