The last meet the brewer event at Port Street Beer House was an eagerly anticipated affair. Why? Because the brewery was Burning Sky and the brewer was Mark Tranter. For anyone who doesn’t know (what sort of beer geek are you?) Mark was one of the co-founders of the mighty Dark Star brewery. Yes, the Dark Star that gave us the iconic Hophead: a beer that was craft before the term was coined on these shores. So with a pedigree like that, naturally expectations were high.
Of course the first question that springs to most people’s minds is why he would leave an outfit like Dark Star? This Mark addressed as he gave us a walk through on his career and ethos of brewing. Basically he wanted to move on and get stuck into creating something new again. The trouble is with creating an icon such as Hophead, for example, is that you can never tweak it. With Burning Sky he gets to start from scratch but have all his experience guiding him.So together with former homebrewer Tom Dobson, he is hoping that their 15 barrel plant in a converted stable in the country estate of Firle can produce beers that mix contemporary with the traditional. We got to sample five of these:
Plateau: At only 3.5% this blend of US & NZ hops is what Hophead would be if created today. Quaffable and packed full of hops. My favourite of the evening.
Saison L’Hiver: An interesting 4.2% Saison that is infused with Hawthorne leaves and is surprisingly refreshing. My second favourite of the evening.
Aurora: A 5.6% strong Pale Ale that carefully blends a strong malt backbone and US hops.
Saison a la Provision: A 6.5% Saison with a twist; it undergoes secondary fermentation with a blend of Lactobacillus & Brettanomyces. This was on keg but some should be also be appearing in English oak white wine barrels.
Devils Rest: Named after a nook behind the brewery, this is their full on 7% IPA using a blend of Centennial and Simcoe hops.
Thanks to Mark and the gang at PSBH for the first MTB of 2014.