Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Beers Of London Series: 53. Savour Beer - Progress 6.5%

Beers Of London Series
53. Savour Beer - Progress 6.5%

Savour, born in December 2012, is the realisation of the brewing dream of Sandy Kirkpatrick. A former structural engineer, his influence and inspiration comes from Belgian beer, its styles, its culture and its attitude, and he wanted to bring this feeling, this essence to his beer and make it available in the UK. He is a frequent visitor to Belgium , in fact he's there at time of writing, exploring and indulging in the adventure, variety and experience that is beer there. Having been there twice within the last couple of months I can fully appreciate and understand where he is coming from.
Although based in Fulham, having his own brewery is still a part of his vision yet to be realised and he is what is commonly known as a gypsy brewer, brewing beer and renting space at Oxfordshire Ales, in a part of the country I know rather well as my sister-in-law lives in Bicester not far from the brewery. Progress is Savour's first commercial beer, and is described as a 'modern expression of a classic Belgian blond', and Sandy was kind enough to send me this bottle to sample and get my feedback. He has just brewed a Saison, Finesse, which is due for release toward the end of September and I recommend reading Sandy's blog on his website which encompasses not only his own beer and brewing but also his thoughts on his favourite Belgian beers and other aspects of beer in general.
I'm anxious to see how his vision is realised in his beer and as there is only really one way to find out then I'd better open the bottle.
It pours a pale orange, throwing a high soft pillowy white head much as you would expect from a Belgian blond, and the aroma doesn't disappoint either. There's a delicious tartness reminding me of peach cobbler, lemon drop, fresh white bread and the faintest hint of bicarbonate of soda. A light prickle of carbonation is evident as it slides rather silkily over the tongue, and it has a bitterness too that comes straight afterwards that I find a little cloying but this quickly fades to be replaced by lemon sherbert and a taste that reminds me of that thick opaque creamy yellow honey that I have had on holidays to France. Some orange rind is also apparent along with home-made white bread crust which slowly slips away into a dry yeasty orange flavoured lozenge aftertaste.
If you didn't know better (and you do now that you've read this) then you'd say this was a genuine Belgian blond ale rather than an English inspired version. The slight cloying bitterness I experienced particularly around the edges of my tongue upset my palate slightly, but such is the delicacy of the other flavours that I can forgive this. I wonder a little at the exactness of the replication. I understand the reason for it but perhaps I'd like to have seen an English twist to it, however thinking this through further that might be missing the point and rather unfair. In this series I have embraced openly Pale Ales and IPAs particularly that have followed the US template and this is no different in openly acknowledging its influences although obviously here with the focus towards a much closer country to the UK. I look forward to trying the Saison, a style that has been enjoying a renaissance over the last year or so, and if this beer is anything to go by then it promises to be very good indeed.

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