Discovering a new type of beer at Nottingham’s Crafty Crow
Having been a committed real ale fan for several years, I have seen its popularity explode. Beer festivals in Nottinghamshire seem to be getting bigger, better and more frequent each year while pubs are offering an increasingly diverse selection of ales, many of which are produced by small-scale brewers using traditional techniques.
But now there’s a new kid in town – craft beer. Just like cask ales, craft beer is normally produced in small quantities by artisan brewers and there is an emphasis on distinctive flavours. Unlike cask, however, these beers are conditioned in the brewery and are both cold and carbonated.
Until recently my experience of craft had been limited to Belgian lagers so when I was invited to go along to the Tap Takeover at Nottingham’s Crafty Crow this week I jumped at the chance. The pub, which specialises in both craft beer and real ale, wanted to introduce people to a range of Californian draught beers from the Nottingham-based Left Coast Distribution. American brewers have been leading the way in the craft beer revolution and the beers have slowly been making their way across the pond as demand increases.
With our tasting notes and a pen in hand, my partner and I slowly made our way through the list of Californian beers, which were available on draught for the first time in the UK. During the evening, we tried an Acme IPA, which was light, fruity and perfect for a warm summer’s evening, as well as North Coast Brewing Company’s Red Seal Ale.
I also couldn’t resist trying the Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, although with an alcohol percentage of nine per cent, I thought it was wise to just have a couple of sips. Like its namesake, it was dark and brooding and tasted a little bit like espresso. There was even a version of this beer which has been aged in a bourbon barrel which was delicious – however it was perhaps a little strong for me!
After my evening at the Crafty Crow, I can say that my knowledge of craft beer has grown enormously and it was fantastic to see what American brewers are doing. I’ll always love cask – but there is definitely room in my life for craft!
The Tap Takeover continues at The Crafty Crow until tomorrow (Sunday) – or until the beer runs out. For details visit the pub’s Facebook page.