Sunday, 2 August 2009


As I posted earlier, I was fortunate enough to be in the right corner of Derbyshire last week to get to Amber Ales' little festival. It's a lovely, tiny event just held in the yard outside the brewery and in what appears to be a converted storage room.

At least a dozen beers were on offer, presumably served by gravity. Interestingly enough there are some pretty experimental beers; you might think a brewery of this size in this location would play safe, but Pete the brewer obviously believes in making his mark with innovation.

Most of the beer was pretty flat, which was a shame, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment too much. I managed to taste these brews:
  1. 1/2 Chocolate Orange Stout: possibly their most notorious beer, this is genuinely as near as a beer will get to tasting like a Terry's Chocolate Orange. Tons of chocolate malt embrace the palate. Slightly acid but that's down to the low carbonation, I think. The orange flavour tastes a little artificial, but to be fair that's exactly the way it is in the original.
  2. 1/2 Rose Petal Blond: An experimental beer, rather funky in the nose. Is that down to the yeast? Who can tell? It's a fine beer, but I don't enjoy the funkiness and don't notice the rose petals.
  3. 1/2 Liberty: I love Liberty hops and use them liberally in one of my homebrew beers. There's a load of flavour in this beer that reminds me of what Bass used to be like, the minerally taste and slightly sulphury nose somehow manage to overpower the hops.
  4. 1/2 Imperial IPA: This is tremendously aromatic but I think it's too sweet and not bitter enough.
  5. 1/2 Lemongrass and Ginger: Another experiment – very dry indeed, loads of ginger flavour, lemongrass gets a bit lost.
  6. 1/2 Chilli Beer: Wow! The best of the experimental beers in my view (though the others certainly have potential) and miles ahead of any other chilli beer I've tried (not many, admittedly). They manage to get loads and loads of green-chilli aroma and flavour into the beer but without the mouth-burning heat. Again, a certain gypseous quality which works really well with the chilli.
I wish my local brewery was like this.

(While editing the tags I just realised I've never tagged a post 'real ale' before. What does that say, apart from "there aren't many posts on this blog yet" ? )

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