Tuesday evening saw Port Street Beer House kick off its annual American Beer Festival with a tutored beer tasting. Held upstairs by none other than Jeremy Strull, co-owner of Manchester speciality beer emporium Beermoth. Jeremy, a Kansan native, was the perfect host for such an event as he has vast experience in this particular field. Not that he’s a slouch in others; the first part of the talk was given other to how his beer journey began and how he got to where he is now. It’s a journey that encompassed Chicago, Belgium, Holland and, erm, Cains. Anyway, all the beers were interesting and, as a bonus, all new to me
Jack’s Abby Jabby Brau
A 4.5% lager from the Massachusetts brewery that’s specialises in brewing lager. A classic Pilsner base given a twist with locally grown hops for aroma but keeping the bitterness down to an even-tempered 20 IBU. Clean and crisp. Any bitterness soon dissipates to give a refreshing, perfect for summer, session ale.
Stillwater Stateside Saison
This is a 6.8% American take on a Belgium classic. It combines farmhouse yeast and European malt with American and New Zealand hops. The result is a perfect blend of the old and the new. You get the spiced funkiness of a traditional saison but a much dryer, hop-led finish. Very pleasant. Indeed one of my posse thought that it was the best saison they had ever tried.
Heretic Shallow Grave Porter
This 7% Porter hails from Fairfield, California. It was pleasingly dark on the eye and pleasingly silky on the tongue. Rich and bold, it had a shovelful of chocolate, molasses and a slight malt sweetness. What really raised this, as Jeremy pointed out, was the tart finish that left you wanting more. Another winner.
Knee Deep Hoptologist DIPA
Back to the land of movie stars and swimming pools for this 9% heavyweight. It boasts malt from Canada, Chile, Germany and the good old United Kingdom. Not to mention Cascade, Citra, Columbus, Magnum and Hersbrucker hops. This all adds up to a palate cleansing, dangerously drinkable little number. Often these types of beers are let down by an alcohol rush but the malt backbone does its job superbly allowing the pine resin rich flavours to come through. Zesty with a crisp bite, this could be the beer of the evening.
Pipeworks Reaper vs Unicorn
The psychedelic label apparently celebrates the tale of a unicorn rising from the dead to avenge themselves on the grim reaper. Hmmm. It’s a 10% rye barley wine. Hmmm. We all know rye belongs in bread and not a beer glass and this reinforced that truism. Not only did the alcohol come through too strongly, the rye left an unpleasant burnt candy taste that made it hard to love. Too reminiscent of the dreaded crystal malt effect for my liking, I couldn’t finish this. And I wasn’t the only one.
Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura
Now this 8.1% barrel-aged sour Stout was more like it. Dark and vinous, it was a real treat. Lots of swirling chocolate flavoured with plums, raisins, cherries and dark fruit. A really tart fruit finish completes this tour de force. Unusual and compelling.
Perennial Saison de Lis
This 5% beer was a bonus from Jeremy’s own collection. The twist being here that it’s brewed using camomile flowers. The overall impression if of apple and cinnamon: an apple crumble, if you will. Definitely a speciality beer, but certainly light on the palate and enjoyable.
So thanks to Jeremy and his wife and to Duncan and the gang at PSBH for another enjoyable evening.