I’ve made my selection and the courier has picked up the box, so it’s about time I revealed what I sent to my beer swap recipient. I had a hard time choosing these beers, mainly as a lot of the local breweries don’t bottle their beer. I also had a bit of a wobble when I found out that my recipient was the head brewer at the Coach House Brewing Company, nothing like a bit of pressure. I pretty much knew what two of the beers were going to be, the main issue was what the other two were going to be.
First up was a beer from my local brewery, Cambridge Moonshine, who are now based in Fulbourn, just outside Cambridge. They have quite a range of beer and there is always something in The Bacchanalia to pick up, but I have found the quality to be variable. I plumped for the Chocolate Orange Stout, mainly as it’s one of their best beers, but also due to the fact that it’s slightly different
Secondly I picked Old Chimneys utterly excellent Good King Henry Special Reserve. This little monster is the highest rated British beer and in the top 50 overall on RateBeer and for good reason too, it’s sublime. I’ve had most of the Old Chimneys bottle range and this is by far and away the best beer they do.
You could argue that I should have sent a bottle from the City of Cambridge brewery, however, they now have their beer contract brewed by Wolf. I decided that Wolf were too far away to be called local so decided to discount them.
I’d picked up a couple of bottles of Iceni Men of Norfolk, one to evaluate and one to send if the first one was any good. It was good, but I thought it was lacking a bit of condition, hopefully an extra couple of weeks in the bottle will have resulted in a bit more condition.
When I bought the Men of Norfolk, I also bought two bottles of Humpty Dumpty’s EAPA. The first was really lacking in condition, it was a shame, so I felt I couldn’t really sent it as I couldn’t guarantee that the second bottle would be better. Furthermore, the Norfolk coast really isn’t that local to Cambridge, so with two things against it, I drank the second bottle myself, it was really quite nice.
This left me with one bottle to get and I was a bit stumped. I could have gone down the easy route and picked up another bottle of Cambridge Moonshine, but I didn’t want to risk a bad bottle. In the end I went into The Bacchanalia and picked up a bottle of Oakham JHB and Crouch Vale Amarillo to evaluate. Both were really, really nice, so I decided to go back and get a bottle of the JHB to send.
Horror of horrors, both The Bacchanalia and the local Tesco were out of stock, which threw me completely. It was back to the drawing board, as I thought that Crouch Vale were a bit too close to London to be local to Cambridge. I picked up a couple of bottles of White Park beer, they’re just the other side of Bedford, but both had far, far too much condition that ruined them somewhat.
It was getting desperate and I toyed with sending Elgoods Black Dog, but the other three beers were all dark and I wanted to send something pale. Luckily Waitrose came to the rescue as they had some JHB in stock, so I managed to get a bottle to send.
I hope my recipient likes and enjoys the selection I have sent, I certainly enjoyed picking them.