Friday, September 11, 2009

73. Burton Empire IPA

Burton Bridge Brewery is in Staffordshire, England, right next to the famous bridge over the River Trent: “Burton Bridge Brewery takes its name from the Burton Bridge over the River Trent at Burton-on-Trent. It is situated twenty yards from the end of the present bridge. Built in the late 17th Century as the Fox and Goose Inn, the old bridge finished just outside the front door. Remains of the first two arches are still there but buried under the road.” So there you go. They’ve been in business since 1982.

Burton Empire IPA has a bright malt and hop smell with floral and orange notes; a few sour notes do emerge in the nose as it warms. It is a dusky orange tan that is slightly cloudy with a light creamy head. Empire IPA opens with a soft, sweet and slightly creamy start—the sweetness has light candy notes—and moves into a hoppy middle with citrus, orange, and floral hints from the hops along with a bit of spiciness on the palate, and ending with bitterness and a hint of sourness. It has a light slick mouthfeel, and more carbonation bite than we expected. Overall, a sweeter, smoother, and brighter beer than we expected: crisp and refreshing with none of the butterscotch flavors found in more traditional English IPAs, leaving it more on the light, crisp, and refreshing side than traditioan English IPAs and pale ales. After all, as the Burton in the name, and the Burton-on-Trent location would indicate, we expected something much more English.

From the Burton Bridge website: “Guardian bottled beer of the year at the 1997 Great British Beer festival, followed by runner up the following year. Recently awarded Gold at the Nottingham Beer Festival 2007. Brewed to replicate the India Pale Ales that were brewed in Burton to be sent to the Empire in India, now exported by us in the opposite direction to the USA.”

ABV: 7.5%
Malt: Pale and Invert Sugar No. 2
Hops: Challenger and Styrian


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