You might have clocked, from my excited tweets and Instagram posts, that, in mid April, I was invited down to Dorset to spend some time with Hall & Woodhouse, former brewers of Panda Pops (it’s true!) and current brewers of the wonderful Badger Beers.
I’ll tell you more about my visit in another post, but for now I want to focus on some exciting things that Badger have in the pipeline; the first being this lovely brew.
An American Venture is the first of 4 limited edition beers to be released by Badger in 2017 and 2018. These limited edition beers will all have the same malt base, but take inspiration from 4 different countries – America, Belgium, Germany and, of course, the UK – by borrowing a hop here and a yeast strain there. Next up in 2017 is Le Belgian Flair, followed in 2018 by German Precision and, finally, British Reserve (they named this before they met me). On the bottles the Badger branding is clearly there, but faded with that wonderful 1 stamped across the label. As you know, Badger rarely fail to impress me with their label design.
But back to the good stuff – or, you know, actually drinking beer instead of talking about it. At 6% this golden beer is certainly not a sessioner, but it’s very drinkable, containing the strong hop aroma and fruity bitterness you expect from this style while also remaining, well, distinctly Badger. I was particularly impressed by how well balanced this was; the sharp fruit not overpowering the biscuity, caramel maltiness, resulting in a dry, hoppy, fruity delight.
For some the assumption, ‘oh Badger are trying to be craft’ would be easy to make. Well, I hate to break it to you, but Badger are craft – they always have been. Their core range is one of the bravest and most diverse (although, come on guys, throw a stout in there) I’ve seen, their branding manages to straddle heritage and modernity effortlessly, and, most importantly, they just taste great. Badger aren’t doing this because they have to, they’re doing it because they have an incredibly experienced brewing team with the want to experiment, the skill to do it successfully and, well, they just can.
An American Venture is now available in Ocado, Waitrose, Co-op and Booths, and I’m looking forward to seeing all 4 of them lined up on my shelf (if I have the willpower to hold on to them that long…)