The Camp and Furnace has played host to some great gastronomical events over the last twelve months; indeed, I have written two separate reviews for the standard kitchen and for Steven Burgess’ one-off Tree Hugger Banquet. This latest event swapped the furnace venue for the other major component of the Greenland Street events space, along with the provision of the Gold Room for additional presentations by visiting breweries.
The event was well run and tempered by the exceptionally enthused volunteers throughout the weekend of the Expo, with Paul Seiffert from the Liverpool Craft Brewery taking over the reins exclusively from co-conspirator Terry to drive the event. There was evidence of lessons learnt from the previous year’s event, with the programme being although still on the slightly cumbersome side, being much easier to handle than the 2013 broadsheet, along with an actual itinerary, stating beers, brewer, style, location and abv. Although sadly, some beers were held back throughout the weekend, what was on offer was at times, staggeringly good.
The ‘Dinner Ale’ is a light bodied beer with a jab at 3.3% strength, however, this belies the packed cereal and biscuity notes present, along with a light touch of fruit on the nose reminiscent of a good Champagne or Cremant. As the name would suggest, it would work wonderfully well with a lot of foods, although anything robust like a hearty stew might prove overpowering for this beer. ‘Mary Jane’ is another pale beer, close to a kolsch beer in body and at only 3.5% abv, again is deceptive in its make up. ‘Mary Jane’ is a crisp, clean and very balanced ale which has a citrus edge to the flavour and nose, derived from the use of American hops. From the tasting session presented by Luke Raven from Ilkely, ‘The Chief’ (so-called due to its American heritage) and the ‘Ilkley Best’ were less exciting efforts compared to the two discussed above.
Another interesting beer from the Ilkley Brewery was presented in the form of the divisive ‘De Passie’. This beer is a white IPA brewed with passion fruit and is a collaborative beer made in conjunction with two dutch breweries; Oersoep and Rooie Dop. ‘De Passie’ imparted a tart, floral and tropical fruit aroma with an excellent dry mouthfeel and very low residual sweetness. This is another great beer from Ilkley Brewery, which is begging to be paired with food.
The 614 is a wonderfully rich porter with a residual chocolate flavour and is brewed with 30% rye, imparting a pleasing dryness and body to the beer. The ‘Ogham Willow’ was a less pleasing beer, although packing a punch as a double IPA, compared to say, the ‘La Tène’ also on offer at the Expo, which is a much lighter bodied beer (also in strength at 3.3% as opposed to 8.8% for the Willow) but feels generally less overbearing with a low IBU value somehow carrying more flavour than would be expected.
Upon taking time to experience each mouthful of this beer, there are a number of flavours, which will reveal themselves; you just have to get past the bracing and amygdala blasting strength! The ‘Hell’s Porter’ and nod to Burgundy ‘Bad Choice Milk Stout’ are both great darker beers, the first providing a fiery punch above smokey layers and the latter being much easier going, with sweet flavours to temper the rich mouthfeel.
Hasta luego amigos!!