I’m a lucky girl because occasionally the postman drops off something far more exciting than a bank statement … sometimes there’s beer!
“These beers would often be aged in wood for a year or more before serving, and were brewed “to answer the like purpose of wine”, at the table. This was considered important in the days when difficulties between England and the wine-producing countries to the south could interrupt wine supplies for extended periods of time” A section from the Barley Wines entry of The Oxford Companion to Beer
Incidentally I’m quickly accumulating the postal wine boxes they are posted in, they are amazingly handy items when you have a lot of booze and you’re moving house.
Anyway, back to the beer. One company who send me beer* is The Sail & Anchor who’s beers are brewed at fellow Fremantle identity, Gage Roads Brewing.
Outside of The Sail & Anchor regular line up there has been a steady run of seasonal releases. Kicking off last year there was the imperial stout Jack Tar which was followed up by the Devil Dodger imperial pale ale. I enjoyed the Jack Tar very much but the Devil Dodger did not knock my socks off, I felt it was a good pale but a bit lacking in the ‘imperial’ department.
Their Christmas release was Changing Tides, a barleywine ale clocking in at a festive/hug-everyone-and-tell-them-you-love-them 11% ABV. I bought one bottle and was gifted the other but it wasn’t until last month I actually opened one.
It was really beautiful with toasty, spicy aromas and big dried red fruits folded in. The taste was equally spicy with rich plum and port flavours with a dash of citrus and a extra big dash of booze.
I’m intending to hold on to the second bottle for a while to see how it ages. Big emphasis on “intending”, fingers crossed I can exercise some sort of restraint for at least a few months.
The current Sail & Anchor seasonal takes on a very Aussie sounding name called The Bloke and sees the Fremantle icon join forces with American brewer Karl Strauss.
San Diego, home of both Ron Burgundy & Karl Strauss Brewing. Founded by Karl Strauss in 1989 who had trained at Weinhenstephan, Germany. Check out their website here.
The story goes, at least on the press release anyway, that Karl Strauss himself visited Sail & Anchor many years ago and it inspired him to begin his own brewery when he returned to San Diego. This year Karl Strauss master brewer Paul Segura visited The Sail & Anchor for the collaboration.
The Bloke is a red ale, amber brown in appearance with nice plum, spice and toasty notes and a solid bitter finish. The nose is an interesting combination of floral, berries and biscuits.
*Actually the beers come from Stellar Concepts Australia who assist The Sail & Anchor with public relations.
Thank you Sail & Anchor and Stellar Concepts for being wonderful beer-mail fairies and sending these to me.