I start this post on a negative note. I have heard from my favourite landlady that possibly the best pub in the world has not been listed in the Good Beer Guide for 2013. In my opinion this is a tragic omission and will mean that fewer people get to the sample the brilliance of the atmosphere and beer. Check out the You Tube clip here and support them on their facebook page.
Back to the WIGIGs
Wgig one is all sold aside from a few reserved for special occasions and aging.
Wigig two is in CT2 doing rude things with some ground coriander.
WIGIG 2, tentatively named B.E.A.R.S. (Belgian English American Red Spice) is showcase for the best ingredients from three great brewing nations. Belgian yeast, English malts and American Hops . If this beer were human it would be the love child of a ménage a trois between Morrissey, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Marilyn Monroe. Not sure how that would work and don’t really want to visualise it so we will move on.
Belgian beer wouldn’t be as special without the yeast. Tripels for example would be as characterless as the variously-named superstrong tramp fuel available in cans from all good corner shops if it was brewed with a standard ale or lager yeast. Belgian yeast is the cinnamon in the Chelsea bun, the centrepiece of any beer in which it is used. For B.E.A.R.S I am using one from a brewery I fell in love with on my first visit to Low Countries, La Chouffe. One of their beers, Lowie Kators (now brewed elsewhere) was I swear better than ecstasy. Having now brewed with the yeast a couple of times, to me the ester profile is very close to the Scourmont strain. Maybe they borrowed it from the abbey? Or maybe I have an unscrupulous yeast supplier!
English malt is the best in the world. I will admit to having scant experience of US malt and only a fleeting involvement with continental grains but on the basis that English brewers traditionally have the simplest brewhouses I stand by my assertion. In B.E.A.R.S the malt is Cassatta pale malt enriched with Simpson’s finest crystal malt and roasted barley.
American hops are currently en vogue and why wouldn’t they be? They are like Hollywood stars, genetically superior, attention-grabbing sex bombs. The starlet in B.E.A.R.S is Simcoe, a 12 year old hop variety with pine and nettle notes. For a newly-developed mega-alpha American variety Simcoe has a restrained bitterness on the palate. The supporting cast features Cascade and Centennial.
The challenge in brewing this beer was to keep these effusive, primadona ingredients in harmony and not turn it into a shouting match. Key I hope to a winning combination is judicious subtlety.
How have these superstars of the ingredients world come together? I would suggest you buy some and tell me.
Last but by no means least. Congratualtions to my chef colleague Alyn Williams on his newly-acquired Michelin star. Richly deserved.