Showing posts with label st george brewing company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label st george brewing company. Show all posts

Monday, August 19, 2013

Top Ten Virginian Beers 2013

Taking my lead from the wonderfully urbane company which is Boak and Bailey, and with half an eye on the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest this weekend, here is the Fuggled Top Ten Virginian beers...
  1. AleWerks Brewing - Caledonia (4.5%). A delightfully fragrant, hoppy, British style IPA. The combination of Fuggles, Willamette, and Styrian Goldings is a vibrant, Seville orange laced delight.
  2. Port City Brewing - Downright Pilsner (4.8%). A Czech style pale lager that wouldn't be out of place if served in the beer halls of Prague, positively pulsating with Saaz goodness, more is rarely enough.
  3. Mad Fox Brewing - Mason's Dark Mild (3.3%). Think warm toast spread with Nutella and you are not far from reality, and best of all it is served on a sparkled beer engine.
  4. Devils Backbone Brewing - Schwartz Bier (4.9%). Last year's Virginia Beer Cup winner, and now available in bottles, this is a roasty, clean, crisp black lager that never gets tired.
  5. Starr Hill Brewing - Dark Starr Stout (4.2%). The most award winning Dry Irish Stout in the USA, coffee, chocolate, and a smooth luxuriant body makes this Starr Hill's best beer by a country mile.
  6. St George Brewing - English IPA (5.5%). A showcase for the delights of Fuggles hops, a good dollop of malt sweetness, balanced with the herby, almost tobacco like Fuggles makes it a great British IPA.
  7. Blue Mountain Brewing - überPils (7.6%). 40 IBU of noble hops and a solid malt backbone make this big pale lager surprisingly easy to drink.
  8. Devils Backbone Brewing - Vienna Lager (4.9%). Always good, and thankfully fairly widely available. One of the best ambers lagers anywhere in the US.
  9. Port City Brewing - Porter (7.2%). Some beers have no business being so drinkable with so a potent ABV, silky, chocolatey, and to be honest crying out to be available on cask somewhere, preferably near me.
  10. AleWerks Brewing - Café Royale (8%). Take a coffee infused stout, chuck it in bourbon barrels, and then save for a special occasion.
There we have it, and I am sure Saturday's Virginia Craft Brewers Fest will bring more great Virginian beer to my attention.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Too Many Hops?

There are times when I get the feeling that I come across as being something of an anti-hop crusader. However, I prefer to think of it as being sick of the apparent notion that seems to float around the indie beer drinker world that the more hops there are in a beer, the better. The reality though is that I like beers with a firm hop bite, a nice hop flavour and a pleasing hop aroma, I like the hopping to be a distinct element of the beer, not the sole focus of the beer - and no, IPA is NOT 'all about the hops'.

Having said that, and for fear of completely contradicting myself, there are times when I think beers have, to bastardise the , 'too many hops'. By this I don't mean that a beer is 'too hoppy', whatever the hell 'hoppy' actually means anyway, but rather that some beers have such a melange of hop varieties as to effectively become a mess.

Often, though not always, such beers are in the generic world of 'pale ale' or a 'black india' version of something. When I read a list of 7 or 8 hop varieties, usually, though again not always, the high alpha varieties, I can't help but wonder at times if the beer that results would benefit from fewer hop varieties and more attention being paid to the effects of the remaining hops so they are more distinct and pleasurable when drinking.


In thinking about many of my favourite beers to drink, as opposed to sample, they tend to have a maximum of three hop varieties, though in reality the vast majority use just one or two. Take my current favourite pilsner (sorry Pilsner Urquell, you've been usurped for the time being), Port City's Downright Pilsner, which gets all 43 of its IBUs from that majestic hop, Saaz, or even my favourite IPA being brewed in Virginia today, from St George down in Hampton, with its judicious, and exclusive, use of Fuggles. From further afield, take one of my favourite stouts, Wrasslers XXXX from Ireland's Porterhouse, hopped with Galena, Nugget and East Kent Golding (which reminds me, I should stock up on this beer at some point). With all three beers the hops are noticeable without intruding on the drinking, in a sense you could say that the hops know their place.

Maybe this feeling harks back to something I mentioned in my previous post about balance being an essential part of my definition of 'good' beer. For me it is not just a case of the overall beer being balanced, but that there is balance within the elements of a beer as well, and perhaps it in the hopping that this balance is most important and most easily disrupted.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fuggled Review of the Year - Pale

For the 2011 iteration of my Fuggled Review, I have decided to stick with the nice, simple approach that I adopted last year. Rather than trawling through the various categories accepted by the Brewers Association for the Great American Beer Festival, I will have 3 beer awards, one each for pale, amber and dark, as well as a blog of the year selection. I will choose a "best of" from Virginia, the rest of the US and then the rest of the world for each category. So without further ado, let's see the nominations for the Fuggled Pale Beer of the Year:
The St George IPA is that most rare of beasts, an American made, British style IPA. It is hopped exclusively with Fuggles and boasting a solid malty backbone, the combination of which reminds me a Seville orange marmalade. Unfortunately there are some who think Fuggles is a "boring" hop, personally I think they have just jumped on the grapefruit/pine resin bandwagon and fail to appreciate the flavours Fuggles brings to the table. Of the various pale beers from Virginia I have drunk this year, the St George IPA has been the most consistently enjoyable, and really what else is important?


Unless you have been cowering under a cyber rock at some dim and distant IP address, you will know that I love pilsner and will go out of my way to try beers availing themselves of that appellation. When a friend of Mrs V and I came to visit us from South Carolina, I asked her to bring me some beers that we couldn't get in Virginia, including the Bohemian Brewery 1842 Pilsener. Simply put, I was in heaven as I drank it. It very definitely hit the spot and ticked all the right boxes for a Czech style lager, decoction mash, Saaz hops, 5 weeks of lagering and easy drinking. Please, please, please would someone distribute them in Virginia!

Each summer, Mrs V and I buy season tickets to either Busch Gardens or Water Country USA in Williamsburg. This year we chose Busch Gardens, and when we went down for the day we stumbled across Sünner K?lsch in their Bavarian part of the park. We sat on a bench with a bratwurst wrapped in pretzel dough and shared the cold, clean, crisp beer between us - it was perfection.

I can choose but one of these three fine libations, and so the Fuggled Pale Beer of the Year is:
  • Bohemian Brewery 1842 Pilsener
So, for the second year in a row a Czech style pilsner beer take the award, still unburdened by financial value though with a modicum of history I guess! As I said in the title of my post about the beer, Americans CAN make good pilsners, it is just a damned shame so few of them bother to do it properly.

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!

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...

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