"What was that dark beer I had the other week?" the nice woman asked me "I don't normally like dark beer"
We'd popped into Hardknott OnTrack last night for a couple of beers. The nice couple were working their way through various beers and the discussion had turned to that of colour. As is so often the case, these people have been swayed by preconceptions, but thankfully we'd done something to help overturn this.
The beer in this case was Yerba, our collaboration with Metalman in Waterford, Ireland. It's a good beer with a whole load of interesting, if fairly subtle flavours.
I like collaborations because it always adds a new dimension to brewing hat might otherwise get missed if working in a environed closet. It's something that is important to me, to ensure that we keep exploring new ideas.
And so, when the Birmingham Beer Bash guys decided they wanted to do a collaboration with us we were very pleased to oblige. After various discussion, which I mostly forget, we came up with the idea of a beer that was as dark as we could get without having significant impact on flavour. A crisp, light tasting beer but with a bit of colour.
This weekend saw the launch of Squiddy, which is arguably a daft idea - a beer with squid ink in it. As it turned out the idea was somewhat dafter than I hard anticipated. Squid ink, it seems, clings to nearly anything it can rather than stay in suspension. I guess this must be true otherwise overtime the oceans would start to take on something of a hue.
The result was some very interesting coloured spent hops after the transfer, and a wort that was just about the same colour as if we hadn't bothered.
Watch the video to see how we solved the problem. The resultant beer has a very interesting colour, a nose reminiscent of rock pools and a subtle salty seaweed flavour. If you listen carefully to your glass, in a quiet corner somewhere, which obviously was nowhere to be found at the buzzing B-Cubed event, you can hear the sea. If you concentrate hard enough you can imagine the sound of children building sandcastles.
Whatever you might think of this beer, it at least does further prove the point; Don't judge a beer by it's appearance, that's the road to preconceptions that will colour your overall judgement of beer. If we can change these preconceptions, like we have with the people in our bar last night, one person at a time, than I can consider my work worthwhile.
Squiddy Episode One from Hardknott Brewery on Vimeo.
Squiddy Episode Two from Hardknott Brewery on Vimeo.
As a footnote; the idea of squid ink in beer was first suggested to me by Alex Routledge when he was brewing for me. I completely poo-pooed the idea at that time thinking it probably wouldn't work. However, over time the idea had burrowed a dark and erie cavern in my thought processes leaving me wandering like Smeegle in my own troubled mind. In the end I had to find out just how silly an idea it was.