Another Monday, another meet the brewer at Port Street Beer House. Now tickets for these things are getting harder to get hold of than a leprechaun’s treasure chest. And it doesn’t help when it’s a brewer(y) of renown such as Weird Beard. They’re yet another London outfit knocking out good beer. In fact: very good beer. As recognised by ratings website RateBeer which ranked them 5th best new brewery of 2013. Impressive stuff; no wonder tickets were in short supply.
Our host for the evening was Gregg, one half of the aforementioned Weird Beard. There being no flies on me, I immediately clocked that his beard wasn’t that weird at all. He almost sounded disappointed as he explained that his absent partner Brian was the real weird beardy wearer. Gregg turned out to be an amiable, open guy who encouraged us to approach him to discuss things in more detail. His insights were the sort I like; concise and to the point, thereby leaving more time for supping.Gregg and Brian were both homebrewers of note before setting up their own brewery and this probably explains why the starting standard was so good. Gregg was converted to the good beer cause (like many a new wave brewer) after a trip to the USA and you can still see that influence in many of their beers. Interestingly he’s also a fan of the Soratchi Ace hop, a hope that seems to have as many fans as detractors.
Little Things That Kill
This is an experimental number. The malt and body stay the same but the hops change at the brewer’s discretion. I can see the appeal in that from their perspective but as a punter I’m not sure I want a beer changing all the time. Having said that, this is the second time I’ve sampled this 3.5% beer and it’s terrific. Definitely one of the best low vol beers out there. This was batch 5 and mixed Galaxy with Soratchi Ace, Summit and Apollo. Some on my table voted it best of the night.
Single Hop Citra PilsAn interesting case, this. Gregg, being honest, admitted this wasn’t right. The bottle version had been ok but the draught version was below par. Indeed when it warmed up there was no mistaking the green apple, acetaldehyde tang. Being a Pils fan, I was ready to be outraged by a Citra bastardisation, but this has real potential. Anyway, it can’t have been that bad as I supped it easily enough.
Five O’clock ShadowTheir classic American IPA rarely disappoints and didn’t again tonight. A good malt backbone gives way to a tantalising blast of Apollo, Citra, Columbus and Summit hops. Never mind 5 o’clock, I could drink this anytime.
Fade to BlackAnother interesting one. This is supposed to be a Black IPA. I say “supposed” because Gregg admitted they were aiming for a bit of a dry Stout feel to this beer. Must be the Irish influence. And the blend of Summit, Citra and that old favourite Soratchi certainly leans the beer that way. So is it a classic Cascadian Dark? Probably not. Is it a very good beer, irrespective of style? Oh yes.
DecadenceAnother big favourite of the night. This is a full-bodied Stout that oozes, erm, decadence. Rich chocolate and coffee flavours assault the palate. Which is interesting as there is no roasted barley in it; only the precise combining of 8 different grains. So not only a fine beer but a lesson in brewing, no less.
A very enjoyable evening with some excellent beer. Thanks once again to everyone concerned.