Upon returning home, Phil set up the nanobrewery and gradually grew as his beers shifted from doing one brew per week on two vessels (usually the brewing process needs four), eventually up to the current 12 barrel brewery producing mainly cask beers with a few kegged numbers based in Malton, Yorkshire. The brewery has a lot of its own character, with having their own yeast culture kept to make all their beers, save the lager they make. The beers are not fined, making them suitable for vegetarians and vegans, with Phil going into some length during his presentation about the loss of a number of flavour compounds from the brew, in favour of clarity, which in itself can be misleading as to the quality of the beer one drinks.
Some of the styles of beer Phil talked about were incredibly informative and well structured, leaving quite a lot of the audience feeling much more learned about the world of beer. You could tell he has had some experience with this presentation lark, oh and the Brass Castle logo that they use – it works upside down. UPSIDE DOWN.
A very malty and raisin tanged aroma 5.3% brassy-coloured lager, this lager carries a thin white head and carries the aromas right through into the flavours. A Viennese-style lager which has hints of caramel and very light smoke, Brass Lager is deemed to be the brewery’s ‘cross-over’ beer for those stubbornly against drinking bitter. Brass Lager was pleasant enough, but possibly one of the less impressive on the roster for this event.
A 4.3% Pale Ale which is named for the distinctive US ’super’ hop variety that it uses for aroma and flavour, Mosaic has a whole host of grass meadow and floral aromas along with a slightly plasticene tinge. Mosaic is golden in colour and a very light head, the flavour carries the floral theme on well into a light maltiness, tropical fruits (including some grapefruit) and slightly acidic-edge, overall it is well balanced. The hopping of this beer is carried out very late in the boil (~5 minutes from the end and no bittering hops) and uses Marris Otter malts. Excellent beer for a hot day, chilled down to be refreshing, flavoursome and not too challenging.
A Kegged IPA coming in at 5.7%, Sunshine is very ‘farmyardy’ hazy and dark amber ale. The abundance of hops and a balanced malt profile give plenty of red berry fruit up front on the nose and carrying through into the flavour. Being an IPA, there is also some pine and plenty of resinous body to this beer, giving way to a fairly acidic but dry and pretty balanced finish that lingers quite briefly. Sunshine uses a number of US hops such as magnum, citra, simcoe, summit, perhaps some mosaic and cascade too – punching in at 100 IBU, this is quite bitter (go and do an internet search for International Bittering Units – IBUs and you’ll see where on the spectrum this actually is) but a residual sweetness from the malts leaves plenty in the balance.
A lighter effort at 4.2% and a traditional UK brewing style, there has been some resurgence of late for mild beers (so called ‘mild’, due to the low hop content and not necessarily due to the alcoholic strength – every day is a learning day!) so this is where this nut brown ale comes in to deliver something a little more wholesome to proceedings. There is a slight savoury character to this mild, with tinges of coffee, thick body and clever use of rye to provide dryness to the beer’s finish. Having had this a week earlier at a beer festival, it benefited hugely from being served in cask through a sparkler to give it some life.
A 6% game ender here, although not Brass Castle’s most famous brew, Black Forest does exactly what it says with its name and its deep, dark appearance. Chocolate, cherries and a creamy thick body give a German dessert of a beer and if you’re a fan of the flavours, this will not disappoint you. Served on this occasion from keg, it gave a different dimension to the beer, bringing forth a much more ‘grown up’ acidity from the cherries and a interesting mouthfeel without detriment to the smoothness. Brewed using cherry extract and cocoa powder, it seems absurdly simple, but the end product leaves that all forgotten. The finish is balanced but slightly dry and acidic. Great beer.
The last beer of the night was another dark monster by the name of Bad Kitty, so named after an aspect of Naval drinking exploits (so called a pussycat, which was basically a shot of everything from the top shelf, or for those of us without a seafaring nature; a mix from your Mum and Dad’s liquor cabinet). A 5.7% Porter ale, this gives tonnes of chocolate and vanilla on the nose and in flavour, being velvety smooth and a slightly chalky and drying mouthfeel, Bad Kitty was the second beer ever brewed by Brass Castle. Milk Chocolate in a glass stemming from misbehaving cats during the homebrewing days for Phil. Bad Kitty is another great beer.
This was another really good outing in the Clove Hitch and although there have been some detractors of late in terms of having to pay for events such as this, it’s not a huge burden to hand over subs for a brilliant 3 course meal with 6+ excellent beers – you’re highly unlikely to get this along with an evenings’ entertainment for free anywhere. Presentations such as this, with knowledgeable speakers and a quality product are worth much more and as such, worthy of our support. In total honesty, this seemed like it was going to be one of the less exciting MTBs of recent times, but in the end, the whole experience proved to be one of the best Clove Hitch have hosted to date thanks to kitchen and especially to Brass Castle.
Once again, that is your lot for this MTB… but stay tuned for the next instalment and some more food and drink articles coming up. Hope you enjoyed the read as ever (give us a share or Retweet or whatever eh?) and until next time…. Salud!
Twenty Three Club / Clove Hitch
23 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BQ
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TwentyThreeClub or https://twitter.com/theclovehitch
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Tel: 0151 709 6574
Brass Castle Brewery
10A Yorkersgate, Malton, YO17 7AB
Tel: 01653 698 683