dark_star2So what is craft beer? Good question! To which no one really knows the answer. You see it written outside most pubs and a lot of shops, including our own farm shop, but there is no definitive answer to “what is craft beer?”. My interpretation is that it is beer, made with the highest quality ingredients, with a great amount of care alongside a creative flair to bring out the best flavours in the beer. After that the interpretation is huge. It could be served from cask, keg, bottle or can. Can be made in any country and in a style from any country. Over the last 4 years there has been a huge explosion in the production and consumption of craft beer, many influenced by the American brewing scene.

This weeks beer comes from Dark Star, who started brewing in the basement of the Evening Star pub in Brighton back in 1994. Their American Pale Ale preceded the popularity of making American style beer in the UK by many years. I first came across this beer nearly 8 years ago, way before craft beer was trendy, or even talked about. This was just a super tasty beer that was “different” to anything I had before or was sold in my regular watering hole. It was a game changer back then. I had no idea about American beer or American style beer.

Packed full of American hops it gives a beautiful citrus flavour with a shoulder of tropical fruit nudging its way through, along with a dry biscuity maltiness… Possibly a touch of toffee too. The first time I had it it reminded me of fruit wine gums. Back then I used to order it by the jug full (often feeling a bit fuzzy the next day) . We sell it in a more civilised can. And cans are a big part of the craft beer future. Not only does it keep the beer fresher it also makes it lighter and more transportable. I like to sneak cans into the cinema. It’s also great for a ride to the beach and a picnic. Buy a few cans, stick them in the fridge ready to go for any outdoor adventure or indoor if you are off to the cinema.

If you are new to the whole craft beer thing this is a great place to start. This beer would be great with some spicy and citrusy Mexican food. I’m thinking tacos, fajitas and quesadillas. The hops will dance with the spice and citrus zing, matching it step by step and cutting through cheese ready to cleanse you pallet for the next mouthful. And talking of cheese.. It will be great with pizzas from our wood fired kitchen. Grab yourself a can (or a six pack) and dive into the craft beer world.

Guest Beer Blog written by Jamie Beaton.