I'm live-blogging from the European Beer Bloggers Conferrence - 10 beers in 50 minutes. IT'S GRIPPED, IT'S SORTED, LET'S LIVE BLOG!
Camden USA Hells - unfiltered lager, lots of American C-hops. Slightly funky nose, might be the cattiness of the hops rather than any faults. Really nice bridge between old- and new-world traditions, clearly a quality, well-made lager with another layer of zesty, spritzy, great. "Brewed to suit the London palate" according to their PR guy - an unashamed pitch at the mid-market, but very good in spite of that - or perhaps because?
Adnams Ghost Ship - absolute classic English ale in the modern style - just what you'd want on a hot summer afternoon, or indeed on a busy speed-blogging event. Pale toffee colour, clean, biscuity with lots of fruity hop character. Very nice, and doesn't stamp its feet for attention.
Innis & Gunn Scottish Pale Ale - limited release only available in Sweden. Big oaky vanilla nose, with plenty of hops added to try and balance the sweetness out a bit. Oddly for a relatively light beer, it really crashes onto the palate, sweet initially, turning zesty and floral. Tastes of new oak and citrussy hops. Bit of a car crash, but also sort of enjoyable.
Leeds Brewery Hellfire - very pale beer, zesty nose, very fresh, lovely sort of lemon sherbet and lime on the finish. Really nice fresh beer, although not convinced by the claims that "it's designed to be drunk from the bottle". Sam Moss from the brewery says that it's because the beer is meant to be drunk cold, from the bottle - the body gets big as the beer warms up. Nice idea, and seems to be well executed.
Otley Oxymoron Black IPA - Nick Otley says that this was their unashamed stab at having a go at the American craft beer style - "we wanted a piece of it" in his words. Big fruitiness on the nose, combined with smooth chocolate. Big flavours, great hop character and balance, but maybe a bit drying in the finish? Perhaps not helped by lack of condition (they apologised profusely about that)
Brains Dark - announced as Brains Dark Mild, which I guess is true to style.Dark brown, full chocolate aroma, vinous fruitiness. Finish is again vinous, fruity and complex. An essay in complexity and drinkability. Apparently, it's a great match for a Clark's pie, which is "some sort of meat pie" - apparently, nobody has ever had the courage to ask exactly what is in them.
Marble Emelisse Collaboration Earl Grey IPA - shot for a low bitterness in the expectation that there would be some tannic bitterness from the tea. Nose of citrus fruits and bergamot, unusual but enticing. Massive tangerine character on the palate, with more bergamot in the finish. Brilliant, enticing, and the first time I've ever used the phrase "dry teabagging" in conversation with a brewer. Excellent.
Roosters Baby-Faced Assassin - the classic guerilla IPA made for cask - how does it fare? Really well, given that they are following a big bruising bergamot IPA. Clean fruitiness, big mango hit, slightly toasty pale malt, unfolding endlessly on the palate. Tom used the phrase "went balls-out with the recipe", which I guess thematically nicely links back to the dry teabagging of the previous post.
Great Heck Stormin' Norman - "an easy drinking 6.5% session ale" according to the brewer Denzil. A little bit of roast barley in the mix brings out a toasty edge against which the hops brush up nicely. Big and hoppy, sweet tropical fruit brushing up against gently nutty malt. Lovely.