A week ago we were approached to help launch a new beer, brewed for the Queens Arms, Corton Denham by Dorset brewers Gyle 59 – made for the purpose of celebrating our dear old Queen Lizzy’s 90th birthday. Pub regulars got to name the brew, and their chosen moniker for this monarch mash-up was Legless Liz.
Never ones to turn down an opportunity to go to the pub we of course barked ‘YES’, so after pondering the logistics of launching a beer (would we have to hurl a boat at a beer bottle?) we pointed the Thirsty Wagon in the general direction of Yeovil, arriving an hour later at the intensely bucolic* village of Corton Denham.
On entering, the pub was rammed – now we’d like to think that was down to our impending PA, but that would be doing a great disservice to Gordon and Jeanette – careful custodians for the past seven years and responsible for quite the pub.
The Queens Arms is everything you could wish for in a village boozer: a well-trod slate floor hosting a fine assortment of dogs, an enormous stuffed bovine head wearing a cap, an avalanche of bar-mounted scotch eggs and, most important of all, a gleaming display of hand pumped boozes, all given over to Gyle beers for the Legless Liz launch.
Prior to this event, Gyle 59 was a brewery that had evaded our beer radar, but fortunately owners Jon and Amanda were on hand to fill us in with the finer details of their enterprise. Operating from their rural, spring fed brewery on the Dorset/Somerset border they crank out a vast array of experimental boozes, taking much of their inspiration from foraged ingredients and historical recipes. We liked the cut of their jib.
The actual beer launch went well. After a fine upstanding speech from Gordon, a gaggle of indecipherable words from Nick and his thick West Country accent, and a few half-baked sentences** from myself, the first pint was ceremoniously*** pulled, then promptly tasted.
Fortunately for everyone concerned, Legless Liz turned out to be a corker. It’s an unfiltered, Belgian-style ale in the farmhouse saison tradition, yet scant enough on the ABV to make it a very session-able booze. There are touches of creamy vanilla on the nose with soft floral flavours giving way to all the peppery, spicy notes you’d expect from this style. The late addition of American hops gives it a long, crisp, almost spritzy finish. Our current throne-rooted monarch would be honoured with the association.
There was just time to stroke a few dogs and gobble a scotch egg before departure, taking with us a couple of bottles of ‘Liz’, and the splendid news that Gyle 59 are opening a bar and bottle shop in Lyme Regis, where discerning punters can enjoy a range of unfiltered boozes and tasty platters. If you want to sample a Legless Liz, you’ll have to visit the Queens Arms – Corton Denhams secluded secret, and your next favourite pub.
Brewery: Gyle 59, Chard, Dorset
Beer name: Legless Liz
Hops used: Herkules, Admiral, East Kent Goldings, Centennial
* Consisting of seventy honey-hued houses, encircled by steep, woody hillocks. The kind of place film-makers would turn down for being too bucolic. And like many bucolic English villages, the post office has been closed for ten years and the mobile phone signal is terrible.
**NOT cobbled together from a five minute Google search, as Nick hilariously announced to the throng. I read them in a beer book.
*** I pulled the pint. It was the first pint I’d ever pulled. I’ve had the opportunity before, but decided it was ‘better’ the other side of the bar. And it was a decently pulled pint, now that you ask. Despite Nick reckoning that I’d poured him an ‘under measure’ pint. I was actually allowing for liquid expansion. Like a pro.