Another 365 days of Matt The List have passed, which means that the leaderboard needs to be reset, and I have another excuse to hassle my friends at Anspach & Hobday brewery in Bermondsey. Every year, we collaborate on a small batch of #MattTheBeer to share at my annual, boozy event in March. This year, we decided to up the ante a bit and make proper use of one of their Chardonnay barrels. Here’s founder Paul Anspach with the details:
“For the last three years we have brewed a special beer to celebrate the birthday of our good friend Matt The List. Each time the beer has got slightly more ambitious, and inevitably, slightly more sour. We kicked things off with The Spiced Blonde, a Belgian blonde ale infused with pepper, cardamom, coriander and the tiniest pinch of star anise. Next was The Peated Gose, a lightly tart & salty German ale, this time brewed with a small portion of peated malt to add a smoky edge. Last year’s barrel-kissed Peach Berliner Weisse was a mouthwateringly juicy beer with a touch of oak.
“For Round 4, we’ve gone all out. The Barrel Aged Cherry Sour started life as a kettle soured Berliner Weisse style beer. It was then fermented with our mixed culture of yeast and bacteria. Towards the end of fermentation, the beer was sent into Chardonnay barrels where it sat for just over a year. In this period, acidity and complexity developed and created a beautiful, golden sour beer. We then drew off 40 litres of this base beer and blended it with 20kg of sour cherry puree. The nose is full of sour cherry and a hint of marzipan. The palate is tart and complex with a good oak influence and a fantastic fruit character. This is one of the most complex beers we have ever produced, and pays homage to some of our favourite sour beers from around the world.”
N.B. The Barrel Aged Cherry Sour will be available on tap for one night only at this year’s #MattTheParty and all proceeds are going to St.Joseph’s Hospice. There might be some 750ml bottles knocking around afterwards, but Matt has elaborate plans to drop them off at some Belgian breweries over Easter.