16 July 2015

Bags of flavour

It's been a while since my last Belgian beer. Thankfully the Brown Paper Bag Project is there to scratch that particular itch with Aul Bruin Bagger, one they brewed at their usual Belgian outpost, ’t Hofbrouwerijke. They've squeezed a lot into that title: yes it's a Flemish oud bruin and there's their own name, but also that of their near-neighbours animation studio Brown Bag Films, for whom it's a 21st birthday beer. The twist on the regular style is an addition of cherries to the recipe, the alcohol content finishing up at 6.4% ABV. And how did that work out?

Quite interestingly, actually. The fruit leaves the beer more of a maroon colour than brown and there's a pleasantly strange interaction between the tart and tangy acetic element and the still-juicy cherries, in both the flavour and the aroma. The sourness is relatively mild but it does linger long, bouncing around the back of the palate, aided by quite a heavy texture for a sour beer. At heart this a classic brown-saucey Flemish oud bruin with the cherries adding just a subtle extra complexity. Nicely done.

Closer to home, Brown Paper Bag also produced a 4.5% ABV cask Summer Ale as part of the 5th birthday celebrations at parent pub L. Mulligan Grocer. An arrangement with north Dublin brewery Craftworks (more on them when I've had time to drink their beers) means that BPBP can produce beer on their own junior brewkit, covered by the Craftworks licence.

My pint, as shown, was murky as hell but tasted delicious when cool, blasting out jubilant peals of mandarin and peach. The yeast grit only began to show its dirty face as it warmed, but this isn't a beer to let warm; it's a chugger. Though that's not to say it wouldn't be a whole better experience if left to settle properly. This was over a week ago so maybe it has by now. Anyway, the idea of the  'Project brewing cask beer locally is an exciting one and I hope there'll be more along these lines in due course.

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