Well we've been a bit quiet for a month or so but that doesn't mean we haven't been hard at it developing new prototypes and brewing some new beers.
On the new beer front Cob Roller is going to be hitting the pubs next weekend or so. It's a slightly unusual take on a pale ale where we've tried to make the flavour and aroma match the look of the beer. It's using an unusual hop for aroma - Dana from Slovenia - and that gives a subtle tangerine/mandarin character to the beer. From a visual perspective it's also orange, thanks to some malt choices we made. The idea is that if the look and aroma/taste complement each other then they'll reinforce the perception of taste. Anyhow we'll see what the public think.
Cob Roller's first appearance will be at the Hog at Horsley although the date is still to be fixed. We're pretty excited about it.
On the prototype front, Blatchy Cutlins and Smeechy Reek are the two standout beers.
Blatchy Cutlins is a development from our ill fated Hoppucino - ill fated because there was already a beer with the same name! Anyhow, we decided to revisit the recipe and we tweaked it a little by adding in a judicious amount of oats into the grain bill. This has really filled in the palate and softed the bitterness to make a much from quaffable beer thank can be described as an Oatmeal Coffee Porter.
"Blatchy" is an old local word for black or very dark and "cutlins" is an old word for oatmeal - so it kind of makes sense.
Smeechy Reek falls squarely in the "experimental" category. It's a pretty strong amber coloured ale with beechwood smoked malt (in the Bamberg style don't you know) and some peat smoked malt which would normally end up in smoky whiskies from Islay, etc. Now I have an excellent book on malt in which the author says that "most beers made with peat are universally unpleasant". Sounds like a challenge! Now beech smoked malt has long been used to make beer and it gives a wonderful bacon aroma to a beer which people either love or hate. The peat smoked malt adds a harsher smoke with a medicinal twang that Islay whisky drinkers will know well.