AleSmith

Autumnal beers

While we've been blessed with a brief respite of Indian summer (and the sun is shining gloriously as we type this), it can't be denied that autumn is well and truly upon us. The barbecue is about to be packed away, the slow cooker has been dusted off from its summer slumber and - perhaps best of all - it's time to indulge in the delights of autumnal beers. 

We've had a great time reacquainting ourselves with the glorious nutty, malty beers that are often overlooked in this world of hop-forward IPAs and wacky sours, as well as discovering the best of the new-season offerings. We (well, Glenn) have also spent a bit of time in the kitchen, cooking up a storm and matching these beers to a host of hearty dishes that signal the move to the cooler months.

Here are a few of the autumnal beer and food matches we've enjoyed the most.

AleSmith Anvil ESB with Spiced Duck & Date Tagine

We feel a bit guilty plugging this beer as there's only one left in store (in our Bin Ends Box) but we loved it so much that it felt wrong to leave it out. Anvil ESB is an American brewery's take on an English style with English hops, but don't let that put you off. Big caramel and nutty flavours make this beer the perfect match for food, so we put it with a Moroccan-style duck and it knocked our socks off. You can find the recipe here, we got the duck from our friends at Flock & Herd and the dates, spices and preserved lemon from Khan's Bargain Store, Rye Lane's very own shop of dreams.

 

Beavertown Stingy Jack with Jamie Oliver's pumpkin chickpea curry

Beavertown's 2015 pumpkin ale is possibly the best pumpkin beer we've ever had. Smooth as you like, gentle spices that conjure up the most festive of autumn flavours... It's a pure delight to drink and conveniently arrived on the same day that Glenn decided to use up the pumpkin sitting in our vege bin in a subtly spiced curry. It's not rocket science to match pumpkin with pumpkin, but this worked a treat. We can only imagine what it would be like with a roast and caramelised vegetables.

 

Howling Hops Running Beer

This is such a delicious beer - probably our favourite from the Howling Hops range right now, and believe us when we say it has stiff competition. A brown ale hopped with Citra, Chinook and Centennial, there's something wonderfully light and delicate about it. We didn't drink it with food, instead simply enjoying it with friends on the tables outside the shop one recent evening, but this is such a food-friendly style, you could just about match it with anything and it would work.

 

Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen with Nigel Slater's slow-cooked sausages

We drank this malty, German-style lager with a improvised variation on Nigel Slater's slow-cooked sausage recipe and it was the bomb. German-style beer + German-style food = no-brainer Oktoberfest goodness. This would also go brilliantly with some subtle, nutty hard cheese.

 

Brewdog Candy Kaiser with Steve's roast pork

The heavy toffee notes in this seasonal altbier from Brewdog make for a terrific pairing with pork. We tried to recreate the amazing roast pork our friend Steve made when he stayed with us recently - a top-quality joint from Flock & Herd with a heap of fennel and caramelised onions, and spiced apple sauce on the side. Ours wasn't quite up to his standards, but Steve is the roast king and we bow down to his greatness. Regardless, Candy Kaiser made for a fine match.

New stuff in store: 10 September

All of this week's beer deliveries are now in and new hot sauces are on their way... We'll save the sauces for a separate post - here's what's new and exciting in the HB&B world of beer:

  • Howling Hops! It's always exciting when we introduce a new brewery to our London shelves but we've been especially looking forward to stocking East London's Howling Hops Brewery. In lieu of making it to their amazing tank bar, take home their bottled range. We've picked four varieties to start with and by jove, they're good - the clean and crisp Pale XX, the delightfully light and fragrant Running Beer American brown ale, the bold, flavour-packed IPA and their tasty dark Black XX. Collect the set.
  • A slew of new Brew By Numbers goodies, including their White IPA Citra & Mosaic in bottle and on flagon-fill and a new porter, Bramling Cross. Yes, it's officially porter season, people.
  • On the US front, we welcome back Alesmith X and IPA. We've also got a new addition from The Bruery. Regular readers of our Twitter feed will have observed the occasional ode to Rueuze, The Bruery's superlative sour. Joining it on the Big Beers shelves is Cuivre, The Bruery's one-off 7th anniversary Old Ale. We won't lie, it's the most expensive beer in the shop. That's why we've only got six of them. Splash the cash and make one yours.
  • And as always we've got a stunning line-up on flagon-fill. The Kernel brings together the big Cs for their IPA Citra Columbus Chinook Centennial, there's a great collab session pale, North by South East, from Manchester's Marble Brewery and our new South London neighbours Bullfinch Brewery, and Gipsy Hill's Yuzu returns, tasting better than ever, to name just a few.

New stuff in store: 19 August

Too excited by the prospect of sampling these beauties to type much... Here's what's now in store or will be in by the weekend:

  • Alesmith IPA and Speedway Stout - go check the Ratebeer rating for Speedway Stout. Go on! See? The IPA flew out the door last time we had it too, so don't hang about.
  • Evil Twin/Beavertown XXX Imperial Mild Ale - Evil Twin x Beavertown + Westbrook (where it was brewed) = amazing.
  • London Beer Lab Black IPA - the samples we had of this knocked the socks off the fiercest beer critics who joined us at Sunday's beer and cheese night. Simply incredible. Another corker from the good folk at the Beer Lab.
  • Weird Beard Sorachi Face Plant and Duke of Dank - two newbies from West London's Weird Beard massive. An IPA and Red IPA respectively, with Duke of Dank being brewed with beer writer and HB&B blog contributor Matthew Curtis.
  • Odell IPA and St Lupillin - Odell makes its return to our shelves. Welcome back!
  • Firestone Walker - Easy Jack's back (do it again), along with Pivo Hoppy Pilsner
  • Summer Wine Brewery Mokko Milk Stout - this iconic dark from West Yorkshire's SWB joins the mad fruit explosion that is Mauna Kea. 
  • Tiny Rebel's Cwtch Red Ale, CAMRA's Champion Beer from last week's Great British Beer Festival. 
  • And finally, nine of New Zealand's finest beers from Moa Brewing Co which launch exclusively tomorrow at Hop Burns & Black. All will be revealed tomorrow, but we'd advise you to elbow your way to the front of the queue/sell your grandmother/do whatever you have to do to get your hands on the Sour Blanc...

Happy drinking! 

PS - we've also got our hands on some more Beavertown Yuzilla Phantom since you thirsty beasts drank us dry last week.