Sunday, 11 July 2010

World Cup Beer Sweep

Right! Injury time effort to get my entry to the World Cup Beer Sweep sorted.

The rules: "...everyone gets drawn a team and they have to find a beer from that country then drink it and write a blog about it."

Blog about a beer... can't be that hard can it? All I need is a beer.... and a blog!

I was a late entrant into the beer World Cup Beer Sweep.. and some may say luckily I drew England in the second draw. <Insert joke about England winning the World Cup here!> So it all comes down to my blog entry!

First things first I need a beer from our fair country, and given the depth of knowledge and experience of the other entrants of the World Cup Beer Sweep, the beer better be a good one! Just any bottle will not do! There is pride

at stake here and being the littlest fish in the blog-o-sphere, I need to make it count.

How do I go about finding a rare and esoteric beer with sufficient geek appeal to impress the titans of the beer world who are competing and judging.

Finally the answer came to me! Something that no one else in this competition has ever tasted, something totally unique and individual. I refer to the latest edition to the epic bottled beer line up of my nearest and dearest brewery..... Hardknott!

If you have been lucky enough to get your hands on either of their

limited editions: The mind blowing Æther Blæk whiskey aged stout; or the colossal Granite barley wine, then you have some idea of the quality, individuality and shear abundance of tastes and flavours that they contain.

The latest behemoth to be caged in 500mls of quantum-particle-enriched, escape proof glass is the Infra Red IPA. On draught, it weighs in at 6.2%, it's bottle imprisoned sibling however, has taken things up a notch to 6.5%. Strange sounds have been heard in the hills around the Furness peninsular recently as the production run this monster IPA has been seduced into its bottles over the past couple of days.

Being a flatterer and a bounder, and also by assisting in the bottling process, gained me a test bottling of this beer. So with out further delay I will slip into my tweed safety suit (with the optional extra leather elbow patches), and don the reflective-protective goggles and open the bottle!

The first thing you notice about this IPA is that it is not pale! It has a deep cherry red colour and plenty of loose off-white head.

The initial smell is massively fresh and hoppy, floral notes with underlying malts, it hints at popcorn and caramelising sugars.

The flavouring is intense, with all the dials turned up to 11. Huge hops and fruit in mouth, sweet and full on, This gives way to a long smooth malty tones that blend into the finish with a little liquorish, and the kind of freshness you get from the salty air at the seaside. Really quite refreshing for a beer so strong and hoppy.

This is best served above fridge temperature, but not warm. The flavours evolve and grow as the beer gets itself comfortable in your glass.

If this bottled incarnation turns out to be anywhere near as bullet-proof as its cask-captured counterpart, it will age well. I know first hand that a cask will serve perfect beer after 13 days! So you might like to offer this monster a home in the darkest corner of you beer cupboard while you gather the safety clothing required for drinking.

It is a sessionable beer, if you are brave, I have tested this for you personally! All in the name of research you understand, but it looked beautiful in a two-and-a-half-pint stein!