Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Magificent Seven #7: Summer Lightning

Hop Back Brewery

In 1988 Public Enemy released the seminal hip-hop masterpiece It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. In exactly the same year, this straw-coloured ale came straight outta Salisbury. And the similarities are still striking: both are strong and bitter, both laid down a template that subsequently inspired hundreds of others, both have since collected numerous awards but neither feels quite as exciting as it once did.

However, this Golden-style beer with its hefty hoppy note is still superbly thirst-quenching on a warm day. And if you’re having a barbecue and your friends won’t try warm ale, it’s robust enough to even survive a short time in the fridge. Or, as Chuck D would have it: Cold Lampin' With Flavor.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Magificent Seven #6: Totty Pot Potter

Cheddar Ales


It is one of the little quirks of life that displaying any knowledge of beer is viewed by society with the same contempt, and from the same distance, as those who use piss as an eau de toilette, spend weekends dressed as minor characters from Stargate or travel by bus. So as you back away and glance askance at me, here is the difference between porters and stouts: porters get their delicious dusky colour from dark malts while stouts use roasted malted barley for their swirling blue/black hue.

Conveniently, toasted malt – along with a hint of bitterness and some dark fruit – is among the most prominent flavours in this slightly dry pint from Somerset. It’s a lovely example of the style and, don’t worry, the odd name doesn’t stem from some sexist pump-clip porno pic. In fact, it’s the name of a Mesolithic cave near Cheddar Gorge that was first excavated by Wessex Caving Club. Now there’s a bunch of social misfits…