Craft Beer: Considered Concentrations is two beers in one
THE great thing about beer is that it is a constant voyage of discovery, not just in uncovering new beers, styles and breweries, but also in rooting out places that sell great beer on your doorstep.
I've written before about the need to support local, independent off licences and ask them about the beer they stock and make requests.
My recent visit to Carlingford Brewery's taproom not only allowed me to chug on the delicious fresh beer on tap, but also gave me the chance to snap up some great imported fare.
The spartan indoor bar area features a fridge full of great beer for sale and they can be either drunk on site or spirited away, as I did, to be enjoyed at a later date.
I left that night with a mixture of the brewery's own produce and a couple of intriguing brews
It was perhaps no surprise that, being in a rural setting, one of the beers I picked up was a saison from To Øl called Considered Concentrations. It's actually billed as a 'petite saison', more due to the relatively low abv of 3.9 per cent than the fact that it comes in a 750ml bottle.
My first reaction after polishing off this bottle was that it was like two beers in one.
The first pour delivered a sparkly and crisp beer with hints of apple and a little spice. Then, when all the bottle-conditioning stuff from the bottom of the bottle gets chucked in, it takes on a cloudy and yeasty quality, delivering a bit of that tang you'd expect from a saison, with a little bit more.
It was no surprise to find out, therefore, that this was a much more complex beer than you would first imagine.
The hefty bottle contains a blend, which is often the case for mixed fermentation brews in order to achieve some form of consistency across a batch.
The base beer is a table beer which has been conventionally fermented, hopped with Hallertauer Blanc (a staple hop of many lagers) with a little bit of elderflower added in for good measure.
Then the whole lot is blended with a barrel-aged saison, which bring that tangy acidity and wonderfully complex flavour. Then, some raw honey is chucked in during a secondary fermentation, which adds an earthy sweetness to it all.
It's the kind of beer which is a voyage of discovery in itself.