Last weekend’s European Beer Blogger’s Conference wasn’t just about sitting listening to speakers, or catching up with fellow internet warriors from different parts of the country. Drinking beer played an unsurprisingly large part of the proceedings – whether brought by sponsors, poured by brewers, or snaffled from the case of Brooklyn Lager left at the back of the room.
There was also a live blogging session (or in my case, live scribbling) – ten beers, five minutes each, rotate to the next one. Rough and ready, it was a challenge when trying to listen to the brewery rep, and ask questions at the same time! Here are my notes as taken, before a few of the other beery highlights of a cracking drinking weekend.
LIVE BLOGGING SESSION
1. Otley Oxymoron (5.5%)
Black IPA – not on bandwagon, brewing this for years. Chinook, Galena (bitt) Galena, Citra, SAce (aroma) Carafa Malt, as style. Mocha and citrus on nose – roasty on taste. Too roasty for style? Great beer though – served from cask too. Bonus points.
2. Brains Dark (4.1%)
5mins very fast – more Welsh beer! Dark Mild. Styrian Goldings. Where are they from again? No head, plenty carbo. Molasses and coffee. Ashen finish. Had this before Conf started. Welsh people very friendly.
3. Marble Earl Grey IPA (6.8%)
Limited release, brewed with Emelisse. Their idea, everything else Marble. 40IBU. Mittlefru and Goldings. Earl Grey added in fermentor. Hazy gold. Lot of pineapple. Get the EG on finish (just). Tannins. Citra in aroma. Lovely.
4. Roosters Baby Faced Assassin (6.1%)
Homebrew recipe served from cask today. 100% Citra. Has every brewer used Citra now? Huge mango, smooth tropical fruit all the way – like a smoothie. Hides alc brilliantly. V v good indeed. Could drink this all day.
5. Great Heck Stormin’ Norman (6.5%)
Brewers are bringing the strong stuff for the bloggers. Described by Denzel as a hospital beer. Cask only – GH don’t bottle. Thin bitter. Perle hops. DH – Cascade Columbus. Decent.
6. Slaters Top Totty (4.0%)
Now infamous – 50% of their entire output. Wouldn’t answer how much it was before controversy (or couldn’t). Average beer – nothing wrong with it, other than the label. Did well for them though.
7. Camden Hells (4.6%)
USA hops rather than German. Unfiltered. Simcoe. 20IBU. Hazy gold, floral, touch catty from the Simcoe but really nice. Easy drinker. Mark Dredge can talk.
8. Adnams Ghost Ship
Missed abv. Presentation on ipad. Citra, DH w/Citra. Lots of crystal malt on finish, quite sweet. Not really favourite.
9. Innis & Gunn Scottish Pale Ale (7%)
Much-practiced answer to clear bottle question. Still think Irish Whisky Cask only good I&G beer. This one – flat, hugely sweet banana, slick whisky. What’s Scottish about this?
10. Leeds Hellfire Bitter (5.2%)
Serve Cold. From bottle. Good idea to pitch to clubs for drinkers. Beer is nice enough. Touch of sharpness. Looks like a ginger beer though, would confuse Stella drinkers.
Beers of the EEBC
Unfiltered cask Pilsner Urquell (4.4%)
A revelation. Tapped personally by the head brewmaster from Pilsen himself, we were presented with glass after glass of this. Softens the edges of the regular PU brilliantly, it reminded me of the unfiltered lagers I’d just been drinking in Berlin. Floral, slightly fruity – if they sold this in the UK I’d buy it all the time.
Extraomnes Zest (6.9%)
Served at the ‘night of International beer’ by the exceedingly dapper Alessio Leone – many of the Italian beers really hit the spot. Extraomnes’ zest was lovely – lots of lemon sherbert, straw, white pepper and a dry finish. Maybe next year’s EBBC should be in Milan?
Sharp’s Honey Spice Tripel (9.0%)
I really wasn’t expecting to like this, but it was really very nice indeed. Five hops, six spices and honey – there’s a lot going on, but it all works. What would otherwise be a sweet honey cereal beer is balanced by the dry spicing.
Roosters Londinium (5.5%)
Served by Ol and Tom Fozard at the Rooster’s tour (see tomorrow’s post), they make almost exclusively pale beer – but this is one of the exceptions. A coffee porter, really very drinkable. Creamy on cask, plenty of sweet mocha and almost no alcohol. Bitter finish – a cracker. Recently won the guys their first award.
Birra del Borgo L’Equilibrista 10.9%
Another Italian beer stole the show as well – del Borgo’s ‘champagne of beers’. Made with 39% sangiovese wine wort fermented with wine yeast, then refermented with champagne yeast – it’s as complex a beer as you could find. Hugely vinous, it almost smells like green asparagus. Bitter and first, then the yeast arrives – but dry finish. Wonderful.
Many thanks to all the brewers who gave up their time to talk to us bloggers, and everyone who provided the samples for us to try. Special thanks to Leo and the other European bloggers and brewery workers who made the long trip with their wares. Tomorrow on the BeerCast – a tour of Yorkshire’s best new secret – the rejuvented Rooster’s Brewery.