The postie brought me a nice surprise this morning, a cheque for a tenner from The Kevins. I'd resigned my membership, and they were nice enough to agree to refund me part of my subscription. Thus ends 12 years.
To celebrate, I popped open a bottle of Brodie's Grand Cru, an 8.8% Belgian style ale which, coincidentally, is another beer wot I helped to brew. As a guest brewery monkey, Jamie Brodie gifted me a couple of bottles during the Bunny Basher fest at the end of April.
At the time it was brewed, What's Brewing was published bearing Roger Protz's op-ed labelling beer writers and bloggers as 'noisome'. So, for a while, this beer was Noisome Cru. Note the pump clip pic has been modified to protect the innocent.
So, the beer. I detected some peppery notes on the nose, and a little bit of bubblegum. It's about 35% wheat malt, so mouthfeel is very smooth. It's quite complex, with cedar joining the pepper and some candy sweetness in the mouth, giving way to a long dry hoppy finish with some warming alcohol at the back of the throat. The beer was beautifully carbonated, which helped to clarify the flavours in it. Considering the strength, I found it quite easy-drinking.
I've had a few Brodie's beers in bottles now, and they've all been top drawer. And I had a nice afternoon at the William The IV last week, where it struck me that I could get wankered on decent beer for less than a tenner, if I wanted. And it's made me reflect on a recent blog entry by US beer writer Andy Crouch, where he proposes that the 'good old days' of the US scene are happening now, before widespread distribution of popular beers ends as brewers hit capacity walls and re-trench closer to home; how this will open up markets for good quality local beers to fill the gap. He calls it The Great Beer Retreat. Local beer rules.
Of course, we don't necessarily have the same logistical issues in the UK though Hardknott Dave has provided invaluable evidence about the costs to small brewers of getting beers to receptive markets when there's trouble getting local listings, but generally, the days when London was satisfying the palates of more discerning beer drinkers by having to suck in the best of what the UK could offer seems like a distant memory these days. Lately, we're having the best of both...