Saturday, 6 December 2014

Advent Calendar - 6th December 2014

Beer Advent Calendar
Freedom Brewery - Organic Dark Lager 4.7%
6th December 2014

Today is the 6th of December, St Nicholas' Day.

Saint Nicholas, also known as Nikolaos of Myra and Nicholas the Wonderworker, was the 4th century Greek Bishop of Myra, a place that is now called Demre in modern day Turkey. He had a reputation for gift giving, and it is the figure associated with corruption of his name, Santa Claus, that we now associate with giving gifts at Christmas time. He is also one of the patron saints of brewing as legend has it that he invoked Gods help to raise three visiting clerics from the dead after they had been slain for their money by an innkeeper in whose inn they were staying while visiting the town. He is also known as a protector of travellers for that reason. In modern times children in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg leave their shoes in the foyer of their home at bedtime in the hope that St Nicholas will leave a few coins in them.

I hope you enjoyed that brief history lesson as I thought it merited a mention due St Nicholas somewhat tenuous association with brewers but, before today's beer, here are the answers to yesterdays quiz questions:

1. Esters

2. Myrrh

3. South African Breweries

4. The Goat (although I will accept Billy Goat or Ram)

5. Maltose

How did you get on? Too easy? Maybe. I hope you got them all.

So on to today's beer from my Ales by Mail calendar.

Freedom Brewery's Organic Dark Lager, is  a beer in a style commonly known as a Dunkel, which means dark in German, so, translating back to English, it's a dark lager, which is exactly what Freedom have called it. As a general rule it has to be said that Freedom don't go in for fancy names, with other beers called Pilsner, Organic Lager and Stout, you know exactly what you're going to be getting in your glass. Founded in Fulham in 1995 by Alistair Hook, the brewery moved to Staffordshire in 1997 and Alistair moved on to found Meantime in Greenwich in 2000. It prides itself on it's water, it's ingredients and it's adherence to proper lagering technique, and claims to be the longest microbrewer of craft lager in the UK. It's time to open that bottle.

Pouring more of a deep ruby red than the dark brown you often see with a Dunkel the aroma is absolutely stunning, full of fruitcake and glace cherries, strawberry bootlaces and soft brown bread crusts, figs and sultanas, I could happily sit for some time pulling out the fruity, cakey nuances coming from this glass. A little rough over the tongue, the carbonation scrubbing noticeably away as it releases some cherry flavoured caramel backed by some plump Vimto-soaked raisins that quickly come to the fore, I'm really really enjoying this. The finish is suitably arid but with some wonderful echoes of cherry and blackcurrant that carry through for longer than I was I was expecting, and I'm following it's journey through to it's lingering death with much delight before diving back in for my next sip. This is lovely, and even though I drank this at a measured pace I could have happily drunk it down quickly and gone back for another. If only I had one (or more) in the fridge. I plan to remedy that situation soon.

What a delicious beer that was and so, suitably refreshed, it's time for today's questions.

1. The German brewery Weimar-Ehringsdorf in the city of Weimar has had a troubled past to say the least. Ransacked by the Red Army, socialised during the Communist era, and bankrupted in the 1990s, it has since be revived and now brews according to its original recipe. What is the name of the brand?

2. In 1864 a 22 year old brewer purchased a 300 year old brewery in Amsterdam called De Hooiberg and started his own brewery. What was this brewers name?

3. Which prefix is often used in German to signify that a beer is brewed according to an original recipe or is the first batch of a new style of beer?

4. What is the Latin name for the common hop plant?

5. What, in German, is the name of the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 stating that beer must only be produced with malt, water, hops and no other additives?

As always, the very best of luck with those.

And finally, or firstly as I know some of you check out this part before reading the rest of the post, here is today's corny cracker joke:

Why are horse-drawn carriages so unpopular?

Because horses are rubbish at drawing.

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