Author Topic: Summer Beers in London  (Read 1311 times)

Online hopfenundmalz

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Summer Beers in London
« on: August 31, 2011, 08:13:00 AM »
From a recent trip, I was surprised at how light many of the Best Bitter and Bitter ales were.  Often they were like a Cream ale, and some approached a Pils.  Didn't take notes of all the beers, but here are pictures of a few.

These might fit in the BJCP guidelines, but it was a surprise after not being there for about 6 years.

One of these is a Dark Star American Pale Ale at 4.7%.  Uses low color Maris Otter and chinook, cascade, centennial.  Had this one often.  Taken at a new place with the original name of "Craft Beer" as can be seen on the logo glasses.


This was taken at The Rake.  Can't remember the beer's name. 


Had several others before we started to photograph the beers.  The old standbys are still amber to medium copper.   The Chiswick (left) and Pride (right) at the Fullers Brewery tap, the Mawson's Arms.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline beersk

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Re: Summer Beers in London
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2011, 08:24:17 AM »
Neat, thanks for sharing!
Go big AND go home.

Jesse

Offline jeffy

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Re: Summer Beers in London
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2011, 11:06:21 AM »
Those are very pretty pints, but I think I like your shot of Landlord is the best.
I noticed the lightening of real ales when I was there about 10 years ago.  Hopback Summer Lightning stands out as one that was considerably stronger and paler than most of the others.  Ant Hayes talked about this at the conference in Cincinnati.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Summer Beers in London
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2011, 01:54:23 PM »
As much as I love an APA, I'm not sure I'd drink them in England when there were bitters to be sampled.  Those last two look luscious.
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Re: Summer Beers in London
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2011, 02:11:05 PM »
As much as I love an APA, I'm not sure I'd drink them in England when there were bitters to be sampled.  Those last two look luscious.

The one from Dark Star was a riddle until I looked on the web site.  The aroma was not too strong, others had more of an American hop aroma.  The hop flavor was what was unique to me.  The malt flavor was there, but not as biscuity/toasty as in the others.  The lightly kilned Maris Otter is something I may have to look into.  Was looking to try Dark Star beers, and it seemed this one was on in a lot of pubs.  Didn't run into the Hophead, just saw an empty kilderkin on one pub patio wating to be picked up.

Mainly drank half pints to get as much variety as possible.  There are so many new small brewers in the UK, it was as if I had never been there.

There are many beers in the UK using American hops now.  I had one bitter that had Citra, for example.

The last 2 beers were at Fullers, of course.  Those are more traditional.  The Chiswick was full of English hop aromas.  The Pride was  malt.  That is the way those are made to be.

One other note on Fullers.  They Parti Gyle their beers, so they say.  70% of their production is Pride.  Not much left over for the other beers.

Edit - these were all cask beers, served in good condition.  Something to be said for how a beer comes across on cask.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 02:36:58 PM by hopfenundmalz »
Jeff Rankert
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: Summer Beers in London
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2011, 02:24:35 PM »
Nice pics, looks like a great time!  Does this mean the style guidelines concerning hops and color could be a changin' for bitters?
Dan Chisholm

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Re: Summer Beers in London
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2011, 02:35:36 PM »
Nice pics, looks like a great time!  Does this mean the style guidelines concerning hops and color could be a changin' for bitters?
They go down to 4 SRM for Ordinary Bitters 5 SRM for Best Bitter, and say that American hops are optional.  The style guidelines are probably just fine.  Most of us need to be aware of that when judging an 8A or 8B.

The new small breweries are experimenting, that is for sure.  

I did have some Oakham JHB, which used to have a big aroma from Mt Hood hops, and was one of the few light in color last time in London.  This time it was bland and insipid.  Did they have problems finding enoiugh Mt. Hood?

Edit - when on the Fullers tour, in the hop storage, I saw pallets of the expected EKG and Northdown pellets.  Also so many pallets of US Libert pellets.  Don't know what beer they use those in, maybe the Discovery summer ale, another light one.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 02:41:02 PM by hopfenundmalz »
Jeff Rankert
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Re: Summer Beers in London
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2011, 10:51:36 AM »
I'm planning a trip to Britain this winter. I will have to let the forum know of the current going-ons of the winter seasonal ales in London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen.

I also deeply agree that the current competition judge thinking that every bitter has to taste like EKG or Fuggles is deeply flawed. Even when I studied in London in 2005 there were bitters brewed with cascades that weren't called "American" or anything like that - British brewers have always been willing to use foreign hops, as far as I know... and American hops frankly work great in low-mid gravity, subtly estery pale and amber ales.

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Re: Summer Beers in London
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2011, 11:08:28 AM »
I'm planning a trip to Britain this winter. I will have to let the forum know of the current going-ons of the winter seasonal ales in London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen.

I also deeply agree that the current competition judge thinking that every bitter has to taste like EKG or Fuggles is deeply flawed. Even when I studied in London in 2005 there were bitters brewed with cascades that weren't called "American" or anything like that - British brewers have always been willing to use foreign hops, as far as I know... and American hops frankly work great in low-mid gravity, subtly estery pale and amber ales.
+1
Rooster Yankee used to be a good example of a bitter with Cascade Hops.  Didn't see it this time.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Summer Beers in London
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2011, 04:30:53 PM »
I'm planning a trip to Britain this winter. I will have to let the forum know of the current going-ons of the winter seasonal ales in London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen.

I also deeply agree that the current competition judge thinking that every bitter has to taste like EKG or Fuggles is deeply flawed. Even when I studied in London in 2005 there were bitters brewed with cascades that weren't called "American" or anything like that - British brewers have always been willing to use foreign hops, as far as I know... and American hops frankly work great in low-mid gravity, subtly estery pale and amber ales.
For a competition, I think it is ok to use traditional style descriptions and limit the ingredients.  You can make whatever you like for personal consumption or for sale, but for a competition I think it makes sense.  That UK brewers are doing different things now is irrelevant, as the fact that many American brew pubs make "lagers" with ale yeast is not relevant to the description of what a lager is.  If enough people brew and enter bitters with American hops (in the experimental category where they belong) then we should totally add a category for that.  Call it "American Bitter" or "Modern Bitter" or something.  But I think it would be a shame to lose the nuances of the traditional style just because in practice some brewers are moving away from it.
Tom Schmidlin