The Ale Thread Page 72

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  • elstoof 27 Jul 2012 14:00:10 7,760 posts
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    I've been on a Belgian Ale mission lately, any of you guys into that or is this a British only topic?
  • JuanKerr 27 Jul 2012 14:18:50 36,331 posts
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    dradis wrote:
    I agree that cask is the closest you get to drinking beer out of the fermenter. But you're not supposed to drink craft beer out of the fermenter ;)
    Oh god, not that old 'craft' beer bollocks :) Putting aside the fact that the definition of craft beer is ambiguous and arguably doesn't even work in the UK, it has nothing to do with method of dispense, NOTHING I tell you!

    Pretty much every single what you'd consider craft brewery in Britain produces cask ale (a few notable exceptions include BrewDog who actively shun cask because it makes them look cooler or something and Kernel, who mainly bottle their stuff and keg some).

    Ah, but what about 'craft keg'. I'd argue that this is a separate term, and does actually serve a purpose as it's used to distinguish quality kegged ale from the piss associated with kegged beer back in the 1970s and 80s.

    Anyway, beer is great, etc.

    Edited by JuanKerr at 14:19:52 27-07-2012
  • dradis 27 Jul 2012 14:24:22 21 posts
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    JuanKerr wrote:
    Oh god, not that old 'craft' beer bollocks :) Putting aside the fact that the definition of craft beer is ambiguous and arguably doesn't even work in the UK, it has nothing to do with method of dispense, NOTHING I tell you!
    Haha! That's a matter of some debate, I admit. I'm in the industry, and I've seen "craft beer" and "craft keg" used pretty much interchangeably. I see it as just a shorthand for "decent beer that isn't in cask", i.e. as opposed to real ale.

    Particularly since "craft keg" arguably excludes the bottled versions of same - which generally has a higher level of carbonation (and should be served cooler) than bottled version of real ale.
  • JuanKerr 27 Jul 2012 14:34:52 36,331 posts
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    dradis wrote:
    Haha! That's a matter of some debate, I admit. I'm in the industry, and I've seen "craft beer" and "craft keg" used pretty much interchangeably. I see it as just a shorthand for "decent beer that isn't in cask", i.e. as opposed to real ale.
    I see it as shorthand for stuff produced by small/artisan breweries as opposed to giant corporate brewers (that's the origin of the 'craft' definition in the US as I understand it). There's a tiny brewery down the road from me and they are the definition of what I see as a craft brewery. All their beer is cask conditioned.

    Using it for shorthand for "decent beer that isn't in cask" makes it an incredibly narrow definition in Britain, surely? I know keg is becoming more common, but it's still a tiny part of the market isn't it? 'Craft keg' makes sense because it avoids excluding cask beer from the craft definition.

    Thing is, most people don't really care and to be honest, I don't either. If I see a beer in a pub that I fancy trying, the way its served isn't important. I still dislike the term 'craft' in a beery context though ;)

    Edited by JuanKerr at 14:37:06 27-07-2012
  • MrSemprini 27 Jul 2012 14:40:32 9,422 posts
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    How did I know as soon as the term 'craft beer' came up, Squadron Leader would be hammering away at the keyboard :)

    elstoof wrote:
    I've been on a Belgian Ale mission lately, any of you guys into that or is this a British only topic?
    Belgian ales are very welcome. I do happen to be a world expert on them too, which is handy. I say a world expert, I've had a couple, back in the day. Probably know more than most in this country at least. By which I mean miles more than my good lady, who's an absolute duffer when it comes to ale. She sampled some of my Kwak the other week and couldn't even hold the glass properly, kept it in the stand if you please. Amateur hour!
  • JuanKerr 27 Jul 2012 14:46:31 36,331 posts
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    MrSemprini wrote:
    How did I know as soon as the term 'craft beer' came up, Squadron Leader would be hammering away at the keyboard :)
    Yes, I am that predictable :)

    As for Belgian beer, it's just not doing it for me at the moment. A new specialist beer shop opened in town last year and despite regular forays into the Belgian beer world, I'm struggling to warm to them.

    I can definitely appreciate them, though. I just need to find some that really do it for me.

    Obviously, I'm open to recommendations from more learned forumites like Mr S.

    Edited by JuanKerr at 14:48:16 27-07-2012
  • dradis 27 Jul 2012 15:17:14 21 posts
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    JuanKerr wrote:
    Using it for shorthand for "decent beer that isn't in cask" makes it an incredibly narrow definition in Britain, surely? I know keg is becoming more common, but it's still a tiny part of the market isn't it? 'Craft keg' makes sense because it avoids excluding cask beer from the craft definition.
    Yes, it is a narrow definition - which is the point. And it's no narrower - or more senseless - than "real ale".

    To be fair, as it's such a new term (for the UK at least) there's a large amount of disagreement about exactly what "craft beer" actually means. Depending on who you ask, it's either an extremely nebulous term that encompasses all beer that isn't brewed by multinational breweries - or it's a (slightly) less nebulous one that is exactly the same but excludes real ales. Or it's any one of another 10 very similar definitions.

    Either way, it's a great thing that most people who care about beer - outside of CAMRA - are welcoming decent-beer-in-keg :)
  • JuanKerr 27 Jul 2012 15:35:33 36,331 posts
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    I think even CAMRA are waking up to the fact that keg beer is not the same now as it was 25 years ago. In their defence though, they were specifically set up to protect cask ale and that's what they're sticking to, which is absolutely fine as far as I'm concerned. They've done a pretty good job so far and I wonder what would have happened if they'd not been so influential.

    Anyway, a few bottles of London Pride for me tonight :D
  • LeoliansBro 27 Jul 2012 15:48:26 44,512 posts
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    You should read the bit on CAMRA in Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain. Almost unique in that it was a grass roots protest in favour of a niche product that went up against big business and actually worked.

    Makes you wonder what Britain would be like had it failed :(

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • JuanKerr 27 Jul 2012 15:53:18 36,331 posts
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    I doubt we would have had the explosion of microbreweries we're currently seeing, that's for sure. BrewDog should be grateful.
  • Deleted user 29 July 2012 17:21:36
    I've drifted away from Brew Dog and other similar ales lately because of their love for hop. Hop, hop, HOP. Once you grow tired of that, there's no way back except towards Belgian ales...

    It may have to do with the fact that the neighbour's starting his own brewery and during the last year or so we've been part of his experiments with fantastic Belgian stuff. They're actually selling their first batch to a restaurant 2 weeks from now.

    In any case, at the risk of sounding like a snob and a beer troll: I'm tired of Brew Dog and their quest for the hoppiest beer in the universe. Will still pick them any day over some sleazy Lager that you usually buy in this country though.
  • elstoof 29 Jul 2012 18:07:34 7,760 posts
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    I've got some mad love for Belgians, particularly the Trappist dubbel styles. They're just so easy to drink, even at 9%. I'm currently saving up all my Chimay empties for a bit of Belgian inspired homebrewing in the next few months myself, reading up on books like Brew Like a Monk really sold me on the processes, mentality and history of the styles. I know what you mean about the hop explosion valli, I was drinking a Brooklyn IPA the other day and halfway through I was trying to figure out why exactly would you choose this over the perfectly well balanced beer from the same brewery.
  • elstoof 29 Jul 2012 18:25:44 7,760 posts
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    Actually, valli - is there any chance your neighbour would know of a source of strong bottles for bottle conditioning Belgian ale? I'm worried about standard ones going off like the Hindenburg in the cellar, and as much as I like collecting full ones and recycling them it'd be nice to have a good batch of the same sizes.
  • Deleted user 29 July 2012 19:39:30
    I'll ask! They've been collecting bottles as well but a few months ago they bought 2k custom bottles in a very nice shape which sort of reminds of some Islay distillery's stills. I told them this fact but they are whisky noobs and didn't appreciate it. :)

    My interest right now is saison stuff, love the flowery, dry, almost proper French cider thing they have going there. I had a bottle too many of Triple Trappist 2 weeks ago and it was quite a ride. Luckily the day after was pretty okay, I would have been destroyed on equal amount of alc. in say wine form.
  • mal 29 Jul 2012 19:56:42 22,710 posts
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    On a trip to Brussels a year or two back, I made it a mission to try as many different varieties of beer as I could. Sadly, with no instruction on the matter I can confidently assert that most of it is the proverbial dirty dishwater. The only good stuff I found was Orval, which is luscious, and the stuff you can get over here - Chimay, Duval etc. Or, of course, their pilsners, if that's your sort of thing.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • elstoof 29 Jul 2012 21:17:48 7,760 posts
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    Cheers! Those still shaped bottle sound interesting, whisky is another love of mine. My wife was less than enthusiastic about brewing beer in the kitchen, I think if she came home to find a pot still I might have to move out :D
  • MrSemprini 30 Jul 2012 09:25:16 9,422 posts
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    mal wrote:
    On a trip to Brussels a year or two back, I made it a mission to try as many different varieties of beer as I could. Sadly, with no instruction on the matter I can confidently assert that most of it is the proverbial dirty dishwater.
    Had you by any chance inadvertently wandered into an Irish bar? Either that or you had a run of lambics, some of those can be a little challenging.
  • Dougs 30 Jul 2012 09:42:28 68,474 posts
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    The Hopping Hare from Badger is going down lovely this summer. It's ace.
  • JuanKerr 30 Jul 2012 10:46:19 36,331 posts
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    Nice beer that one, and one I haven't had for some time come to think of it. Crouch Vale Amarillo is a quality summer beer too, although not easy to find outside specialist beer shops.
  • LeoliansBro 30 Jul 2012 11:09:31 44,512 posts
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    St Austell's Pale Ale they brew for Nicholson's is extremely good as a session beer, and not too strong either. Thought I'd pop in to give it a shout.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • MrSemprini 30 Jul 2012 13:43:17 9,422 posts
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    JK, sampled that Earl Grey at the weekend and jolly fine it was too. The fest was decent, not enough variety though, it was awash with IPAs. Can report the squirrel from the BBQ was very tasty and it being a pesky grey, I was going my bit for the native reds too.
  • JuanKerr 30 Jul 2012 14:04:45 36,331 posts
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    Glad to hear it - I'm looking forward to trying it.

    IPA is the 'in' style with pretty much all modern microbreweries - you're not considered hip if you're not churning out something pale and over 7% ABV. Don't get me wrong, I love IPAs but the market it becoming over-saturated with them. Wonder which style will become popular next? I hope it's not sour beers because they're fucking disgusting.

    Had a Fuller's London Porter on Friday night and it was such a refreshing change to taste a beer that wasn't a citrus hop bomb and reminded me that there are other great flavours out there apart from grapefruit, lychee, etc etc. It was like liquid silk, lovely.

    Edited by JuanKerr at 14:06:56 30-07-2012
  • mal 30 Jul 2012 14:13:43 22,710 posts
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    MrSemprini wrote:
    mal wrote:
    On a trip to Brussels a year or two back, I made it a mission to try as many different varieties of beer as I could. Sadly, with no instruction on the matter I can confidently assert that most of it is the proverbial dirty dishwater.
    Had you by any chance inadvertently wandered into an Irish bar? Either that or you had a run of lambics, some of those can be a little challenging.
    One of them was indeed a Lambic, which probably mostly inspired my description above. I went on a brewery tour there run my a very cheerful man who evidently went to a lot of effort to produce...that. Another disappointment was some brown ale I found which I was probably hoping to be more in the English style with a malty flavour and good body. It wasn't.

    Lovely little city though, and I know the Belgians do produce beer that meets my expectations. It just seems that my usual methods for choosing a beer based on its name and strength in the UK don't produce so many appreciable brews overseas.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • JuanKerr 30 Jul 2012 14:28:00 36,331 posts
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    I have huge gaps in my beer knowledge when it comes to Belgian beer. Do they produce any good session beers around the 4-4.5% area? All the ones I see in my local Belgian beer shop seem to start at around 6% and above.

    One of the best things about English beer for me is the choice of excellent beers around that ABV mark. Most of the time, I don't want to be 'challenged' when I fancy a drink, I just want a good tasty pint.
  • Madder-Max 30 Jul 2012 14:35:15 11,660 posts
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    we tried Marstons EPA in the pub but they dont like it here in South Wales. Too light Bodied. ordered in some Marstons Burton Bitter now and we sell that alongside Pedigree. I have been told that we keep the best pint of pedigree around. (Not fast cask)I run the cellar too!

    Tried those Wychbold flavoured Ales too on a forced drop. Forrest fruits, ginger Beard and Snakes Bite. Fucking awful. Its like drinking oasis followed by a hit of Ale.

    Drinking it was strangely like drinking flavoured cold tea. Disgusting

    99 problems and being ginger is one

  • JuanKerr 30 Jul 2012 14:41:10 36,331 posts
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    Are you okay?
  • elstoof 30 Jul 2012 16:04:00 7,760 posts
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    The Saison style mentioned above is traditionally lower in strength, usually about 3 and a half percent, but there's a lot of stronger ones. I think Saison Dupont is at the lower end. Belgian Amber ales are a bit lower too, like Palm. I guess there's not much of a market for lower strength Belgians, the monks brew themselves a patersbier which you can't buy and this is usually about 4% but you can't buy it commercially while there was once a popular style of table beer at around the 1.5% mark which along with being a refreshing light drink was also given out to children with their school dinners. If i manage to brew up a decent patersbier I'll send you a bottle or two Juan.
  • JuanKerr 30 Jul 2012 16:35:27 36,331 posts
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    I'll hold you to that :)
  • elstoof 30 Jul 2012 17:22:38 7,760 posts
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    Just fill in the release forms removing my liability for any ill affects and it's a deal ;)

    I think I'll do a batch when the temperature drops a bit in the coming months.
  • Vortex808 13 Aug 2012 00:06:11 7,310 posts
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    A bottle of 'Jarl' by Fyne Ales.

    'A hoppy session ale' apparently.

    My view: Enough with the fucking hops, eh?.

    It's rather too Brewdogian for my liking.
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