(5% English make from 500 cl bottle) The cartoon farmer cannot be wrong: best enjoyed from a mason jar sitting outside for a picnic, and that is precisely how this one went down. I would say that Laverstoke Park Farm would have it no other way, with an ethos steeped in concern and benevolence for the environment.
Real Ale…with benefits
This delicious ale is not only Certified as a Real Ale by CAMRA, but it also certified organic by the Soil Association as well receiving the Gold Taste Award for both 2008 & 2009. The first distinction means that this ale adheres to CAMRA guidelines for providing a ‘living’ ale in a bottle, so pour carefully! To be a real ale, amongst other criteria such as having all natural ingredients, the ale must be put in a cask or in the bottle with live yeast cultures to undergo a secondary fermentation process. While many ales are simply packaged and sent off, a Real Ale is one that has been bottled with the necessary yeasts to allow it to continue to ferment and develop the unique aroma and taste that a Real Ale has to offer.
From the field to the fork
The second distinction, that of being certified organic, stems from Laverstoke Park Farm’s founder having a grounding in environmental sustainability while not sacrificing taste, ‘Jody Scheckter started his organic/biodynamic farm in Hampshire to produce the best-tasting, healthiest food without compromise for himself and his family‘. That said, they do not disappoint on this ale!
Laverstoke Park Farm asserts itself to be ‘known as the University of Organics’, and when it comes to this their first ale they take a very scientific approach:
“Our micro-biology lab continuously tests the soils, adding compost and compost teas so that the biology in the soil has the right proportions of beneficial bacteria and fungi for the hops and barley to be at their best and most flavoursome. This creates the deep flavours of the beer”.
As seen in the above picture, this ale pours a golden colour richly looking nearly like honey. Their was a slightly frothy head on the pour with a consistent bubble. The smell and the ensuing taste were that of a mildly sweet malt character followed by a nice dry bite, even something like a mild IPA in its hoppiness. Perfectly drinkable on a warm day from a mason jar!
On the pour you need to make an important decision: cloudy or clear. This is because with it being a Real Ale, there are active yeasts still working away in the bottle. Hence the darker material at the bottom of the bottle if you look at it before you pour. Personally, I poured most of the bottle on the first go leaving the yeasts and sugars in the bottle to try it out first, and then (not being able to let beer go to waste) poured the rest in on top.
Get involved locally!
Did you know that London is host to the only all organic weekly market? Take a trip up to Stoke Newington’s Farmer’s Market for some ultra local produce. To top off a few bags of carrots and some locally sourced meats, pick up some delicious ales from Pitfied Brewery who sell their brews at the market as well. They, like Laverstoke Park Farm, offer only certified organic beers, and come in a wonderful variety of styles as well. A review of one of their beers is due in short form.
There is another option as well if looking to support local producers: join a veg box scheme. What is a veg box scheme? The long and short of it is a program where you collect a weekly box of fruits and/or veggies which you can be assured helps reduce your food miles and support local producers. As per an organisation local to me called Growing Communities:
Last year, 81% of our vegetables and 23% of the fruit in our fruit bags came direct from local farms while overall 87% of our vegetables came from the UK. We never buy air-freighted produce or produce from heated greenhouses. Only our Fair Trade organic bananas come from outside Europe.
They have already set up for pick-up points within the east and north of London. However, if you are not covered by an existing area you should think about setting one up yourself: check out their Growing Communities Start-up Programme for more information.
After drinking and reading more about the Laverstoke Park Farm, all I can I say is that I will toast the next one to them!