A desire for a good tasting session led me and a couple of friends to Cask Pub and Kitchen for the Meet the Brewer event with Arbor Ales.
Jon and Paul spoke very passionately about their brewery and the inspiration behind their beers. They spoke of how a lot of the beers they made were inspired by the craft brewing scene from the states and this was clearly evident with the large array of IPA's on offer. I'm always impressed when brewers talk about simply brewing beers they enjoy drinking. In my mind this is the best way to do it. Brew good beers and people will drink them; to many brewers try and predict the market and end up with uninspiring or simple beers. Jon described about how if they had a beer they liked or had an idea for something they'd like to drink but couldn't find it they'd get back to the brewery and make it. This was hugely evident in the huge array of beers on offer; 10 in total.
Highlights of the evening for me included the Nibiru IPA, a lovey citrus 6.3% IPA, and the 7% Yakima Valley IPA which were both big hoppy West Coast style beers. What really impressed me about these 2 beers was the big citrus overtones which weren't the usual lemon and lime flavours but big tastes, and forgive me if this sounds a little poncey, of mango, grapefruit and papaya. The other thing that really struck me about these 2 beers was the intense hoppy flavours and aromas without the overwhelming bitterness of some West Coast IPA's.
The other hugely impressive beer was the Bullion IPA, a 6.5% beer, that they had chosen to serve through a randall (a container of hops which sits between the cask and the beer engine). I loved the aroma and flavour this imparted in the beer.
I was also very taken with the less heavy session beers like Inferiority Complex, a 3.4% dark session beer, and the Mild West, a 3.6% dark mild, which both packed huge amounts of flavour considering their strength.
Overall it was a great night and, even though I managed to burn a £75 hole in my wallet buying the "sale" bottles of foreign beer, I can't wait for next months edition with Hardknott!