Wednesday, 1 March 2017

@Thornbridge Brewery at @BeerRitzLeeds - The Heart Desires & Bear State

So, the last Saturday of the month is now a fixture for tastings at Beer-Ritz in Leeds. February saw Thornbridge Brewery in attendance, bringing along some of their elegant but still hoptastic west coast-style IPA Bear State, as well as a new release from their Barrel Room series, The Heart Desires.

Although in the video I skate over Bear State a bit, it shouldn't really be dismissed so easily. It's a classic Thornbridge take on a style - precise without being showy, refined without being boring, reliable without the contempt of familiarity. But of course, my inner geek wanted to talk about the next installment of the Barrel Room series, the series that spawned the unprecedented gold and silver medal duo for Thornbridge at the World Beer Cup. With two new beers. At the first time of entering. Really, that's quite an achievement.

The Heart Desires is a complex beer. On the nose, you get the white wine barrel influence immediately - bit of oak, bit of fruit, and it smells zingy, your brain gets excited and starts your mouth watering for what is about to happen. In the mouth, it's medium-bodied, with a clean zip of acidity and fruitiness, unsurprising as the beer is aged on gooseberries for 18 months - green apples, lemons, just crunchy, zippy dry fruitiness.

This is a barrel-aged wild beer, subject to the influence of organisms in the wood of the barrel (pediococcus and lactobacillus being among them - in the video, the only reason I mention them because George didn't want to). It's something of a paradox that a beer that is exposed to all manner of unruly microbial influence should taste so clean, but it does. It's something that it has in common with a lot of American wild ales, notably the wild beers produced at Russian River Brewing in California, which are Thornbridge brewmaster Rob Lovatt's inspiration for this series. The Russian River wild beers are ace, as are the Thornbridge ones.

Next up, Ilkley Brewery will be debuting a new beer and puring samples of their new range - come down to Beer-Ritz on Saturday 25th March - no need to book, it's free, just turn up between 1pm and 4pm.

You can follow @BeerRitzLeeds on Twitter for more updates, and like them on Facebook (and in real life too)

You can follow @BeerRitzByMail on Twitter, and give them the Zuckerberg thumbs-up here, or just ignore all the social media hoopla and head over and start shopping

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