I have broken at least two Laws of Beer. It has been the first properly hot day of the year and I’ve been toiling on the garden with a trowel, spade and not very well oiled manual lawnmower, gathering dirt under my nails and beads of sweat on my brow. Right now I should be cooling down with a cold pale ale or lager but instead I’m drinking a stout. Served ice cold from the fridge.
Stouts tend to be a winter drink, their dark roasted flavours and thick, creamy textures providing a soothing beery antidote to cold, damp evenings. And if the Beer Police were to be believed, stouts should be served at a cool temperature* and never shoved in the fridge for more than a few minutes. But on occasions I like a chilled stout on a warm day and, besides, if culinary convention was made law there would be no such thing as an iced coffee and Heston Blumenthal would be in jail.
The stout at the centre of my Beer Crimes is called Quadrant and is brewed by ELB (East London Brewing) in collaboration with National Homebrew champions Graeme Coates and Tom Dobson. ELB is a husband and wife team, who first started brewing commercially in 2012. I’m not sure if their beers are that widely available outside of London, and this is the first drink of theirs I’ve tried. It’s an oatmeal stout, with oats added to the malted barley during the brewing process to create an extra layer of creaminess and a slight milky sweetness to the taste. This particular stout isn’t as thick as others I’ve had and has a quickly diminishing, frothy head rather than the deep, dense white topping of similar drinks, but it slips down a treat with a smooth, rich coffee coated bitterness and the slightest hint of a fruity tang. I suspect that, being so cold, some of the toasty, hoppy flavours have been slightly supressed but, aided by the subtle sweetness, it becomes something akin to a chocolate-coffee-beer flavoured liquid ice cream. Heston would be impressed.
Quadrant is a very finely crafted beer that makes me want to investigate the brewery some more. I’m also looking forward to drinking it on a crisply cold evening, sat next to a roaring log fire, but if you don’t mind breaking the rules then there’s no need to wait until winter to give it a taste.
Brewery: East London Brewing Company, London
Beer name: Quadrant
*Back in the day, ‘room temperature’ would describe the ideal condition for most British style beers, and it’s still a term referred to today. However, back in the day, rooms were generally of a lower temperature than they are in modern centrally heated, double glazed homes. ‘Cellar temperature’ is probably less misleading. ‘Cool’ will do the job.
Beer supplied by The Other Brew