Recently, while visiting England, I met with Nick Waloff, Waloff Associates Ltd. of Lechlade, Gloucestershire, in the Roman town of Cirencester. After a short pub crawl and a delicious crayfish salad roll lunch and a jar of the hop-driven Steady Rolling Man from Deya Brewing at Eat Wild, I was delighted to visit Lucy Cordrey and Colin Knight of Corinium Ales.
Lucy and Colin brew on a .5 barrel plant in a converted garage on their home property. I was invited into their house for a tasting of The Roman Collection, a trio of bottle conditioned ales they brew. Here I was to discover that their house serves as a storeroom for bottles, packaging, hops and finished beers, while they are looking for a nearby unit in an industrial estate.
Cirencester was second in importance only to London during Roman Britain, hence the link to the Roman Collection. Also of note, construction of the prominent Church of St. John the Baptist in the heart of Cirencester began around 1115.
I. Corinium Gold, 4.2 percent abv, is a harvest gold coloured ale that releases fresh malt notes and a hint of hops on first pour. On the palate, malty goodness transcends a gentle hop bitterness. Hops step out of the shadow of malt as the tasting progresses. A luscious hop bitter finish ensues, with a slight spiciness popping out.
II. Centurian, 4.7 percent, is a glassy, pitch black stout having mild chocolate notes residing with roast aromas. On the palate, chocolate and roast are massaged by a soft bitterness that in turn has a hint of spice coming from its core. The finish is led by chocolate flavours enmeshed in roast alongside a subtle hop bitterness. This is a refined stout created with a deft touch of the brewer’s art, or is that hand?
III. Ale Caesar, 5 percent abv, is an amber coloured, non-citric, English style IPA. It has a spicy and hoppy aroma, with a hop forward earthy bitterness that is sustained by a fresh maltiness on the palate. The finish is pleasantly bitter with a kiss of malt to keep it all in balance.
Cheers to Nick, Lucy and Colin!