Monday, 2 September 2013
Beers of London Series: 52. The Botanist Brewery - Maximus 5.8%
Beers Of London Series
52. The Botanist Brewery - Maximus 5.8%
I hope you've had a fantastic summer.
I've seemingly been charging here there and everywhere, having a fantastic time, meeting wonderful people and drinking plenty of superb beer, however as a consequence of this I've fallen a little behind on my blogging and have a great load of homework to do to get back up to speed.
I've been fortunate enough to be invited to some interesting beer launches and events in the last six weeks and there'll plenty of writing to come about those soon enough, but this post isn't about any of those. I say that, but it sort of is. Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to be invited to a beer and burger food pairing event by Ocado and hosted by Beer Sommelier Jane Peyton. I try not to be late for these things but I found myself in Holborn a good forty minutes before it was due to start. Now if I happen to be in Holborn when I'm in need of a beer then I naturally gravitate towards the Holborn Whippet, and so it was that I happened to find myself standing at the bar looking at the chalk board to see which beer I would have from 'the brick' (if you've been there then you'll know what I mean, if not then you really need to go there). Imagine my delight (you'll have to trust me on this) when my eyes alighted on a beer from a London brewery (on cask) of whose wares I'd yet to partake.
The Botanist Brewery can, unsurprisingly, be found in The Botanist pub right on the edge of Royal Botanic Gardens in Richmond. Established in 2011 is also a brewpub with the beers being brewed just four yards from the bar. Owned by Convivial London Pubs PLC ( previously known as The Capital Pub Company 2 PLC, and before that The Capital Pub Company 2 Limited) who own a number of London pubs whose beer this also supplies, they also own The Lamb in Chiswick, which also has it's own brewery on site, and produces a different range of beers.
I had a bit of a dilemma when it came to the abv of this Red Ale, as the website lists it at 6.2%, however the Holborn Whippet displayed it on their board at 5.8%. Now, I don't know which is more likely to be correct, it is possible that the alcohol by volume has been reduced so I'll stick with my pub displayed value as I have no reason to see why they would reduce it.
It pours a beautiful sunset orange, slightly cloudy and graduating toward a rich milk chocolate colour at its core with a thin but sustained head. The aroma reminds me of heavily varnished pews in old churches, but with the merest hints of pineapple, grapefruit and orange peel flirting enticingly around the edges. A wave of big bitterness immediately crashes over the tongue, stripping away everything that may have been there before, but this is tempered with a curious tartness condensing quickly into a sticky orange caramel whilst all the time maintaining its driven bitter-bladed intrusiveness. The finish is dry and long as you might expect, and while there is some orange flavoured oiliness apparent there's a lot less than I was expecting given its initial all-out attack on my tastebuds.
This is a beer that doesn't disguise its strength but rather revels in it. It's certainly a beer that is a cut above the usual run of stronger ales in this style and wants you to know it too. I have to say that I rather like it, so perhaps a trip across town may be in order soon. Maybe I'll take in Chiswick too.