Still they come… American-style ales brewed in Britain, as seen in AAS July, an innovation led by small ‘craft ale’ operations but now big enough to interest some larger breweries.
Greene King of Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, which brews beers such as IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbott Ale, is now producing East Coast IPA – East Coast America, that is, not our East Anglian coast.
The essential ingredient is American hops that deliver a citrus aroma and tangy, refreshing beer, 4 per cent abv. I found it in an eight bottle multi-pack in Tesco for £15 with singles on the shelf at £1.99 per 500ml bottle.
Firmly based near the English east coast at the pretty village of Wakes Colne in Essex, Colchester Brewery is brewing English ‘real’ ales. It was set up four years ago in a small business park beautifully landscaped into the surrounding green fields. This is Constable country, with a stunning railway viaduct striding across the skyline and the East Anglian Railway Museum at nearby Chappel station.
Co-founder Roger Clark presides over the brewery as if it were a model train set, every brewing process in miniature, with one key extra they call the ‘double drop’ method. Roger claims there is only one other brewery in the UK doing this.
The ale is brewed in a normal but miniature mash tun, cleaned after each brew by a man climbing in through a door little bigger than a porthole. The mash is then transferred to the first fermentation copper for 16 hours during which the majority of the impurities filter out. It is then literally ‘dropped’ down into a 10-barrel second fermentation vessel for six to seven days, with a white moulded cover to control the natural fermentation froth.
The result is cask ales Colchester No 1, 4.1 per cent, classic copper-coloured English ale and AK Pale ale 3.7 per cent session ale. Bottled specialities include Metropolis golden, 3.9 per cent and hoppy and spicy, a red bitter called Red Diesel 4.2 per cent – “not just for farmers” proclaims the label, a joke motor boaters might get too – and Old King Coel (sic) London Porter at 5 per cent, a really good speciality dark beer.
If you find yourself in the area, perhaps sailing the East Coast swatchways, a Colchester Brewery beer is a must.
Southampton Boat Show
Bottega Gold Prosecco in individual 20cl gold-coated bottles offered with a bendy straw was offered by Swallow Yachts at their pontoon berth press conference. A good tip for a yacht launching party as there are no labels to wash off in the ice tub and you have no glasses to deal with.
Refreshingly dry at 11 per cent, it is available from various suppliers including www.drinksdirect.co.uk where the multi-buy price (24 bottles) works out at £3.79 a throw.
PSP Logistics went for Galanti Prosecco when announcing its expansion in Poole Harbour. Made from Glera grapes and 11 per cent, it is vibrant and authentic. Listed at www.easywineshop.co.uk at a reasonable £8.48 per 75cl bottle.
Sunsail chose Chilgrove gin for Mediterranean-inspired gin and tonic cocktails featuring Fever Tree tonic and stripped orange peel, which worked very well.
And Goslings, featured in last month’s All At Sea, offered its own Bermuda Black Seal rum and Goslings ginger beer for sampling and purchase.