It is with some sadness but also a feeling of excitement and impending maturity that the Beer Blokes prepare to move on from lager brewing. Sad because, in a way, we feel we have become as one with our lager children. We have learned their ways, their personalities, their carbonated friendliness.
Now, far from deserting our roots or forsaking our heritage forever, we are merely moving forward. Batch number 11 will signal the continuation of the beer journey. We have stocks of lagers and pilsners maturing in the cellar - well, under Dr. Lagers’ house - and we are happy with the stock levels and the number of recyclable empties wrapped around these beers.
But, as seasons turn and in the same way that football teams who have had heady premiership eras, so to must the Beer Blokes not dwell in the past but be ready to embrace the future, to test the limits so as not to become stale and complacent. Ever present is the threat of becoming boring brewers. There are enough commercial examples of that to go round.
We now turn our considerable[ly meagre] talents to the art of ale making. And on top of our ‘must brew’ list are a nice traditional bitter - in deference to the original VB - and a wheat beer. For the unsure, wheat beers fit into the ale side of the family due to the top fermenting wheat yeast used although they are served chilled and have a more lager-like taste profile - but with a lot more taste. They are also a favourite of the Beer Blokes and, down the track, we hope to push out a honey wheat as well. I have found a couple of well recommended can concentrates and have picked up a can enhancer which, along with the sugars and malts, lists honey as an ingredient.
I would also like to bridge the gap between lagers and ales - no, not some kind of weird Frankenstein lager-ale monster - maybe just blur the lines a little and create a lager with more taste and intrigue or an ale which is a bit more refreshing and subtle. There are a few commercial, well, mostly craft brewed, examples around doing this and I will expand on this later.
The true ale quest - well, truly out of a can ale - begins once I can do a little more research into the origins and intentions of a good bitter/pale ale. I may need to consult with the Australio-Englander in the family. He has recently re-un-immigrated ( I think that is what a bloke born in Australia, lives in the UK for his childhood and then returns ‘home’ is called; on second thoughts, for simplicity I will call him Gary). This bloke, nee Lad, knows a good drink, nee bevvy, and it is as good an excuse as any to catch up more often.
The Beer Blokes.