As you are all well aware, we produce a core range of beers on cask which we try to have available at all times and we ensure that there are one or two seasonal or special beers to choose from in addition. A beer brewed with a seasonal ingredient can often be a welcome addition, keeping us in touch with local harvests and adding a certain je ne sais quoi to a particular style of beer. We have used elderflowers in a delicate pale ale and sloes to provide a little fruity contrast in a stout.
None of this in any way excuses the abomination that is pumpkin beer. Pumpkins are quite clearly only intended to be carved into a horrifying likeness of Donald Trump or added to a soup.
Last week's heroic orange peeling endeavours prompted quite a bit of interest in our Chocolate Orange Porter which may be finally casked this week. Despite my best efforts, the orange was a little overwhelmed by the chocolate so we've added some more which is now coming through nicely. We made a snap decision to brew it again last week as there's a lot of demand for it and rightly so.
This sort of flexibility / inability-to-stick-to-a-plan means that we regularly need to review our brew schedules. We need to have stocks of our core beers and also need to split brews between cask and keykeg on occasion. It's a delicate balancing act particularly as we begin to brew for canning as well.
From time to time we also review our core range and this is one of those times. At present (to recap) we have a traditional (not too hoppy) low abv session Pale (Ashburnham) and a much more modern session IPA (Skylarking). We have an all year round session stout (Dance First), Red Spider Rye which is our most distinctive core beer (4.8%) and Fatal Flaw, an Amber ale at 4.5% with ever changing hops. The addition of Skylarking at the start of this year made a huge impact and while we can't (for reasons of production capacity) have too many beers permanently available we are pondering if there is a particular style that is missing from that core range. We've never made a best bitter because it doesn't particularly excite us. We'd really welcome your views on this and look forward to any suggestions.