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

Saturday 4 June 2011

An Unforeseen Perk

A few weeks back, whilst I was staying down with Ghost Girlfriend (yes that's her!) we decided to have a nice day out at Waddesdon Manor - part of the National Trust.

Now while I'm very up for a good day out, I was under the full assumption that there would be no beer involved in the trip. Not that I'm not used to having dry days, it's just I like to sample the wares of everywhere I go on trips out. Now the family owners of the Manor are know vine growers and wine sellers, and I was very interested to look around all the cellars and learn a little bit more about fine wines. For instance: I didn't know they use egg whites in wine in the same way that a brewer will use finings - both to get clarity out of the finished product. (it was rather strange to see them cracking eggs into the large barrels!)

A few snaps from the cellars:

The biggest surprise for the day though was to come whilst browsing through the gift shop at the end of the house tour. Not only did I find a copy of 'Man Walks Into A Pub' by Pete brown in the books section, (a book I'm a few chapters in and loving it) but they were selling local beer as-well!!

I managed to pick up three beers from Buckinghamshire brewery: Vale, so will now see if any of them are any cop!

Wychert: this Auburn Bitter comes in at a wee 3.9% - a great one to start with. Not a lot to the aroma to be fair, just a small hint of darker malts. The flavour is ok, very easy drinking session ale. Hints of caramel malt with a little sweet toffee and some big nutty body notes. It's got a little heat/spice in the flavour and has a very drying finish - overall not a bad beer, but not one I'd mow people down to buy again. The bottle states that CAMRA say's this is real ale, but then again I could tell that by the small chunks in the bottom of my glass.

V.P.A (Vale Pale Ale): This 4.2% Golden Ale comes across the nose a lot more promisingly. Aromas of lemon sherbet and little sweet hay. Light and incredibly soft beer, this is a proper South summer sessional! Dry, check. Citrus, check. Balanced bitter aftertaste, check.  I like this beer because it has a great balance of a good malt body and the perfect amount of hops, it's not 'hops thrown in your face' sort of deal and it's not 'look at how outrageously malty am I'. It's the ale answer to lagers Corona - one to sink a few of in the sun. What more do you really want in weather like this!

Gravitas: I may have drunk these the wrong way round, this 4.8% Bitter looks and smells the lightest of the bunch so far. Oh well, I'll just give it a good swig! Prominent grassy citrus aromas to this SIBA Gold Medal winning Premium Ale. Light and fruity in flavour, my pick of the lot tonight. Citrus pith, with a nice sweet biscuit malt flavour in the body. The most easy drinking of the group, I put that down to it not being as dry as the others, but that's just my tastes.

That's it for the beers tonight. It's almost a shame because drinking them took me back to that great day out me and Ghost Girlfriend shared and I'm not sure if we'll be back there in the future. Time will only tell. Three beers from the South - one not to my tastes, the other two very refreshing and pleasant. I've had a couple of Gravitas on cask before in Arcadia and I can say it's very good.

With a sparkler on of course....


  1. I was reading Charles Bamforth's book and he talked about brewers considering using egg whites in beer to maintain the head.

    I recall Vale Brewery Beers on cask around Leeds, I think in The Brewery Tap.


  2. Nick - egg whites to maintain the froth? Sounds like an interesting read, but I wonder if it would impart any flavours into the beer?