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Thursday, 30 September 2010

Champagne cider to Hardcore IPA

What has Fuggles' nose been in recently?  Well, a little bit of everything really (but not too much of anything, of course).  I didn't get round to trying many new brews in Cornwall in the end, but a bottle of "Clouded Yellow" (a wheat beer brewed with coriander) made particularly pleasant drinking on Saturday afternoon.  Although it could just be lazing in a patch of sun away from the tourists in picturesque St Ives that made it taste so good.  Still, a smooth and quirky offering from St Austell.

On that same Saturday I was sampling the local fish in a restaurant and looking for something of suitable provenance to wash it down with.  Nestled somewhat misleadingly in the "wine" list, was a selection of apple or pear based drinks from the Polgoon Vineyard (Penzance).  According to the waitrose, after an abundant apple crop one year they started to experiment with Champagne style cider.  She extolled its popularity, being purchased in volumes by River Cottage, no less.  Needing no further encouragement we opted for the "Raspberry Aval" and it didn't disappoint.  As crisp and dry as you would want from the Champagne process, with a really fruity nose from the raspberry, which translates to a subtle hint on the palate.  I plan to visit the vineyard and conduct some extensive research on their offerings next time I'm in the area.  I definitely recommend you try it if it sounds like your cup of tea.  After all, if it's good enough for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall...

To console myself on returning to big the smoke, I popped into Cask this week.  My first tip - "Mushashi" (if I remember the name correctly) by Oakham Ales has a rather scary pump clip, but a complex grassy taste that flirts with your palate, and is well worth a date.  And finally I succumbed to the beer that has been quietly calling me.  A collaboration by Brew Dog and Mikeller, the double IPA "I hardcore you".  Hardcore referring to the ABV, which at 9.5% means anything more than half a pint is not for the faint hearted.  Even though I only had a half, the hops were still tingling on my tongue two hours later (not an unpleasant sensation).  If you like strong bodied and hoppy, this is certainly a treat.  The aromatic nose with distinct hints of lemon and coriander gave nothing away about the palate, except the warmth that such a level of alcohol usually bestows.  It was lighter and fresher than many beers of such strength, with really fruity tones of grapefruit and cherry.  I hope they have a decent stock, as I'll be back to savour it again.  Soon.

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