June 29, 2018
We love a collab. Basically so we can muck about with someone from another brewery and make something mad. Also because the only other times we really get to talk to other brewers is when we’re sozzled at beer festivals.
This time we asked the guys at Northern Monk if they’d like to get together and brew. We’ve been fans of theirs for a long time - everything from their core range to the Patron’s Project is excellent - and we’ve met a couple of times at the aforementioned beer festivals. So we dropped them a line.
These things tend to start with an email chain between the brewers. Gazz and Northern Monk’s Head Brewer Brian spent a couple of weeks going back and forth - first discussing the general idea like style and ABV, then narrowing the focus to specific ingredients and techniques, then of course a date - refining the concept from “we should do a beer together” to an actual, real-life brew.
New England IPAs are all the rage and being the slaves to fashion that we are, we agreed on the style. The next question was the flavour profile - we love big fruity IPAs (especially with the silky texture of NEIPAs) but there’s a million and one coming out every week that have tropical notes like mango. We may be slaves to fashion, but we’re not total copycats. So we started thinking about other summery fruits, which got us thinking of strawberries and cream at Wimbledon.
The texture of a NEIPA lends itself well to this idea, so we settled on strawberries. Plus a bit of vanilla for a creamy flavour too? Sure! Why not?
Brian made the trip down from Huddersfield, loaded up on coffee, then jumped straight onto our gantry to do some of the real work of brewing. Serious hard graft.
Here’s a pic of Brian sprinkling barely any hops into the copper. (Yes, that’s a Celebrations tub. And yes, our Paul is mad.)
We’ve kept the boil hops to an absolute minimum to ensure the bitterness of this beer is kept low. The first significant hop additions come a while after flameout, when the wort has cooled slightly, with the vast majority going in as dry hop during fermentation. This way, bags and bags of flavour and aroma are drawn from the hops, without too much of the bitterness that would overtake the soft notes of the strawberry and vanilla.
Most of our beer names come from the first thing that comes to our heads when we say the name of the main hop or extra ingredient, like a quick fire complete-the-phrase game. After the word “strawberry” naturally came “Fields Forever” from the Beatles’ classic song. It was totally out of tune by nearly everyone who yelled it, but it was the first thing we all thought of. With such a strong association from so many people, it was a natural fit for the name.
Fields Forever will be available in keg and bottle - in our bars and via our online shop first, then rolling out to all good bars and bottleshops soon!
Here's Paul letting Brian know he'd have to dig out the mash tun.
Matt and Brian adding the first big load of hops after the boil had finished
Loads of dry hopping then litres and litres and litres of strawberry puree
LOOOOADS of Strawberry Puree went into this bad boy!
Bottling today! Will be released in a couple of weeks!
Posted in: Our Beers