21 March 2014

Craft Beer Rising 2014 - Part 1

Steve Kelly and I enjoyed spending an afternoon at the first Craft Beer Rising event at The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London in 2013.
In 2014, I was really pleased when Steve gave me a ticket to the second event at my n0th birthday in February. A few days later, on Saturday 22 February, we caught a train from Newbury changing at Paddington for the tube to Liverpool Street. On the way to the Old Truman Brewery, I stopped to get a coffee and we arrived soon after the 11am opening time. After exchanging tickets for a tasting glass and beer tokens we headed for one of the closest stalls which was Arbor / Wiper and True.

Wiper and True

William (Wiper and True)
While I sipped my coffee, Steve ordered a Fire Plough (5.5% ABV). This smoked porter was a collaboration between Arbor Ales and Wiper and True which Steve (a Bristolian) rated highly.
We questioned William about the distinctive black and white symbols that were visible at the stall and made into badges. He revealed that each symbol is associated with a particular style of beer:

Elephant - IPA
Balloon - Amber ale
Diver's Helmet - Porter
Space Shuttle - Stout

On the Wiper and True website Michael Wiper and William Hartley describe themselves as 'experimenters and inventors - exploring new and delicious beers that we can't wait to share'.
William told us that they started off using other brewers' plant including Cotswold Brewing and Cheddar Ales but that they now have their own 5 barrel kit based at an industrial unit in St Werburghs, between the M32 and Ashley Down in Bristol, north-east of the city centre. They are planning for up to 20 barrels in the future.
The leaflets produced for each of their beers include comprehensive notes about the ingredients used. The leaflets also mention that their bottled beers are bottle conditioned with some yeast left in to allow secondary fermentation. The result of this technique is 'a light fizz that we think provides a more refined texture and mouthfeel'. Most breweries use finings to make their beer clear. This may result in their beer being a bit cloudy but 'we feel that this is a small sacrifice to pay to keep it pure and vegan friendly'.


The neon sign at the Truman's stall which was also decorated with feathers and a traditional Truman's pub mirror featuring the black eagle caught my eye.
Truman's Blindside, Attaboy, Runner & Emperor on draught

As well as draught beers from the 'new' Truman's brewery 'established 1666, re-established 2010' now based at The Eyrie, Hackney Wick, there were bottles of London Keeper with individual labels.

Truman's London Keeper - 1880 Double Export Stout, 8% ABV

London Keeper was the first beer to be brewed at The Eyrie in August 2013. Only 2000 75cl bottles were produced.
Steve tried a glass of draught Blindside (4.4% ABV), a golden ale produced in January 2014 for availability during the Six Nations Rugby Union Championship competition. English hops (First Gold, Sovereign and Pilgrim) were used but Steve did not find the taste as hoppy as expected.


Just across from Truman's was the Adnams stall and it was time for my first beer, Adnams (Jack Brand) Mosaic pale ale (4.1% ABV), a single hop beer brewed with a relatively new variety of American hops.
Ruth at the Adnam's stall
The heritage of Mosaic hops involves Simcoe and Nugget, giving a flavour similar to Citra. This was an ideal beer to start the day with and Ruth was able to give us a lot of information about the beers available at the stall that included Jack Brand Rye IPA (5% ABV), Jack Brand Dry Hopped Lager (4.2% ABV) which is dry hopped with Galaxy hops from Australia and Adnams Ghost Ship (4.5% ABV), already one of my favourite beers.


Steve and I were both keen to try the only beer left at the adjacent Lagunitas stall - Lagunitas IPA. Little Sumpin', a seasonal beer, had already sold out.
Ben, Fraser and Steve
Fraser Murray poured our beers and gave us some background gained from his six years experience with the company in Northern California. Lagunitas IPA (6.2% ABV) was the first seasonal beer to be brewed at Petaluma, about 30 miles north of San Francisco, back in 1995.
It was interesting to discover that a 40 foot container load of Lagunitas beer (mainly kegs) arrives in the UK every four weeks after a sea journey involving two oceans via the Panama Canal and lasting 33 days. Lagunitas beer is also shipped to Sweden. The journey time is set to be reduced to 9 days when a second brewery opens in Chicago, enabling a container load to be transported by rail to New Jersey for transhipment to the UK.
The Chicago brewery will also reduce the amount of money spent on diesel fuel for truckloads of beer from California to 40 states in the USA because many journeys will be shorter from Chicago.
Lagunitas bottle top - fridge magnet
Fraser was asked about the relevance of the dog in Lagunitas branding and it turns out that not only is founder, Tony Magee, a dog owner but the brewery is also 'dog friendly'.
I was grateful to Fraser for explaining how to pronounce Lagunitas correctly, La- gun- eee- tas, with emphasis on the third syllable.
Congratulations to Steve on logging Lagunitas IPA as his 1000th unique beer on Untappd. We both liked the hoppy nature of Lagunitas IPA but also found it a bit fizzy on this occasion. This must be a common reaction from real ale drinkers!

To Be Continued in Part 2 ...

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