Sunday, 17 May 2015

Beer Tutoring and Tasting at Birmingham Foodies Festival 2015

Dee:  “The Beer Tutoring and Tasting was the second of the two sessions that we attended during the 2015 Birmingham Foodies Festival.  It wasn’t as busy as we were expecting it to be but seemed popular with our fellow attendees.  It was hosted by Melissa Cole, a beer sommelier, or som-ale-ier as described on her web site: Let me tell you about beer, and author of the book ‘Let me tell you about beer: A Beginner's Guide to All Things Brewed’.
Melissa was a great presenter and gave an introduction to the brewing process, along with some useful tips that I hadn’t heard of before.  For example, when sampling beer aromas; cover the glass, swirl it round, remove your hand and sniff.  Also we were advised not to cook with beer in clear bottles, and not to use it to de-glaze pans during cooking.  Melissa did explain the reasons for this but I couldn’t note them down quickly enough.
We tasted five different beers, all from either England or Scotland, which were brought to our tables and shared out.  There was some beer left over at the end of the presentation but unfortunately the sessions were running back to back, preventing us from enjoying a leisurely drink after the presentation had finished.
I’ve set out below the beers we tried, together with Jay’s and my thoughts on them.”

Beer 1:  Curious Brew
A lager made by Chapel Down, who’s English Wine was described as being of excellent quality. 
Tasting Notes said:  “Our Curious Brew is a truly premium lager for people who love beer. Brewed in England with precision and passion to create a uniquely satisfying, drier, cleaner, fresher lager beer.”
Dee said:  “A good quality lager, light gold in colour, with a pronounced yeasty aroma.  Quite sweet tasting.  Melissa explained that the stronger than usual taste for a lager was achieved by ageing, in this case from three to twelve weeks.”
Jay said:  “Sunny day, beer garden.”

Beer 2:  Heather Ale
Described as a centuries old, complex beer made with Heather rather than hops.
Recommended as a drink to accompany goats cheese or any herbal tasting food
Tasting Notes said:  “Fraoch: - The Original Craft Beer; brewed in Scotland since 2000 B.C. The Brotherhood have been guardians of the ancient Gaelic recipe for "leann fraoich" (heather ale) since 1988 and are proud to be the only brewery still producing this unique style of beer and distributing it worldwide.  A light amber ale with floral peaty aroma, full malt character, and a spicy herbal finish - This beer allows you to literally pour 4000 years of Scottish history into a glass.”
Dee said:  “The description of this beer as complex was spot on:  I was first greeted with an earthy, peaty aroma, but the taste was as different again: Strong, yet floral.  It reminded me somewhat of the Alba Scots Pine Ale, from the same brewery, which I reviewed as part of our write up for New Year’s Eve (click here for details).  I’ve become very fond of these old Scottish beers made with bog myrtle, heather and pine.”
Jay said:  “It was interesting.  The taste didn’t last.  It was quite ‘short’ in the mouth.  I would enjoy this after a walk in the hills.”

Beer 3:  Pure Gold
Brewery:  Purity Brewing Co.
A beer from a brewery based locally to the festival venue.  Recommended with spicy foods, salmon and shellfish.
Tasting Notes said:  “A sparkling orb, searing through an azure sky and a glass of ‘Pure Gold’ in the hand, worries can wait a while, life is all the better for moments like this.
Pure Gold (3.8% ABV or 4.3% ABV in bottles) is a refreshing golden ale with a dry and bitter finish. Brewed with English Maris Otter, Caragold and Wheat malts, plus Hallertau Northern Brewer, Bobeck and Hereford Goldings hops. Winner of nine awards.”
Dee said:  “A strong grassy aroma with plenty of hops in the taste.  An English golden ale with quite a summery feel.”
Jay said:  “It’s the taste of summer, sat in a field.”

Beer 4:  Caesar Augustus
The second Williams Brothers beer of the session, but this time a hybrid beer, brewed like a lager, but with the addition of more hops than usual leading it towards an IPA.  
Tasting Notes said:  “This Lager /IPA hybrid is a revolution in refreshment and flavour. All the crisp clean notes of the finest lager but with the discrete bitter finish of a well-balanced IPA. It's not confused about what it wants' to be, it's just the best of both worlds.”
Dee said:  “Light golden in colour, with a strong, peachy aroma.  Another light, summery drink, with hoppy and floral tastes in equal measures.”
Jay said:  “Really fruity and luscious on the nose, although the taste was less pronounced than the aroma.  Still a good beer though.”

Beer 5:  Longhorn IPA
Brewery:  Purity Brewing Co.
This IPA arrived in a can, and prior to drinking it, there was some discussion around the merits of canned beers opposed to bottled beers.  This particular one had a layer inside the can which prevented the drink from tasting too metallic, and the can also acted as a vessel to preserve the freshness of the beer.  We found out that hoppy tasting beers are particularly well suited to cans, although they need to be poured into glasses rather than drunk straight from the can.
Tasting Notes said:  “Longhorn IPA is an expertly brewed craft keg ale named after the herd of Longhorn cattle that feed of our spent grains.
We use only the finest natural ingredients to create and American style IPA that is full of character and which leaves you wanting more.
Brewed with Marris Otter, Rye, Crystal Rye and Caramalts to create a copper warming colour and hopped with Northern Brewer, Chinook, Galaxy and Simcoe Hops Longhorn has both citrus and tropical fruit tones.”
Dee said:  “Bitter and earthy aroma.  Slightly fruity taste, but the bitterness remained.”

No comments:

Post a Comment