Sunday, 10 May 2009

A night of English beer

Mordue Five Bridge Bitter, a classic English ale from the Northeast postioned behind a row of empty casks.
It must firstly be noted that due to the lateness of this event no St Georges day special/seasonal ales could be included. Instead I aimed to hunt out a small number of some of Englands finest ales.

The beers of England.
England hosts a vast number of Regional and micro brewed beers of an expanding number of various styles. Of recent times many English brewers have become a little more adventurous changing from the age old concept of brewing traditional British beer and that alone. Many have embraced the benefits of lager brewing, using unusual adjuncts or brewing styles of beer not often founding this country.
Despite all this the most common beers found (emitting all mass market lowest common denominator beers) are bitters, best bitters and the more recently established style of golden ale.
But this digresses from the question, if one were to consume a number of beers that as a whole could represent England’s brewing, which ones would be needed? What might spring to mind are the highly rated traditional beers of old. Beers like White Shield, Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby or Thomas Hardy’s ale. Tragically I did have a truly sublime bottle of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2007 vintage I could have used for this, if I hadn’t drank the previous week. But I Went with the best on offer, and it must be noted that the latter half of this session was spent in my local, the John Bull, whose excellently kept cask ales were of great addition to the event (after all you cant have a proper English beer night without good old cask ale).

Beer No. 1.
Daleside Blonde Lagered ale.

A top fermented golden ale lagered (stored at cold temperatures for a length of time before filtration and bottling). Clean and delicately balanced. A little zesty, with light biscuity malt and citrus hop noted. Completely

Beer No. 2.
St Austell Clouded Yellow.

A majestic wheat beer from down Cornwall way. Admittedly a beer style not very English at all, but decided because its such a great example of the style and reflects the evolving innovative nature of English brewers it would be a good inclusion. Easy drinking and soft on the palate with plenty of vanilla and banana notes.

Beer No. 3
Hook Norton Old Hooky

Classic malt balanced English ale. This one was matched well with steak and wedges and represents the more middle of the range English ales.

Beer No. 4
Meantime London Porter

OK I admit I didn’t get hold of many old classic English beers for this event but I thought this one would prove interesting. A full flavoured brown porter brewed not only to a 1700’s era porter resipy, but brewed following the exact same methods pulled up from old brewing books. Whether or not this beer is an accurate replication of 1700’s porter no one will ever truly know but this is probably a good approximation. I suppose the real reason I chose this beer is in tribute to the importance porter itself was to the brewing world, the evolution of beer styles, and the British Empire.

Beer No. 5
Mordue Five Bridge Bitter (pictured above)

A classic British bitter in the classic British surroundings of the pub. Balanced, subtle and rounded with a earthy peppery hop character, a great example of the style.

Beer No. 6
Spire. Dark Side Of the Moon. An amber mild with a higher bitterness than expected, still well crafted.

Overall not a bad session, and I shall look forward other themed nights. I am actually planning to try an Australian beer night some point mid summer, sometime when its sunny.

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