Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
With the wort then cooling, James (head brewer) and Andy (managing director) took a well deserved break to chat with me all things beer; how they have found their first 2 years as brewers and the future of Summer Wine Brewery. I knew brewing was hard work, but stories of racking through the night and Andy having not left the brewery for 4 days to complete orders I quickly realised how dedicated these guys were to their passion. They tell me that those days are in the past now, but with plans to move to a bigger site and an increase in brewing capacity there is no chance of them sitting back and taking it easy any time soon.
Discussion turned to their beers (a Teleporter was quickly put in front of me, followed by Project 6 Brew #2) and plans for future brews, including the next experiment following Project 6 and some extremely exciting plans for 2011. I’m not about to steal their thunder though, I will let James and Andy break the news to you at our ‘Meet the Brewer’ night with them on October 27th. However I can say that Mr Foley’s will be featuring as much of these as possible.
Our chat was briefly interrupted when it was time to run off the Brew #6 wort to the conditioning tank and yet more hops were added for dry hopping. I also witnessed a fermenting brew of Treacle Stout, as you can see the addition of Dark Treacle to the brew sends the yeast on a bit of a sugar rush!
As we compared tasting notes on beers from many US and UK brewers, both James and Andy’s passion and love of quality beers was obvious as I stood like a sponge trying to take in as much knowledge as possible. As if my magic a bottle of 5am Saint appeared as I listed the Brewdog beers I had yet to try, and plans were made for us to meet up again to continue our chat - but this time in the comfort of a pub, and when Andy doesn’t have to cycle home!A thoroughly enjoyable day was rounded of with an evening at Huddersfield CAMRA Oktoberfest beer festival where Fernandes Rum For Cover (6.5% specialty ale) was the pick of the 6 I sampled.
....Thanks mate. Andy and James will be at Foley's this Wednesday evening (27th) from 18.00 onwards, where you'll be able to have a chat with them and sample some of their excellent beers - including the last hurrah of the P6 IPA series, and thier Portcullis ESB. Get yourself down there - I met them both on Saturday, shared a beer or 6, and can confirm they are both 'top lads', as we say in Yorkshire.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
A few weeks ago I posted about my new-found love for pasta, and this is the first time I have actually formulated a recipe to match a beer. I normally do things the opposite way round; a beer will interest me and then I’ll think about what food will compliment it.
Crown’s Wheat Stout (6.6abv) is wonderful stuff; black, smooth as hell and striking a great balance between sweetness, bitterness and smokiness. The aroma is pure coffee and that tan collar lasts and lasts. It’s got a deeply satisfying, tongue-coating mouthfeel that’s hard to pull off without being cloying – but here Crown pull it off with some aplomb. Anyway, food-wise, here’s what I came up with. Home-made pasta is easy to do, but if you want to use dried, go for a thick ribbon or larger pasta shapes.
Pork and Black Pepper Ragu (Serves 3)
First, make your base: In a large pan, finely chop one large stick of Celery, one large Onion, and a large Carrot, and sweat down in a good slug of Olive Oil. When the veg is soft and translucent, add about 250g of Minced Pork. When this has browned, season with salt and a massive grind of Black Pepper. Next, add two generous spoonfuls of tomato puree, and one small spoonful of pesto. Coat all the meat and veg with it, and just let it simmer for a minute or so to bring out those pesto and tomato puree flavours.
Then, add one tin of chopped tomatoes, and throw in a handful of diced cherry tomatoes too. Stir well and add a little more olive oil. Season again with another good grind of Black Pepper, and chop and add one small chilli pepper and three chopped cloves of Garlic. Stir again, and simmer on a really low heat until the sauce is done. You want the sauce to be thick, and not swimming in Tomato juice.
Meanwhile, make your pasta. Take 200g of plain (preferably Tipo 00) flour, and sift into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add two beaten eggs and knead softly until it forms a dough. When it’s pliable, take onto a floured surface and knead it for a while. Then cover and let it rest for ten minutes. If it’s too hard then add a touch of lukewarm water – not too much though. When really, roll it out and pass through a pasta machine. If you have an attachment that makes Tagliatelle, use that. If not, cut it into ribbons as thick as you like. Drop into boiling, salted water and it will be done in about a minute or so.
When drained, dump the pasta in your pot and stir into the sauce. Serve with big, fresh slices of Parmagiano Reggiano. It really does have to be this cheese; don't go for cheap 'Parmesan' - it's not the same.The smooth, roasty stout perfectly compliments the dry heat in the Black Pepper and the saltiness of the cheese; whilst that faint hit of chilli just rounds things off with more heat. It’s a seasonal, autumnal mouthful and one that I really recommend you try. Making pasta is easy and the results are so much better than dried, so if you’ve never done it, give that a go, too.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
...A sentiment to which I retorted that although it’s undoubtedly a classic, the perennial Yorkshire favourite is hardly modern. Which got us to thinking: What are the modern classics? It’s a loaded question really. In my mind, unless you go for something concrete like awards won or sales, you’re always going to be looking at a matter of taste. Being a blogger (not a beer writer!) I thought I’d try to put together a list of what I thought the ‘Modern Classics’ were. It seemed like a good challenge.
So, I cracked open a beer, cracked my knuckles, and sat down to type. However, the more I rolled the idea round in my mind, the more complex this question got. Why? It’s just too broad a concept – it’s too personal.
Take for instance, Criteria: Firstly, it’s Modern. In my mind, Beers brewed in the last, say, 20 years. Awards do count, although obviously many great (again, in my opinion) beers don’t win awards. And the ‘classic’ part – well, that’s harder to pin down. My interpretation means two things: a soft spot for the beer, be it emotional or taste-wise, and the fact that I order it again and again. This last point may seem a bit frivolous, but I’m the sort of beer drinker who doesn’t order the same thing twice a lot, given the opportunity; but my logic is still personal to me. Variety and Beer-Hunting is the key to my beer-life, and that’s why the ‘Modern Classics’ are important – to underpin that variety, to give a bedrock to exploring beer. I started a list but quickly admitted defeat: it just wasn’t authoritative enough. Whilst doing this I realised how personal a list this would be, and also that there would be an unending amount of variety out there depending on who you are – even where you live.
So – here we go; in no particular order. I’ll put the tin hat on.
Roosters Yankee. Again, my love for the Franklins knows no bounds. Yankee was the first beer that got me (and I suspect, a lot of brewers) seriously considering the possibilities of aroma. At the time it was a real oddity – a cuckoo’s egg; quietly subverting the scene around it. First brewed in 1993.
Mordue Workie Ticket. One of my favourite session beers; a wonderfully rich and fruity pint that I really could drink all night. But is it loved enough to be a ‘Modern Classic’? Probably not.
...And that was it. I’d hit a wall. The task was just too big, too mind-boggling, and - ultimately – fruitless. It’s just too personal. My mind is screaming out ‘There are more, hundreds more!’ – But I can’t access them. I've only even really hit upon two countries, for christ's sake!
So, I decided to open this up – I want to know yours. I need help. I want to know your take on this subject; I’m only an enthusiast; a hobbyist and homebrewer with an urge to share my passion with those who need a nudge in the right direction. Bona Fide ‘Beer Writers’ out there have contacts, experience, and have tasted about a million more beers than I have – what’s your take? Hell, do we even need to be discussing this? BrewDog describe some of their beers as ‘Post-Modern’ – so where does that leave the ‘modern’? Retailers – if you were to put together a ‘Modern Classics’ mixed case for Christmas, what’s going in?
The only essence of the ‘Modern Classic’ that I was happy with was this; An enduring quality. If you look at classic literature or music (the only other two things I’m take an interest in), what makes , say, F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, or Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ so great is that they have a quality that endures through trends, fads or time. You can listen to them or read them now and be moved, years after their inception. Truly great beer will always cut through these factors.
So that’s the question I throw out to you all in this virtual taproom that blogging is. Let me know your thoughts – I’m genuinely interested.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
I'll be putting up some other recipes in the next few weeks.