While down in sunny Horsham recently, to see my family and nip over to nearby Crawley for my podcast buddy Matt‘s birthday (Pizza Express – they do Peroni Gran Riserva, which is quite nice), I had a few moments to pop into the local beer shop – The Beer Essentials. I grew up in Horsham with the smell of the King & Barnes brewery covering the whole town with Marmitey goodness on brew days and was sad when the brewery closed after a buyout by Hall and Woodhouse. From the ashes sprung two breweries (WJ King and Co, run by Bill King, the former owner of K&B and Hepworth & Co, run by former head brewer Andy Hepworth) and two beverage companies (The Beer Essentials, run by Gareth Jones and Deakin Fine Wines, run by Simon Deakin, who both used to run the K&B brewery shop). As my dad is now the third man (of three) in the Deakin operation I’ve started keeping an eye on the output of all four. This beer manages to combine two of them: I bought it from Gareth and it is brewed under contract by Andy – Mitchell Krause No. 2.
I first found out about the beer on occasional drinking buddy Steev Goodwin’s podcast, The Beer Crate, and after hearing that it was being brewed by Hepworth’s it went on my ‘to find’ list. The idea seems to be that the folks at Mitchell Krause have put together some recipes for beers from around the world and are getting them brewed in the UK to try and bring some more international flavours to the domestic market. However, Graeme Mitchell (the boss) is not, it seems, a brewer himself and has brought in former Boddingtons head brewer Paul Buttrick to put together the recipes and passed production to Hepworth’s. Along with the american pale ale they have a Czech Pilsner (#1) and a Bavarian Hefe Weiss (#3), all UK brewed.
The #2 is definitely an american style PA, with noticeable hops and a good fizziness, but also put together with a nod to the UK market – it’s only 3.8% (a significant step under the ~5% of most of the pale ales I’ve had from the US and closer to the lighter end of the bitter market) and isn’t as fizzy as I’d expect. It’s an okay beer with a hint of grapefruit bite behind the hops and a quick inoffensive finish, not quite the more ballsy hoppy punch that I expect from this kind of beer, but easy to drink and almost a ‘gateway beer’ to move people from the fizzy yellow end of the drinking spectrum towards something with a little flavour. Not one to turn down, but maybe not one to search for.
Mitchell Krause No.2 – American Pale Ale
3.8%. Brewed under contract by Hepworth & Co
I got mine from The Beer Essentials