Saturday, 15 September 2012

Hello, Goodbye

Wil Wood and Chris Lewis share a joke
As I left work on Friday a week of beer drinking was beginning to catch up with me, but the thought of the beers ahead was enough to keep me going. Fyne Ales were launching their latest pair of IPA Project beers at the Three Judges. All the beers have been good, some sensational, so I would have made an effort for this event anyway. This was head brewer Wil Wood’s swansong, so it was pleasant to catch up with him; he’s leaving Fyne to set up a new brewery in Great Yarmouth using the name of the defunct Lacon brewery, closed by Whitbread in 1968.

But Wil says he will not be reviving the historic beers, but giving the same pale’n’hoppy stamp to the brewery that’s been his trademark at Oakham and Fyne. There is a parting gift for Fyne: some of the very limited supply of the latest new high-alpha hop from Germany, Polaris, is at the brewery waiting to be made into beer.

 It will be a challenging period for Fyne dealing with a new head brewer and new brewery at the same time, and beer lovers will be wishing them every success.

As with every pair of IPAs in the series, I preferred the blonde Sanda to the darker version. The black beer is very nice, but the dark flavours just get in the way of the crisp, bitter finish common to all the blonde beers.

 I could happily have drunk Sanda all night, but then it was round to Kelvinbridge to Inn Deep, the scene of the closing party. The two IBD-winning beers were head to head in Glasgow for the first time. Inn Deep had been busy all week and tonight it was rammed. It was nice to relax by the side of the Kelvin as people shared news, projects, ideas … just what happens in a proper pub.
Lacons plaque
Old Lacons sign in Cambridge, photo nicked from
the Brewery History Society website
Impale IPA and Zombier font badges
Impale, Jarl, Zombier from cask

Chris Williams pours samples of beer
Chris Williams of Inn Deep pours samples of the family brewery’s
22nd Anniversary Fraoch aged in Auchentoshan casks

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