Dish of the Day: New season beers

Rory Elsome

beer 2 210x300 Dish of the Day: New season beersThere you have it; British Summertime is officially over. Despite last week’s warmer weather, most of us now find ourselves in the classic Autumnal limbo of not really knowing which coat to take out of the house.

The changing of the seasons also presents a changing of the guard for Britain’s breweries as they begin to put aside the light golden summer ales and release a new crop of seasonal specials. Having taken stock of some of the new brews about to make their way to a tap near you, I have picked a nowhere near exhaustive list of great beers to look out for as the nights get shorter and the trips to the pub become more inviting.

Autumn sees the leaves on our trees turn from pale green to rusty orange, an event which will be replicated in pale ales, with lots of breweries looking to release a rye beer in the coming months. Using rye malts as a substitute for barley is a practice that originated in Bavarian brewing over 600 years ago.

In more recent times, the style has been adopted by many American breweries to give us the more modern highly hopped red ales, which have a deeper character than your typical pale IPA. Ilkley Brewery are about to release ‘Rye and Dry’ (5% ABV), the first beer to be created by their new American brewer Christa Sandquist. The beer is inspired by the traditional way of drinking American Rye Whisky, which involves mixing it with a little ginger ale and a slice of burnt orange peel – so expect notes of orange and ginger with a dry spicy finish from this one.

For a rye beer firmly in the highly hopped American camp, look no further than Siren Craft Brewery’s ‘Ryesing Tides’ (7.4%). This is the latest offering from their seasonal IPA range and promises to have a slick velvet toasted flavour balanced against a heavy hitting bitterness from the use of Simcoe and Mosaic hops. Definitely one I will be seeking out ASAP.

One of the best things about this season is the re-emergence of copious dark beers. I tend to drink milds, stouts and porters all year, but it’s about this time of year that the ratio shifts significantly to the dark side. For an indulgent, full-bodied porter you won’t go far wrong with ‘Amoor’ (4.7%), from Somerset’s Moor Beer – a rich porter that should satisfy most palates. The connoisseurs among you might want to seek out the ‘Ported Amoor’, the same porter with addition of Reserve Port for an extra layer of flavour. The resurgence of smoked stouts and porters also seems to be underway with several smokey offerings on the way. Abbeydale’s ‘Smoked Porter’ (4.8%) uses malts smoked over beech wood and, given the consistent quality of Abbeydale’s beers, should be a real treat.

Taking smoking experimentation one step further is the Wild Beer Co. whose ‘Put It in Your Pipe’ (5.1%) promises to be a deep black stout produced with loads of beech smoked malts, to give a smokey quality they compare to Lapsang Souchong. The addition of burnt sugar should give it an unusual twist and extra depth of flavour.  Keeping with the ‘bonfire’ theme, Roosters Brewing Co. are offering a deliciously tempting black treacle stout called ‘Treason’ (4.7%), which, if it’s anything like the great dark treacle stouts in my memory, will be the kind of beer you need a moment alone with. Perhaps one of the more unique stouts on offer is ‘Myrica Gale’ (4.1%), from the Purple Moose brewery in North Wales. This beer is a sweet stout infused with Myrica Gale or ‘Bog Myrtle’, an aromatic shrub that grows in Welsh acidic peat bogs and has a very herby and earthy taste. A unique flavour I’m sure, and a brewery making the most of the natural ingredients in their surroundings – so definitely worth a try.

Have a favourite Autumn/Winter beer? Let me know @RoryElsome

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