As regular readers may be aware, one of the things that does not really hit the spot with me is brewers messing about with beer. In my opinion, for what its worth, beer should be made of a combination of malt and hops, and things such as vanilla, mint, sage and chilli are better left in the kitchen. This weekend though, the more adventurous amongst you can try out a couple of attempts at mixing different tastes with beer and see what the brewers have come up with.
Visitors to The Grove can sample Thornbridge 'Summer Ale', nothing unusual about that you may say, until you read the pump clip and discover the beer is brewed with ginger and sage. Ginger blends well with beer, and many brewers brew their take on ginger beers, but to add sage as well....I know Thornbridge are an innovative brewery but I think this is taking things a bit too far. I have tried it, and I don't think it quite works. The ginger is subtle, and not overpowering but the sage seems to be lost in the mix and the beer is not one of Thornbridge better efforts. (Incidentally, if you do make it to The Grove, the excellent Dark Star 'Seville' may still be on the bar, a beer I wrote about a few days ago).
Doing the rounds at the moment, and on the bar at The Star is Wentworth 'Chilli and Chocolate Stout'. Wentworth have previously done a range of stouts, presumably using the same base (at least they were all the same strength) with other flavours added. I have tried liquorice, vanilla, and chilli and I think chocolate orange may have also made an appearance. The previous chilli stout was subtle, with just a hint of chilli in the background. The new one, at 4.8%, certainly does not skimp on taste. A massive hit of dark chocolate, and an even bigger hit of chilli. It is one of those beers that divides opinion right down the middle, you love it or hate it. Yesterday, some raved about it and had a couple of pints, others tried it and binned it. You can guess which category I fell into! If your tastes are Bourneville chocolate and Scotch Bonnet then this is the beer for you.The best suggestion I heard though was to bottle it and marinade meat with it. Now there's a thought for dinner.