Nope it’s not my birthday, but recently it was my brother Andre’s anniversary of his birth. To celebrate this anniversary I gave him a collection of beers all with numbers in their names. In a concept stolen from Beauty and the Geek he had to arrange those beers (like the beauties did with sheep) to end up with an answer that was his age. Thankfully he didn’t need to wear cut off shorts and a check shirt whilst doing it.
Nice concept right? Good brother right? Don’t get too ahead of yourself thinking how great I am. There was a sneaky part, a week later I turned up to his house and because he’s a nice fella he shared said birthday beers with me.
First up was 30 Year Anniversary Ale by Epic Brewery, brewed to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Flying Nun records, which is (I’m told) a very important record label in promoting indie music in the land of the long white cloud. I did demand of Andre that we played a Flying Nun record whilst drinking and as he owns more CD’s than anyone on Earth, he pondered for a second and then went and got this.
Now the beer itself was very clever and very tasty. It was a beer in two halves (yes I understand all beers have two halves, or four quarters for that matter but you know what I mean). You would have to think this is a beer that would get a few music lovers who don’t normally buy Epic’s beers buying it as well as the Epic fans, so Epic needed to walk the delicate balance between satisfying beer geeks and being approachable enough for the new beer drinking music folk. Here’s how they did it.
They have made sure there is a shed load of hops in there, but here is the trick, they have made them all aroma hops. So it smells grassy and fruity and really fresh (in fact it smells almost exactly like you have opened a bag of hop pellets from the homebrew shop and stuck your nose in), but the beer itself is actually quite crisp and not all that bitter and very, very drinkable. So there is how you give your beer geeks their hop hit without making the beer so bitter that regular people can’t drink it. Overall a seriously good beer – Pint.
Next up was the V-twelve from Victory Brewing in Pennsylvania. This is anything but an approachable beer. It weighs in at 12% and is a Belgain Quadrupel. It is an outstanding beer; it poured a deep orange caramel and had a solid head, which laced amazingly down the glass. It’s big, it’s ballsy, a big sweet malt bomb and you can certainly feel the alcohol in their too. This was a touch too sweet and a touch too harsh for my liking (it might have benefitted from some cellaring, but let’s face it that was never going to happen). Almost a jug, but not quite – Pint.
The Long Bow YouTube clip: It has to be Chris Knox (who released on the Flying Nun Label) with ‘Not Given Lightly’