There’s no smoke…
We are really enjoying producing our Limited Release Brews range. Our brewers are stepping up to the challenge of new brews every few weeks, our sales team (both at the brewery and in the Tap & Bottle Shop’s) always love something new to talk about, and so far our drinkers seem to be enjoying the different styles to sample on a frequent basis. Ferrous is long gone, the last couple of barrels of Cyclone and Typhoon are being finished up and so we head on to our next, one-off, batch…
Without Fire is a Smoked Märzen, weighing in at 5.8% ABV and served exclusively on cask. For those not in the know, Märzen is a style of German lager beer with a medium to full body and generally of an amber colour, although lighter and darker versions do exist.
Historically they are brewed in March (Märzen actually translates directly to March) so, true to tradition, we brewed ours in early March and racked it into barrels on the last day of March. Usually we hold all casks back for 1 week before selling to give the beer time to condition, but we have given Without Fire 2 weeks, and being held at a marginally warmer temperature than usual to give the beer a chance to really sparkle when it is tapped.
Tasting fresh from the tank during racking, the aroma, is all smoke from the inclusion of smoked Wyermann malts, not the burnt floorboards intensity of Aecht Schlenkerla Märzen (one of the all-time classics), but a definite smokiness akin to what you might expect from a smoked hard cheese, or the last embers of a dying BBQ. Beyond the smoke there is a hint of sweet cereal notes. The appearance is a deep burnt gold, verging on light copper, with a fluffy white head. The aim when serving this beer is to generate as much solid head as possible, whilst still being a legal measurement, in keeping with the serving style of Bavaria. The beer will be served un-fined in our own outlets but fined for the wider trade. On the palate it has a liveliness to it, which will be accentuated further with a couple of weeks of cask conditioning. Smokiness is present in the flavour but does not dominate completely like it does on the nose; it is balanced against a toasty malty sweetness. Towards the end a herbal bitterness kicks in from the hops (Tradition and Columbus), which is crisp and drying holds the whole taste back from becoming cloying. It is an exceptionally balanced beer.
It would be very easy to just produce endless IPA’s and hoppy pale’s in the Limited Release Range, it is a near guarantee it will sell and be well received by drinkers, as they are very much the in vogue styles. But there is such a wide world of styles to explore it is important for us to make sure we do not always go for the easy option and push ourselves to do different things, like Without Fire, which is our first smoked beer.
Our High Wycombe Tap & Bottle Shop will be launching a limited edition pizza to pair with the beer, which contains cured then fried smoked sausage, mushrooms, gherkins, and watercress. The smokiness of the beer is matched within the meat, but the gherkin slices provide an acidity to sweep the smokiness away. Gherkin also has a fantastic texture, which works beautifully on a pizza.
Without Fire will be available to order by trade customers from Monday 10th April. And will be released at our own Tap & Bottle Shop’s on Good Friday, 14th April at midday.
Make sure you get down over the Easter weekend and try it. You don’t want to miss out, supply is limited.