Friday 21 January 2011

Elitist? Exclusive?

I see that Zak Avery has followed Adrian Tierney-Jones in writing positively about the Meantime College Beer Club in return for a bottle of their first beer. A loyal reader (I think there's one of them) might recall I asked who this club was for a while back, offering as it does some kind of colour-supplement lifestyle proposition as part of the package.

I still don't know, but am interested in any views about where something like this sits in the current elitism debates that have occupied the likes of Zak, Tandleman, Phil at Oh Good Ale and, across the pond, Stan Hieronymous. For sure it is, as Zak notes, "exclusive" at 350 notes for an annual membership, but is it the same thing as "elitist". Phil posits that money affords opportunity, it does make a difference. Elite, then?

As an aside, I see Zak got bottle 74 out of 100 of the RIS Meantime brewed as their first CBC beer. I assume they haven't had all 500 memberships taken up, or the series would have to run to an edition of 1,000 bottles. A cynic might suggest a bit of below-the-line advertorial from a couple of respected industry writers might move things along. I wonder if there are any spoogebeerian consortia in the membership list? I can't imagine they'd want to miss out on such rare spooge...

Wednesday 12 January 2011

A Black Day

To The Rake for the Sunday launch of Kernel's new 6.8% Black IPA, a beer brewed with the input of Rake manager and blogosphere champion caner for January, Glyn "Igor" Roberts.

A good mix of brewers, regulars and bloggers were in attendance. I include the usual 'pap' shot of Young Dredge

The event attracted a good mix of regulars, tickers, bloggers and brewers, and the first firkin kicked within about 90 minutes of opening. Luckily a second cask was ready and consumption continued seamlessly.

There have been a few beers of this style knocking about over the autumn and winter, and I've been keen to try as many as I could find. The British cask versions seem to have a pleasing balancing sweetness in the mouth, rather than masses of dark malt bitterness wrestling with the assertive hopping. Standout for me have been The Conqueror from Windsor & Eton (me thinking they were a brown beer merchant - what do I know?), and the collaborations between Thornbridge and Dark Star (Thornstar), and Fyne Ales (Fynebridge). The latter had been my favourite, but the Kernel pushed it very hard. Definite Top Two.

Black beer dominates; Frankenstein & Igor; Brewdog gatecrashes another brewer event...

A big hop nose under a tight white creamy head gave way to a mouthful of red fruit and roast coffee, with a long bitter finish. The fruit was less noticeable in the beer from the second cask, and the mouthfeel was silky smooth. Those who'd tried both said the bottle was better, so I've got some to drink now and one to sit on. I want to see how it changes once the hops attenuate.

Kernel was my brewery of 2010, and other bloggers picked up on the high quality of their beers in the Golden Pints. Coming up is an Imperial Marzen (brewed with Mark Tranter from Dark Star), and the whisper is an Oyster Stout made with your actual bivalve mollusc might be found at Wright Bros. in Stoney Street. Evin has quickly built a following for his beers and hasn't disappointed. It's surely a no-brainer to forecast a successful 2011.