In my last post I was excited about the upcoming prospect of being at IMBC, and it definitely lived up to the expectations I had. I’d been to Victoria Baths many times before, but never have I seen it so full of people and activity. It was fantastic to witness. Then there was the beer list – enough to satisfy all cravings from light to dark, sweet to sour, UK to foreign, session to strong and every other combination I can’t think of – it was brilliantly put together and, on the whole, served very well (barring some slightly ((SLIGHTLY)) warm cask). The best thing about it for me was the variety of people there. Casual drinkers, hipsters, keg fans, cask stalwarts, students, oldies, brewers, bar owners, pub landlords – you name it – all getting along and having a jolly good time of it whatever dispense method they were drinking from, and this, personally, is the best thing about the festival. It wasn’t a war between cask-vs-keg or any of that nonsense but it was a celebration of ‘good’ beer (‘good’ being a subjective and woolly term) and all that goes with it. Beer should be, and is, wholly and utterly inclusive to everyone, and events like IMBC and Leeds International Beer Festival showed this in bucketloads. Jonny, Will, Dunk, Claudia et al, well done!
Before I start getting emotional, I’ll tell you about some new beer I’ve got coming out. First up is the India Pale Ale, which has had its abv fluffed up to 7.0%. It’s still a Pale and UK Munich malt base, and the hops have largely stayed the same – Columbus, Cascade, WGV, Magnum, Galaxy – but the slightly higher strength means there’s a lot more to back up all those fantastic hops. It’ll be available in cask, keg and bottle in the usual places.
Next up is the Pumpkin Ale, which is now a bit of a tradition in my brewing calendar, having been a homebrew recipe from a few years ago. 40kg of pumpkin was chopped up and put into a mash of Pale, Amber, Crystal and Munich to add more amber to an already amber malt base. Bitterness was kept low with just a smatter of Magnum and Stella to offset the spiciness of the cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper that was added to steep at the end of the boil. This beer pretty much sold out before I made it.
Finally, with Colin down from Black Isle for a couple of weeks, we thought it only fair that we make SK2. Pale malt, wheat malt and a bag of VERY finely milled Cara-Pils (Cara-dust more like) went into the mash, with lots and lots of Summit, Kohatu, Chinook, Cascade and Bramling Cross added to the boil means this Double IPA should top out at around 8.0-8.3%. Some of it may even go into a couple of barrels for ageing, but the ‘straight’ version will be around very soon as it’ll be best drunk fresh.
Thats it for now. Keep drinking beer.