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Published on November 18th, 2011 | by iamstaggered

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The Booze Doctor Prescribes: Greene King IPA Revolution

It’s all very well to sit around with friends, sharing a bottle of something nice whilst watching Holby City, but the Booze Doctor has decided it’s time to take this show on the road. ROCK! You bring the sound system, and I’ll bring the groupies and the coke dwarves!

Only kidding, we’re just going down the pub.

The Northern way and the Southern way (and Seamus)

Greene King – legends of the Real Ale World, and the people behind Speckled Hen and its lighter sister, Golden Hen – have brewed up something called the IPA Revolution, based on research that Northerners like their IPA smooth with a tight head and a creamy finish, while Southerners tend to prefer their pints with a crisp, hoppier finish and a looser, frothier head. I imagine this research involved getting hammered in pubs all over the country, and the sooner they offer me a job the better. Anyway, this regional variation was all news to me, but I only venture North of Watford about twice a decade so I’m hardly the expert.

Apparently, it’s all about the nozzle – and Greene King has invented a handy gadget that enables their hard-working staff to switch between the Northern and the Southern pour.

And so to the Williams Ale and Wine House, in the sleepy Southern hamlet of London, where we were met at the bar by Seamus, a very friendly and helpful Irish gent, who you probably wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of. I’d painstakingly gathered an accurate* demographic of friends from all corners of the country – myself from Somerset, Welsh boyo Gareth, a couple of local Ruperts and Bernard, a dour Northerner from small country called Cumbria (somewhere left of Norway I think).

(*not accurate)

"Put yer back into it!"

It all got a bit hazy, but I think the conversation went a bit like this:

P – It looks different. The Northern pour takes time to settle, like Guinness.

R1 – There’s definitely a better head on the Northern one. What what.

B – The Northern one’s better. I shalln’t ave Southern poofs messing with me ale… [unintelligible]

R2 – It tastes the same, but the Northern one is more creamy. But isn’t this all a bit working class? Pass the champers!

P – The Northern one holds its head for longer. Oo aar me lover.

G – It definitely makes it more fizzy. Eer, Iechyd da and that. You’re all wrong. What do you mean this is the Official Beer of England Rugby??

B – Actually, can I object to these terrible regional stereotypes? My name’s not even Bernard. Eh, by ecky thump, Mavis. Give us another.

The Booze Doctor’s verdict:

TASTE: Even Seamus was willing to admit both pints taste pretty much the same (it is the same beer after all) – but even the hardened sceptic in me had to admit it actually makes quite a difference.

KICK: The tighter head on the Northern pint keeps it fizzier, meaning it doesn’t go flat until the bottom of the glass.

DAMAGE: At an easy-going 3.6% ABV, this is definitely a session ale. Definitely one to get stuck into on the difficult day two of a stag do. The choice of pour keeps everyone happy, plus you get to dig out the old North/South debate – the prejudice that just keeps on giving

MORNING AFTER: We had more than a few of these, but no unexpected ill effects.

SCORE: If you’re an ale drinker, you’ve probably had Greene King IPA before, but this is a fine twist on an already-fine beer – 8/10

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