Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Advent Calendar - 2nd December 2014

Beer  Advent Calendar 2014
2nd December 2014
Meantime Brewing Co. - Yakima Red 4.1%

It's the second day of December, have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Well don't worry if you haven't as there's still five hundred and twenty eight hours to go. That's loads of time, so take a break from your festive frenzy, open a beer and spend a few well-earned minutes chilling out.

Before I move on to the beer here are the answers to yesterdays mini-quiz:

1. Germany

2. Saint George

3. Albani Brewery (now known as Royal Unibrew)

4. Russia

5. The Czech Republic

How did you do? Don't worry if you didn't do too well as I'll have five more for you today to tax your beer brains.

Tonight's beer from my Ales by Mail Advent Calendar is by London's Meantime Brewing Co., a brewery that's I've featured four times already in my blog before with reviews of their Bourbon Barrel Aged Greenwich Ale, Barley Wine Ale, Barbados Rum Barrel Aged Greenwich Ale and Union Lager all part of my Beers Of London Series. There's plenty of information about the brewery itself in those posts, so I thought I might write a little about the style, American Amber/Red Ale.

The US Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) was set up to bring clear definitions to styles for judging processes, providing a category in which to submit a particular beer in competition allowing to be compared to it's peers. This states that this style should be like "an American pale ale with more body, more caramel richness, and a balance more towards malt than hops (although hop rates can be significant)." I have to admit for myself that I'm not a huge fan of the style, finding that they often promise much in the aroma whilst the taste is either thin and wishy-washy or else it just ends up tasting like a big chewy artificial red berry flavoured mess. Meantime source all the hops for this beer from the Yakima Valley (hence the beers name), which is a predominantly wine growing region in Washington State, and I have to also admit that it's a beer that I've had many times before. I'm little disappointed at that after the wonderful surprise of a beer I had yesterday if I'm honest, but I'll open the bottle and see if I can be seduced by it this time.

Pouring a beautiful ruby red colour with a thin off-white head this beer is a real stunner in the glass, seemingly burning with an inner fire where it catches the light it really is a thing of beauty. The aroma is beautiful too with grapefruit and fresh strawberries, a hint of pine and pineapple all topped with some orange and lemon zest, the late-hopping really enables those citrus flavours to burst out of the beer. Spritzy with a big rush of vibrant lemon zest over the tongue before some forceful strawberry caramel takes over, accelerating exponentially towards a finish that it clean and abrupt with another echo of strawberry, only it's the sweet bootlace variety on this occasion. Although this beer is a little on the thin side to my mind, those sparkling hops really sing before the malts assert themselves, it really is spot on and I think this is the best I've ever tasted it. Whether it is down to this years hop crop or tweaks by the brewer, I am genuinely impressed.

So after that super beer, it's time to test how super you are with your beer knowledge. Five questions as before and you were all bit shy yesterday, so if you think you know the answers then tweet me on @1970sBoy . Here we go:

1. On which day of the week does the traditional Munich Oktoberfest end?

2. What is the name of the sparkling beer infused with blackcurrant syrup that is brewed by Birrificio Italiano in Lombardy, Italy?

3. What do you call the final step in the malting process in which moisture is reduced and in which the colour and flavours are determined?

4. Hoegaarden of Belgium brews a beer with a label featuring a depiction of Adam tempting Eve with a glass of beer. What is the English translation of its name?

5. Name the official beer of FC Bayern Munchen?

Easy than yesterday? I think so, but then again I have the answers of course. Let me know what you think.

... And finally, another corny Christmas cracker joke for you to groan to.

What do you drain your carrots with at Christmas?

An Advent Colander

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