Monday 23 February 2015

Remaining fascinated with dirty beer

Dirty beer, of which I have written before here and here, but it remains a subject that fascinates me. Not so much murky and muddy, but a beer with corners, jutting elbows, noisy children, a plot that requires some thought. Not easy. Good though, dirty beer is good, a bit like Iggy Pop’s Gimme Danger, uneasy but also easy to understand. Certain hops give dirty beer a character, maybe something like Chinook or Amarillo, but used in a way that makes them drinkable and memorable. Some fermentation processes as well, maybe those that give us the likes of white IPA, saison and sour. Naparbier’s Back In Black, for one, is a dirty beer, with its intense level of dryness, an ululation of roastiness, a flutter of deep orange pungency, and a bumpiness, a meatiness, a sweatiness that draws you into the glass. It’s adjudged to be a black IPA and eminent in its dirtiness. Bristol Beer Factory’s Belgian Rye is another one, uneven in a good way, rich, grainy, vinous and adventurous in its dryness. I like this idea of beer being dirty. After all, there was a literary movement in the 1980s called Dirty Realism. It’s not about inept brewing, it’s about beers whose aromas and flavours change and challenge, make you think, make you drink and make you clink the glasses of good fortune together. Other dirty beers come from Kernel, Beavertown, Orval. Beers with a certain swagger, a take-me-or-leave-me kind of approach to the world. There’s nothing wrong with clean beer though. The bottled beers that Sharp’s produce, beers such as Atlantic Pale and Dubbel Coffee Stout, they always seem clean, full of flavour and character but nevertheless clean. However, at this moment in time what I want are dirty beers.

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