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Aug 2014

Chiltern Flanders Pale Ale, Chiltern Brewery

Added: Friday, August 1st 2014

Style Pale Ale ABV 6.2%

Chiltern Brewery FlandersPale  Ale 6.2%

The beer commemorates the strong links between Belgium and Britain and the two countries’ shared love of pale ale. That love was cemented early in the 20th century when John Martin set up a drinks import agency in Antwerp and introduced Bass Ale to Belgium.

Belgian brewers responded with their versions of pale ale: the likes of De Koninck, Dubuisson and Palm remain major brands today and many new, smaller breweries also make their interpretations of the style.

Chiltern’s Flanders Ale blends the British and Belgian styles with a strong, bottle-fermented beer. It is brewed with pale malt, wheat malt and Vienna malt and hopped with the Challenger variety. It has an original gravity of 1061.5 degrees and 25-28 units of bitterness.

The Vienna malt, similar to English crystal, comes – despite the name – from Bamberg in the Franconia region of Bavaria. Both brewer Tom Jenkinson and I were keen to cross the boundaries of the First World War and reach out to both sides in that horrific conflict.

The Challenger hops, an English variety, are grown in the Poperinge region of Belgium close to Ieper/Ypres.

The beer has an enticing bronze colour with a creamy/buttery malt aroma balanced by peppery hops, orange fruit and a hint of marzipan and toffee. Tart orange fruit builds in the mouth with continuing toffee and marzipan notes and peppery, resinous hops. The finish is long and complex, with buttery malt, orange fruit, peppery hops, a touch of honey and continuing toffee notes.

The beer will age in bottle but can be drunk young. It costs £6.25 a bottle or £69.50 a case from Chiltern Brewery: the brewery shop is at Nash Lee Road, Terrick, Aylesbury, Bucks HP17 0TQ; on line from www.chilternbrewery.co.uk

It’s also available from the Beer Shop, 71 London Road, St Albans AL1 1LN; www.beershopstalbans.com

*Bottle image: Alexander Wright

Chiltern Flanders Pale Ale, Chiltern Brewery