Beers for ev­ery­one

In­ter­est in craft beers is at an all-time high and the choice on of­fer is daunt­ing. We went to the Ar­cade Tav­ern, win­ner of Best Pub in the EADT Suf­folk Food and Drink Awards, for some in­side knowl­edge

EADT Suffolk - - Chef Masterclass - Check them out at www.ar­cade­tav­ern.co.uk

IF you’ve never tried a Trap­pist bier, a sour beer or a smoked beer, and if you’re even re­motely cu­ri­ous about them, the Ar­cade Tav­ern, in the heart of Ip­swich, is the place to quench your cu­rios­ity . . . and your thirst, of course. It’s a great night out.

Win­ner of Best Pub in the 2017 EADT Suf­folk Food and Drink Awards, at any given time the Ar­cade Tav­ern of­fers more than 120 beers on tap and bot­tled. And if beer isn’t your tip­ple, there’s a grow­ing list of small batch gins to try (around 70 at the last count).

Busi­ness part­ners Ross Keough and Ross Turner, are pas­sion­ate about their prod­ucts and how they’re served. They’ve also worked hard, with flair and imag­i­na­tion, on their town cen­tre lo­ca­tion, to cre­ate an at­mo­spheric tav­ern in Ar­cade Street, which lends it­self to pop­u­lar tast­ing and prod­uct launch events, DJ ses­sions, Street Food Fri­days, with ev­ery­thing from wood-fired piz­zas, to sou­vlaki and hog roast, or sim­ply re­lax­ing over a few craft beers with mates. In days dom­i­nated by the gas­tropub, Ar­cade Tav­ern is a re­fresh­ing mod­ern re­take on the tra­di­tional pub. The qual­ity of the bev­er­ages on of­fer is the fo­cus, the friendly, fun at­mos­phere nat­u­rally fol­lows.

Ross K’s con­sid­er­able ex­pe­ri­ence in run­ning hostel­ries sets the tone of the tav­ern and he has an ever grow­ing in­ter­est in the small batch gins, while Ross T is a beer som­me­lier, al­ways ready to share his vast knowl­edge of craft and her­itage ales. We asked him a few choice beer ques­tions.

Q: Is there a beer for ev­ery­one?

A: Peo­ple some­times say they don’t like beer, but that’s usu­ally be­cause they tried an av­er­age bit­ter years ago and as­sume it all tastes the same. We have a beer for ev­ery­one’s pal­ette – sweet, sour, bit­ter, all sorts. Our list changes every six weeks and we’ve al­ways got some­thing new and dif­fer­ent to try. We’ve had beers flavoured with co­conut, ba­nana. The more re­cent beer to gain much in­ter­est is a beer from Bos­ton in the USA called Wana­mango . . . . yes, a mango in­fused pale ale.

Q: What’s your best seller?

A: IP1 (Ip­swich Pil­sner One), which is our own Pil­sner brewed in Bel­gium from the same brew­ery as the fa­mous Delir­ium Tre­mens bier, which we also stock. The IP1 is a cross be­tween a clas­sic Pil­sner brewed from an old Ger­man recipe of around 4.8% abv and a Bel­gium ta­ble beer of around 3.2% abv. Our ver­sion is a ses­sion 4.2% abv and of­fers bready malt tones, a sub­tle bis­cuit sweet­ness fol­lowed by a gen­tle hop bit­ter­ness and slight dry fin­ish.

Q: What’s the next big thing in beer?

A: Aged beers – beers aged like wine. For ex­am­ple, Ad­nams have brought out aged Broad­side, which is ma­tured for six years in bour­bon bar­rels with cher­ries. We’re now see­ing other brew­eries cre­at­ing aged beers with some very in­ter­est­ing re­sults. A fa­vorite a while back was an oat­meal stout from Siren brew­ery in Berk­shire, that was aged in Ard­beg whisky bar­rels.

Q: You run cheese and beer pair­ing evenings – any favourites?

A: Porter and Gouda are a clas­sic pair­ing, for ex­am­ple, San Fran­cisco Porter with Old Am­s­ter­dam. The salt crys­tals from the cheese and the clas­sic roasted caramel flavours in the porter make an in­cred­i­ble mouth sen­sa­tion – a bit like cream liqueur. Peche (Bel­gian peach bier) is great with goats’ cheese too. I can’t eat goats’ cheese. I re­ally strug­gle when it’s eaten alone, but when I eat it with peche it’s a flavour I never knew ex­isted. Cheese and wine is a well-known com­bi­na­tion, but, for me, cheese and beer go to­gether so much bet­ter. You could visit us in Septem­ber or Novem­ber where Ross K and I will be host­ing an­other tast­ing.

Q: What’s the nicest beer you’ve tried re­cently?

A: A Ja­panese beer called Hi­tachino Nest. I had it with Thai food re­cently. It has fresh orange zest flavours, spice, and is smooth, with a hint of nut­meg. Wiper and True Milk­shake, which is a beau­ti­ful milk stout from Bris­tol, is an­other beer I en­joy just on its own.

Q: The most ex­pen­sive beer you sell?

A: Crooked Stave from Colorado – they make one-off beers never to be brewed again. You can keep them for years. Look at the ‘best be­fore ‘dates on the bot­tles and it’ll be some­thing like 2036, they are ex­tremely com­plex beers and brewed with a well­known Bel­gium yeast strain, then aged in oak. An­other is our clas­sic Cham­pagne bier DEUS des Flan­ders, which is brewed in Bel­gium and then taken to Cham­pagne in France where a se­cond fer­men­ta­tion is car­ried out, ex­actly in the same way as the clas­sic sparkling wine. It is served from a Dom Perignon style bot­tle and en­joyed supped from an el­e­gant flute. One bot­tle is best en­joyed with a party of four, five or six peo­ple.

Q: Your dessert is­land beer?

A: I don’t want to sound like a wet blan­ket but it’s the tough­est ques­tion any­one could ask me as I have so many favourite beers. It de­pends on the time of year for me. One of my all-time fa­vorites is Sch­lenkerla Rauch­bier from Bam­berg in Ger­many. Bam­berg is a tiny me­dieval town north of Nurem­burg. The brew­ery, smoke the malt over beech wood and then the malt is used in the brew­ing process, the smoked wood fla­vor is in­fused in beer, and the style is Marzen from the Lager fam­ily.

Q: Sour beers are all the rage. What are they?

A: They’re ba­si­cally how beer was cre­ated 7,000 years ago. Wild yeast fer­mented the su­gars in ce­re­als which cre­ated beer – beer came about by ac­ci­dent and some say turned man from hunter-gath­erer into farm­ers. Bel­gium is fa­mous for its sour biers and you can al­ways pop by and try some clas­sics on our menu. We of­fer var­i­ous dif­fer­ent sour biers all made from 100% spon­ta­neous fer­men­ta­tion such as kriek (made with morello cher­ries), fram­boise ( made with rasp­ber­ries) and geuze which is a blend of dif­fer­ent lam­bics aged up to 18 months and then stored in oak for one to three years, it’s in­cred­i­bly tart and re­fresh­ing. Other UK brew­eries are try­ing their hand at brew­ing sour beers and one now fa­mous one is Wild Beer from Som­er­set, who brew some bril­liant beers and are go­ing from strength to strength. Many who try sour beer for the first time dis­miss it, but when shown how to sam­ple it and what to ex­pect they soon learn that they are very in­ter­est­ing.

Q: What would you sug­gest for a non-beer drinker?

A: We are all dif­fer­ent but ask what they usu­ally en­joy and start ex­per­i­ment­ing, start­ing light and progress to stronger fla­vors. At the Tav­ern we can eas­ily con­vert wine drinkers, cider drinkers and prob­a­bly those that pre­fer juices and even cof­fee.

Q: Which are your favourite East Anglian beers?

A: So much choice! Ad­nams Old Ale, which is avail­able from Oc­to­ber un­til March is a stun­ning beer for me, and I can quite eas­ily get lost in many a Suf­folk pub who stock this. All of the Ad­nams Jack Brand beers are con­sis­tently good in all their pack­ag­ing. Nether­gate Suf­fok County, and Yakima Gold by Crouch Vale Brew­ery. I can’t for­get Wood­fordes Wherry as this beer made me fall in love with Cask Ale. Ross K re­ally en­joys a Mo­saic by Ad­nams on cask and I must ad­mit its stun­ning.

Suf­folk Food and Drinks Awards 2017 Pub of the Year 2017 L-R: Ross Keough, David Smith, El­iz­a­beth Allen, Mon­ica Camp­bel­lS­cott and Ross Turner with spon­sor Jonathan Cro­p­ley from East Anglian Daily Times.

The Ar­cade Tav­ern reg­u­larly host beer launches, here Sta­tion 119

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