Sunday, 15 September 2013
Beers Of London Series: 54. Belleville Brewing Co. - Spring Break 4.4%
Beers Of London Series
54. Belleville Brewing Co. - Spring Break 4.4%
Belleville Brewing Co. are number fifty-four in this series, and remarkably the thirty-fifth London brewery I have featured.
Think about that for a minute.
Thirty-five breweries either situated in London or with London associations is quite an astonishing number.
I recently posted on twitter that I had a list of fifty-nine London breweries and this was duly re-tweeted with the result that a few more that I been hitherto unaware of came to light. My tally now stands at sixty-two, which is rather exciting. I am determined to get around to reviewing beer from them all at some point, but as not all of them bottle their beers then it's going to require a little legwork but that's something that I'm not at all averse to especially where beer is concerned. Incidentally, partly due to my work on this series I have become involved with Ales By Mail and their Best Of London mixed cases so if you are a London brewery that bottles your beer and I've not featured you in this series or you have an exciting new beer (actually all new beer is exciting!) feel free to contact me on twitter and I'll be more than happy to talk to you or arrange a visit. I picked up this beer from Ales By Mail too, so if you want one then you might want to visit their website.
With their slogan 'Beers from over there, brewed over here' Belleville Brewing Co. certainly make their intention of brewing American-style beers very clear. Situated on the Jaggard Way Industrial Estate in Wandsworth, Belleville made the headlines this June when brewing giants Anheuser-Busch (who you will notice I haven't made a link to) tried to get them to change the name of their brewery citing that it's 'similarity' to their Belle-Vue brand may confuse customers. The irony of this, their 'Budweiser' brand 'pinching' the name of the Czech pilsner that inspired it (Beer Of Kings/King Of Beers anyone?) and the ensuing court battles to try and secure this as their copyright will of course not be lost on any of you so I won't go into that here.
Opened in January this year, Belleville Brewing Company was formed by (ten I believe) fathers of children at the Belleville Primary School in Battersea,who met in the playground and decided to open a brewery. That may sound rather simplistic but is fairly near to how happened than you might imagine. Actually it was Adrian Thomas, one of those fathers, who was inspired after a meeting with home brewers at another Primary School nearby and encouraged the other fathers to invest in, and be part of, a brewery dedicated to brewing US inspired beers and fit it in around their regular jobs.
Spring Break, tonights beer, is infused with elderflower and uses Hallertau Hersbrucker and Santiam hops traditionally associated with German-style Lagers and Pilsners, however as they are sometimes found in US Pale Ales and IPAs (there's the American link) I'm keen to get this beer open.
It pours a pale orange with a thin nearly-white head and plenty of steady carbonation with a constant stream of tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. The aroma is beautifully floral with the elderflower coming through rather nicely under-pinned with mango and gooseberry, it smells fresh and is actually making my mouth water before I've even tasted it. Soft carbonation tickles the tongue gently before a big bitterness hit with a fruity tang crashes into the roof of the mouth unleashing juicy elderflower and gooseberry with a spoonful of pineapple juice poured over the top. The malts are soft and subdued like the lightest of sponge cakes gently moving in at this point, moving aside those fruity flavours like a natural break in a piece of music. My glass isn't quite big enough to hold the whole bottle and I've poured the rest in (I've drunk about two thirds) and the remainder is considerably more cloudy. As far as I'm aware this isn't a bottle-conditioned beer (my eyes are telling me otherwise) and there's no increase in intensity of flavour, in fact no real change at all, so be aware of this if you have it and pour carefully. The finish is long-lasting with the ethereal esters of elderflower maintaining their ghostly juiciness for a very satisfying ending to a very nice beer indeed.
This is my first beer from Belleville and has left me wanting more. I'm not so sure of the American influence here as it's not as 'in-your-face' as I was expecting, but rather it is subtle and delicate and much the better for it. I'm anxious to try more from this brewery to see if the 'hop-forward' nature I've come to expect from US beers is present so you can another review before too long. In the meantime I'm very happy with this in my glass. Perhaps I'll have another one.