Monday, October 19, 2015

Beer Review: Herta by Floodline Brewery

Herta by Floodline brewery
Herta by Floodline brewery
It might only be 18-months-old but craft brewing palace Drygate, in Glasgow's east end, has already made a massive splash on drinking and brewing.

As a venue, it's superb. There's a beer hall, restaurant and beer shop, and the big glass windows mean you can watch the brewing team at work. It was the obvious venue for this September's Craft Beer Rising, and has also hosted comedy nights, gigs, weddings and markets.

But it's the wee 250-litre brewkit that is making waves among Scotland's new generation of brewers. Anyone can rent it, meaning you and your mates now have the opportunity to brew your own beer on industry-standard equipment and even launch your own brewery ... which is exactly what Floodline have done.

Floodline's brewing team - Nina Ballantyne, Ed Evans, Pete Sansom, Liam Hainey and Claire Dobson - all met while student volunteers at Glasgow University's Queen Margaret Union, and although on disparate courses, they shared a love of good beer, so that when the notion for a brewery was mooted - round a pub table of course - there was no real option other than to run with the idea. 

The five friends, all in the early 20s, launched Floodline in January, having spent months cobbling together enough money to rent the brewkit at Drygate and for the ingredients for their first two beers: Fearless Nadia IPA (5.5%) and Herta wheat beer (6.2%).

Herta is a friendly clash of traditional Munich malts and modern American hops. Its aroma is sharp esters and tart toffee, along with the banana and cloves so typical of wheat beers. It pours an opaque amber gold with a thick, cream-coloured head. It's a frothy beer, and noisy, like the distant sound of seaweed popping under the hot sun; its smooth, lively texture envelops your tongue.

The tartness you got on the aroma is there in force when you take that first taste.It's sharp and mouth-smackingly bitter, with notes of orange citrus and juicy tropical hops coming through; the sweet malt character maintaining body and balance. Then it settles down, fades like a wave at the end of its reach, leaving a mellow, salty and satisfying finish in its wake. 

Five other beers from Drygate
Gladeye IPA (5.5%)
Drygate's flagship IPA, an accessibly easy-going pale ale with smooth caramel and bitter citrus zest. 

Inevitable Conclusion Double IPA (8.9%)
Newly released beast of a beer from the Drygate Brewing Co. It's big, very big, on hops, bitterness and strength.

Ymir India White Ale (5%)
Pale wheat ale with heaps of citrus from Heidrun Brewing Co, another Drygate co-venture. 

Bellwether IPA (5.5%) A new beer from Monolith Brewing Co, another start-up to emerge out of the Drygate brewkit. A brilliantly received beer, it doesn't hang around.

Apex: Peak 1 (7.3%) Brewed especially for Drygate's first birthday, it's a potent saison-inspired hybrid.

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