Having reviewed a couple of Hardknott brews for The Brewclub, and found them to be very, very good, I was pleasantly surprised when Dave Bailey (whom, you might recall, describes himself as ‘Brewer, Doer, Force Majeure‘) offered to get the Beer Pixies to deliver a bottle of his latest brew, described as a ‘Disarmingly Global Wit’.
This brew was developed, it would appear, while Dave was in a contemplative mood.
Dave, you must understand, used to work at Sellafield, the home of the British Nuclear industry, and he devised this brew ‘Nuclear Sunset’ to mark the seventieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.
As Dave explains “This beer was brought out to commemorate the awful loss of life during the first and only military deployment of nuclear weapons. Whatever your view on the need for an apparent necessity to end a truly destructive war, or the need for a deterrent subsequently, it would be a cold hearted person who didn’t see the huge impact it made on the lives of the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
He continues “We’ve not had a nuclear weapon detonated in anger for 70 years. Will that last forever? I do not think we can be sure of the answer to that, or the best way to prevent it. I do know enough to know that death from extreme exposure to radiation is long, protracted and very unpleasant.”
He also acknowledges, as a former worker in the nuclear power industry “I think we are better off with a diverse energy policy. We can’t stop burning fossil fuels tomorrow. We definitely should continue to develop wind, solar, hydro and biomass etc. but I do not think that renewables are a panacea. Every scheme has its objections, many people locally to us would have the wind turbines ripped down tomorrow if they had their way. I have a strong conviction that nuclear energy still has a role to play.”
So, on to the beer, which was inspired by a Japanese wheat beer. The beer was to be brewed with the regulation orange peel and coriander, but to include orange juice and nutmeg. The Japanese inspiration was fermented with Sake yeast, while Hardknott chose an American ale yeast.
It pours a rich apricot colour, slightly cloudy, with a thin, white head that fades quickly.
The nose betrays the orange juice, sitting behind the Orange zest, with coriander providing a nasal spritz. I’m not sure if the emphasis on Orange works for me, we’ll see what the flavour brings.
The flavour is dry, classic wheat beer flavours coming through, coriander, a little bubble gum, and orange peel, there are hints of white pepper, again underpinned by the Orange juice. The nutmeg would appear to have left the building.
I confess to a little disappointment, I like Hardknott brews, and admire the intent behind this brew, but it’s not something I would turn to again. I could probably get a similar effect by pouring a shot of OJ into a more traditional wheat beer.
Having rated the beer, I leave the final words to Dave:
“Beer is a big part of my life, and yours too. But beer is only a small part of most peoples’ lives. The lives of everyone in humanity are intertwined. The actions we make today, as developed nations, will effect the futures for many billions of lives for many years to come.
I want to think about that, and I think other people should to, over that next beer they drink, whatever beer it is, whoever it is drunk with and wherever it may be. Beer can be an emotive drink, and very often, over a beer, we can end up discussing emotive issues. We know we shouldn’t but we still keep doing it.”