They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Intriguing Innovation and Chocolate Orange Porters

As I've said before in previous posts, homebrewing is on the up and up. People I've talked to and who I know quite well are fully getting stuck into the whole scene. As I speak I'm currently sipping on another one of Zak Averys concoctions; a chocolate orange porter!

Everybody seems to be in for a bit of experimentation in what there producing which is really great to see, especially when the beers their making are this tasty. Everyone wants the best hops (simcoe is a big hitter at the mo, and the half kilo of citra which was delivered to the shop looked fun!) and peeps are fully taking advantage of all other ingredients on the market, pushing the boundaries and questioning what you can put in a beer. Zak's beer is pretty self explanatory; a good porter - light in body, smooth in texture with a good carbonation and full in flavour (the perfect after dinner drink) I'm guessing there were chocolate malts used in production from the roasty smoothness and there is a real good bitter tang. Now the really interesting part about this beer to me, is the fact Zak used Cointreau as a primer for his bottles - and to give him his orange pithy-ness he is so fond of. Now I know some may frown on this and call Zak a bit of a cheater, but all I can say is 'who ever said caster sugar was so good?'  

I think this was a really smart and calculated move from a man who new what he wanted to brew and added exactly what he needed to produce it. All the guys I've been talking to know what beers they want to make, and do everything they can to go about making them. Tom Fozard's liqorice stout (shown right) was packed so full of flavour I wouldn't have been surprised if he put a whole bag of bassets sweets in the fermentation tub, and if anyones been following Rob Derbyshire from HopZine on Twitter the list of ingredients for his first homebrew was pretty epic! Why is it that some new breweries popping up are being boring and just brewing a 'Best', a 'Pale ale', and a 'Blond'? Now while they may be good beers, it's tried and tested. If some of these new breweries want to stand out from the pack do something different! Take a leaf out a homebrewers journal and try something interesting, because nothing's stopping these guys from doing it.

This is the point of the whole thing. I was talking with Zak the other day about what you can actually make beer with. Beer is pretty much ground up seeds and grains, with extra stuff added and then fermented with yeast, this we all know. Beer can also be made from other grains like oats, rice, rye etc...ect... but is that it?

Surely you can make a beer out of anything that is fermentable? It may not be cost effective (and you'd need a lot) but would it be possible to make a beer out of something like sunflower seeds?? What about other types of grasses or seeds? These are the kinds of questions that we should be asking, -  1. because it's interesting and 2. because it'd be really cool to find out. Just look at roosters when they fermented a beer in a massive pumpkin - that was cool! It wasn't a new idea, they do it all the time in the U.S. (and it looks awesome whacking taps into pumpkins) but once again it's something a little off the beaten track. Maybe you could ferment a beer in watermelon!? Get out there and try shake things up a bit.

So here's to the inspiring innovators, may they intrigue our thirsts for many years to come. I'm off to see how much sunflowers cost ;)


  1. Dude, with these praises, you are spoiling me.

  2. My homebrew is still chugging along behind my sofa. The combination of an unexpectedly high OG and a slowish fermentation if my final gravity is hit my once 6.5% IPA may turn into a 8% monster! When the bubbles finish I'm going to dry hop it too to reinstate any aroma that may have been lost.

    I love pale ales and my first brews will be experimentations on a simple theame HOPS! I want to stick with a simple-ish malt bill but play around with the combinations of hops.
    Brew #2 is set to be a NZ pale ale bittered with NZ Pacifica and lots of Nelson Sauvin for aroma.

    If they are drinkable I'm make sure you get a bottle.

  3. Cool, cheers Rob. Home brew seems to be flying round our ranks faster than U.S. beers at the moment, it's really great to see what other people are making.