Autumn sunshine comes as peace descends after a stressful few weeks, seeing the fruition of yours and a lot of volunteers work at Norwich beer festival come to a successful end (until next February).
It is also helpful to be sitting in a brewery sampling well crafted barrel aged beers while your husband and the brewers are brining forth a new beer. A Belgian tripel with quince. I am reminded of the tour I recently made to the Czech Republic where I sampled beer tea.
What is beer tea? This is the warm wort as it leaves the mash tun at a perfect 65 degrees. A sweet ruddy brown liquid which once yeast is added to the malty goodness will make a beer that is about 8%.
I have visited Allday brewing in the past, but this was their last weekend of their ‘summer’ tap openings. Since my last visit they have brought more wooden barrels for their beers to age in. I love Christmas and to see a barrel that says do not open until Xmas 2019 gets me excited. Each barrel will impart something different to the beer, if it is made of fresh oak you will find a beer that has fresh nut notes and a slight sweet back bone. If the barrel has been used for wine, there should be a marriage of grape, wood and tartness. My personal favourite is Bourbon barrels. These are harder to get now days, in the past due to the US governments ruling that a Bourbon barrel can only be used once (a way to keep the cooper industry going in the US) they were cheap. Then everyone found the magic held within. Strong beers that sit in the barrels for any length of time get a level of rich dark fruits, blended with smooth Bourbon yet topped with a slight oxidised sourness. Think top quality Balsamic vinegar matched with the best Jerez sherry and your getting it. Add this to an English Stilton, Game pie or rich Mince pie and you have the prefect Christmas beer!
What Allday have also added is a traditional Pizza Oven, the pyromaniac in me was in heaven and soon I had created a scene from Dante’s Inferno. Flames, smoke and heat, aiming for a steady 450 degrees in the centre of the oven. I was grateful for a pond next to me as I set fire to the scraper used to move the charred wood to the back!
Then it was time to learn how to place the pizzas into the oven and turn them every 30 seconds for an even brown, as the base puffs in little hills. I realise I have not felt so relaxed or looked forward to eating a pizza so much. The crisp base (with their own wild yeast) balanced beautifully with the fresh tomatoes, cheese and herbs.
I am now trying to work out how to build a pizza oven in my garden with a small shelter for when it snows, because I am not sure I can wait until next spring, plus could I cook my turkey in it?