Williams Bros Caesar Augustus / Durham White Stout

Probably best known for nearly winning the increasingly-more-interesting-every-year Sainsbury’s Beer Hunt this year, Caesar Augustus (4.1%abv) is Williams Brother’s latest beer; and it carries an interesting label.

Declaring itself to be a ‘Lager-IPA Hybrid’, it certainly piques curiosity. One wonders if the lagering process will ever be a friend to hops, and on the basis of this, I remain unswayed. That’s not to say it’s a bad beer – far from it, actually. It is unquestionably Golden, pleasantly spritzy and full of life, and with a decent nose of Peach and Lime. Lager? Yes, in much the same way as my old friend Monsieur Rock, although with a lot more body. Clean on the finish? Certainly, and with creamy malt in the body giving some ooomph behind all the citrus going on elsewhere – in fact, there’s plenty of character for a beer with a relatively low abv.

I just can’t find the IPA in it, that’s all.

Willams Brothers remain, in my opinion, one of the most underrated breweries in the UK – Solid, beers of quality with a questing eye for tasty one-offs like this make for a very reputable mix these days. CA is a good beer, and well-deserving of a place in the roster alongside other gems such as Joker IPA and 7 Giraffes.

Those wonderful chaps (and chapesses) at Durham created a fair old storm when they announced that they had created a White Stout. Cue discussion in the Beery world, and a serious challenge to our ideas of Stout. ‘Stout’ , they argued, ‘…Is just a term for Strong beer, and so this is a White Stout‘. Or a Golden Stout. Or Pale Stout, perhaps.

I’m quite happy to go with this, simply because I don’t know any better, and it sounds rational to me. Of course, White Stout (7.2%abv) happily backs up all the excitement with bags of flavour. It’s unmistakably strong; sweetly malty and marmalade-citrus in the body and then finishing very, very bitter with a diamond-sharp spicy edge. There’s a Belgian-esque fruity funk (pear drops?) in the nose, which gives you some idea that what lurks under that clean-as-a-cloud white head is complex and for sipping and pondering. If you like Bombay 106, then you’ll befriend White Stout.

Strip all the hype away and you’ve got another excellent strong ale from the guys who I regard as masters of that style. Twitter launches, tastings in bars and launching a beer like this is only an example of how a brewery can connect with it’s drinkers. Why not herald a new beer on all fronts, create a buzz and, yes, hype?

Thank god Durham could back it up with a tasty beer. Now, who wants to brew a Golden Porter, or Black IPA? Oh, hang on

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Posted on 17/02/2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I came across a three year old post on Jeff Alworth’s Beervana the other day, from when Black IPAs were just starting out. He said:

    “But it raises more pertinent questions: why, for example, does the world need a black IPA? Are we similarly deprived for lack of a pale stout?”

    http://beervana.blogspot.com/2009/01/on-black-ipas.html

    Nick

  2. “I just can’t find the IPA in it, that’s all.”

    That’s exactly what I thought earlier on when I had a bottle for the first time. Maybe it’ll serve to introduce the uninitiated into the idea of something called an IPA.

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