BeerCast #42 – Grooben’s Choice

Posted by on Dec 2, 2009 in American Beer, BeerCasts, English Beer | One Comment

We like to run a democratic ship here on the BeerCast, so when panellist Grooben requested a chance to go foraging for beers, we gave him full reign and unlocked his cage. He managed to pull together four ales – all varying styles – so we cobbled together a podcast in his honour. We begin with a gluten-free beer, Green’s Herald (4.0%), to see how these special ales for people with intolerances actually taste. Next we head to the US to sample Juju Ginger Ale (6.0%) from Left Hand Brewing. Our third beer is the first of a BrewDog double-header. The Fraserburgh duo have been much in the news of late, so we try their 1.1% protest beer Nanny State, before we finish on a stronger one brewed in collaboration with San Diego’s Stone Brewery – Bashah Imperial Stout (8.6%). On the panel this time are Richard, Shovels, and of course Grooben.

1. Green’s Herald (4.0%abv)
Green’s Gluten-Free Beers, Shipley, West Yorkshire.
500ml glass bottle

Coelic disease is a very serious disorder of the small intestine whereby sufferers are intolerant to a gluten protein found in wheat. Of course, as a result of this beer is something off-limits to most. However, these days there are a number of producers who create beers specifically for people who can’t drink beer made the traditional way. Green’s of Shipley are one such company, using ‘pseudo-cereals’ such as sorghum, millet and buckwheat instead. They have a range of ales and lagers, including a Belgian-style dubbel and an amber ale. Herald is their English-style bitter, although there’s little information as to exactly what it contains.

What They Say“Inspired by strong European beers and developed to a closely guarded secret recipe, the specialist beers are brewed with a strong body, crisp taste and a refreshing flavour, losing none of the taste but all of the allergens.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Grooben – There’s a reason why barley was chosen to go in beer 5
Richard – Not particularly nice, tastes as if something’s missing
Shovels – It smells like apple strudel and tastes like cheap cider 3

2. Juju Ginger Ale (4.0%abv)
Left Hand Brewing Co, Longmont, Colorado.
330ml glass bottle

On Christmas Day 1990 Dick Doore was given a homebrew kit as a present by his brother, which began a passion for brewing. Three years later he moved to Colorado and met an old school friend called Eric Wallace. The two of them founded a brewery in November 1993 in a former meat packing factory in Longmont. Naming themselves the Indian Peaks Brewery after some local mountains, they were undone by copyright issues and renamed themselves after local historical Indian chief Niwot – ‘Left Hand’. We sampled their Imperial Stout in BeerCast #34, and this time take on their subtler ginger ale, Juju.

What They Say“Juju is a pale ale brewed from a relative low gravity, with some of the hops which would normally be used in the beer replaced by freshly ground ginger root. The beer is light in body, lower in alcohol, has a distinct ginger aroma, and has a very crisp finish. It was initially brewed as a refreshing alternative to the plethora of wheat beers which are popular in the summertime. Popular demand turned it into a year round beer.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – Sweet, sticky ginger taste, it’s quite smooth 7
Grooben – Toned down a lot, I was expecting sharpness
Richard – Ginger can overpower anything but at least it’s subtle 5

3. Nanny State (1.1%abv)
BrewDog, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.
330ml glass bottle

There can’t be a more newsworthy brewer in Scotland (or maybe the UK) at the moment than Fraserburgh’s BrewDog. James Watt and Martin Dickie started the operation to counter the establishment, and with regular wacky press releases and PR stunts they are certainly being talked about. Their strong oak-aged imperial stout Tokyo* (18.2%) hit the headlines for it’s hefty abv, so as a two-fingered gesture Martin and James produced a protest beer called Nanny State, which at 1.1% is below the legal classification of beer, and so not subject to duty. This podcast was recorded on the night that James announced he had complained to the alcohol industry watchdog Portman Group about the strength of Tokyo*, in a publicity stunt to highlight what he thought was their double standards. BrewDog have since announced they are producing the world’s strongest beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32%). As of 03/12/09 the Portman Group recommended British retailers removed Tokyo* from their shelves.

What They Say“Nanny State is an extraordinary little beer. It contains more hops than any other beer we have ever brewed. There is over 60 kilos used in our tiny 20HL batch. It contains more hops than any other beer ever brewed in the UK. It has a theoretical IBU of 225. It is jam packed with our favourite hops and already tastes amazing.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – Still tasting it even though I finished three minutes ago 6
Grooben – It’s like drinking lemon juice, but isn’t all that bad 6
Richard – I would urge everybody to try it as an experiment – is it a beer? Yes. Is it nice? No 3

4. Bashah (8.6%abv)
BrewDog, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.
330ml glass bottle

The second beer from BrewDog on the podcast tonight was brewed in conjuction with one of the heavyweights of the American craft-brewing scene, California’s Stone Brewery. Seeing as they currently top our BeerCast rankings with the peerless Ruination IPA, we were certainly expecting something from their collaboration – a Belgian black double IPA.

What They Say“This particular beer has refused to succumb to the illusion of meaning or allow capricious parameters to have any influence on it’s own fermented fate.” [Label Tasting Notes]

What We Say
Richard – Combines a nice strong alcohol kick with sweetness 8
Shovels – Strange one, it’s very hoppy and portery and maybe it should be one and not the other 6
Grooben – It’s a lot to take – I’m just not sure it’s to my taste 5

Panellists – (clockwise from top left) Shovels, Grooben, Richard

  • Listen to the episode here: BeerCast #42 Grooben’s Choice
  • Subscribe to the podcasts in iTunes or our site feed
  • BeerCast panel verdict
    Bashah (19/30)
    Left Hand Juju Ginger Ale (18½/30)
    BrewDog Nanny State (15/30)
    Green’s Herald Gluten-Free (12½/30)

    1 Comment

    1. BeerCast #42 - Grooben’s Choice | disease database
      December 3, 2009

      […] the original post here:  BeerCast #42 – Grooben’s Choice Tags: disease, gluten-protein, hours-south, life, natural-disaster, optimistic, […]

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