Two for the price of one today with a pair of new British beers that have come my way - both with a good story behind them
Rocky Head Pale Ale 6.5%, 330ml
Those of you who are familiar with the UK wine trade will remember Steve Daniel, the convivial head buyer from Oddbins, who fetched up on Santorini and more recently at trade supplier Novum, now owned by Hallgarten Druitt.
Well, turns out he’s a bit of a craft beer nut as well having joined forces with some unnamed friends to set up a part-time brewery in Southfields called Rocky Ale with the help of Sean Franklin of Roosters according to beer writer Des de Moor. Their first beer is a sweet, citrussy, immensely drinkable pale ale that comes dangerously close to a session beer given its ABV. Loads of hops but very skilfully used - it doesn’t have the excessive weight and sweetness of some IPAs with that amount of alcohol. I’m drinking it as I write . . .
Wiper and True Amber Ale (5.6% 500ml)
This one I picked up yesterday from local Bristol wine merchant Darren Willis of Grape & Grind and was apparently made by what he describes as a ‘gypsy brewer’ who works with various breweries round the country. This one - according to the QR code - was made at Ashley Down brewery in Bristol and is made from Maris Otter pale malt (from nearby Warminster maltings), rye, crystal rye and Munich rye and Summit, Columbus and Chinook hops.
It’s a full, rich fruity brew - less one to drink on its own than the Rocky Head - more with roast or pulled pork I’d say though they suggest tagines, feta salad or dried fruits. Again, no idea of the main man/woman behind it - possibly because they work for another brewery? I'd like to know how the name came about though.
It’s mainly available around Bristol (see their website for stockists) and at Ginglik, a music and comedy venue in Shepherds Bush.