Another part of our (hopefully) year-long video project, A Year of Beer. looking at the idea of beer and seasonality - how different styles of beer are more appropriate to different seasons, weathers, festivals and so on. There will also be a bit of beer and food matching thrown in because, hell, we love to eat as much as we love to drink.
This week: Hop Back Summer Lightning (summer not included)
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Hop Back Summer Lightning
When I started this blog, I had brave notions about getting to summer and having halcyon blue skies, barbecues and food, and lots of crisp cold beers (and weekly updates, but that's by the by). Sadly, we've been sold a dummy by the British weather, and so in a fit of irony, I'm reviewing Hop Back Summer Lightning, a perfect summer beer, whilst peering balefully through the french doors at grey skies, occasional rain, and winds light to variable.
With the omnipresence of Deuchars IPA, and every British brewery offering a pale golden ale these days, it's hard to remember that this style has only been with us for about 20 years. I was reading a CAMRA branch magazine (Hull, I think it was - be still my beating heart) about how hard it can be to find "ordinary brown bitter" in pubs, and it's true. Of course, in summer, when the sky is blue and the temperature is hitting the high 90s, ordinary brown bitter is the last thing you want. I should know; I was in Valencia recently, and the most delicious beer I had was Cruzcampo Glaciale, an extra-cold version of the Andaluz classic, ice cold, but tangy and crisp. I'd never drink that sort of thing at home, of course, but in the right place at the right time, it was perfect.
Anyway, Hop Back Summer Lightning is now a bona fide English classic. It has a lot of great memories for me (see here, for example). Pale golden ales are everywhere, now all we need is the summer to go with them.
NOTE: Yes, I know that the "Hovis" hill isn't in Yorkshire - it's Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset. I thought that the original advert had an old man's voice with a Yorkshire accent starting off "Eee, when I were a lad..". But then I checked, and I found that the original Hovis advert had no reference to Yorkshire in it at all. I'm sure that there was some sort of mild dissent at the time about the advert trying to pass off Dorset as Yorkshire (or vice versa), but it appears that was folk memory. Anyway, that's why I start off the video like that. Yes, it's meant to be a Yorkshire accent.
The music is definitely the second movement ("Largo") of Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 ("From the New World")