Beer and Brewery Update - August 2015

After busy times wrapped up in this year's Birmingham Beer Bash, first making sure all the beer that we had committed to sending was brewed in time, then getting stuck in to the actual running of the event, it is finally time to sit back and refocus.

Jahazi (Mocha Stout) and Pinta (Rye Beer) were both brewed in time for BBB but haven't yet made it out any further than that. Jahazi in particular went down well with just about everyone who tried it and the compliments from a number of other brewers were particularly satisfying to hear. Jahazi is based on a milk stout, using around 10% lactose sugar which gives sweetness and body due to yeast being unable to ferment this type of sugar. The selection of dark malts adds some chocolate notes which are then topped up with cocoa late in the boil. Then at the very end of the boil a huge hit of coffee was added: 10kg of beans were steeped for three days to extract a wonderful flavour and aroma. We used Kenya Othaya beans supplied by the excellent HasBean near Stafford. These specially selected beans were prepared using a natural process before shipping to HasBean where they were roasted minutes before I arrived to collect them, still warm. The finished roast, has a distinctive flavour which works well with the blackcurranty Bramling Cross hops used judiciously in the boil. Find out more about the coffee beans at HasBean's website here. To recognise the Kenyan origins in the coffee, Jahazi was named after a type of dhow that plys the trade routes along the Kenyan coast.

Pinta is another step into new territory as it is the first time I've brewed with rye in any quantity. The result is a spicy roggenbier (rye beer) that was single-hopped with Columbus and fermented with a wheat beer yeast strain. The hops add their own spicy bitterness which the yeast rounds off with just a hint of clove and banana, the flavours and aromas seeming to evolve as you work down the cask. Pinta's namesake is no stranger to new territory either, being one of the three ships that Columbus took on his first voyage of discovery to the Americas.

So that's the beers, but where to find them? Well this weekend is Offbeat's fabulous Firsty Friday Festival and they have kindly given over a tap to Jahazi and Pinta. Jahazi is up first, starting from noon on Friday 7th July, and when that's gone Pinta will follow behind. So come along, sample at least one of these two, and enjoy the great range of Offbeat and Guest cask and kegs. The lineup is amazing this year, it shouldn't be missed.

After that, well the beers are starting to make their way to some of the usual outlets in both cask and keg: Crewe, Nottingham, Macclesfield, Penkridge and Birmingham will all be seeing deliveries in the next couple of weeks, and there are still a couple of each left but they won't be waiting around long! If you're waiting for this year's Crewe Beer Festival to try them though you need to rethink, as I elected not to supply due to a failure to properly recognise and give equitable treatment to the sixth brewery in their branch area!