What’s your tipple?
A guide to craft beers and artisan gins
IN 1751, William Hogarth, the painter, created the works Beer Street, and Gin Lane, which depicted scenes of London streets. The prosperous and happy would be drinking beer, while on the other side, were the folk seen as peasants, lazy and ill through too much gin. It was a major problem for society, and led to the prints being published in support of the Gin Act in 1751, prohibiting gin distillers selling to unlicensed merchants.
Things could not be more different today than at the Arcade Street Tavern, which opened its doors in 2014 specialising in craft beer and artisan gin from across the globe. With over 30 years combined experience in the industry, Ross Keough and I teamed up to showcase a wonderful ever-changing array of beers and gins, on the detailed menus within the four walls of a beautiful Georgian town house in the heart of Ipswich. We encourage people to drink responsibly.
Each month in Beer Street and Gin Lane we showcase a brewery and distiller. What better place to start than a brewery from Norway, which has been introduced to our shores by Adnams, and a new Suffolk distiller.
BEER STREET . . .
Ægir is a Norwegian Brewpub that produces multi award winning beers. Inspired by Norse mythology and located on the inner reaches of the picturesque Flam Fjord, Ægir have grown into possibly Norway’s best brewery. Ægir’s head brewer and co-owner Evan Lewis originates from New York, but qualified with his brewing diploma from the Scandinavian brewing school in Copenhagen. Opened in 2007, the brew pub building is one of Flam’s biggest attractions. The Flam scenery has inspired Evan to brew some interesting beer, focusing on what’s big from back home in the way of hops, then looking further afield for inspiration with the inclusion of Australian varieties. Evan took time out of scheduled visits across the UK to call in and introduce himself, and I asked what’s special about his beer. He replied that he has gained so much experience from back home in the US as a home brewer, but studying the different styles of beers from across Europe, to create his own recipes, using hops and malts and the natural mountain water on his doorstep, and a specialist yeast strain, all play in harmony. He sources fruits from the woodland and other ingredients from around the globe.
The brewery has installed a new canning line this year, fully operational and regularly exporting to the UK. We currently stock these which are available in can on the current autumn beer menu:
WIT (wheat beer) 4.7% abv, notes of coriander and orange peel.
Littlebro Session IPA 4.7% abv, dry crisp and fresh hop aromas of tropical fruit and orange bitter.
IPA 6.5% abv, big bold west coast IPA style, a deep copper colour and punchy citrus and pine.
We have also recently stocked specialist keg beers and will continue to bring in more, as they become available.
Fishers gin has been in production since June 2016. Expansion into international markets is growing, taking a piece of the Suffolk coast to bars and restaurants around the world. It combines rare old English herbs and botanicals with distilled barley, sourced entirely from East Anglian farmers. Created by master distiller John McCarthy (Adnams) and Oxford University botanist James Firth. Fishers Gin captures the wild and forgotten flavours of the English coastline, infusing these intriguing aromas with traditional botanicals.
Fishers contains nine classic and four extra signature botanicals which sound as if they belong in an episode of Harry Potter.
Rock Samphire - only found in craggy outcrops. Traditionally used for its leaf, the flower and seed head are used here as they reveal the strongest fragrances.
Bog Myrtle - only be foraged at very particular times of the year, extremely aromatic. James says: “It smells like Christmas.”
Wood Aven - the most difficult part to obtain since the roots are so fibrous they often break when pulled from the ground. A celery note, although it only reveals its scent to some noses.
Spignel - tastes different to everyone. So rare, James and the team have cultivated their own source, the location of which remains a closely guarded secret. Some claim a curry-like fragrance, others find notes of celery and fennel.
Each of the selected wild botanicals has been ethically sourced, many foraged daily by James. They are native to the Suffolk coast, on the marshland that divides the North Sea from the River Alde. Each botanical is carefully considered, picked and dried for the best impact on flavour and aroma. When James’s work is done, the 13 botanicals are passed on to master distiller John McCarthy at the Copper House Distillery.
The carefully prepared roots, leaves, seeds and berries are steeped in the spirit overnight. They macerate the botanicals to draw the greatest aroma and flavour from them. They then receive a final shot-distillation in a copper gin still, which incorporates three plates and a condenser, to control reflux and produce the most flavourful, full bodied and aromatic gin possible.
The gin is on our new Arcade Tavern tasting menu and at our gin tastings this autumn, hosted by our very own in-house expert Gin Lord. Best enjoyed with a slice of orange or lemon, and served over ice in a beautiful Spanish stemmed glass with Mediterranean tonic water from Fever Tree.
Agir Norwegian craft beer