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Sep 2017

Chiltern Bodgers Barley Wine, Chiltern Brewery

Added: Friday, September 1st 2017

Style Barley Wine ABV 8.5%

Chiltern Brewery Bodgers Barley Wine 8.5%

This is a sumptuous beer, Rémy Martin with a dash of hops. As autumn descends, this is a wonderfully rich and warming beer – and its pedigree is proved by winning 3 Gold Stars in the Great Taste Awards organised by the Guild of Fine Foods.

Chiltern Brewery is based in Terrick, between Aylesbury and Wendover, and the family-owned company, run by the Jenkinson family, restored brewing to Buckinghamshire, a county that lost its major breweries during the takeover frenzy of the 1960s and 70s.

As well as producing this superb, succulent and full-bodied beer. Chiltern has restored the good name of the bodger. Far from being the rough and ready, corner-cutting and dodgy worker of modern parlance, a bodger was a true country craftsman who laboured long and hard over building fences and other vital bucolic devices.

Barley Wine is an ancient English style brought back as part of the modern beer revolution. Its roots are in the 18th century when England was often at war with France and patriotic aristocrats refused to drink French wine and replaced it with home-made strong ales. Barley wine could be as strong as 12 per cent and was stored for a year or more. It was brewed on the estates of the gentry and by commercial brewers, who took the first malts and hops of the harvest to fashion their beers and then stored them for many months to reach peak perfection.

The Chiltern interpretation is bottle conditioned and can be laid down to improve. It’s suitable for vegans and is brewed with 100 per cent Maris Otter malt and hopped with three English varieties: Challenger, Fuggles and Goldings.

It has a deep bronze colour going on chestnut and has a rich Cognac-like aroma of vinous fruit with a good underpinning of peppery hops. The palate is bittersweet with toasted grain, peppery hops and rich sultana fruit. Hops build in the finish but are balanced by toasted grain and ripe fruit. It brings warmth to the chest and a glow to the cheeks.

A single bottle costs £2.55 from the brewery online shop www.chilternbrewery.co.uk or it can ordered by the case. £3.60 from the Beer Shop in London Road, St Albans.

Chiltern Bodgers Barley Wine, Chiltern Brewery