Monday evening saw the great and not-so-good head to the Port Street Beer House for a meet the brewer session with Kirkstall. Launched last year, they are an up-and-coming outfit based near Leeds on the side of the Leeds and Liverpool canal.
Although it was billed as a “meet the brewer” and he (Alex) was there, it was the gaffer, Steve Holt who did most of the talking. He gave a confident presentation that eschewed the basic malt-hops-yeast makes beer spiel and concentrated on the specifics of Kirkstall Brewery.
This was all for the good; as it’s safe to assume most of those assembled knew the ABC of brewing. What people are interested in (well I am, anyway) are what the brewery’s story is and what’s in their beer. Steve was obviously passionate not only about the Kirkstall beers, but also about the local heritage and the history of the original Kirkstall Brewery, Which all made for an entertaining and informative evening.
Kirkstall Pale AleInspired by American Pale Ales, but tempered more for the British palate, the well-balanced mix of malt and hops gives an enjoyable fruit edge to the beer. A good start.
Black Band PorterAnother enjoyable beer. Dark and full of chocolate and coffee notes, but surprisingly smooth.
Three SwordsIt should actually be three daggers, but that’s Yorkshire folk for you. This utilises three hops to give a good, crisp, citrus hop bite with an appealing dry finish. My favourite of the evening.
Generous GeorgeA rare one-off brew named after a local character “Polish George”, this 6.5% beer has been dry-hopped with Marynka hops. It was described as “unusual” and it was. By Steve’s own admission, it was served rather fresh and will benefit from further maturation. Has the potential to be very good but, as tasted, was too boozy.
Not served at its best: cloudy and yeasty from the cask. However, this recent silver medallist winner at SIBA is a class act normally and if you see it on the bar, I’d recommend trying it.
FramboiseServed last, this 3.6% dessert beer is brewed somewhere-Steve remained tight-lipped over exactly where-in Belgium. It caused something of a split in opinion. The minority opinion was that it was fruity and refreshing. While the majority felt that the tartness gave way too quickly to a syrupy sweetness. Why not try it and see what you think?
Next month: Hawkshead