19 October 2015

History of Ale Event at The Botanist Leeds


The Botanist in Leeds is famous for many things, not just for its quirky decor but also it's fabulous cocktails, food and unusual range of ales.  I had always opted for the spirits, give me a vodka over a beer any day.  SO when the lovely guys from The Botanist Leeds invited me for an ale tasting I almost turned it down.  I don't like ale, or so I thought.  But this wasn't an ordinary ale tasting, it was a history of ale tasting (did you say that in the M&S voice) and I do love history so I decided to pluck up my courage and give myself a go.

Kieran the resident Beer Guru (yes that's his actual job title) brought us a selection of unique ales and explained the history behind them and how they were made.  It was really fascinating, it also meant we got to try drinks not usually on the menu of these kind of events.  Guess what?  I liked them!  Here's what we tried:


Schlenkerla Marzen – Germany 

What they say:
The malts were smoked over beechwood fires to give this beer its distinctive aroma and flavour which is often compared to Bavarian smoked hams and cheeses.

What I say:
Frankly this tasted like liquid smoky bacon to me, and you can't go wrong with bacon.  Delicious, although rather heavy so I'm not sure I could drink more then a bottle.


Saison Due Pont – Belgium

What they Say:
Historically Saisons did not share enough identifiable characteristics to pin down as a specific style; but rather a group of refreshing summer ales. Each brewer would make their own distinctive version, this modern batch is based on the Dupont Brewery’s classic.

What I say:
Not my absolute favourite but I found this flavoursome and enjoyable with strong carbonation.  You can definitely taste the yeast in this one which later turns almost earthy.



Lindemans, CuveĆ© Rene Gueuze – Belgium

What the say:
A blend of young and old Lambic beer’s using wild yeast to create a refreshing sour flavour. This creates what is considered the ‘Champagne’ of beer styles.

What I say:
This was a bit of a controversial one among the group and I was one of the few people that actually enjoyed it.  The initial taste is pretty sour but the taste transforms pretty quick.  Defiantly unique.
  

 Einstock Toasted Porter – Iceland 

What they say:
What I sayBrewed with clear notes of espresso coffee and dark chocolate creates this dark but rich finish, with its smooth yet robust flavour this porter is an easy to drink:

What I say:
This tasted to me almost like a dark chocolate, rich with a creamy finish.


Ticketybrew, Dubbel – England 

What they say:
This modern Dubbel ale comes from a brewery born of the love for beer and on Valentines Day (14th Feb, 2013!). The dubbel style is a staple of Trappist and Abby breweries, and the quirky theatre ticket lable is a nod to the brewer’s previous life treading the boards.
 Pale Ale began as a home brewer’s dream, grew into an icon, and inspired countless brewers to follow a passion of their own. Its unique piney and grapefruit aromas. 

What I say:
Can we all be upstanding for the best brewery name of the night please!  This had a light, spicy taste that was really easy to drink.



Left Hand, Nitro Milk Stout – USA 

What they say:
It’s all about the pour with a Nitro Stout; just grab it, invert it and pour as fast as it will flow then watch as the milk stout cascades beautifully forming a tight thick head. When you hit the nitro be prepared to be thrown back in your seat, with flavours of vanilla, mocha and milk chocolate.

What I say:
Another rich and creamy choice, if you can get your head around literally having to dump this one in the glass you are in for a real treat.


Seirra Navanda Pale Ale – USA 

What they say:
 Pale Ale began as a home brewer’s dream, grew into an icon, and inspired countless brewers to follow a passion of their own. Its unique piney and grapefruit aromas.

What I say:
I remember this one the least I think and that's partinally because it was so easy to drink (and you know, I was a few beer's in at this point!).  Light and a little sweet.



Beavertown, Gamma Ray – England

What they say:

Gamma Ray instantly shouts "Take me to your Leader!", and it's futile to refuse as hops armed with ray guns fire citrus flavours at all your taste buds which are already enjoying caramel malt leading to some tropical fruits. Eventually the invasion is complete and it's mind control leaves you looking for more.

What I say:

This might be my favourite in the 'most likley to drink again' stakes.  I can see why it's so popular, it smells amazing and tastes so light and fruity.  I'll definatly be grabbing one the next changce I get.

This wasn't all, to keep our heads in the game we also had some lovely nibbbles part way through.  I can see why The Botanist is always popular with people looking for good grub, everyting was tasty and filling.  Also, there was a lot of cheese so of course I was happy!  

I can honestly say my opinion on ale has done a 360 in the course of this one event.  I was so nervous about going, fearing I wouldn't be able to drink any of it but I actually liked every single one we tried, even though they were all so different.  I'm really glad I chose to go, the staff were all so knowledgeable, friendly and welcoming and the bar itself has a unique quirky style that really stands out in the city.  If you want to book a similar tasting for yourself they have three different options ranging from £15 per person to £20 per person which honestly is a complete steal!  You can take a full look at what they offer here.

Are you an Ale fan?  What should I try next?
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