Beer collaborations are all the rage. Brewers are collaborating with other brewers to create new, exciting beers; celebrities are collaborating with brewers to satisfy their vanity and provide a bit of promotional power for the breweries involved; and even we have dipped some home grown ingredients into a kettle of malty in a collaborative effort with a brewer to promote our book.* And now my monthly case of mixed beers contains a boozy collaboration between Belgian brewery BOM** and the people that supply the case, Beer52.
Called ‘BOMB’, it would appear that the main act of collaboration was rooting through their combined larders, chucking anything they could find into the beer mix. It boasts an ingredients list that runs to 21 different items including roasted blueberries, blackberry juice, sour cherry juice, coriander and juniper berries.
To further promote the collaborative spirit I generously shared the bottle with my mate Adam to get a joint perspective on the merits of the beer. That’s the same Adam who muscled his way into the recent Frocester Beer Festival and is in danger of becoming our first groupie. We’ve told him there’s no way we’re changing our name to Three Thirsty Gardeners, but we don’t think he has given up hope. Still, we’re milking his enthusiasm by offering him the position of apple carrier during a string of cider making demonstrations, so half a bottle of BOMB seems like fair reward for his efforts.
The beer is the colour of sloe gin and the initial taste is of the sweet and sour Belgian fruit beer kind. Cherry perhaps strikes the strongest note but not overwhelmingly so, and after a while other fruity flavours mingle and merge into something more akin to a beery fruit punch.
Adam isn’t entirely convinced by the first few sips but quickly grows to like it. There are familiar flavours, and hard to pinpoint flavours, so it helps when some of that 7.2% alcohol softens the edges allowing the earthier beer notes to poke through the fruity melee.
The beer has a nice refreshing fizz to it, which bristles with a bitter citrus zestiness and a hint of spice. All of which makes it easy to drink and, with a quick succession of sips to try to identify more of those 21 ingredients, it’s not long before Adam has drained his glass. His thirst is quenched – and the groundwork to a hangover is laid – by a bottle of the previous week’s beer choice, the 7.8% ‘psycho’, while I finish my last mouthful and contemplate a final verdict.
The Beer52 chaps suggest it reminds them of Spanish sangria, which isn’t a bad shout. I’m guessing they drank theirs on a hot summer day – mine was consumed on an autumnal evening and ‘boozy fruit pie’ sprang to mind. But I guess with so many unusual combinations of flavours it’s likely to result in different reaction from anyone who drinks it. Which is probably what beer collaborations should all be about.
*That’s the excuse we’ve been using. The reality is, we just wanted to brew a load of beer.
**Stands for ‘Belgian Original Malt’ bakery and brewery. They bake all their malts themselves and follow ‘gypsy brewing’ principles of borrowing brewing kettles from elsewhere.
Beer supplied by Beer52
Brewery: BOM Brewery, Bree, Belgium
Beer name: BOMB
Hops used: saphir and topaz
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If you like the sound of Beer52 and fancy getting a £10 voucher off your first box then your luck is in – we’ve got hold of a special voucher code for you. Simply enter ‘THIRSTY10’ when prompted by their website www.beer52.com