Despite being one of the greatest brewing nations in the world, Britain’s beer went through a prolonged spell of being met by a haughty, disdainful shrug beyond these shores, with “warm and flat” being a common insult. To be fair to the rest of the world, the stuff we exported was rarely among the most exciting brews ever produced and many of our own tourist attracting pubs failed to keep their beer in the best condition.
But with the rise of craft beer, the brewing business is a much more global affair, with beer styles and ingredients being less country specific, while ideas and recipes are exchanged across the oceans. Now, we’re all in love with everyone’s beer, and Britain is increasingly being recognised as a great brewing nation once more.
One brewery basking in the glow of global success is Derbyshire’s Thornbridge. Already exporting to over 30 countries during the past five years, next month they’ll be opening a Thornbridge Bar in another brewing powerhouse nation, the Netherlands. The bar, based in s-Hertogenbosch, will be managed by Paul Leeyen, who has been serving Thornbridge’s beers at his current bar in Den Bosch, much to the delight of his customers who appreciate the “high quality and great variety of beer styles”.
So what can s-Hertogenbosch beer guzzlers expect? Chief among the brewery’s offering will be their flagship IPA, Jaipur, regularly singled out as an exemplary example of the style and one of Thirsty Rich’s favourite brews. And with good reason.
Jaipur certainly looks every bit a classy number: extremely pale, crystal clear and topped with a bright white head built up of pristine bubbles. Like all good and proper IPAs it’s a study in bitter hoppiness – evident from the first sniff and becoming increasingly more intense in the mouth as the smooth liquid eases away. Citrus notes stand out in force but, unlike many modern IPAs, it’s not dominated by exotic new world flavours – it’s the overall balance of bitterness that counts here.
We certainly hope the brewery’s new Dutch adventure is a success and, with such a strong, confident and classy beer like Jaipur set to wow their new audience, they should certainly help to banish any old misconceptions surrounding British beers abroad.
Brewery: Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire
Beer name: Jaipur