Words - Matthew Curtis | Photos - Dianne Tanner
Total Ales has been on a (slightly unintentional) hiatus for the past few weeks while I finish up a breathtaking couple of months worth of travel. I’ve been in no less than 7 different time zones over the past 8 weeks as I’ve taken in most of New Zealand’s North Island, Belgium, France, Chicago, Colorado, Washington D.C. and Manchester. It’ll be nice to get some time to finally catch up with myself before getting down to the serious business of writing everything up. I'm quite tired.
Just before I headed to the US for the Craft Brewers Conference and a bit of information gathering I hosted my latest event with the good people at The Duke’s Head, Highgate. On a brilliantly sunny April afternoon we invited our friends Alex and Annie, founders of Bristol’s Lost and Grounded for an intimate meet the brewer and round table conversation. We tasted through almost their entire range of beers while enjoying some tasty bites from last month’s kitchen residents Le Bao.
Highlights for me included the balanced, bready and citrusy “special lager beer” Running with Sceptres (fast becoming a go to of mine), the impeccable Saison D’Avon and the newly released Hunky Dory IPA, which I can only describe as exceptional. We were lucky enough to be the first venue in the UK to pour the latter, which was brewed in collaboration with Thornbridge. As a beer it has all the bright, pithy and juicy characteristics I hope to find in a modern IPA, packaged in a crystal clear and clean drinking package. It’s a beer that’ll appease lovers of modern IPA and purists alike – and this is no mean feat.
The deceptive drinkability of Hunky Dory, which weighs in at 7.2%, resulted in quite a few of us remaining in the pub for a while past the event’s scheduled 5.30pm finish. It might also have led to a pretty epic beer mat throwing battle at one point – but eyewitnesses deny this ever having actually happened. It’s great to see Lost and Grounded quickly establish itself as one of the UK’s most relevant breweries and needless to say it was an absolute pleasure to host Alex and Annie at The Duke’s Head.
Our next headline event will take place on Thursday July 6th and to mix things up we’ll be hosting it at The Duke’s Head’s second site The Prince, Bounds Green. We’re excited to announce that we’ll be hosting a very special beer pairing dinner with Yorkshire’s mighty Magic Rock Brewing Company and founder/director Richard Burhouse will be joining us for the evening. It’ll also be a chance to experience the taproom and new home of London’s latest brewery House Brewery, where the event will take place.
For those that are missing our monthly Duke’s Head Bottle Club, fear not, we’ll be back on Wednesday May 17th with our regular night of beer, carnage and mayhem. More details and tickets for both events will be announced soon. Keep ‘em peeled.