There’s always that week in April. The Daily Mail heatwave, the “hotter than Ibiza” weather reports and red faced men in vests. A few days of sunshine and madness then back to winter.
We’ve just had another balmy weekend but this time it looks like summer is finally here. Time to get used to the sun and make plans to enjoy it with friends, barbecues and of course beer.
Here are our recommendations for perfect summer craft beers available in store and straight from the fridge.
Belgian Lambic from one of its best producers. Spontaneously fermented using the natural yeast that lives in the atmosphere in the brewery, Lambic’s are often considered to be some of the best beers of the world. Hops are used solely as a preservative with deep complex flavours created by the yeast over a clean wheat base.
Different ages of Lambic are blended giving different flavours, the young is zingy, acidic and dry, the vintage savoury, tart and fruity. These flavours are blended in the perfect marriage. More than just a sour beer it is complex but not heavy, tart sour and refreshing, you’ll notice different flavours the more you drink.
Geuze will cut through greasy burgers and accompany more subtle flavours like grilled salmon.
In a 750ml bottle it is perfect for sharing, top up glasses with half of the bottle then fill with the rest and see how the yeast settled in the bottle changes the taste.
In my opinion Burning Sky are the UK’s best producers of Belgian beer. Brewed over winter, when wild yeasts and other bacteria are less abundant to alter beer, to drink over the summer by farmworkers, Saison’s are dry, savoury, grainy and lightly hopped. Some can possess a hay like “farmyard” finish, some have a tartness with wild yeasts, these develop over time into more complex fruity or sour flavours. Many brewers add herbs and spices to add complexity.
Burning Sky have taken their regular spring saison and aged it in a barrel formerly used to hold natural wine. The “bacchus” still contains the leftover yeast as Lees, these further ferment the ageing beer to create an acidity and delicate floral note. The light addition of black pepper and ginger compliment the many flavours contained in this Saison.
Buy this to share with the white wine drinkers. The pepper and ginger work well with butcher sausage hot dogs and aged cheeses.
A selection of amazing craft pale ales from Nottingham Legends Black Iris.
Endless Summer: 4.5% session IPA with all the flavour of an IPA at a percentage to enjoy all day.
Divine Elements: Nottingham’s highest rated IPA and a stunning fruity beer with a touch of bitterness.
Circle of Snakes: Juicy and hazy New England Double IPA packed with citrus flavours and hardly any bitterness.
Ride The Lightning: Full bodied wheat pale packed with juice and a rich refreshing body.
Mini Keg – Welbeck Abbey Cavendish/Henrietta – 5%/3.6% – £22.00
Welbeck Abbey Mini Kegs are perfect for the BBQ. Containing 8 pints these balanced golden ales are uncomplicated and at a sessional percentage. Not every beer needs to blow your mind, especially when you’re bringing beer to a barbecue and want it to suit many different people. Traditional drinkers will enjoy both Henrietta and Cavendish while contemporary craft beer heads won’t be disappointed.
Pastry stouts are not the type of beers that immediately come to mind for a summer drink. Rich decadent 10% liquid chocolate cake, flavoured with Marshmallows for a sweet finish. Who could resist any time of year.
Take it up a notch for the warm weather. Pour into a glass and use a scoop of vanilla ice cream to create a cooling delicious float, breaking up the richness and completing this dessert in a glass.
Whatever you choose make sure to get out in the sun and share the beer in good company.
Why we chose to refrigerate all of our beer
“We don’t keep beer in the fridge as we have limited fridge space available in store and beer doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Gary”
Gary works for Sainsbury’s, and a few weeks back he made quite the stir on Twitter.
Beer blogger Peter McKerry was responding to a conversation on quality control within the beer industry.
He facetiously linked Sainsbury’s in his response, calling them out on poor practises.
His ongoing argument has been for them to refrigerate beer, especially as Sainsbury’s, like all supermarkets are expanding into Craft Beer. In fact all major supermarkets store some or all of their beer outside of fridges.
Gary, who presumably works in customer care not comedy, should have read his audience. Over 50 comments followed, all citing the importance of refrigerating beer. Amongst the responders were Brewdog, wholesalers that include those that supply Brew Cavern, as well as many beer bloggers and brewers.
So why all the fuss?
All beer needs to be kept stable. Light and temperature can degrade it quickly. Hop flavours will fade and heat causes increases in oxygen making the beer turn sour. A consistent supply chain from brewery to customer is the best way to deliver the product as intended and protect it from dropping in quality. Cold storage is key, especially regarding Craft beer, with bigger hop flavours, fruit, lactose and other additions and lack of pasteurisation.
Refrigerated beer delivery in Britain is fast becoming the norm. American breweries have worked this way for decades and it is demanded by many, often brewers will refuse to use a distributor that doesn’t store their beer correctly. Soon in the UK many will refuse to supply without cold chain storage or to non refrigerated retailers.
This is why we made the commitment in 2017 to be 100% refrigerated. The vital last piece in the chain to supplying quality and cared for beer. What a waste it would be to have beer travel from brewery to our store kept cool, to sit on a shelf and lose all that flavour the brewer passionately created. It’s not just about beer being cold, although every beer is now able to be consumed immediately after purchase.
With all the benefits consumers too will soon be demanding this approach be taken by all, to part with your money for a sub standard product is incredibly irritating.
It is doubtful supermarkets run by people like Gary will ever understand the importance of this cause.
Mikkeller Running Club – Sun 6th May
Join us for meet 26 of the Mikkeller Running Club Nottingham chapter, a drinking club with a running problem!
We’ll be meeting at Brew Cavern for an 11.30 start, run approx 5km, then pop to the Keans Head for Mikkeller beer and nibbles.
Free half pint of Mikkeller beer for all runners.
All abilities welcome. Pace is around 6:30min/km but we never leave anyone behind!
If anyone is interested in Mikkeller Running Club kit, there are some new items up on the Mikkeller Webshop. If we can put a decent order together we’ll get a discount so keep an eye on the site and let Matt know if you’d like anything http://shop.mikkeller.dk
Nottingham Craft Beer Week 2018: Watch This Space
Keep an eye out for event announcements soon on the NCBW Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NottinghamCraftBeerWeek/