I loved our 40th wedding anniversary celebration in England and Wales in June of 2015. We were on a Road Scholar tour the first two weeks – we saw and learned so much and shared the experience with a fun group of folks (some with an appreciation for fine beer as myself). Barb and I were up all night flying from Orlando to Gatwick Airport and being driven to Windsor. The moment we finished our initial group meeting at our hotel, Ye Hart and Garter, one of my new friends, John and I walked to the Windsor and Eton Brewery less than a mile away. You can see that experience here:
My personal quest over the 2 weeks on our tour of England and Wales, then the final week in London on our own, was to experience as many pubs and real ales as I could. Well, we averaged 2 pubs a day with gusts up to 4 and still saw everything else on our list. Magnificent.
This brew of mine, Burton Bitter, is an Ordinary Bitter and a great representation of many of the ales I enjoyed in the UK. I love that every whiff and every sip transports me back there. Here is my review:
I first visited the taproom at Cigar City Brewing in Tampa back in 2011. I was familiar with a couple of their brews and knew they were really growing, plus I was in the area that day and purposed to stop by. I ordered a flight of 4 offerings, Tocobaga Red Ale being one of them. You can watch that review of the 4 brews here. My attention was certainly engaged by Tocobaga and I sought out the head brewer, Tim Ogden, in the brewery shortly after. You can see that brief interview here. I discovered that he was the creator of Tocobaga as a home brewer.
Fast forward to today when Tocobaga remains one of my favorite beers. As a home brewer I wanted to recreate this brew and after much investigating found a recipe that a home brewer passed by Tim Ogden for his input. Tim told him he was surprised how close he was. Plus the guy went on to win two silver medals with his recipe.
I then contacted Tim to see what he was willing and able to tell me. He gave me 4 tips that were either not in the above-mentioned silver-winning recipe or were under-represented. The resultant recipe turned out to be a gold-winning recipe in my book. It is my favorite of my brews to date and I will be brewing this one again soon!
A long time ago in the French speaking area of Belgium, farmhands were given this “farmhouse ale” to quench their thirst. The ABV was purposely low so the workers could walk a straight line back to the fields. The brew was concocted of grains on hand so there was no standard recipe at the time.
As time went by Saison became a “style” with more a more defined grain bill and was stepped up to a wide “pub strength” alcohol level range of 3.5% to 9.5%.
The Belgian strain of yeast I used is allegedly from the original Saison DuPont strain – so that is pretty authentic. Some of the characteristics of this type of yeast are notes of clove and banana and a noticeable tartness – all with no additives to the beer. Very clever yeast.
I feel that this clone is very, very close to the original, having had a bottle of Saison DuPont near the time of tasting my creation. Very refreshing.