After reading Melissa Cole's account of her time spent concocting a new brew for Thornbridge, I had a sneaking suspicion that a barrel might just find it's way to the Grove in Huddersfield. You see the pub offers the brewery's outstanding Jaipur IPA on a permanent basis now and consequently seems to get pretty much everything they churn out in some quantity or other. Churn sounds a little derogatory I know but there has been quite a bit of forgettable stuff recently, so where as once I would be going into raptures upon finding Thornbridge on the bar, these days I'm much more composed.
Having enjoyed the tale of how this beer came together I was looking forward to sampling Seven Heron, so made sure it was the first down the hatch at this Sunday's protracted session - for a more accurate and reasoned appraisal you understand! A surprising amount of caramel in both aroma and initial taste was no bad thing and certainly sold it to those whose palates have been growing steadily more acidicated (sic) by the continuous citrus and carbolic onslaught associated with modern beer drinking in this part of the world. When the bitterness arrived it was gentle and rather short-lived but nevertheless held up to complete a pleasant and refreshing if slightly underwhelming experience. If I have any real criticism it would be the lack of much discernible flavour delivered by the four hop varieties used, but then we are talking experimental here and I guess (though I know three-quarters of f**k-all about brewing) that if you pick some favourites and stick them all together it's no guarantee of success - I love steak pie and custard but wouldn't want them on the same plate!
I commented a while ago about making pale hoppy beers a more inclusive year-round style but I think in the case of Seven Heron it very much belongs as a summer quencher - it's just a shame we won't get the opportunity to sit outdoors with it. A very good effort though and the girls loved it too - watch out Harriet Easton!
Also at the Grove was a beefed up version of the Thornbridge (sort of) from Pardoe's with their 5.2% Bumblehole (named after a local nature reserve disappointingly). This West Midlands brewery based in Dudley has produced an excellent pale pudding ale with this toffee-nosed powerhouse. You're never going to get through a lot, unless you're a tea with five sugars person, but it's worthy of a pint or two if the aforementioned plethora of bittering-hop brews are starting to take their toll.
And talking of which, Pictish Brewery is once again assaulting our long-suffering buds (well it is at the Rat anyway) with the return of it's 4.4% Sorachi. This Japanese variety must be pushing the tongue-stripped limits of all but the most hardened of astringent hop addicts. It's almost as if there's Sake involved at some stage of the brewing process along with handfuls of that yellow privet that some cat's tried to kill. I've been coping admirably with the recent fad for brewing with Nelson Sauvin but would be quite unconcerned if this one didn't catch on. Kanpai!
I couldn't find a website for Pardoe's but here's the address of The Olde Swan Brewery for those interested in finding out more: 87-89 High Street, Netherton, DY2 9PY