Showing posts with label durham brewery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label durham brewery. Show all posts

Friday, February 10, 2012

IPA = I Prefer Anglo

Last night as Mrs V and I sat watching White Collar, I had a craving for a beer. With the Netflix paused I ventured out to the storage room, which doubles up as my beer cellar, and wandered back in with a few bottles, including one of Samuel Smith's India Ale. The India Ale was part of a gift pack of 3 Sam Smith's brews, a few beer mats and a fine looking pint glass, a proper pint that is. The pack was part of my Christmas gift from Mrs V's parents.

As I sat with this glass of rich amber nectar, I tweeted the following:

"you know, I do actually like IPA, proper IPA that is, as in British IPA. Bitter AND Balanced!"

I realise there is a very strong possibility that I am biased, and I say this in full awareness that there are America style IPAs that I like on occasion, but I simply find a hoppy pale ale brewed with the likes of Challenger, Fuggles and Goldings far more palatable than some Pacific North West enamel stripper. Perhaps it has something to do with the extra malt body and sweetness that a lot of British IPAs have, making them less like sucking a lemon and more like a hoppy marmelade?

Over Christmas when I had Durham's delicious Bombay 106 and the inestimable Worthington White Shield, I had the same reaction, bitter yes, but nicely balanced and drinkable. Speaking about White Shield, I have it on good authority that those evil magnates that allow great beer to be brewed on their premises (I mean, really how dare they!), MolsonCoors, will be exporting it to American shores in the early summer. Keep an eye out for it!

BTW - the bag in the background has the malts for my brewday tomorrow, Bohemian Pilsner, Munich, White Wheat, Special Roast and Aromatic, to be hopped with Chinook, spiced with coriander and grapefruit peel and fermented with Wyeast Belgian Abbey II. Kind of a spiced Belgo-American Amber Ale, kind of.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Brewer of the Week

On Monday I posted about the lovely beers from the Durham Brewery that I had over the Christmas holiday. Sadly that post lacked the pictures of their fine beer in their wonder snifter style glass. One of the attractions of the Durham Brewery is that they do interesting beer taken from history, and while the world seems to have gone loopy for East India Porter, under the guise of "Black IPA", Durham have dipped into brewing history to recreate the pale stout. So without further ado, I give you the man that brews these gorgeous drops of ale!

Name:Steven Gibbs
Brewery:The Durham Brewery

How did you get into brewing as a career?

Instrumental teaching job was disappearing and we had to find something to do. Microbreweries were new and I knew about beer. It was the obvious choice.

What is the most important characteristic of a brewer?

In a large brewery only the ability to push buttons. A micro brewer must understand all aspects of the process and have an open mind to be able to innovate and experiment.

Before being a professional brewer, did you homebrew? If so, how many of your homebrew recipes have you converted to full scale production?

Yes, I made beer as far back as my teens. When I started The Durham Brewery I developed a couple of recipes on the homebrew kit. Neither is brewed now but one, Celtic, was very successful.

If you did homebrew, do you still?


What is your favourite beer to brew?

Most beers are very similar and run like clockwork but the beer most difficult is Temptation. Loads of malt to dig out and at the start of fermentation it gets out and walks around the floor, entailing lots of cleaning up and fine temperature control.

If you have worked in other breweries, which other beer did you enjoy brewing, and why?

Never worked in any other brewery.

Of the beers you brew, which is your favourite to drink?

Difficult to say. In cask I prefer traditional malty so Viennese Maltz and Evensong are favoured. In the bottle I prefer complexity so Temptation and Bede's Chalice are tops here. I have a feeling that the new Pale Stout will be a favourite.

How important is authenticity when making a new beer, in terms of flavour, ingredients and method?

Define authenticity! Most beers are Durhamised. Bombay 106 is an original recipe as is Temptation, but they are not absolutely authentic, nor can they be. Make an IPA or Russian Stout in modern conditions and they will have modern characteristics. It is impossible to get the original ingredients. Also, modern palates would most likely not take to properly authentic flavours. All we can do is get close to the original beers while being as authentic as possible.

If you were to do a collaborative beer, which brewery would you most like to work with and why?

Hofstetten. Because the owner is a friend and open to new ideas. I would learn much from him.

Which beer, other than your own, do you wish you had invented?

Old Peculiar

Monday, January 16, 2012

Saintly Brews

When I was trying to decide which online beer shop to buy my Christmas selection from way back in the entirely too warm depths of November, I had 2 absolute must requirements. Firstly, said shop had to sell Timothy Taylor Landlord and secondly have a selection of beers from the Durham Brewery. Only Beer Ritz satisfied these needs and so they got my cash.

The first, and previously only, experience of  Durham Brewery was back in 2008 when I had a bottle of Benedictus, an 8.4% barley wine which I really enjoyed and wished I had bought more of. This time I bought a 2 bottles of three of their beers, more Benedictus, Temptation and Bombay 106.

I am not really much of one for the American versions of India Pale Ale, I find many of them to be like sucking lemons, but British style IPA is something I quite often enjoy, regardless of where they are made. Bombay 106, named for a British light infantry regiment, is a healthy 7% abv and hopped with masses of Goldings according to the advertising blurb. The Goldings are very much the star of the show here, big, hefty dollops of spice and a citrus note like Seville oranges. Backed with a firm malty body which means the hops don't run away with it all. The finish is long and dry with just a hint of sherbet in there for fun.

Benedictus was largely as I remembered it, and remember it is how it will have to remain as it has been discontinued by the brewery. A beautiful copper colour, with a thin white head, the nose is a full frontal attack of toffee, canned fruit and citrus peel, and a boozy note chucked in. The sweet caramel taste dominates the drinking, though there is enough of a hop bite to stop it from furring the arteries.

The highlight though on the drinking front was Temptation, their Imperial Stout which smashes through the doors with a big hitting 10% abv. This stuff looks like crude oil, black, inky, more than opaque it sits in the glass like a liquid black hole. The huge body it a riot of sweet malt flavours, caramel, toffee, chocolate all playing against a noticeable coffee note and the spiciness of the hops. Sitting watching the TV and sipping this was the perfect way to end the day, having had one of my mother's home cooked meals. Perfection.

I think it is fair to say that whenever I head to the UK, I will be on the look out for more of the Durham Brewery's range, in particular their new historic beer, White Stout.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Three Word Challenge - Part Deux

Yesterday's Three Word Challenge seemed to go down well, so I thought I'd do it again, except this time to be stricter and not use words like "very or "really".

Traquair House Ale - crimson, toffee, silky

Timothy Taylor Landlord - amber, citrus, oranges

Durham Brewery Benedictus - honey, bitter, velvet

Old Luxters Farmhouse Barn Ale - orange, spicy, strong

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...