Cumbrian craft brewer joins forces with Welsh beer giant to create special IPA

ONE of the giants of the beer world has teamed up with a Cumbrian craft brewery to create a special IPA for the UK’s biggest beer festival.

Hardknott Brewery, which is based in Millom, has joined forces with Brains, based in Cardiff, to make the 6.0% West Coast IPA named Gordian Knott. The two breweries put their heads together to make the beer especially for the Great British Beer Festival which takes place at the London Olympia from August 12-16.

The annual event is organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and this year will feature more than 900 different ales, ciders, perries and international beers.

Dave Bailey, who runs Hardknott Brewery with his partner Ann Wedgwood, said the collaboration was indicative of the growing influence the craft brewing scene was having on large family breweries.

Mr Bailey said: “Hardknott loves to do collaborations because of the cross pollination of ideas and the increase of technical knowledge we gain from established head brewers with years of experience in the industry. We hope in return to help forward thinking family brewers like Brains to woo the beer geek community.

“I find the brewing community to be friendly and supportive. I don’t think I can ever remember a brewer from the various family brewers being unhelpful should I ask for advice or technical knowledge. Indeed, quite the reverse, and help, advice and even the odd sample beer run through the lab have been offered and gratefully accepted by us.

“So, if I can help by introducing ideas from our little craft brewery then I hope this can enrich the beer world a little more. Perhaps brewers in long established breweries might think our obsession with ever increasing hop additions are a little mad. Perhaps they are, but there seems to be an increasing number of beer drinkers that are crying out for this madness. I for one am pleased that Brains is happy to be progressive enough to try out our ideas.

“The beer scene is moving at an incredible rate, especially in the city centres. Cask beer sits nicely alongside micro-brewed keg products in an ever enriching choice for consumers. I applaud the likes of Brains for embracing this trend and exploring styles and moving with trends that even a few years ago would have been impossible for family brewers to consider. With ever more hop-forward beers enticing younger beer drinkers into ever more exciting taste experiences it is wise for long established brewers to look to the future. We truly hope we have helped Brains with this.”

Bill Dobson, head brewer at Brains, said: “Our Craft Brewery has allowed us to be more experimental and adventurous with our beers and collaborations have played a big part in adding new ideas to the beers we brew. We have collaborated with many beer writers but this is the first with another brewer. Brewing with Dave and Ann was a great opportunity to share experience and techniques in addition to being a very enjoyable day. I can safely say the beer we brewed contains the most hops I have ever added to a beer and what better place to showcase it than at the GBBF, I hope people like it. “

The Gordian Knot was a highly intricate knot that existed in the ancient world, with oracles apparently predicting whoever untied it would become king of Asia. The knot was eventually ‘untied’ by Alexander the Great who apparently used his sword to slice it in half.

Gordian Knott is a 6% abv rich copper coloured US West Coast IPA. It ties together a complex knot of hops that produce a robust and lingering but balanced bitterness, giving way to an explosion of late hop character with citrus and pine. The knot is cut through with Californian Ale Yeast and a smooth malty base of sweet caramel.

ENDS