I remember my first beer like I’m sure many of us do. A very much under aged, clean shaven Jack smelling of lynx Africa with my curtained hair gelled in place rocks up to the local Threshers wearing his dad’s Hackett T shirt two sizes too big to buy a case of Fosters to take to a party. Now I don’t think a warm tin of fosters on a street corner would have been my ideal first time but that’s where it all began.
Er, have you got ID mate?
I have been team lager for years, but in my more formative years I have found my taste like a fine wine developing with age. I suppose it’s like most food, 12 years olds don’t like blue cheese and olives. Your tastes change and you learn about other drinking options. Crisp pilsners, rich chocolaty porters, fresh hoppy fruity almost tropical tasting beers that leave that lovely zingy after taste are more by bag now. Don’t get me wrong there’s not many cold beers I wouldn’t say no to but it’s always the same offenders that are left behind after a BBQ. Cans of Carlsberg bobbing lonely in the bucket that was once filled with ice.
Now as we enter British summer time and a foosball world cup year the amount of beers that will be sacrificed to the drinking gods will be in the millions. Beers and BBQ go together like eggs and bacon and over the coming weeks I am going to explore some of the other drinking options that you should be looking towards whilst you are getting your grill on.
So let’s talk a bit about Craft beer. Craft beer is a term which we have adopted by our American cousins loosely meaning that it has been developed by “small” (and by this I mean brews less than 500 000 HL annually) independent and made by traditional brewers. The result of this is a hand crafted beer with an independent flavour profile which is anything but bland or boring like some of the off the shelf bigger names out there, made by enthusiastic brewers who generally get into brewing for all the right reasons.
Lager is the most abused beer style and probably the most common seen at barbecue events. The key to a good lager should have a good conditioning time of a low temperature in big tanks of using capital and energy to keep the temperature cold. Most big lager producers will do their best to cut down on expenditure by cutting lagering times. When a smaller brewer does a beer, the brewer decides what’s going on the market whereas with bigger brewing companies it’s generally the accountant who has all the power. Some larger lager companies have reduced their brewing times to just 72 hours from a typical craft beer looking at 100 days give or take.
Then there’s corner cutting around the ingredients. I can only give you an American example of craft brewing in America 11% where of the market which accounts for 50% of the hops which are grown in America. This is 6 times more hops than the mainstream brewers to use them creatively to create flavour profiles.
Now I was lucky enough to discovery Sadlers at a Food and drink festival in London, they had a range of spirts branded with the Peaky Blinders motif. Now if you are thinking what’s “Peaky Blinder” stop, go inside find it on Netflix and say good bye to your loved ones for a couple of weeks. Sadlers pride themselves on using only the finest whole cone hops in their brew.
What I like about the brewery is that its family owned and run, I spoke with Aster Sadler who told me that they are fifth generation brewers. The Brewery was inherited by Nathaniel's Son, Thomas who ran the Brewery for a number of years. He also raised his son John (known as Jack – good name) who was brought up in the Brew house.
Jack later passed on both his passion and knowledge of brewing to his son and grandson John and Chris Sadler, now fourth and fifth generation Brewers. The Brewery was historically re-opened during the winter of 2004, 77 years after Thomas Sadler brewed his last pint in 1927.
Old brewery, new tricks. Brilliant art work on the bottles, I especially love the Dakota American IPA. I am a sucker for advertising and this is the sort of thing that would make me stop the shopping trolley and load up a few tins.
But the proof is in the pudding, so let’s crack a few.
Thin Ice –Great name and cool design on the bottle, why is the polar bear wearing a shirt? Anyway I digress. A Pacific Pale ale with a soft citrus orange character & Gooseberry hop finish. Its very lightly carbonated which makes this a good “eating” beer. What I like about Sadlers is it actually suggest what this should be paired with. This brew has a delicate taste that should be paired with smoked meats, fish and Asian cuisine. I am currently devouring two rib cap burgers with bacon and cheese…..so I agree.
Citrus Tide – Dry Hopped Lager, as I understand it adding hops to the large moments before the fermentation process is adds a massive burst of flavour and this is no joke. Pulling the ring pull was like letting off a lemon grenade right in my boat race. Love it.
Hop Bomb – exactly as described. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to California where you could argue craft beer was born and this rivals anything that I have tried on their ground.
Land of Liberty - now I didn't receive this in my case from the good people at Sadlers. This was purchased at Aldi of all places, but dam what a top drop. If you like Hop house 13 then you will love this. Rich malt taste with sour notes of grape fruit and lemon.
Mud City Stout - boy does this pack a punch, I expected this to be heavy similar to Guinness. Pleasantly surprised that it was light and easy to drink. Almost had a milky after taste, once the rich vanilla and coco mellowed.
Dakota IPA - Now I was really excited about this because I love an IPA, especially when it comes in a can with such gorgeous art work on it. Sadly I tried a few too many Sadlers ales and forgot that I had left this on in the freezer to chill. Boom exploding beer, unhappy wife!
Sadlers Red IPA - imagine drinks a melted solero disguising as a beer, this is mango dream of a beer. Excellent super chilled.
So my beer drinking Amigos next time your stocking up the fridge why not venture out and try something new, by order of the Peaky Blinders!!