An evening pint is a British tradition but traditional real ales have lost ground to imported lagers during recent years. But with the Campaign for Real Ale [CAMRA] leading the fightback; all that has begun to change. And there are good reasons to stick to real ale, both in terms of the environment and taste. Real ale tends to be brewed in the UK, for example, thus cutting down on food miles. Then, there’s the plethora of organic ales on the market.
‘I think an important point to maintain is that as far as taste goes just because a beer is organic, it does not guarantee that it will taste better than a non-organic beer,’ says Jon Howard of CAMRA. ‘However, it does depend on the varieties of malted barley and hops used, as well as the skill of the brewer. The organically grown malting barley varieties might not have the highest of yields for farmers but they do tend to be those varieties that brewers like to use as they give the best fermentation. Some brewers are not only now producing some or all of their beers from organically grown malted barley but are also looking to use locally grown malted barley.’ So which ones are worth a try? We asked Jon to share his favourites with us.
‘All the beers produced by this brewery, founded in 2005, are organic and certified by the Soil Association. The brewery concentrates on producing bottle-conditioned beers. The one to try is the Atlantic Gold (4.6% ABV)- A golden coloured beer with an unusual, gingery, minty, grassy aroma. It has a clean crisp palate with a ginger accent and goes well with spicy food and barbecue dishes.’
Little Valley Brewery
‘A wholly organic brewery approved by the Soil Association which produces a wide range of draught real ales and bottle-conditioned beers. Hebden's Wheat (4.5% ABV) is a hazy gold beer with tart lemon and soft, sweet peppery spices in the aroma. A sharp lemon taste leads to a gentle bitter taste, which is mildly warming.’
‘All beers brewed under the Pitfield brewery name are organically produced to Soil Association standards and the organic barley comes from the farm at which the brewery is based. The Shoreditch Stout (4% ABV) is a very dark brown beer with a smoky aroma of coffee and dark chocolate. There are hints of coffee and caramel in the taste.’
Brakspear Brewery Co
‘Oxford Gold (4.6% ABV) is a Soil Association approved organic real ale. Malt balanced with orange and apricot has produced the bittersweet taste. A crisp, rewarding beer with a dry finish.’
Marble Beers Ltd
‘The majority of the beers produced are Soil Association approved organic. Bottle conditioned as well as draught real ales are produced. Marble has two pubs including the Marble Arch, Manchester where the brewery is based. The Chocolate Marble (5.5% ABV) features dark chocolate and nut flavours with a maltiness balanced against an assertive bitterness.’
Find out more: www.camra.org.uk
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