This weekend I've been enjoying beers from Buxton Brewery. Although still a relatively young outfit, they are brewing at capacity and quickly collecting plaudits and awards as they go. Head Brewer James Kemp used to brew for Thornbridge, and he's clearly shown himself as a brewer with one eye on tradition, and the other on progression. What you end up with is a really strong core range of beers, with some gentle twists along the way. That's a quality I really like in brewing.
First up was Kinder Sunset (5.0% abv), named after the Kinder area of the Peaks. Red-Mahogany in colour, there's a complex aroma going on; slight hints of almond-cakiness topped off with a note of Pine. That Pine aspect carries on to the taste - Kinder Sunset has a digestive-biscuit body that suggests sweetness but actually finishes grassy, Piney and with an almost minty, herbal note. There's a tart, sour-cherry notes just running under everything that makes Kinder Sunset a much more complex, refreshing beer than the 'Traditional ale' tag it has on the label. Lovely.
SPA (Special Pale Ale) features hop du jour Citra entirely; and in many ways you know what you're going to get. Perfect for this kind of weather, SPA (4.1%abv) is uber-pale, with a much thinner mouthfeel that the Kinder Sunset. All that Citra gives you sharp, pithy tartness with a strong Lemon and Tangerine aroma and taste. It's surprisingly bitter for it's strength, too - the high bitterness hits the back of the tongue and and makes you want another sip. A long, long pale ale that hit the spot perfectly as we ate in the sun this weekend.
Stay tuned for some more Buxton madness over the next couple of days. If you want to keep up to date, you can follow Buxton on Twitter and Facebook; jump over to their blog for more details.