Last week saw a special meet the brewer event at Port Street Beer House. Those in attendance were lucky enough to spend some time with Eric Wallace, co-founder of Left Hand Brewing. LHB are an award-winning craft brewery from Colorado who are named after the local Native American Chief Niwot whose tribe wintered in the area. “Niwot” in southern Arapahoe meaning “left hand”.Eric was a natural speaker and guided us through the various stages of the brewery from its genesis in 1990 to the large operation it is now. He is passionate about craft beer and also about getting the beer out to people as fresh as possible. But more of that later. He was obviously highly intelligent-he loves Manchester-and certainly seems to have a vision for the future of LBH.
Stranger Pale AleThis was a very interesting first beer. Pleasant enough, if surprisingly subdued, it had sulphur and biscuit malt tones. Certainly nobody complained and indeed somebody claimed it was the best beer of the year. But then Eric dropped his bombshell. The beer was old. It was a year old keg! Cue shock-horror amongst the crafterati. They’d been done up like a turkey at Christmas.
The very serious point that Eric was making was that brewers need to get their beers out to drinkers as quickly as possible. People should be drinking beer at its best and that was a continuing problem. To try and address this, LHB are cutting the shelf life and best before dates of its beers and is reorganising its European distribution. An interesting insight into the problems of beer distribution and consumption.
400 Pound MonkeyThis is an interesting beer that tends to get mixed responses. With a market full of atypical IPAs: hop led pine fests, LHB set out to do something different. They created an English style IPA by using Sovereign, Magnum and Boadicea hops and four different malt varieties. More well-balanced and akin to banana bread than your usual bitter IPA.
Milk Stout & Milk Stout Nitro
Two versions of the same beer. Left Hand were the first in America to produce a nitro beer in a bottle without the use of a widget and Eric was keen for us to taste the difference. They both were well-rounded, but the nitro version had more subdued chocolate and coffee flavours.Twin Sisters
This double IPA-named after the twin peaks in Colorado-was the hit of the day. Powerful, but packed full of grapefruit, honey, pine and residual bitterness, this was an excellent example of the style.
Thanks again to Eric and PSBH for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.