Now that I’m starting to make some headway and getting my beer blogging back on track, I thought it would be great to get back into #craftbeerhour on Twitter.
Once registered, you have the opportunity of taking part in a weekly competition to win a some beer to review and discuss, as well as ask questions to the brewer of the week themselves.
It’s a good opportunity to find out some cheeky secrets about the brews but also an opportunity to ask some weird and wonderful questions where you will almost certainly get an answer.
I was lucky enough to win some brewskies recently from the brewery of the week at the time – Ora Brewing who specialise in producing quality contemporary beer styles made with the best and finest ingredients that Italy has to offer.
The first out of the fridge was Ora Brewing’s American Brown Ale.
packed with pale, amber, biscuit, cara-red, chocolate, crystal malts and wheat then loaded with Amarillo and Ekuanot hops.
This American Brown ale is described as offering sticky toffee, americano coffee, red berry sourness, a little mature banana and hoppy fruity notes.
Very drinkable, easy mouthfeel and not too bitter.
For a beer that has been judged as been boring, it will be interesting to see what Ora bring to the table with their American Brown Ale.
Lets get started!
American Brown Ale • 5.5 % ABV • Gioele #2
|Appearance||Traditional appearance with its dark brown colour and producing a small, light tan head which dissipates quite quickly.
Mostly clear with just a little haze in the finished beer.
Has a sparkling quality about it with the small bubbles rising from the base of the glass.
|Aroma||The aroma mixes roasted elements from the dark malts with a little sweet caramel. The fruity esters and hops move in with their waves of spiciness and red berry fruit.
With these elements combined, I was getting licorice and a spicy cola aroma.
The malts stand out most, but are not overkill at all.
|Flavour||The dark malts kick things off in the beginning with coffee roast notes and just a touch of sweetness before the more fruiter and spicy elements move in to offer red berry such as cherries.
Again, the malts and hop come together making it easy to pick up licorice.
Spicy with a light bitter finish.
|Mouthfeel||A medium\light body with a fairly high level of carbonation.
Fairly fizzy but this settles quickly.
Slightly dry but nothing crazy.
|Overall||For an American Brown Ale, this beer is lovely.
It has a nice balance of the malty elements, hoppy elements and the fruity esters from the yeast.
I would be happy to drink more of these whilst cooking up a roast on a Sunday or just chilling in the garden.
It has that relaxing quality about it.
The next beer, and the one that I think everyone taking part in #craftbeerhour were excited about was called ‘The Balsamic’ from Ora Brewing s Incrusée Series.
The Incrusée Series is all about “fusion” and clever “blending” and they certainly went all the way with this one.
‘The Balsamic’ is a milk stout that makes use of the more traditional malts and hops but pairs them with additional adjuncts such as Vanilla and the more unusual balsamic vinegar.
Whilst vanilla isn’t that much of unusual ingredient, the balsamic that would be used is a 10 year barrel aged wooden IGP traditional balsamic vinegar.
The vinegar is made by acetaia Rossi Varattini in Formigine, Modena.
Ora describe ‘The Balsamic’ as being the perfect balance between balsamic profile, roasted character, dry herbal hops and milky sweetness.
Lets give it a go!
Milk Stout • 6.0 % ABV • Incrusée Series – The Balsamic
|Appearance||Very dark brown colour with ruby highlights when a light is shone through the beer and a touch of haze.
A tanned head forms made up of tight bubbles which settles quickly but a few stick around on the surface.
|Aroma||You get a touch of roast malts along with some subtle fruity esters and a little tart fruit right at the back.
Mild and light in the aroma.
|Flavour||you are initially hit with the roasted dark malts which give elements of coffee then move swiftly into a rich milky sweetness where the vanilla starts to sing and finally you are left with a little sourness on the surface of the toungue.
Swallow too quickly and you’ll miss it, take your time and savor the flavour to get the most out of the balsamic elements.
A little bitterness comes through but this is one smooth, malty and easy number.
|Mouthfeel||Smooth and slightly creamy texture with a low level of carbonation as well as a residual sweetness.
Not as full as you’d expect most milk stouts to be but this could be both the carbonation and the sharper flavours adding a little lift to the body.
|Overall||A pleasant milk stout
Slightly less body than you would expect a typical milk stout to have but plenty sweet, malty and a little tangy.
A really good example of where subtlety works when using big flavours in a beer.
If you have had an opportunity to try a bottle then visit @hop_pilot and let me know what you thought of Ora Brewing’s beers.