Beer Street & Gin Lane

A rosy hued gin from the next county and a Bel­gian beer with a his­tory

EADT Suffolk - - Inside -


Bel­gium has in­tro­duced the world to an in­ter­est­ing ar­ray of beer styles which have gone on to in­flu­ence many a brewer in the UK, USA and across the globe – Wit, Dubbel, Tripel, Quadru­ple, Saisons, Geuzes, Flan­ders Red and Flan­ders Brown to name a few. De Halve Maan Brew­ery, es­tab­lished in 1856, is a fam­ily run brew­ery and hap­pens to be the only one in Bruges, quite some­thing in a coun­try with over 180 com­mer­cial brew­eries.

The brew­ery was set up by Henri Maes who, along with his un­cle, started to brew sour beers, un­til Henri’s death in 1867. Af­ter four gen­er­a­tions, it was Veronique Maes the daugh­ter of Henri IV who jumped on board in the 1980s and put the brew­ery on the map. Be­tween them, they started with spe­cial­ist beer Strafe Hen­derik, brewed for the in­au­gu­ra­tion of saint Arnoldous, the pa­tron saint of brew­ers in Bruges. Veronique’s son Xavier Vanneste, de­cided in 2005 that the brew­ery needed to be up­graded and mod­ernised. So it was re­built and a new beer Zot blond was launched.

At 6% abv (al­co­hol by vol­ume), it’s un­doubt­edly the big­gest sell­ing Bel­gian beer we stock at Ar­cade Tav­ern. It’s a great in­tro­duc­tion for those who wish to em­bark on a journey into try­ing Bel­gian beers. Brewed with four dif­fer­ent malts and two hop va­ri­eties, the beer has a unique taste and a de­light­ful creamy white head that sticks to the high stemmed glass. On the nose the beer has es­ters and yeasty notes with ba­nana and pear. Cit­rus fol­lows into the whole aroma and flavour, with the ad­di­tion of bread, then an added spicy edge. It’s spritzy, then a smooth mouth­feel, with a crisp bit­ter­ness to end.

De Halve Maan Brew­ery is di­vided into two fam­i­lies, Straffe Hen­d­er­ick which brews two beers, a blond tripel and a brown quadru­ple, both of high al­co­hol con­tent. The other fam­ily is Zot which brew the blond and then the darker Zot Dubbel. We have stocked all these beers and the Zot blond is part of the core range we have at the tav­ern.


We do not have to go too far in search of gin, cer­tainly not in the last three to four years

‘Cit­rus fol­lows into the whole aroma and flavour, with the ad­di­tion of bread, then an added spicy edge’

as the drinks in­dus­try is boom­ing in this par­tic­u­lar field. There seems to be a new distillery knock­ing on our door each week. We have gained quite a pres­ence, mainly due to the hard work of Ross Keough, our MD, and Lizzie Allen, our gen­eral man­ager. The Ar­cade Tav­ern has been a launch pad for many dis­til­leries, as we’re for­tu­nate to have our in­house ex­pert, The Gin Lord, run­ning tast­ing ses­sions at least once a month.

This month I am pleased to make you aware of a lovely gin from just over the bor­der in Cam­bridgeshire. Pinkster has been on the menu at the Ar­cade for around two years and is part of our core range. It was first cre­ated in 2013 by Stephen Marsh, who was work­ing as a fi­nance direc­tor. Stephen has a love of wine and was very in­ter­ested in mak­ing fruit liquors. But he devel­oped a yeast al­lergy which pre­vented him from drink­ing wine, so he started to ex­per­i­ment with mak­ing gin at home and dis­cov­ered a won­der­ful recipe us­ing fresh raspberries.

Backed by a pri­vate equity firm, the recipe was con­tracted out to Thames Dis­tillers. In 2014 they moved pro­duc­tion to G&J, which also pro­duces Ophir and Bloom gin un­der the guid­ance of master dis­tiller Joanne Moore. The gin is made us­ing five botan­i­cals, al­though we are only made aware of three – ju­niper, black pep­per­corn and raspberries. They are steeped in a triple dis­tilled spirit to give the gin its smooth yet dry mouth­feel. The raspberries are fur­ther infused in the gin af­ter dis­til­la­tion, which is how it gets its stun­ning pink hue. On the nose, the gin is more geared to­wards ju­niper than raspberries, with hints of black pep­per. To taste, it has a sweet pro­file sim­i­lar to a rasp­berry coulis, with an un­der­ly­ing flavour of ju­niper and co­rian­der. .

The gin has gained at­ten­tion as far away as Australia, but for­tu­nately you only need travel to the cen­tre of Ip­swich to find it served in one of our beau­ti­ful Span­ish style stemmed glasses, with Fever-Tree tonic wa­ter over ice, gar­nished with a fresh rasp­berry and a sprig of mint. Cheers.

Pinkster gin

Zot blond beer

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