Mission to bring sour beer to city
ALE enthusiast, John Clarke, reviews three beers – one local, one from further afield in the UK and one from abroad.
CHORLTON Brewing Co. Dark Matter, 6.8%, 330ml
DESPITE the name, Mike Marcus’s brewery is housed in an Ardwick railway arch – its spirit however remains in that most bohemian of Manchester suburbs.
Mike is a man on a mission to bring sour beers to the people of Manchester.
By sour I don’t mean ‘off’ but rather beers inspired by the lambics of Belgium, the wheat beers of Berlin or, in this case, Gose from Leipzig.
These are traditionally sour wheat beers with a touch of salt added for good measure.
Done badly they could be horrible but this is something of a triumph.
It’s a black-brown beer and the dark malts bring roast and chocolate notes with them – on the nose and the palate.
Then comes the touch of sourness and hint of salt – all wonderfully elegant and restrained – and balanced by that chocolate again – and perhaps hints of port, too.
A seriously impressive debut beer.
HAMMERTON’S Islington Steam Lager, 4.7%, 330ml
HAMMERTON’S was a famous London brewery that was taken over and closed in the 1950s.
A member of the Hammerton family resurrected it last year and brought brewing back to Islington.
This is something of an ale-lager hybrid as it’s made using San Francisco lager yeast but is fermented at ale temperatures.
They use Vienna malt, too, and this is evident from the pale orange colour and the slight hints of sweetness throughout.
It’s not cloying though and there’s enough hop character to sustain it to the end. Satisfying and enjoyable.
STONE Brewing Co. Ruination IPA, 8.32%, 330ml
CALIFORNIA-based Stone are one of the largest and most famous craft breweries in the USA.
They are known for their selfpromotion so there’s lots of selfindulgent guff on the label of what is a very impressive beer.
It pours a pale copper and it’s essentially a huge hop monster all the way through from the nose to the palate and then the aftertaste.
Thick, bitter, piny resinous hops dominate right through to the long finish where the alcohol also registers its presence.
If you like hops this is for you.