Showing posts with label barclays london dark lager. Show all posts
Showing posts with label barclays london dark lager. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

600 Not Out

Back in November 2009 I marked the 300th post of Fuggled. At that point I had been in the States a matter of months, and so, obviously, it was a somewhat reflective piece about the fine people I had met as a result of this blog and was heavily Prague centred.

Almost 2 years have passed since that post, and this post is my 600th. In that time I have drunk a lot of beer, brewed and fair bit of beer and learnt a hell of a lot more about beer. From having deep discussions on the merits or otherwise of decoction mashing with Tom Cizauskas and Eric of Relentless Thirst fame, to being sat on the terrace at Devils Backbone on a breezy yet sunny spring day, beer has been the focal point of so many of the good times since moving the States. It is through my homebrewing that I have come to know the many fine people at the Charlottesville Area Masters of Real Ale homebrew club, and through their advice and opinion I like to believe that I have become a better brewer myself. One thing I can say that seems to be a transnational fact, beer people are by and large good people.

My brewing highlights of the last two years have all taken place in the very same building, again Devils Backbone. The first time, Jason was brewing a pilsner based on research into the original recipe and done properly - triple decoction mash, 100% Saaz hops to get 40IBU and water softer than ice cream with sun stroke. We had a great day, and Jason brewed a great Pilsner, I can give no higher accolade than to say if I had been served it in Pivovarsky klub it would not have been out of place with the great Czech lagers of this world.

The second time I brewed at Devils Backbone was probably the highlight of my beer life so far. During the pilsner brewday Jason and I kept coming back to the topic of Tmavé pivo, or Czech dark lager. Neither a dunkel nor a schwarzbier and descended from warm fermented beers made in Bohemia as late as the 1890s, tmavé is one of the unique beer styles of Bohemia that I believe is misunderstood outside the Czech lands. We agreed then to brew our own version of the beer, and it was up to me to do the research and eventually formulate a recipe. So I trawled through websites in Czech, Slovak and German, looking for clues to the makeup of the grist - the hops were something of a no-brainer really, 100% Saaz. I contacted brewmasters in the Czech Republic who were very helpful and eventually Jason and I finalised the recipe. Brewing my own recipe on professional equipment, with a master of lager brewing was an awesome day, and when some 2 months later I went down to the brewpub to try the beer I was blown away, and about 3 weeks later all 2000 half litres of Morana were gone.

I always enjoy those days when I get to brew with Jason. Brewing with Jason and Ron Pattinson when we recreated a London dark lager from the 1930s was just as immense. Talking with Ron about beer history and beer styles is like having a walking encyclopaedia with you. I learnt shed loads of stuff that day, and we drank some great beers made as a result of his work. You can imagine then that a cask of the Barclays London Dark Lager going off to the Great British Beer Festival and getting good feedback was something that had me buzzing for days.

Another of the highlights in the life of Fuggled is the Brewer of the Week series, and I want to thank every brewer that has agreed to take part, and perhaps a gentle reminder to those who said they would and have yet to get their answers back to me.

So here I am, 600 not out and with no intention to declare for a while to come....

BTW - it seems today is a day for marking the longevity of blogs as Mark over at Pencil and Spoon is celebrating 3 years of his blog, as is Dave from Hardknott Brewery two guys whose blogs are always worth reading!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Great British Beer Festival - a Reminder

This week is the Great British Beer Festival, held at Earl's Court in London rather than in the Earl's Court of London Below. Anyway, for those of you lucky people able to get along to the festival and enjoy the best of British brewing (and no, "they" are not, never have been and never will be the best of British brewing), do remember to pop round to the Bières Sans Frontières area.

In particular, head for the American Cask Ale Bar, which is designated according to the website as "W2 - Blackwell", and order a lager. Not just any lager mind, order the Devils Backbone Barclays London Dark Lager that I have posted about several times. I would ask that you only have thirds of a pint rather than anything bigger, at least until Ron has been able to get there to try some.

If crafted lagers are not your thing, preferring instead to have your tongue savaged and abused by hops, then while you are trying Virginia beers, you might want to have a bash at the Starr Hill Double Platinum, a double IPA from the brewery where I do occasional stints behind the bar of the tasting room. A third choice if you are on a Virginia themed drinking session, is St George's Nut Brown Ale - I have never had it so can't vouch for it in quality terms, but I quite like their IPA - they have the temerity to use British hops, Fuggles exclusively no less!

If you do get to try the Barclays London Dark Lager and are of the social media type, please could you tweet about it when you try it? Perhaps I could suggest the following hashtag "#BarclaysDarkLager", and please cc Devils Backbone's Twitter accout, @dbbrewingco.

Cheers and have a great time if you are going!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Pint of the Past Please

It went on tap on Friday, and if experience of dark lager made at Devils Backbone is anything to go by, it will last about a month. Yesterday afternoon I drove out to Roseland with two aims in mind, meet up with my good friend and photographic genius Mark Stewart, and to try the Barclay's London Dark Lager which was brewed with Ron Pattinson of Shut Up About Barclay Perkins fame.

Recently they had a Bavarian Dunkel on at Devils Backbone which was delicious, so it was interesting to see and taste the difference from using British malts rather than German. For example, adding roast barley to the mash late, to get the colour without flavour, rather than using one of the Carafa malts.

I am not sure the picture really illustrates the beer very well, but it pours a rich mahogany tinged with auburn, topped off with a light beige head. The nose was grassy, with touches of lemon and spice, in the background, the merest hint of lightly roasted coffee. As for the flavours, the smooth sweetness of English toffee dominates, with some toastiness and nuts in the mix as well. The sweetness is cut through by a firm, assertive, but not brash, bitterness. This beer is insanely drinkable for a 5.8% abv lager and while it most definitely isn't a session beer, 5 pints of it does slip down with inordinate ease.

Yesterday afternoon felt like the culmination of a project I have enjoyed immensely. Brewing with Jason is always a pleasure, meeting Ron was likewise a delight - beer people are such good company, especially when you combine a passion for beer with a love of history. Sometimes I think it such a pity that more brewers aren't doing this kind of project instead of running after the latest trendiest hop variety (remember when Amarillo was all the rage?). On my own homebrew front, I think more of Ron's Let's Brew Wednesday recipes will be making appearances in the coming months.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...