I don't really 'do' news. I'm not sure why - maybe others do it better and more consistently, or maybe just because I'm lazy and prefer to talk about myself. Whatever, sometimes you just have to get off the couch, put Jeremy Kyle* on live pause and pick up the phone to speak to a brewer.
I did just that earlier today, and gladly, because the brewer I was calling was Sean Franklin, MD of Rooster's Brewery, near Harrogate in North Yorkshire. They've had a run of luck at the World Beer Cup (WBC), and by luck I mean a deserved recognition for their years of hard graft and commitment to producing iconic pale beers with stunningly bright hop character. Not only did they take gold in their category (English Style Summer Ale, whatever that's supposed to mean) with Leghorn (4.3%abv), but they also took silver in the same category with Yorkshire Pale Ale (4.3%abv). As if this isn't remarkable enough, this is the third consecutive World Beer Cup at which they've taken gold in that category. If that's not cause enough for celebration, I don't know what is. I'm particularly pleased for them as not only are their beers great, but they're a lovely bunch of people. I chose Sean to help me with the judging at last year's awards for the British Guild of Beer Writers, and his thoughtful input was very valuable. Not only does he know his beer, he knows his writers too.
How will I celebrate their achievement? Well, Rooster's don't usually bottle their beers for commercial release, but had to do so to enter the WBC. Fortunately for me, they were also good enough to give me a few bottles of a couple of their private brews - two double IPAs, one hopped with Nelson Sauvin, the other with Chinook and Amarillo. They are bottle-conditioned and sealed with crown caps that contain a little plastic liner. This is the same closure that the latest crop of Italian imports from Birra del Borgo and Baladin are sporting. Clearly if a three-times World Beer Cup winner is using this unusual closure, as well as a couple of well-respected Italian breweries, then it must have something going for it.
Did I take my eye off the ball there and geek out, talking about closures rather than beer? Yes! Am I looking forward to opening one of those double IPAs tonight? You betcha! Are you going to join me in congratulating Sean and his team at Rooster's? You'd better!
Congratulations too to Thornbridge, Shepherd Neame, and BrewDog, who also brought home some silverware for the cabinet.
*for overseas readers: Jeremy Kyle is a cross between a TV shock jock and a relationship counsellor. He counsels the sort of people who think it's a good idea to go on TV to resolve their issues. It's the televisual equivalent of bear-baiting in a 19th century lunatic asylum.