2015 was a great year for us at Weird Beard, mostly because of the many developments we underwent as a brewery and as a team that brought loads of positive change. Another important feature of the past year and something fundamental in us bettering our beers and/or techniques is collaborating with others. Not only are collaborations constructive but they are fun, and we certainly had a fair bit of collaborative fun throughout 2015. Particularly in winter, when the year was drawing to a close, we decided that all those promised brewdays with our brewer friends and any other exciting collabs that had been proposed, would be achieved. Now we’re kicking off January with a hell of a lot of exciting new beer and so, let us tell you about them.
First up and you’ve probably seen it about already is “Pankot Palace”. This was a mad collaborative brew with the fine folk from La Débauche. Here's the video blog to prove it. A little about these guys and why we thought to work/brew together: they’re a French microbrewery that we’d tried and thought they excelled in dark beers. We hope you’d agree that we also do some pretty bangin’ dark beers.
Another reason we liked them was because La Débauche's branding is beautiful. The artwork often feature illustrations by local tattoo or other artists with many labels featuring skulls or a female character. Our labels have Lup’in, and you can probably see where we’re going with this... We’re most definitely big on our branding so we felt excited we could do something quite special with these guys when it came to the label, besides making a great beer.
We had Eglantine, Aurelien and Manu from La Débauche to brew with us. Since they mentioned they would travel to India before coming over, we decided to use ingredients from there and set ourselves the challenge of brewing a masala chai milk stout. This meant we were brewing with spices and with tea, and although we’ve put a lot of fruit in our beers of late, this was new territory. We added a lot of spices, which we first had to hand mix into our own garam masala. We also added a lot of Assam tea, in keeping with using Indian inspired ingredients. Lastly, we chose to round off the spice of masala and bitterness of tea with lactose because everyone knows proper Indian chai is sweet!
On the nose, this beer smells of winter spice: rich in cinnamon, ginger and clove notes. Flavourwise, the spiciness remains and particularly the ginger lingers throughout the earthy, roasted tea flavours as well as maltiness from the grains. Before you think “woah this is all too much”, the lactose mellows the bold flavours and encourages you to take the next sip.
And the only cask of this beer in London, is serving at the Harp tonight so see us there!