The crow stood in the middle of the scorched lawn, barely moving, wings held down as if in surrender to the heat. Its beak slightly agape, it cocked its head and gave me a resigned stare, as if to caw, “Today, of all days, I wore black…”
I ambled home, mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of the barbecue with thoughts of the mini-cask from Wadworth‘s chilled and waiting. The latest Brewer’s Creation, No. 7, in the monthly series of new beers from Wadworth. It is untapped, with the only clues as to its contents a long list of malts and three hop varieties.
What is a perfect BBQ beer? Surely a light, refreshing helles lager or a crisp and fruity golden ale. Maybe while you’re waiting, but what if the grill is to offer up beef back ribs in a marinade of Camden Brewery’s Fukdahator doppelbock:? which is what I had in mind for this evening’s fare.
Meat and beer, we should do more with this versatile combo. Big, (sweeter) malty flavours are great with roasts (especially pork), burgers, steaks… Wadworth’s own notes had virtually all the malts known to Munton’s – the reason for my getting the No 7 ready for the ribs: pale ale, crystal, amber, chocolate, brown, caramalt…
What would pouring reveal? But even with the ribs barely seared, I could wait no longer.
Woah, that was dark for a summer Creation! Should I have seen it coming? My mind turned back to the sartorially-challenged crow sweltering on the lawn. But tasting, there was a distinct lack of the things that would have made a winter warmer so wrong. Neither vinous nor heavy, and instead, alongside roasted and nutty, (but not burnt) nuts, a lighter, refreshing fruitiness, even if it was a quite chilled.
The Camden doppelbock was looking like an inspirational choice for the marinade – and subsequently, bbq sauce. What was left to drink showed its malty relationship to the Wadworth. A touch darker and sweeter maybe, but some silky chocoloate mousse in both.
Here’s where a picture of the bbq’d ribs would have been really nice
Then the ribs were ready. Rich, sticky-ish sauce, the beef retaining a bit more bite than pork ribs. Sweetness, with crispy burnt bits, savoury beef tinged with smoke. The flavours were ticking off each malt in the grist bill.
And then the lift of fruity hop flavours: Bramling Cross (blackberry?), Centennial (grilled lemons?), Goldings (spicy, orangey?), finishing with a modicum of bitterness. So even though the mini-cask gave only a touch of sparkle to the beer, there was plenty to refresh the palate.
I’m not saying dark is the new summer ale, and the No. 7 is not a black IPA, but it does point in that direction. Darker ales are clearly worth considering for the bbq or Sunday roast while the sun is out It’s that refreshing touch of summery fruit turning darkness into light. You might even forget you’re a crow.
Wadworth kindly provided the mini-cask. Brewer’s Creations are very limited editions, usually only available in selected Wadworth pubs. Check the Wadworth website.
The beef back ribs were bought from Donald Russel’s online shop.
Munton’s are malt suppliers of repute.