Tuesday, 1 April 2014

East London Brewing Foundation Bitter

East London Brewing Foundation Bitter
Style: Bitter
Alcohol Content: 4.2%
From: Leyton, London, England, United Kingdom
Purchased from: Beer Boutique, Putney 

So it would appear that spring is here again. Kids in shorts and flip flops are now multiplying by the day and the clocks have finally “sprung” forward to herald the start of yet another great British summer. This spring is however different. This spring, brings the birth of the first baby among my close friends. Whilst I am over the moon about the upcoming arrive, I can’t help but think I'm getting older and moving into another stage in my life. Talk nappies and houses have replaced talk of ladies and shots. Our hair continues to thin and waists grow ever larger (no matter what products/diets we use to try and fight it). As my hairline recedes, one thing that has improved with age is our appreciation of good beer.

So whilst visiting a beer garden on Saturday, I took great joy in speaking to my oldest friend about the various beer styles and how they are created. He was shocked to hear that Budweiser actually use rice in their recipe. So as we washed down our splendid lunches with a few pints of Fuller’s ESB, I thought to myself how lucky we are to have such an amazing choice of beers right on our doorstep. With this in fresh in my mind, I decided to open a bottle of East London Brewing Foundation Bitter and reflect on my disappearing youth and look forward to all the changes ahead of me.

East London is a small independent brewery based in Leyton, London. After both deciding to give up their day jobs, Stuart Lascelles and Claire Ashbridge-Thomlinson set up their 10-barrel plant in February 2011. While for most people juggling a young family and an embryonic brewery would prove to be insurmountable task, the dynamic duo rose to the occasion and produced their  first batch of ELB pale ale six months later. Due to their tenacity the brewery was able to stay open and eventual expand into the unit opposite in May 2013. Its well documented that good things come in small  packages so let’s see how their Foundation Bitter tastes shall we.  

Foundation Bitter

Colour: Pours a deep, rich chestnut brown with a small white head which will lace the glass beautifully on every sip. Personally I would prefer a larger head on my bitter but that could be down to my dodgy pouring.

Aroma: As soon as you pop the cap, you will feel like you have walked into a bakery just as the loaves are removed from the oven. A baker’s dozen of aromas will rise to meet your nostrils. Fresh baked brown bread and yeast are present from the outset. After a few minutes in the glass, slight hints of sweet citrus can be detected which helps to round out the aroma profile perfectly.

Body: This drink is remarkably light/thin for a bitter, which actually makes it very thirst quenching. However as soon as you swallow this beer you will notice a high amount of clogging on the back of your throat. Although this sensation is not unpleasant, it will certainly force you to slow down and enjoy your pint. For me this is a hallmark of how a good bitter should be drunk; slow and with great company.  

Taste: I always find the Bitter style very interesting. Although the name suggests the drink should be so overall bitter that you won't enjoy it , I personally find that most bitters have a relatively low IBU (International Bittering Units). So I was pleasantly surprised to find that my bottle of Foundation was actually rather bitter in the mouth.  Upfront notes of brown roasted malts provided a taste similar to that of brown bread or roasted hazelnuts. The finish of this beer is very intriguing, with a large amount of bitterness which is underpinned by a slight, sour lemon edge. I was rather taken aback by this a first and it did take quite some time to get used to. That being said, this sourness helps to create the “thirst quenching” edge which sets this bitter apart from the crowd.

Foundation Bitter

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