Wednesday 3 November 2021

IPA-lovers subscription scheme offers limited editions and shares

Do you love IPAs? Do you love IPAs enough to subscribe to and crowdfund a new brewer who will make nothing else – and will send you half a dozen cans of a new limited-edition IPA every month?

That’s the proposal for Standard Brew Co, a new venture from Milo Oddi, the former head brewer for London’s Beer+Burger chain. So far he’s done three New England IPAs – two 6% prototypes and the first subscription beer at 4%. 

He says though that from here on each month’s subscription brew will be a different IPA type, from Session IPAs to Triple IPAs “and everything in between.” No word yet on whether that includes the likes of Sour IPA or Black IPA – I’m doubtful, but you never know!

Certainly the first of those subscription beers, cunningly named IPA #003, is a very tasty start. Tropical, juicy and hoppy-dry, it features Citra Cryo and Mosaic hops, adds wheat and oats for a soft and fluffy body, and uses the popular Verdant NEIPA yeast. It is, as they say, very crushable.  

Why six of the same brew? “It has always been about sharing,” Milo says. “Whether that be sharing the beer at garden parties, taking it to friends’ dinners or even gifting it as presents.” 

If this sounds like your bag – if you’re already buying six-packs or even 24-packs of IPAs, say – there’s an extra hook. Subscribe for 12 months at £25 a month (including shipping), and as well as six 440ml cans each month, he’ll also give you twelve shares in the company, making you a co-owner.*

You can read more, and sign up, on the Standard Brew Co website. There’s also a special code “LOVEIPA” to get your first month free. 

Now, who’s going to start something similar to brew all different kinds of Porters and Stouts?? 😁

*Of sorts - these shares are non-transferable and non-voting.

Monday 1 November 2021

No more cask Fuller's Vintage this autumn

 If, like me, you look forward to a few glasses - or even pints - of Fuller's Vintage Ale each autumn, you're going to be sadly disappointed this year. Unless, that is, you caught it at the London Craft Beer Festival back in August.

Cask-conditioned Vintage Ale 2020
The background is that, while most of each year's Vintage Ale brew goes into bottles, Fuller's always puts some into casks. A few of these go to beer festivals local to the brewery, and most go to a small number of cask-led Fuller's pubs. A couple of the Fuller's pubs I visit normally get two or three each, which they serve from around October onwards - last years' was especially delicious. 

This year, however, there has been a problem. I heard from multiple sources that the casks had been sent out, but had then been recalled by the brewery. So I asked for more information and this is the reply I received: 

"We released a very small quantity of Vintage Ale 2021 on cask this year at London Craft Beer Festival in August and a handful of pubs during Cask Ale Week.

"Unfortunately, as time progressed, we weren’t completely happy with how some of the Vintage Ale 2021 casks were tasting when we sampled them. 

"There were a few cases of low cell counts, which left them susceptible to oxidation. While they posed no safety risk, we did recommend to the pubs that still had stock to withdraw from sale. 

"Hope that is helpful to know. We’re sorry for any disappointment caused. Our priority is always ensuring consumers enjoy our beers and experience cask at its best."  

It's hard to judge from the outside, but it looks like something went badly wrong while the beer was being prepared for cask. This involves filtering the beer and then reseeding it with the right amount of fresh yeast for that secondary conditioning in-cask. 

It all seems rather odd. Yes, it can be a ticklish process to get right, but Fuller's brewers should have plenty of experience here, and under normal circumstances you then have experienced cellar staff in the pubs who are able to make the final quality decision. 

Yet the reports I've seen from LCBF suggest the Vintage Ale was unusually sweet this year. Could someone have forgotten to reseed it with fresh yeast? Or what else might have gone wrong? Either way, it is disappointing - but still, better no beer than bad beer, I guess.