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.