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31-03-2015, 10:00
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http://boakandbailey.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/malt_flavours.jpgUnlike some (Melissa Cole, p6 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Let-Tell-You-About-Beer/dp/1862059144); Mark Dredge (http://www.pencilandspoon.com/2011/04/meaninglessness-of-tasting-notes.html)), we don’t object to the use of the terms ‘malty’ and ‘hoppy’ as over-arching descriptors, but one thing does bug us: ‘malty’ shouldn’t just mean ‘not hoppy’.Malt flavour is a positive addition to the flavour of a beer, giving it another dimension. The best hoppy beers — that is, those with a pronounced flowery hop aroma and/or bitterness — also have malt flavour, usually sneaking up as a bonus in the finish.
These are the kind of things we think of (no doubt via Michael Jackson and others) when we spot that taste:


toasted nuts and*seeds
fresh bread
crackers

It’s dry as in crisp, savoury but not salty, and just downright*wholesome.
The best of the lagers we mentioned yesterday (http://boakandbailey.com/2015/03/choosing-a-lager-in-the-uk/) all have veritable maltiness, as do many of the pale-n-hoppy c.4% cask ales at which North of England breweries seem to excel. Our local equivalent, Potion 9 at the Star Inn, is defined by bright citrusy hops, but it’s that bread-crust and cream cracker snap that ultimately makes it so satisfying — the bun without which a*burger wouldn’t be half as enjoyable.
A beer with fairly restrained hop character might allow the malt to take centre stage, and that can be good too.
But some beers aren’t hoppy or malty — they’re just sugary, gritty, vegetal or (worst of all) watery.
Don’t blame malt for that.
Malty (http://boakandbailey.com/2015/03/malty/) from Boak & Bailey's Beer Blog - Over-thinking beer, pubs and the meaning of craft since 2007 (http://boakandbailey.com)


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