SummerWine Diablo IPA with Baked Feta
To carry on with the Summer Wine Brewery theme, Diablo (6%) takes some beating in the taste stakes. Diablo is aptly named; it’s a real devil in a glass – one of those beers that – despite its relative aggressiveness -remains easy to drink. Hazy orange in colour, it starts with a grapefruit-led hop profile, with some sweet, honeyed notes underneath. The body is surprisingly light, with some grainy, biscuity malt popping in before the main attraction arrives; a massive, drying hop finish of bitter lemon and orange pith. As I said, this is an unapologetically bold IPA, but remains wonderfully balanced. In a bottle you can take your time over it; on Cask there’s more fruitiness coming through – and it’s slightly less dry. It’s also just been released on Keg, too, so keep an eye out.
If you’ve never had Baked Feta before, then do try it. It’s a wonderful match for beers such as fruity IPA’s because Feta itself is intrinsically a little bland – baking it with herbs just softens it up, makes it creamier – a dish more about texture than flavour. The saltiness of the cheese balances out the beer and vice versa. Simply make a little tin-foil basket for your feta to sit in, drizzle with Olive Oil and Mint (you can put any herb you like on it really – Mint is just traditionally Greek and I love it. Chilli is good, too) and bake in the oven on a high heat until the top browns slightly. Share with crusty bread to smear the warm cheese onto, and a simple Greek salad of Tomatoes and Cucumber. A wonderful little starter or sharing dish.