Brentwood Brewing makes tasty, traditional and bottle-conditioned ales. Their IPA and Hope & Glory are both excellent examples of classic English beer – plus they’re vegan friendly and gluten-free.
Essex and I have a complicated relationship. Having spent my formative years bouncing around Brentwood, Chelmsford, and the mighty Chipping Ongar, I’ve since moved to our local megacity and very rarely look back. With hundreds of breweries, pubs, bars, and restaurants to choose from, it’s no wonder Essex can sometimes look like a bit of a barren wasteland in comparison.
It’s about time I returned to my roots, my drinking buddy Conor said. Not content with merely admonishing me, he kindly topped up my ailing ale store with a selection of local brews. Among them, this pair from the brewery located nearest my childhood stomping ground: Brentwood Brewing.
Copper and perfectly clear, with a loose, white head, Brentwood’s IPA is very much an English IPA. Rather than overwhelming my nose with citrus aroma hops, instead I’m greeted with a rich, biscuity malt smell and hints of ginger. The barest hint of orange reminds me that this is, in fact, an IPA.
On the palate we find a lovely balance of light and malty sweet flavours. The mouthfeel is light and drinkable, but it’s certainly not short of warming, toasty malt.
I savour this beer, feeling almost like I’m sitting back by a log fire in a pub where the horse brasses actually come from the local farmhouse, not from ebay. And yet it’s only 3.7% ABV. I could have another. I could have ten! The possibilities with this beer are endless.
Hope and Glory
Hope and Glory is Brentwood’s premium bitter. Though at just 4.5%, it’s a long way off the premium beers I’m used to, which leave me stumbling and burbling halfway through the third pint. H&G pours garnet and, once again, perfectly clear. However they’re fining their beers at Brentwood they’re doing a damn good job.
The aroma is like a Black Forest Gateau: very chocolatey with plenty of black cherries. On the palate I pick up raisin sweetness and more chocolate. None of that Cadbury Options rubbish here though, as we often see in self-proclaimed chocolatey beers. This is chocolate liqueur; it’s sweet and warming and delicious.
And yet. Again. It’s only 4.5%! This stuff is dangerous and delicious.