Corinium Ales, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England: A Pint-Sized Brewery with Big Time Flavours!

Robert Hughey and Nick Waloff

Robert Hughey and Nick Waloff

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.

DSC00193I. 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.

corinium bottles2 - CopyCorinium Ales are showcased on tap at the nearby Marlborough Arms in Cirencester and at the Cirencester and Stroud farmer’s markets.

Cheers to Nick, Lucy and Colin!

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A Trio of Beauties from the Wye Valley Brewery

013Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout is a 4.6 percent abv Irish stout brewed by the Wye Valley Brewery of Stoke Lacy, Herefordshire. This black ale with ruby hues pours has a thick crop of mocha coloured foam. The base is Maris Otter pale malt but the nose is definitely stamped by a blast of roast aroimatics.

 

On the palate, roast embraces a resolute hop bitterness from Northdown hops. A long, bitter finish has both hops and roast barley malt contributing to the rich flavour. Brewery recommended serving temperature of 12C. Real ale in a bottle as per CAMRA definition. A very fine yeast sediment clings to the bottom of the bottle, making pouring relatively straightforward.

 

Dorothy Goodbody’s Golden Ale is a 4.2 percent abv English style golden ale. Bottle conditioned, this polished pale golden ale has light aromatic scents of grassy hops and rich malt in the nose. On the palate, traditional English hop varieties, Fuggles and Goldings, deliver a persistent hop bitterness on a Maris Otter malt base. A crisp hop driven finish completes the picture. Brewery recommended serving temperature of 12C. Real ale in a bottle as per CAMRA’s definition.

 
Dorothy Goodbody’s Country Ale is a 6 percent abv strong English ale brewed by the Wye Valley Brewery. A hefty grain bill includes malted barley, malted wheat, flaked barley, crystal malt, amber malt and roast barley. An almond shaded head of foam sits atop this fairly full bodied ruby coloured ale. On the nose, roast notes, a hint of chocolate and luscious malt are evident.

 

On the palate, there is plenty of hop bitterness to balance all the malt flavours. In the middle, malt is penetrated by a sturdy and lingering hop presence. The long bitter finish is complex in nature, with hops and roast providing the lead elements. Bottle conditioned or real ale in a bottle as per CAMRA’s definition.

Worthington White Shield–A Classic

worthington white shieldWorthington White Shield, brewed to 5.6 percent abv at The National Brewery Centre, a subsidiary of Molson-Coors, in Burton-Upon-Trent, pours a distinctive copper colour, with an off-white head of dense foam. On the nose, fruit and malt notes compete in a gentle way. On the palate, chewy malt folds into hop bitterness that becomes almost steely in nature.

 

The finish is of malt to the fore, and though not initially sweet in nature, it becomes more so as it warms in the glass. Still, it is a fine English brew. And while the brewery claims it to be an IPA in style, it is at the lower end of the alcohol scale. White Shield is bottle conditioned, showing clumps of fine powdery yeast on the bottom of the bottle. CAMRA noted as real ale in a bottle.