This weeks World Beer Award-winning American Pale Ale hails from Long Man Brewery in Litlington, just outside Eastbourne, East Sussex. The brewery, which started production in 2012, is based on a farm nestled in the last few hills (or the beginning, depends on your perspective!) of the South Downs. Long Man Brewery uses the very best locally sourced ingredients to brew their award winning ales. The Spring Barley used in their beers is even grown on their farm.
Sussex has seen a craft beer explosion since Dark Star first set up shop. Long Man are a well respected part of the brewing scene but probably don’t get enough credit (apart from winning a few beer awards! Including a bronze at the World Beer Awards) as some of their noisy neighbours do. Making a mixture of traditional British style ales, as well as some of the new wave of beer styles sweeping the nation, they do a great job of recognising the past but firmly looking to the future with quality ingredients at the heart of what they do.
This weeks craft beer of the week is definitely one of those looking to the future with their World Beer Award winning American Pale Ale. American Pale Ales (APA) started during the American craft beer boom of the late 1970s and early 80s. Downtrodden by the quality of mass produced low quality beer, American breweries started popping up, inspired by British breweries and ales. Brewers couldn’t afford to import British hops and malt so they started using the best of their local ingredients.. And so the American Pale Ale and the American craft beer scene was born.
Although the Long Man APA sits next to the Dark Star American Pale Ale on our shelf, it is quite different to its neighbour. One of the great things about beer is there can be plenty of interpretation for any style of beer for a brewer. And great for customers too. You don’t want 100 APAs that all taste the same. This APA is more malt forward (beer geek term for being maltier than what you might expect) than the Dark Star version which is more hop forward (you guessed it! Hoppier than what you might expect). Those American hops are very evident as soon as you pour the beer. On the nose you get lemongrass but as the foamy head dissipates you get a touch of strawberry and blackcurrants. In the mouth you get a rich sweet toffee with a bit of wholemeal bread thrown in. That malty backbone gives a good platform to support the citrus hit of kaffir lime leaf and a pine resinous bitter finish.
The maltiness of this beer means it will be great with anything that’s a bit bready. The hops will help cut through spice and cheese, so pizzas (especially those from our wood fired kitchen), burgers and anything with a bit of a roasty char to it will work great. Grab a bottle and enjoy this East Sussex take on the APA.