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ACB June (Suffolk) Monthly Meeting

ACB June (Suffolk) Monthly Meeting

We convened at a very quiet Dove on Saturday 4th June, avoiding many of the Jubilee celebrations which probably accounted for the lack of customers.

Attendees (in as far as I can drag them out of my memory) were…. James Pettifor, Steve Plampton, Steve Bennett, Pete Burgess, Colin Miller, Roger Yates and myself (Nick Davis)….my apologies if I’ve missed anyone…I’ve also got the name Peter Simmonds written down but I’ve a feeling he may have been an author of a book and not actually present.

As ever, we started off with a convivial chat around the bar as we waited for folks to turn up. Peter, upon arrival, immediately accused the barmaid of stealing his trousers the last time he was there. I suspect it was an event that is not best dwelled on too much.

Many of us chose to kick things off with a pint of Manhattan Project, an easy drinking 4% American Pale Ale made with Mandarina Bavaria, Citra and Eureka hops, from the Nene Valley Brewery…and very nice it was indeed. After passing round menus and choosing lunch it was time to get down to some serious drinking and the latest round of our Golden Ale challenge.

A limited number of beers were on offer but the unanimous victor was Peters beer made with Pilsner and CaraPils and a combination of Motueka (lovely hop!!!) and Columbus….pretty much everyone ranked it as the best beer.

My scrawled notes are not helping me much in writing this, but I do remember Colin telling us a bout a couple of recent purchases he’d made. One was a Universal CO2 Regulator which could be fitted with various different adaptors depending upon your source of CO2. The other was a set of Low Profile 3/8″ Ball Lock Disconnects. Useful if you have confined space for your cornies.

During the consumption of beer I believe that Jim mentioned a little bit about a book that he has brewed several recipes from – Guile Brews by Peter Symons…not sure the book is readily available in print, but I believe you can have a copy printed on demand by Lulu (the publishers, not the singer) Guile Brews (

We also had conversation about fleshing out our calendar of events and adding details of non-ACB events to the calendar in order that individuals might be able to plan their brewing schedules better so they can decide what they want to attend and when. It was noted that with spurious comps and events springing up all the time (GBBF Homebrew Comp, the Reading Amateur Brewers “Spruce Beer” competition to name just two examples) that it might be good to add them to the calendar at the beginning of each year. Yes its true that we often dont know specific dates of some events until they are published, but most events usually take place at similar times of the year (e.g. LAB’s Black Friday, Lager Than Life and Open comps, The Scottish National, BrewCon, Briarbank etc etc) and rough dates could be added until specific are known. some thing for discussion at the AGM I think we concluded.

A number of beers were subjected to comment during “any other beers”…

  • Nick D – Japanese Rice lager 5.3%, brewed to the same recipe as last years Godiva single hop challenge but a lot less crisp and dry than last years version
  • Jim P – Banks’ Mild, 3.5% a 1953 recipe originating from the aforementioned Guile Brews book using Adnam’s yeast.
  • Steve B – Strong Bitter of indeterminate strength…but strong
  • Steve P – a 4.3% Porter
  • Peter B- a Milk Stout
  • Nick D – a German Helles Exportbier 5.3%
  • Jim P – a Belgian Blonde
  • Nick D – a Smoked Dopplebock 7.3%

I’ll be honest….much of what else took place has faded into obscurity, blurred by the passage of time and much alcohol consumption on the day ( we really need to bar minute takers from drinking on the day!!!). I did however take note of several of the pub beers that were consumed so, in no particular order, here goes…

  • Hophead Golden Ale 3.8% by Dark Star Brewing – An extremely clean-drinking pale golden ale with a strong floral aroma and elderflower notes from the Cascade hops. This beer is full-bodied and full-flavoured yet gentle enough to make it a favourite session beer.
  • Manhattan Project 4% APA by Nene Valley Brewery – Mandarina Bavaria, Citra and Eureka hopped pale ale
  • Oscar Wilde Dark Mild 3.7% by The Mighty Oak Brewing Company – CAMRA Supreme Champion Beer of Britain 2011 & Champion Mild of East Anglia 2016 A wonderfully mellow, nutty, morish dark mild. Brewed using Maris Otter Pale, Crystal and Black malts and gently hopped with Challenger
  • Southwold Bitter 4.1% by Adnam’s – a beautiful copper-coloured beer, late and dry-hopped with Fuggles for a distinctive, lingering hoppiness. Brewed with the finest East Anglian Pale Ale malt barley, sourced locally to the brewery. We use Fuggles hops which we add late in the boil to preserve the herbal flavours of this traditional English hop. First brewed in 1967, it was originally called Adnams Best Bitter. It holds our oldest trademark, Southwold Jack, and remains the original hero in our range. Southwold Bitter is as distinctive as ‘Southwold Jack’ (the knight with the sword) who appears on the pump clip and has done so through many incarnations. Many Adnams beer fans would agree with our Head Brewer that Adnams Bitter is a truly distinctive pint. We wouldn’t be overselling it to describe it as a classic
  • Emotional Camel 4.2% APA by Azvex Brewing Company in Liverpool
  • V is for Vessel 6.4% American IPA by Duration Brewing in Norfolk – Using 100% Vienna malt and pouring a bright amber this dry and toasty beer has aromas of citrus pith and pine. A light savoury note gives way to a resinous, bright, citrus flavour. Finishes clean and refreshingly bitter. I actually tasted this and thought it very pleasant…not as harsh and aggressive as many American IPA’s can be.
  • Hell Lager 5% by ABK – a light, bright and very satisfying beer. Lightly golden with a bubbly, medium white head that steadily shrinks to a thin foamy lace, the aroma is soft and sweet with grain and very flowery hops. The taste is full bodied grain with lots of green apple and light but persistent hints of pine and herbs, with a light bitterness that persists through to the finish. Eminently satisfying.
  • Smoked Baltic Porter 10% – a collaboration between Cloudwater and Donzoko – a rich Baltic Porter with Beech smoked malts.

there may have been (almost certainly were) more….some of the descriptions I unashamedly admit to copying from the Dove web site.

Whilst the Dove might not be the ideal location, especially when there are a good number of us, the welcome we get is never short of enthusiastic, the food is always warm and hearty and the selection of beers available is such that, if you cant find one or more that is to your taste, you probably shouldn’t be interested in beer!!! The scheduled Ipswich meeting in early September has been superseded by the Fuller’s visit, but we have booked back in for the scheduled meeting in December…>7% beers, Christmas jumpers optional.

Look forward to seeing you all there.

Nick D.