One of my Christmas presents this year was a trip to Cotleigh brewery with some friends which we duly did last weekend. I must say that I have never been a big fan of Cotleigh's beers and often found them a bit disinteresting but went along eyes wide open nonetheless. We arrived at the brewery and were welcomed by one of Steve's (the owner) staff who put us in a reception room while the other guests joined us. We were immediately given a beer which is always a good sign. Steve then proceeded to show us round the brewery and although his delivery was a bit bumpy he showed a great knowledge of brewing and the industry and very quickly had us all hanging off his every word. The big brewing vessels always impress me loads of chrome, pumps and valves plus the idea of brewing 10000 pints at each brew great stuff!!
One of the main points of interest though was a discussion had with Steve about finings. One of the guests asked Steve if his beer was suitable for vegetarians, he explained that although he believes that the "Isinglass" (used for clearing the beer) which is made from fish swim bladders is in the sediment at the bottom of the barrel. He couldn't guarantee with any certainty that there were no traces of it in beer thus rendering it not suitable for vegetarians. It is worth noting it is also used to clear wine and spirits too. I then asked if he believed that Isinglass affected the taste of the beer to which surprisingly he couldn't answer as he hadn't tried his beer unfined!! We then discussed the work of Justin at The Moor Beer company and his belief that beer should be drunk hazy and free from the effects of Isinglass. I completely agree that the need for Isinglass is now redundant, throughout brewing history it has never been used in fact it only came into use during the 60's and 70's. This was a marketing ploy to try to improve the quality of beer with a "great beer is clear beer" rationale.
New modern brewers are now using Isinglass less and less in their brews and as a result are producing some amazing hazy beers. Removing the shackles created by clear beer means these brewers are focusing purely on the taste with some amazing results. We are delighted to announce that we will be featuring Moor Beer brews in the Grapevine this and next week so please pop in and try this amazing beer. You can get more information on Justin and his ethos at the website below.
To finish this article I would like to mention that my favourite beer brewed by Cotleigh is their 25 anniversary ale. It is golden light well hopped and very clean. A good quaffing beer with a great nose and a strong bitter finish. Really good.