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: St Peter's Amarillo Ale
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St Peter's Amarillo Ale
St Peter's brewery in Bungay, Suffolk, have done a great job of creating an instantly recognisable international beer brand. In my opinion, some of their beers are world class, their cream stout being a great example, oozy balance and finesse. Others are, to me, less successful; not bad, but just a bit undistinguished, lacking the balance and finesse of which they are obviously capable. This is all opinion, of course, and as I say in the video, your mileage may vary.
Was isn't in dispute is that over the years, I've had more faulty beers from St Peter's than from any other brewery. They been cloudy, ropey (literally - big strings of coagulated protein), mousey, infected and, on two occasions, noisily exploding on the shop shelf, showering beer and glass everywhere. Not good.
So when I saw these in Sainsbury's, I nearly passed over them, but noting the use of amarillo hops and the US craft beers associations (red white and blue on the label), thought I'd give it a go. I don't know if it's some subconscious link that I make, but seeing the word amarillo (Spanish for yellow, as eny fule kno) always makes me think of sunshine and summer, and hell, there's nothing I like more than sunshine, summer and cool beer.
The beer is great. Delicious, zesty, fresh and clean, with just the lovely sunshiney palate and finish that you'd want in a summer beer. Really, I've bought loads of it, and so should you. But while filling my trolley, I noticed a cloudy bottle, and nearly passed, thinking (and not for the first time) 'ha, St Peter's still haven't quite got it together with their hygiene'. Out of curiosity, I bought it to taste. Unsurprisingly, it didn't taste good.
So there we have it - St Peter's Amarillo Ale is a near-perfect summer beer. Just avoid the cloudy bottles, and you'll be fine.