Monthly Archives: May 2014

Chorlton Brewing Company: Prototypes

I like to keep my ear to the ground, especially with regards to new local breweries, and a little while ago I discovered Chorlton Brewing Company via Twitter. They’re still in the process of starting up and going commercial, but I liked their vibe: “Fresh pale ale, roasty porter and wild fermented Lambic-style offerings”. Well, we all know I’m a sucker for a sour, so I decided to keep an eye on them.

Recently Mike, the brewer, decided to give us a sneak peak at some of the beers he’s been developing, and I was lucky enough to sample a couple of prototype brews. These beers are still a work in progress, but, with Mike’s permission, I thought I’d give you lot a little preview of what sort of malarkey you have to look forward to when Chorlton Brewing Co are up and running!

Bottles of Sandalwood IPA and Dirty Porter peated porter from the Chorlton Brewing Company


Dirty Porter – Prototype 1 (6.2%)

The ‘dirtiness’ in this porter comes from peat-smoked malt. It’s got a prominent coffee and chocolate profile, accompanied by a sweetness which, if I hadn’t been aware of the style beforehand, might have led me to guess that this was a milk stout. The mouth feel is smooth, if a little lacking in body. The peated character becomes a tad more noticeable as the beer warms, and it lingers a little at the end, but, as Mike noted in the newsletter he circulated with the bottles, it could do with having a bit more ‘oomph’. For a first prototype, this is an enjoyable drop, and with a few tweaks (carbonation issues, more peat and a tad more body), this will be a very good and interesting beer. I’m looking forward to trying the next version.

Sandalwood IPA – Prototype 2 (7.4%)

Straight away, this beer has a huge, aromatic, fresh nose, with notes of mango and pineapple. There is another, almost spiced, sweet scent present, which I assume is the sandalwood. In the mouth it’s juicy and effervescent, with a little resin. The main juicy hit dissipates quickly, leaving a subtle sandalwood which continues into the after taste along with a pleasant bitterness. The mouth feel is slightly oily, but in a good way. The sandalwood is understated, but it works well with the tropical fruit character, really amping up the pineapple notes. Once again, there are carbonation issues due to current equipment limitations, but those are in the process of being sorted. I personally would prefer a little bit more body – otherwise it’s just too easy to throw back like fruit juice, and that’s a dangerous game at 7.4%! Over all, it’s a bloody nice beer, and one I’ll happily recommend to hop-fiend friends once the brewery is up and running.

Thanks to Mike for letting me sample the prototypes, and I hope we’ll be able to get our grubby paws on Chorlton Brewing Company beer in pubs and shops soon. Cheers!

Edit 08/12/14 – At the start of November I began working for Chorlton Brewing Company. When I tried these beers I had no idea that this would happen, but I’m delighted that it did!

Ilkley Pale and Sandham’s Flamin’ ‘Eck

Another instalment in the beer and cheese adventure! Today’s sampling brings us Ilkley Pale (4.2%), and Sandham’s Flamin’ ‘Eck.

The Pale is straw coloured and has good condition, pouring with a lively white bubbly head. There are green peppers and floral hops on the nose, and it tastes almost savoury,  full of clean freshly cut grass flavours, with green peppers continuing from the nose. There’s also a little pale grain sweetness as it warms.

The Flamin’ ‘Eck is a Lancashire cheese, with chillies and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s pale orange, with visually appealing chunks of chilli and tomato, and it’s of a soft consistency. There is a long, lingering heat dominating the flavour of this creamy cheese.

I thought that the Flamin’ ‘Eck would need something stronger than the Pale to stand up to it, and this pairing wasn’t planned (I was going to use Thornbridge Halcyon, but I drank it all…), but Ilkley‘s beer holds its own surprisingly well, cutting through the intense heat and cooling the tongue. The chilli and tomato flavour is complimented by the green pepper and clean, grassy hops.

An unexpected, yet decent, beer and cheese match.

As usual, I bought the cheese from Booths’ cheese counter.