When local author and forager Andy Hamilton started writing his book Brewing Britain, he began a quest to discover whether there could be a perfect pint of beer in the UK and to encourage others to brew not just their own perfect pint but to sample the local tipple from their local brewer.
After a two year self lead beer study involving tasting hundreds if not thousands of beers around the country, visiting brewers and growing his own hops, brewing his own in the course of writing the book, it only seemed natural to celebrate the publication of Brewing Britain with a local beer collaboration with a brewer with a similar ethos. Andy teamed up with Shane O’Beirne from Beerd (an experimental arm of the Bath Ales brewery), producing a Scotch ale made with malt smoked in a hand crafted smoker and whirlpooled with juniper berries.
Talking about the collaboration, Andy Hamilton said: “I knew I wanted to brew a beer commercially, just as many home brewers aspire to and I hoped that my work as a beer writer might enable that. I decided that Shane was a perfect match for this project and so was very happy when our beery discussions moved onto a collaboration. I believe he will be one of the brewers to watch over the next few years with some beers that really do push the boundaries of brewing in this country.
“After throwing around some wild ideas we found that a Scotch Ale was the perfect fit. Through writing Brewing Britain, I revisited many of the beers I’d tasted over the past years and found that I and many of my friends are fond of the style of Scotch ale, particularly female beer drinkers.”
Andy went on to smoke some of the malt over two days in two handmade smokers in his and a friend’s back gardens. The Juniper was foraged from his garden, which sits atop a hill overlooking the end of the Cotswolds and of course Bath Ales Brewery. Adding the Juniper berries to the beer, brewed at 4.8%abv, meant that the whole affect is understated but still unusual. The berries impart a rather warming smoky flavour with comforting sweet roasted chocolate notes. Definitely one for Autumn.
Andy Hamilton lives with his family on top of a hill that overlooks Bristol. He runs brewing workshops at his local home-brew shop and the occasional tasting session, too. He is also a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers and CAMRA.
Andy is author of the award-winning and bestselling foraging/home-brewing book Booze for Free, and can be found regularly writing about home-brewing, beer, foraging and gardening on his website www.theotherandyhamilton.com. When not tasting new and wonderful beers in pubs and at festivals around the country, Andy works as a trustee for Homestart Bristol, a charity that offers support for struggling families in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.