Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Four Degrees

Now then.....

       no Lazerngennulmurn, this is not a post about a discalculate soul pop covers band, instead it is my musings on a rather magnificent collaboration IPA in a can which I purchased and supped before entering "the dark time" of no frol. Please find hereafter some observances about said luponic compound.

The first thing to mention is Boak and Bailey, erstwhile beer blogging legends, successful authors,  and persons who create a host of reactions queries and debates from readers by writing in a concise but simultaneously voluminous style. I ramble, Boak and Bailey subtly, but intentionally, ask numerous questions in 30 lines. Its quite a skill.

Years ago, in the past, they wrote a brewery map or family tree starting with Kelham Island and Thornbridge breweries. There is a link to the PDf about Kelham here. Using the much over-relied-upon meter of "facts" they sewed together a tapestry of links between the starter brewery and where their former brewers had since gone. Kelham Island, it seemed, had certainly set a lot of brewers careers in motion.

It was interesting therefore to find that the 4 Degrees of Separation IPA was based on a reunion of the current and three previous brewers at Abbeydale Brewery in Sheffield. Especially given that one of the founders of Abbeydale Brewery, Patrick Morton, used to work at Kelham Island Brewery and was featured in that very same article. Abbeydale may not be a brewing family tree, but it certainly has notable links between some excellent and talented brewers. The brewers involved in this were Abbeydale, Magic Rock, Northern Monk, and Siren Craft. All worked or brewed at Abbeydale in the early stages of their career and as the list above illustrates, have since gone on to start successful enterprises of their own.

Alas the can has insufficient space (although it features amazing artwork from Yasmina Kontiki) to tell you whom it is from each so am going to guess that Stuart Ross of Magic Rock was one, since he brewed in Sheffield - I know he did at Crown and am willing to guess he did at Abbeydale too. A prize of the joy of knowledge goes to anyone who can name the other two....

Its great that Abbeydale have branched out into the kind of full on, hop laden, citrus hop smack, fruity, cloudy, and dryly bitter IPA's that I drink so many of these days. Its better still that this type of production sits so comfortably in its portfolio along with Moonshine, Deception and Absolution. Abbeydale produce cask, keg and small runs of cans (I understand they hired a canning machine for this) and whilst they may brew more cask than anything else there is no detectable "battle" for style supremacy. What they have done is forged ahead into new areas of beer style and production, whilst remaining united behind all their products.

As a footnote to this, since you are probably justifiably expecting it, the beer was fantastic. It was very very easy to drink, cloudy, or as I call it "London opaque" (thanks Nate!) and had a wonderful lingering bitterness in the aftertaste.  From memory (AKA the can) I can recall tasting Amarillo, Cascade, Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy in the heady hoppy mix. That last line is simultaneously accurate and dishonest. Not because I couldn't taste any of the hops listed on the can, but because I had to look on the can to remember....

I did like as well that its initial flavour was slightly less juicy hopped than I was expecting but soon became overwhelmingly fruity and dry as I supped. It was a darkly orange 7% IPA of deliciousness, and the glass of it probably lasted me about 15 joyful minutes. A great testament to the drinkability and wonderful balanced flavours in the beer.

I understand some may still be for sale in Sheffield but I also understand it was a limited production  line so I would recommend that you grab some whilst you can. Well done to Abbeydale for not only setting the three protaganists on a career in brewing, but also bringing them back together to treat us to a fantastic IPA, made, of course, in sunny Sheffield.

Your very bestest of healths!

Wee Beefy

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