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Spring Brew

It barely seems a few weeks have passed since the gloom descended and Cornwall went into hibernation but, for the last month or so, daffodils have been flowering and businesspeople have been painting their shopfronts. The season is almost upon us again.

The real sign that spring has arrived, however, formalities aside, is the appearance of seasonal beers in pubs.

St Austell’s Spring Brew seems to be a variant on Proper Job, their award-winning pale IPA. It is a touch weaker at 4.3% and also seems a little less astringent than its big brother: where PJ can become a little wearing after two pints, stripping the mouth, it’s easy to imagine drinking the better-balanced Spring Brew all night.

It reminded us distinctly of another beer that we know features Amarillo but, as far as we know, it’s not a hop used in any other St Austell beers. At any rate, laid over a chewy French bread maltiness, there are powerful but rounded flavours of exotic citrus fruit and lemon zest. Whatever ‘zing‘ is — volatile hop compounds, barely readable yeast esters, a certain magic in the carbonation? — Spring Brew has it.

It’s available from now until the end of April.So far, we’ve found it in the Lamp & Whistle in Penzance (in startlingly good condition) and also at the Lifeboat Inn in St Ives, where an enthusiastic barmaid sang the beers praises with an evangelical gleam in her eye.

9 replies on “Spring Brew”

Sounds most pleasant indeed, and not totally dissimilar to the St Austell Cornish IPA that appears under Marks and Spencers auspices. The brewery certainly seem a most capable group of coves these days 🙂

Ooh, good point — what’s the ABV of the M&S one? [Googles…] 5%. Thought you’d rumbled them there!

Last time I was in Cornwall I had a St Austell’s beer which I think was just called IPA, and that was (BeerAdvocate look away now) 3.8%. Very nice it was too – not watery at all. It had more of the bitter caramel quality of old-style IPAs than the full-on astringency of PJ, though.

St Austell have PJ (IPA in the small print); Spring Brew (enough like PJ to warrant being called an IPA too); and just “IPA”.

We’ve only seen IPA in one pub (at Lizard). We thought it was quite nice, but then we’d just walked for five hours in the sun, so anything would have tasted pretty pleasant. Mentioned it to some Cornish beer geeks on Saturday and they all reacted with disgust, though, so not a popular beer locally.

A low-strength IPA is almost guaranteed to fall between two stools – too much flavour to pass as a session bitter, too weak for the geeks. Drinkers of taste and discernment clearly appreciate it, though!

Sorry, my logic was faulty. Some drinkers of taste and discernment clearly appreciate it – the intersection of the sets “drinker of taste and discernment” and “appreciates St Austell IPA” is non-empty.

No Problems. St Austell is not terrible beer by any means, but you wouldn’t seek out Tribute if you were in a beer festival. A freehouse near mine has just seemingly tied itself to St Austell to some extent, so I can hopefully try their better beers soon.

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