Saturday, 25 February 2017

5 Years of Panda Frog

The 5th Panda is an anniversary IPA that's pale golden, brewed with five different hop varieties; Simco, Equinox, Citra, Chinook and Waimea. Aiming to divert from my often Centennial heavy approach to the likes of Pandamonium IPA and X2. Despite being a similar abv this beer is paler than Pandamonium and about 40% less bitterness units. Fruity, tropical, sweet lemon and light bodied for drinkability.

So Panda Frog has officially  been a commercial entity for five years. I often wonder where all the time went. Originating from my humble brew kit the oddly named 'Panda and Frog brewery' was the starting point of the Panda Frog adventure. When the name was adopted by Mordue brewery as a side project it became 'Panda Frog brewery' which later became 'Panda Frog Project'.

Filling kegs

Different from regular seasonals Panda Frog beers are conceived as more expermental, personalised recipies usually designed a year in advance of brew day so the wait is long. It's often interesting nearer the time to rejuvenate the past vision of what the past version of oneself was thinking back then.

Our label artist Oliver Fowler has undoubtedly done us proud. I will never forget Pandazilla winning at SIBA north or Dartfrog-48 Dunkel Rye Weizen getting beer of the festival at Durham beer fest ether. These days the project is fronted by Pandarillo, Allelic Drift and Pils holding the line. Whereas back in the day it was rare to see more than one PF beer in the brewery at any time. Some points in the year there were none.

Where it started; fermenting buckets on the living room floor 

I would also note that a lot of Panda Frog goes to wholesalers so it could literally appear nearly anywhere in the UK. Beer 52 and Flavorly have distributed our bottled beers far and wide and we're also getting kegs to SIBA Beer X this year.

So yes five years have certainly gone quick.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Beer and burgers

Admittedly I'm not really a beer and food expert. At times I may have been obsessed with it but more specifically beer and cheese was my forte. On beer and food the majority of the time I normally stick to the book (be that Garret Oliver, Dredge, Cole or whoever). However, when you don't have the book or their isn't any 'textbook' pairings on hand, one develops a sort of instinct.

You mentally line the chosen food option with the array of beer options available and take an experiential shot at pairing. Recently I discovered imperial stout doesn't really go with roast lamb dinner. Yet sometimes you find a winning combo from instinct alone. This was how I discovered the delights of cheeseburger with premium brown/Dark ales, and with bacon cheese, chips and coleslaw involved it's even better.

This comes after years of following the textbook consensus of big hoppy pale ale/IPA with the all American burger. It seems as with pizza, cheeseburgers are a highly beer compatible food stuff.
Though hoppy pale beers do pair great with burgers. Hop forward beers seem to carry big flavoursome dishes well and even salads. Here IPA tends to contrast the fat from cheese and bacon.  The premium brown ale latches on to the meaty flavours of the burger.

Although my two best experiences of this have used Hobgoblin and Riggwelter I'm sure more craft elite friendly options like India Brown ales would work just as well.