Friday lunchtime saw my work colleagues and I once gain enjoying the more than pleasant beer garden of the Black Prince in Woodstock. We seem to find ourselves here most Friday lunchtimes as the ‘prince is such a solidly dependable, pub. The food’s always of a high standard – such that I haven’t ever had cause to complain, and the beer is always – without exception – good, too.
Darren, The Black Prince manager, always ensures that there’s a guest beer on…so there’s always something new to try and it’s always perfectly well kept.
This Friday it was the turn of Aylesbury Brewhouse Company’s “Quark”.
ABC are an 8BBL brewery based in the Hop Pole Inn in Aylesbury, they are sister to the Vale Brewery (a brewery that I have some familiarity with being very fond of their “Hop Pocket”) and are using the equipment from their sister brewery’s original set-up
This new incarnation of ABC replaces the original brewery in Aylesbury (also called ABC) that was bought and taken over by Ind Coope many years back, (who in turn were then drawn into the gaping maw of the Allied keg beer machine and withered off.)
The new ABC only seem to be on their 30th or so brew – each of which being a one-off special edition. I like this approach to commercial brewing, as it drives constant innovation in their brewing and product line. I wish more breweries would do similar.
Saying this, though, ABC report that they are to introduce a regular house ale…so we’ll have to wait and see what shape that takes.
I think they’d do well to base it upon their Quark recipe, which is lightly coloured and begins with a slightly sweet malty edge that runs on to a satisfying mouth-full of light hop bitterness.
No one particular variety stands out in the hopping, but it’s well balanced and has a herbal, delicate quality – which leads me to think that these are English or possibly even European hops rather than any of the heavy-hitting US humulone monsters.
Unfortunately there isn’t a vast amount of aroma underpinning this beer (despite being advertised as “brewed with six varieties of hops”) but I guess that’s nothing that a few extra pounds of something glorious stuffed into the hop back wouldn’t cure!
This is a beer that could easily convert the Fosters and Stella boys, as it’s perfectly accessible to all tastes and isn’t one of those “frightening” warm, heavily malted, dark brown beers.
Do keep an eye on the ABC folks as I think we’ll be seeing more great beers from them in future.
The Black Prince: http://goo.gl/maps/lhEbW