Harbour Brewing Company is a relatively small craft brewery based in the North of Cornwall. They state that they have a commitment to making contemporary styles of beer that ‘deliver an uncompromising taste experience’. During the discussion about many of their beers, Eddie was very vocal about wishing he had access to a laboratory such as that owned by other Cornish breweries.
One of the most easy drinking and best-selling of the Harbour range, this beer has undergone two iterations, the second of which was made with an extra bag of malt in the mash, making it up to 5.5%, but the first version remains at a steady 5% abv. The most notable twist in the character is the overt sweetness and slight hint of the metallic in this pilsner; whilst it provides a very interesting and pleasant flavour pinch, the body of the pils benefits from the sweetness but the sharp hit of refreshment is lacking due to being ever so slightly unbalanced. This sweetness has apparently been derived from a brew fault; however, it is not totally unwelcome, providing a very interesting variation on a theme.
This IPA was the first beer brewed commercially by Harbour and is made using crystal malt, then Nugget hops for bittering with Cascade and Columbus for dry hopping. The brewery churns out some 90-barrels a week of this popular beer which is essentially a standard British IPA style beer, available in bottle, keg and cask. A very pleasant and accessible beer, drinkable and hopped to a good level, retaining a balance and lighter mouthfeel for a more session based ale.
Harbour Pale Ale #5
This is the fifth variation of the Pale and again, the use of Nugget hops for bittering is present. The addition of dextrose was for a one-off ale, but the popularity of a very drinkable beer meant retention in the Harbour ranks. The Pale Ale is now one of the core range and weighs in at around 6%, this ale does convey some light citrus and slight tropical or white stone fruit in both the nose and flavour. Attempts were made at exporting this ale to Canada and Australia due to the perception that the higher abv might give it some robust travelling quality. Alas, when trying it at the point of serve, the beer was not up to the standard expected by Eddie following a 3-month period of selling their beer on the road. It was just fine here though.
India Brown Ale
Using American style techniques and centennial hops, this beer certainly lives up to its name. A brown ale with an amber hew and pleasant carbonation, this is a decidedly hoppy effort and the beer is actually very balanced and structured from keg. There are floral and light caramel or toffee notes in the nose, with a good slightly nutty roast finish. There is some length to the ale too, which weighs in at 4.9%.
A lager made in collaboration with the Wild Beer Company, which has been aged in red wine barrels and imparts some vanilla and fruit flavours to the beer. There is a very animalistic nose to the beer; perhaps from the aromas straw and farmyards sometimes gained from French Pinot Noir? There is a very tempered sweetness in this beer, which ultimately has a very dry finish, is slightly sour (in a good way!) and is a very enjoyable beer with hits of cherry brandy, some honeyed-citrus and other red fruit.
The Dunkel Bock is what Eddie described as a ‘summery dark beer’ and he may have a point. The beer does carry with it, a kind of herbal freshness reminiscent of garden herbs and has quite a grassy aroma. Considering the earthiness and colour of the beer, the body of it remain rather light and lacking in the usual chewiness you would expect from such a brew. There is a restrained use of hops in this beer and it is very competent for it.
Finally, the Belgian Pale is a rather sweet beer, with tonnes of summer fruit on the nose and in the taste. The punch given from a first sniff in the glass is akin to that experienced from opening a new tin of baked beans, sweet, slightly acidic with a slight earthy tone. This beer was made in collaboration with Redchurch Brewery, based in East London and made in a traditional Belgian style, although the beer is similar to that of a triple IPA, Belgian yeast and the use of stella and galaxy hops give this lively (high in carbonation on this occasion!) 7.2% beer a different flavour edge.
All in all, a very informative and engaging evening with Eddie from Harbour; they have recently signed deals with Sainsbury’s to provide beers in their supermarkets, although this is likely to be restricted to the core range. Harbour has a number of beers that are worth further investigation and the enthusiasm for their craft was certainly evident throughout the talk.
Until the next time….
Harbour Brewing Company.
Tel: 01208 832131
Twenty Three Club / Clove Hitch
23 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BQ
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TwentyThreeClub or https://twitter.com/theclovehitch
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Tel: 0151 709 6574