Sunday, 27 January 2013

Billericay Brewing Co. - Mayflower Gold 6.5%

"Can I have some beer?" was apparently the first thing said by Samoset, a Native American, on the first encounter with the Pilgrim Fathers. What's more, it was said in perfect English.

In addition to this, it is said that the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock due to a shortage of beer. They'd planned to sail further south but, as the beer had run out, they landed in order to brew more. It must be remembered of course that beer was a much safer to drink than water so was by far the better option.

The Pilgrim Fathers, or Pilgrims as they are more commonly known in the US, were the early settlers in the Plymouth Colony in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, escaping the growing religious liberalism in Europe. You can read more about them here should you wish.

A meeting of these pioneers is said to have taken place in the Chantry House in Billericay, Essex prior to their sailing, and indeed four local people were on board. Their connection is remembered in the names of many Billericay businesses, Mayflower school and even the town sign has the Mayflower on it.

It has also been remembered in the name of inaugural beer by the Billericay Brewing Company.

The Billericay Brewing Company was set up and started brewing in 2012 by semi-retired school teacher Trevor Jeffery. His father was a keen home brewer and wine maker, but it was a brewery experience day at Brentwood Brewing Company that was a particular inspiration. A one day brewing course with Nigel Sadler at Learn2brew and avid reading of Ted Bruning's The Microbrewers Handbook helped him decide that this was the path he wanted to follow.

Mayflower Gold was brewed with the help of Canadian Andy Skene of Pitfield's Dominion Brewery Company and is an American Style Pale Ale. The Pilgrim Fathers connection is also here in the masses of Pilgrim hops used for bittering. Willamette was added to the last 10 minutes of the boil to add some fruity and floral notes, with Cascade, imparting it's distinctive grapefruit and citrus aromas, added in the dry-hopping stage. Nottingham ale yeast, with pale malt and caramalt making up the rest of the dry ingredients, with the 1000 half-champagne bottles being corked and caged after a 7 day fermentation.

Pouring a medium amber with a fluffy carbonated white head, the aroma has touches of spicy grapefruit, tangerine and lemon. This is a beer that lets you know it has arrived in the mouth as it explodes like a big tangerine and honey cough drop, dripping some gooey lemon, grapefruit and spicy yeast infused marmalade liberally around. There's a slight feeling that you've swallowed a whole satsuma, skin and all, that follows but this isn't unpleasant in any way. The aftertaste has sharp pithy caramel-citrus that lasts for a long time, rather like finishing an orange spongue pudding.Truly delicious.

This is a fantastic first offering from a new brewery. Rather than go for a bland brown bitter, Trevor has made a tasty 6.5% pale ale incorporating a (albeit in name only) nod to Billericay's history with the use of the Pilgrim hop. The beer is available around Billericay in Cellars Off-Licence, the Rajmoni restaurant in Brentwood, and at the Ale House in Chelmsford. It can even be tasted whilst getting your hair cut on a Tuesday evening at The Hair Company in Brentwood. It will also be available on cask at the Chelmsford Winter Beer And Cider Festival 2013.

New premises have been found and, pending the necessary permissions, a beer shop will also feature.
I wish Trevor every success in this venture and if you can get this beer I urge you to try it. I'm looking forward to much more from the Billericay Brewing Company as we head into 2013.
I'll leave you with a picture of Trevor and his beer.

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