Sunday, 29 January 2012

Beer Bore and Old Manchester

We were in a pub in Brighton drinking a few beers to celebrate Harry's birthday. Another friend, Richard, came back from the bar with a bottle of lager but no glass.

Me: Are you gonna drink that beer from the bottle?

Rich: Yeah why not?

Me: Well you've paid a bit of extra money to get a nice large bottle of interesting european lager and now you're gonna drink it from the bottle. A bottle isn't a drinking vessel.

Rich: You're just being a beer snob.

Me: That may well be but this beer has been designed so that as you drink it you can also appreciate its aroma and colour but you are negating that by swigging it from a brown glass bottle.

Rich: When you talk about beer I get an erection

Charming. My sarcastic friend highlighted an interesting problem for a beer enthusiast and blogger. When does your advice and encouragement turn from what you think is interesting and enthusing to boring and off-putting? The last thing that any beer fan wants is to seem like you are lecturing your audience. Beer is supposed to be a fun and, at heart, democratic, so any idea that it is becoming elitist or snobbish is worrying. Essentially we don't want to be beer bores.

However, last Thursday I fuelled my own geeky, elistist and snobbish beerlust with a spur of the moment visit to the Fullers brewery shop. Ever since I heard about Fuller's head brewer, John Keeling's visit to Marble brewery in Manchester to brew a one off beer, I have waited for the announcement of its arrival. Finally the word was out, it's now available in the brewery shop.

I left the shop with three bottles of Old Manchester and a bottle of Past Masters Double Stout.

Old Manchester comes in a handsome 750mL bottle with champagne style cork and cage 

Old Manchester is based loosely on Fullers ESB but is a bit stronger and dry-hopped in cask for three months before bottling. It's a very interesting idea to use English challenger hops in such an assertive way like this and the dry hopping creates a very fruity, almost American hop aroma from the pillowy head. The malts, though, are very British and the ESB characters are cranked up to the max with candy and toffee coming through strongly and creating its rich brown colour. This malt backbone is a strong support for the  powerful, dry peppery bitterness and hefty 7.3% ABV. I shared this first bottle with Claire and we both enjoyed it even though Claire doesn't normally get on with hop heavy beers. I think it would go very well with food and and has the potential to age well. It is in this vein that I am keeping two bottles of this for ageing. If I can stand to keep it that long I will have one in January 2013 an one in January 2014.

So then, Old Manchester, lovely stuff. If you're reading this Rich, I hope it has satisfied!


Gareth said...

You could always buy the beer for yourself, and get them to try a bit out of your glass - show them how much better it tastes when served properly?

Or ignore it, if they want to waste their money then more fool them. ;)

Sam said...

That's a good idea. He did go and get a glass in the end, just to appease me though I think.