Monday 6 July 2009

Dog Shed Scandals

I've come to a conclusion that balance in beer is a most important thing for me. Many brewers get carried away with defining their beer as being either hop driven or malt driven. It's as if the two things are somehow mutually exclusive. As if somehow hops will spoil the malt or the other way round. It's not that I don't like a light hoppy beer as such, they are just improved by the addition of a little coloured malt, it doesn't have to be much. Equally, I don't mind a nice malty mild or porter, providing it actually has plenty of chocolate or caramel flavours, but this would be better with some hoppy stuff as well. OK, I know it might then fail to be in either category, but it would be a more balanced beer, in my view.

Of course this goes against the very popular light hoppy beers that are fashionable today. Many breweries do extremely well selling almost nothing but pale, flowery, hoppy ales. They do indeed show off the nuances of the various hop varieties well. There might be the odd porter thrown in, just for good measure, but if that has got much hop bittering that would be it; very little in the way of aroma hops. This does make me wonder if this is partly why so many people "don't like darker ales" because you need a little of both; a good hop profile and malty backbone. It might then come down to personal preference as to the proportions of each.

There is no such scandalous imbalance in Barngates Red Bull Terrier 4.8%. If I leave out my own beers, which if I didn't I'd be quite rightly accused of bias, this beer has to be my favourate Cumbrian beer. I am sure this is because it has just the right amount of hop bitterness, aromas and malty body for it all to work together.

I've been missing this beer; we've not had it for a while. Alan reminded me that we were short of dark beers. I phoned John at Barngates and he said I can't have any this week, but wait until next week and I can. I can wait for such a nice brew.

It was also good to hear from John that trade is brisk. They expanded the brewery last year, so it's good to know the investment seems to be paying off. Nearly every brewer I've talked to in Cumbria reports good business this year. Some having the problem of being unable to keep up with demand.

He also said he has read my blog. There, aren't you glad you're brewing my Red Bull Terrier now John? Yes, your right, say nice things about my blog and I'll be nice back. I really am that easily pleased.


Paul Garrard said...

For the first time in my life I could well be fashionable as I like pale, hoppy flowery ales. Which incidentally are what I'd call 'well balanced'!

Unknown said...

The thing is Paul, I'm getting worried, despite my ridicule of James from BrewDog the other day, that I'm turning into a geeky freaky extreme beer nerd.

Why else would I think pale, hoppy, flowery ales were thin and watery?

I tried being fashionable once, it didn't work.

Rob Sterowski said...

I like thin, watery beer. It's going to be the next big trend, you mark my words. Watch out for the small-beer revival.