Yes. Oh mother-loving yes. I want this beer in my mouth. All the time. It’s so utterly excellent. I want to carry around a CamelBak full of this beer. I want an IV drip bag constantly hooked up to my veins. Full of this beer.
I wish clouds were made of this beer. So that when it rained, it rained this beer.
Ok, ok. I’ll review it properly now.
So as you night have guessed, I really like this 8 Wired Grand Cru. Which is why I’m doing my best impression of the only scene worth watching in Beerfest.1
Grand Cru is red-brown, with low carbonation and no head. It smells kind of like port and plums, with a hint of something cheesy. Flavour is sweetish, but not overly so, with strong raisin and plum character, a hint of chocolate, and a sour note that cuts through the cloying Belgian yeast character. In short, it’s massive, it’s complex, it’s balanced, it’s beautiful.
Grand Cru started life as The Sultan, 8 Wired’s Quad, aged in pinot barrels and blended with a Flanders Red. By coincidence, I happened to taste each of the constituent beers, when I snuck into Søren’s cool-store two years ago.2 I have firm memories of the Red, which was super cheesy and sour. Hints of this beer come through very clearly in the Grand Cru, cutting through the big, sticky, cloying character of The Sultan.
I risk being a bit of a tease with this review, as I had Grand Gru on tap. Readers will probably never see it on tap anywhere, but don’t despair; bottles should be available somewhere, at some point. I don’t know where, but if you do, grab one. Taste the clouds…
In other news:
People active in the beer-social media, may have noticed this video from Hancock & Co./Glengarry. I was going to sling poo at Hancock’s, but it’s clear from that clip, that they are perfectly capable of crapping in their own nest without my help.
Others have promised to write about the dis-ingenuousness of the brand (founded last year in 1859). And the quality of their beer (I’m not touching that topic). Maybe I’ll write about that soon.
I would like to dryly observe however, their use of the term ‘entry level’ beer, and how they equate it with ‘small’ flavours (read bland). I think this topic deserves a longer post, but I would like to point out that ‘entry level’ often seems to be used by breweries (read marketing/brand managers, and I’m not just looking at Hancock’s here) to deflect criticism from the beer community. Usually this is done using the argument “you’re a ‘beer-geek,’ you don’t like it cos it’s not hoppy/17% ABV/obscure/whatever.”
To that argument I have one thing to say: Bookbinder. Actually I have many things to say (Three Boys Golden, Townshend Bandsman, Mussel Inn Golden Goose, pretty much every Pilsner brewed in this country…), but Bookie will do. Bookie is seriously ‘entry level’: simple, uncomplicated, unchallenging, beautiful. What it’s not is small. Ok, it is 3.7% which is small, but it’s also characterful. And it’s loved universally by the uninitiated drinker and the experienced ‘beer-geek’ alike.
Bookie proves that just because you’re beer is ‘entry level’ status, doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed by all. Nor does it mean a company can get away with bland or faulty beer and call it ‘craft’.
- That movie seriously sucked, but the scene where they describe the best beer in the world is utterly hilarious and (almost) makes watching the film worthwhile. If you don’t mind watching it in an eye-rapingly awful aspect ratio, then it can be found here.
- One of the most surreal and geeky moments of my beer career. Standing in a cool-store tasting beer ageing in different barrels, with two heavy-weights of the craftbeer world: Søren Ericsson of 8 Wired and Kjetil Jikiun of Nøgne Ø (apologies for name dropping).