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11-10-2011, 19:40
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http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/007-copy.jpg?w=224&h=300 (http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/007-copy.jpg)Ok, I wasn’t going to blog about this beer, because I know it’s not available for everyone and, quite frankly, it’s not fair. However, it’s so damn good, and other people have already, that I’m going to give in. What can I say – *I’m weak. Beer Weak.
Anyway, Rooster’s Baby-Faced Assassin is what you get if a crack homebrewer (and I’m sure Tom won’t mind me using that term; he’s really good) gets his hands on a real brewplant. In fact, that Brewery is now his – he and his brother Ol (formerly of Copper Dragon) have taken over at Rooster’s and are guiding the reins admirably thus far. When I heard this news, my first question was ‘Are you going to brew BFA?’, so was I taken by it when I first tasted it earlier in the year. Some non-committal answer was given, the subject changed and I consigned myself to never tasting it again. Needless to say, I was beside myself when given another chance to sample it – brewed at Rooster’s, this time.
Let me remind you, at this juncture – that I’m talking about a*Homebrew.
I admit, it’s a bad word ‘Homebrew.’ I can understand why people disparage it, given how much awful stuff there is out there (I’ve brewed a few, trust me). However, you’re selling yourself short because many brewers start life as Home Brewers, and it just follows a natural curve. The really good ones just get bigger and grander in their efforts, until that leap is taken. It’s a leap of faith, obviously, as starting any business is, no matter what your output.
If you look down on the efforts of homebrewers, then you’re ignoring the fact that this seam of experimentation has probably (really – the odds are that high) given birth to the beer you’re drinking next in some way. Thornbridge have even recently held a competition to find a unique homebrewed beer to brew themselves recently. Economies of scale mean that there’s some excellent beers out there, if you’re lucky enough to know a committed homebrewer.
Besides, it’s a great way to learn about beer. I’ve said it before, but I really learnt more brewing four or five all-grain beers in my kitchen during the last couple of years than nosing my way through any number of books. You really get inside raw materials, flavour, properties, and recipe formulation. Process, style, genre – all there to be explored. Yes, there’s a little outlay at first, but it really is fun. If you happen to know a brewer, get in there for a day. Dig out a mash tun. Do some cleaning (which accounts for about 80% of brewing). It’s hard, physical work – but I bet you enjoy dipping your toe in.
There’s plenty of help out there; countless forums (I can recommend Jim’s (http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/) and Beoir (http://www.beoir.org/community/)in particular) and groups such as Northern Craft brewers (http://www.northerncraftbrewers.co.uk/) to help you out if you get stuck – if in Yorkshire, obviously. In fact, Zak Avery has just launched his own Leeds club (http://leedshomebrew.blogspot.com/)*with a few other like-minded chaps,*which are holding their inaugural meeting soon. Attending will be James and Andy from SummerWine – another brewery birthed of fanatical homebrewing.
Anyway, enough of this waffle; onto the beer. Baby-Faced Assassin (6.1%abv) pours hazy-orange, with a creamy white head, and is just Tropical Fruit Punch in a glass; Lychee, Sweet Pineapple, Mango and Strawberry all swirling around in both the nose and the taste – which is so soft and restrained that it brings an instant smile to your face. It’s just so drinkable, it’s stupid. A true fruity, somewhere-between-West-Coast-Pale-and-IPA if ever there was one.
Here’s hoping it gets a wider audience. No pressure there, guys.

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