Beer usually turns out a shade of brown. At the lighter end of the spectrum you could justifiably argue the case for blonde or golden, while some stouts are almost certainly black, but everything else in between is mostly brown.
This was never a problem for brewers, who would often use the colour brown as part of the their beer’s name, but these days ‘brown’ is considered less of an appealing description for any food or drink. Increasingly, they turn to ‘red’.
There are two traditional beer styles that have established claims on the colour red – Irish Red Ale, which is a basic kind of low hopped bitter, and Flanders Red Ale, a sour, Belgian beer brewed with special yeasts, reddish malts and aged in oak barrels.
Modern brewers have started using ‘red’ more liberally, particularly in America where it tends to describe amber, hoppy beers. So it’s no surprise that British breweries, regularly glancing across the pond for inspiration, have picked up on the trend
One new outfit, that I’ve not previously encountered, to have got in on the red scene is South East London’s Brockley Brewery. Their Red Ale is most definitely brown but, perhaps, there’s the touch of a leaf-turning-red hue to it… However, it’s such a good beer they can declare it pink for all I care.
It’s a very beery beer, with a sturdy aroma of toffee malts and hops, that confidently swaggers with bold, beery flavours. Malty, with just an initial touch of sweetness, and some lovely deep, rugged bitter flavours mixing with the now familiar American hop fruitiness. It finishes up nice and dry and is the kind of beer you don’t want to stop drinking. I’m regretting only having one bottle. Next time I’ll load up on more and properly paint the town red.
Brewery: Brockley Brewery, London
Beer name: Red Ale
Beer supplied by The Other Brew