Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Beer Tasting

Following our successful wine tastings last year we decided to host a beer tasting night. I wanted to include a variety of beers, although not local as they are easy to visit.

I had bought some Belgium beers when we were in France earlier in the year and some Brittany cider from our recent holiday. Here's some of our beers, not in any particular order as I took the photos as I was writing my tasting notes.

Wychwood Black Wych, Purity UBU,
Purity Gold and Bateman's Mocha
Elerflower from Snowdonia Brewery, Shropshire Lass,
Tripel Karmeleit, Shropshire Lad
and Ginger Grouse (although I decided against this) 
Breton Doux Cider, Hoegaarden, Breton Brut Cider,
 Rince Couchon and Blonde beer.
The beers varied in strength and just for the ladies we started with 'rouge' beer. Rince Couchon is my favourite brand and they do a red beer (added red fruits). It's quite strong at 7.4% and you certainly wouldn't want many.

I make my own version as it's cheaper and not so alcoholic, although you can't beat the real thing. From France I also bought some lower priced lager and a bottle of no-sugar fruit cordial. A splash of cordial with the lager gives a 'rouge' beer and you can make it as fruity as you want.

Our next two beers were 'weis' beer or white/wheat beer. The first was Blue Moon from USA which has a hint of orange and Hoegaarden from Belguim. Mini pretzels went great with these beers, the saltiness a perfect match for the weis beer.  These were followed by,

Hobgoblin and Scarecrow which are both from Wychwood Brewery in Oxfordshire. We have visited them a few times and really enjoy their brewery tours, especially tasting the various grains used in brewing. I contacted them to explain about our tasting; Jon (their second brewer) kindly sent up some grains and after a bit of research  I could explain their use - watch out Jon !!

Grains from Jon at Wychwood
To go with our beer tasting we had a ploughman's buffet:

Pork pie
Cheddar cheese
Crusty bread
Crisps
Pickle
Pate
Tomatoes

Moving a little further north our next two beers were Shropshire Lass and Shropshire Lad from Woods Brewery. Both of these were new to me, the Lass had a lighter blonde flavour whereas the Lad was a darker spring bitter.

We popped over to Wales to try Purple Moose Brewery's Elderflower beer - not one you'd think of trying, and yes it's flowery but it's a really nice beer and was enjoyed by all.

And staying in England we move to our own county of Warwickshire, down in the south. We were introduced to Purity beer at a Majestic wine tasting in Leicester, as enjoyed another pint at the Ricoh stadium when watching Wasps v Tigers rugby.

UBU and Gold were the two beers we had for the tasting. It's good to now have Purity bottles available in some supermarkets, it is lovely beer.

Our final beers were two dark ones. The porter was another Wychwood brew - Black Wych, a real treat. The other dark beer as Bateman's Mocha, full of coffee and chocolate, best served in a large wine glass to appreciate it's full nose.
les
To accompany our final two beers I had made a Chocolate Guinness Cake - a Nigella recipe that is always appreciated, although I don't add the topping.

My favourite Wychwood slogon
It was another great night - but it's back to wine next time. A little less work for me as everyone is bringing their favourite bottle of wine and a plate of food to make up our buffet.

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