Following the debut Leeds Homebrew meeting a few weeks ago, I caught up with fellow homebrewer Rob Derbyshire of HopZine and dropped heavy hints in order to coercively obtain a couple of bottles of his latest brew. Rob being the nice chap that he is pretended he hadn’t seen straight through my obvious suggestions and was generous enough to go along with the ruse. It’s common practice among the twitter community and it may be a form of begging, but it appears to be acceptable on the most part. I used the same technique to ‘drop in’ on Rob’s brew day and helped him open and drink some of the beers he had no intention of touching that day. What can I say? I’m just a friendly neighbour.
So here’s what I swindled on this occasion. A 5.3% abv Pale Ale, brewed with Maris Otter pale malt, Munich and Cara malts and hopped with Amarillo and Citra (yeast US-05 and sugar). It opened with a pfft and poured a pale golden colour with a slight haze, most likely from dry hopping if I know Rob well enough. Once it was all in the glass it took on a pale amber colour and settled down, with only slight carbonation. The aroma was a mix of biscuit, tropical fruits and herbal, but the malts were dominant. First taste, again the grainy malty character of this beer comes through followed quickly by a floral, bitter and slightly tart finish. Nice alcohol and a little spice coming through in the after-taste. I’d describe the beer is quite dry and an easy drinker.
Aside from the beer itself, Rob has certainly put his design skills to good use when ‘throwing his labels together’. However, with far too much time on his hands, the label has changed since the Leeds Homebrew night. Unveiled to his peers as Venkman, this beer has been reincarnated as Optic Nerve, an Adrian Tomine inspired illustration (and named after Tomine’s ‘Optic Nerve’ comic series) cleverly adapted with Rob’s own dialogue. I was a little sorry to see that this beer was actually intended to be his entry in a homebrew competition, but had then decided against posting it off after the Leeds get together. And as Rob comments on the label, the beer is tasting better than it did on the night. Oh well, more to hand out to your deserving neighbours. Keep up the good work with both the brewing and the artwork, and next time close your ears and make sure you give the next competition a shot!