Starts out Belgian, Finishes American

Elliot's Brew

One of our missions on our spree last Saturday was to find a Mikkeler beer — any Mikkeler beer. The output of this Danish brewery has come to represent for us all the continental holidays we’re not having now Eurostar is less handy; and all the exotic beers we left behind in the bars of London.

And, of course, everyone is always bloody on about them. (Word of mouth marketing works, it turns out.)

When we enquired, the barman at the Hand Bar in Falmouth, helpful as ever, produced a bottle of Elliot Brew, told us the price and waited for us to recover from our faint before opening the bottle.

It’s supposedly a double or ‘imperial’ IPA but, being brewed at De Struise, and bearing only their name and logo on the label, is a peculiar, hard-to-fathom creature which defies labelling and seemed to metamorphose dramatically as it warmed up from fridge temperature.

Those first mouthfuls: faintly funky, dry and dusty, stale in a good way — just what we expect from a hoppy Belgian beer. But perhaps a little disappointing given the IPA billing, if we’re honest. (More fodder for the ongoing pondering about what IPA means, there.)

Then the second half: the dust dissappeared, the beer rounding out, getting fatter and jammier until, as we drained our glasses, it had somehow become American in character.

It was a remarkable trick, like the transformation scene in a werewolf movie, which made us want another, just to see if we could work out how it was done.

Don’t ask us how much it cost. Too much. We’ve blanked it out. More than our train tickets to Falmouth, at any rate. Shudder.

8 thoughts on “Starts out Belgian, Finishes American”

  1. That is the only problem with Hand, the beers are incredible but at such a price it’s like a special occasion to go there! Next time you take the train over here get off at Penryn and The Rebel Brewing Co is just 50m from the station… I won’t try to bribe or coerce you into writing nice things but I will show you around and give you some samples 🙂

  2. I’ve not tried Elliot Brew, but a couple of the single hop and a couple of their beer geek bottles. Most impressed by the Wheat is the New Hops (brewed with GrassRoots). This is billed as an American IPA and is so far from that I can see why my brother (rapidly expanding his beery field of vision) found it ‘too much’ and tipped it. It’s a funky, grassy, hay bail of a beer and very interesting take on an AIPA (I’m also saying this with Ghost Drinker’s post in mind). The Mikkeller beers I’ve tried have been impressive on the whole, but a couple of them have been standard, but with a premium price…I’m more than happy to take this gamble though.

  3. That photo alone is enough to make me want to spend my money on it. I really like it.

    The beer sounds really interesting although I haven’t fully got my head around ‘double’ IPA and other style terminology yet.

    1. Double IPA only really makes sense in the context of ‘style guidelines’ which prescribe a specific strength range for IPA with an upper limit of (from memory) about 7.5. Anything above that, therefore, becomes “double” or “imperial”.

      The Hand Bar do present beer well — the barman spent ages find a suitable glass, eventually producing the Nøgne Ø branded over-sixed wine glass you see in the pic. You’ll also note that the head was very sturdy and stayed right to the last drop.

  4. If it’s as expensive as you say then I hope he did. I had an Orval poured into a pint glass last year and felt very deflated drinking it!

    I’ll read strong and stronger for double and imperial from now on. If only to keep my head from spinning!

    1. Argh. That’s awful. Literally five minutes staff training… gah. If they didn’t have an appropriate beer glass, then a large wine glass; if no wine glass then, well, don’t sell the beer!

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