Thursday, 28 January 2010
Roosters American IPA Meets the Twissup
How great a brewery are Rooster's? Let me count the ways. Actually, let's not, let's just mention a few of them. I don't know why I was surprised to see them turning up time and again in all my favourite beer books - you know, the biggies by Michael Jackson, Garrett Oliver and, latterly, Ben McFarland. Maybe it's because they're local to me, and have a (relatively) modest output, I think of them as small. Relatively small they may be, but you don't get feted in classic beer books and win gold medals at the World Beer Cup without being on top of your game.
This beer is a great example of what Rooster's do. Head brewer Sean Franklin has a wonderful philosophy, saying that pale malt in a beer is like a blank canvas upon which hop character can be projected. Or, in a more prosaic mode, he's described his beers as being just one single flower standing alone on a lawn - your attention is drawn to a singularity, rather than overwhelmed by lots of different things going on.
They have a lot of projects going on at present, some of which I get the impression that they would rather I didn't talk about too much, so let's just talk about the beer in the video. It's a beautiful pale golden ale, combining all the attributes of this youngest of English ale styles with an American approach to hopping. The result is unmistakably English, and unmistakably Rooster's - soft, rounded, balanced, but with a pungent hop character that never overwhelms the aroma or palate.
So it is with their American IPA, which brewer Sam describes as 'just something Sean and I did so we could have something nice to drink'. You flash git - what about the rest of us? Bursting with tropical fruit and floral aromas, there's a big spike of bitterness that quickly subsides, leaving the fruit and flowers to blossom on the palate, before a little bitterness creeps back in at the finish, making it a particularly moreish beer.
We don't normally have draught beer at the shop. We used to sell a few, but we couldn't get the throughput to make it work preoperly, and anyway, cask ale is what pubs are for. But when the rolling pub crawl that became known as "the twissup" (a cross between a tweet-up and piss-up) made it to Leeds following a beerathon in Sheffield, I wanted to make sure that there was some proper refreshment for them at the shop. Thanks to Rooster's generosity, the Twissup arrived looking rougher than a badgers tongue, and left looking a tad more sprightly (the beer was donated for this purpose).