Brewer’s Blog – Alex on Brimstone

Brewer’s Blog – Alex on Brimstone

Hello Bishop Nick drinkers, Alex here again after a long delay since my last blog – things have been a bit busy between Easter and Summer and I’ve struggled to find the time to write something witty or informative.

We’ve had a very successful Revelry Day and the special edition brew seems to have gone down well.  The Revelry Day beer gives me a few nightmares as it’s such an important day – dreaming of 800 people walking around looking like they’ve been sucking on lemons after a pint woke me up once or twice at 3am.  We have a good stock of bottles in our shops – it’s a golden summer ale with plenty of the fruity American “C” hops: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Comet, backed up by a rich maltiness.

With Revelry behind us, the Chelmsford Beer Festival is the focus of our attention this week.  I know a few attendees have asked about my whereabouts.  The answer is “in the brewery”.  Unfortunately making beer doesn’t stop for beer festivals!  To make up for my absence I’ve done my best to brew a nice beer to be launched at the festival called “Brimstone”.  I’m always happiest when I get the chance to brew a beer I think I’ll enjoy drinking myself.  I know that sounds a bit selfish, but it seems to have saved me from any major mishaps during my career (a peat smoked beer called “Goldfinger” in 2002 is the only exception!).

Too many breweries are trying to reinvent the wheel at the moment by raiding the kitchen cabinet and producing something wacky, simply in the quest to have a USP to make them stand out from all the other breweries.  Experimentation is fine, but not when it comes at the expense of drinkability.  A balance of sweetness, acidity and bitterness is key for all good drinks, but what works well for a soft drink may not work so well in a beer.  The modern trend seems to be strongish blonde ales with a huge, almost bubble gum fruity hop aroma, but with little evidence of malty goodness.

For “Brimstone”, in view of it’s lower strength (3.9%), I decided to add plenty of crystal, caramalt and Vienna malt to give it a good biscuity, malt body to balance the fruity citrus flavours and bitterness of the Simcoe and Crystal hops.  Hopefully it’s balanced, drinkable and moreish – I’ll let you be the judge of that (bottles will be available from next week) – if it’s not, do let me know and I’ll try harder next time…

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