One of the best things about putting together our digging and swigging website and book is that we get invited to perform cheesy grins and ‘educational’ activities for businesses and events who like what we do (and can’t afford a proper celebrity). Cider judging, pot planting demos and booze making workshops are just three of the recent requests to have landed on our PR’s hot desk.* And next weekend we’re taking part in an event that promises to be described with heavy use of the word ‘spectacular’: we’re pulling the first pint of a newly launched beer.**
Many of these events involve drinking booze (even for the garden related activity, Rich needs a snifter of strong stuff to control the nerves) so we have to show extra caution to our alcohol intake. Seeing as next week’s strain of pint-pulling will be swiftly followed by a sampling of the brewery’s full range of ales, the day after we’re at a beer festival, this week has been declared ‘booze free’.
But we have a weekly beer recommendation column to maintain, so this time I’ve delved into the file marked ‘standby’ and selected a favourite beer that I’m very familiar with: Williams Bros.’ Casear Augustus.
Willliam’s Bros have been making high quality beer in Scotland since the late 1980s and have an admirably adventurous streak in them. The first of their beers I ever tried was their now legendary heather beer ‘fraoch’, one of a huge range of beers, many of which tame other wild ingredients, such as pine and seaweed, into the brewing pot. Caesar Augustus uses ingredients familiar to the modern brewer, but it’s still has an experimental edge to it – a IPA / lager hybrid, so successful that it has become a regular sight in my fridge (thanks in no small part to my nearest Sainsbury’s stocking it).
It’s the epitome of a crisp and light refreshing beer, as you would hope from a quality lager, but has really well balanced perfumes and flavours of fresh hops, and enough dry bitterness to keep you guzzling more. The citra hops give it the lovely grapefruit zestiness that is popular with American IPAs, but it’s much more cosmopolitan than just another US wannabe ale, with a more refined and traditional European quality keeping the adventurous flavours in check. It is beautifully made, with the first mouthful being as enjoyable as the last.
At a sensible 4.1% it’s an easy drinking brew that can slot into most thirst quenching occasions – great with food, good for an occasional tipple, or as part of a session, and perfect after a hard day demonstrating how to plant up garden pots.
We met up with some of the Williams Bros team at another event, Craft Beer Rising 2016, a few weekends ago where we shared a stage showing visitors how to start brewing at home. It was great to hear from a successful brewery that began their own journey as home brewers and still have fun playing with new ingredients and flavour combinations. That is, after all, what we like doing most. However, we have no ambitions to turn our kitchen tinkering into a full time brewery – we’ll leave that to more dedicated folk such as the Williams – but if they, or anyone else, ever need a first pint pulling they can count us in.
Brewery: Williams Bros., Alloa, Clackmannanshire
Beer name: Caesar Augustus
Hops used: Savinjski Goldings, Calypso, Citra
*AKA our email inbox
**’Legless Liz’ by Gyle 59 brewery. It will be the exclusive beer of The Queen’s Arms, Sherborn, where the event will take place. Remarkably, Rich claims to have never pulled a pint before. It could indeed be spectacular…