Through the wonders of social media, I heard a local brewery were introducing a new beer range into the public domain. Red Squirrel Brewing Co. have created something called – ‘Baby Squirrel Experimental’. Already a fan of their current range (Redwood and Black Lager are two of my favourites) I was quite intrigued. Chatting to the guys at the brewery tap, they say it’s a “platform to try new recipes or very limited edition brews”. Seems like an interesting idea, I’m sure you’d agree.
First on their agenda is a changed and improved recipe of their already fantastic ‘Redwood’. For anybody who’s never heard of it, it’s an American IPA and well worth a try if you ever come across it. So, the resulting beer has been bottled, and limited to very few – only 50 in fact. My iPhone calculator tells me this is just 29.063 UK pints – hopefully the people at Red Squirrel have have drunk at least half of this when tasting…?
I had to get my hands on a bottle (or three) as I’m pretty sure they would sell fairly quick. I’ve not yet opened one but I’m very much looking forward to trying it. I really like the idea and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for future Baby Squirrel creations.
Red Squirrel Brewing Co. is based in Potten End, Hertfordshire. They have a brilliant craft beer shop in Chesham, and another soon to open in Berkhamsted.
Keep up the good work guys!
Here’s a piece of news I found quite interesting.
Today, the UK office for national statistics (ONS) has added bottled ‘craft’ beer to its shopping basket, the stuff that it uses to measure inflation. It’s the first time craft beer has been added to the basket of goods, in it’s 70 year history. Seeing as these items represent consumer spending, this obviously means the amount of money spent on speciality ales has increased steadily in the past 12 months. And it means shelf space in supermarkets is being increased to accommodate the rise – which is great!
Why has it become the norm for people to instinctively switch from a pre dinner beer to a glass of wine at the table? We all do it, as soon we leave the bar to enter the dining room, we quite naturally start to think about wine. It’s got me thinking – is it really fair?
I really believe beer can be paired with food just as well (if not better) than wine can, but it just doesn’t seem to actually be done on any where near the same scale, especially when it comes to more formal occasions. Who has ever rejected the sommelier’s wine recommendation in a fancy restaurant in favour of a bottle of pale ale or craft lager? Very few, I imagine. In fact, would the restaurant even have them
I do think it’s becoming more practised these days though. There’s lots of books being published on the subject with proper thinking involved. Restaurants and bars are marketing themselves on offering specialist bottled beer to accompany their creative food and promotions from various organisations – it all helps the cause.
Matching beer and food relies on much the same principles as with wine, they should interact with one another, compliment and contrast whilst not being overpowering. For example a clear, crisp blonde would pair well with a light chicken salad and I would drink an American IPA with a spicy curry, whereas a bottle of stout would trounce more delicate food. These are pretty simple principles really, most people are aware of them, but (as with me) anybody who refuses to drink a certain ale just because it’s not recommended alongside the food is clearly a borderline ‘snob’. I generally stick to the recommendation but believe we should drink the beer we fancy at the time… unsurprisingly it often enhances the food experience superbly.
So, I recently had the pleasure of having a pint of the most amazing tasting beer, so nice in fact, that it’s actually inspired be to put these thoughts into words… so here we are. I had to do a bit of research, but thoroughly enjoyed learning about the beer and its creator. It comes from a brewery established in Lexington, Virginia, USA, but it’s made over here by Banks’s in Wolverhampton. Since October it’s been draught served in many JD Wetherspoon pubs, a great boost to its sales I’m sure, as they’re beer is always kept fantastically well. Maybe we’ll see it in bottles or cans soon? Anyway, here’s what I thought.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to what I drink from. It has to be a tall, elegant flute for Champagne, a wide bowled wine glass for red, and most importantly always a branded beer glass. The beer is poured into a beautifully simple, weighty pint glass, with their very vivid logo stamped on – made by Utopia Tableware. It’s a keg beer, so it’s a little more fizzy than the beer I normally drink, thats not to say I didn’t enjoy the change. The carbonation isn’t excessive by any means and the attractive, thick, head follows the beer right down the glass, something which I love to see. It pours as a clear, almost shiny golden colour. Served too cold in some people’s opinion, but I think it’s temperature steps it up in the refreshing stakes. It really is very aromatic, with masses of grapefruit on the nose and further citrus notes following. On first taste it’s quite complex, as your progress the citrus flavour dominates the taste, it’s very fragrant, and has a clean, floral, almost grassy flavour. It has a relatively smooth mouthfeel, and finishes nice and dry.
I had a pint with a rather spicy beef madras, and think it would go well with something like freshly fried chilli shrimps. Really enjoyable, interesting beer, at 5.2% there’s lots to talk about – really glad I discovered it.
Thank you Devils Backbone!