I'd like to provide a little background on me and the process of brewing Finch. Before moving to Edinburgh in September, 2010, I worked as a brewer in Colorado for 4 years. I left Durango Brewing Company, in Durango, Colorado to come study at Heriot-Watt.
Our team decided early on that we had a great opportunity to brew a beer that we wanted to drink and that the growing population of beer-lovers in Edinburgh would appreciate. We drew up a list of beers we thought walked the line perfectly between balance and loads of flavour. That list inlcuded beers like Odell IPA, Victory Hop Devil, Sierra Nevada Torpedo and New Belgium Ranger IPA. The local market is well-stocked with tasy IPA's so we decided to brew a beer within the style of 'Imperial Red Ale'. Since 3 of the 4 group member are from North America, I suppose it was inevitable that the beer would be relatively high in alcohol (6.5 % abv) and hoppy. Ethanol is one of the most important flavour compounds in beer. The beer has strong malt and hop character and the alcohol helps keep it all in balance.
We used all UK malts. The Maris Otter base malt was from Muntons Malt and the Crystal and Caramalt came from Simpson's Malting. Charles Faram & Co provided the Amarillo hops which gives Finch its unique American quality. This varietal was developed in Washington state and has gained in popularity within the American craft brewing industry. Everyone gets different flavours and aromas from the ingredients in beer, especially hops, so I think you should smell it for yourself! To me, the hop aroma is slightly grassy complemented with citrus.
While desinging recipes, I like to keep things simple. This allows each of the carefully chosen ingredients to lend their unique character without getting muddled in a dozen different malts/hops. The malt and hop character will develop as the beer ages in bottle, and the inclusion of some yeast into the package helps keep the beer alive. The alcohol will help the flavour develop complexity over time. I suggest you buy a case and drink (at least) one beer every 2 weeks!
This post was supposed to be about me, but I find the beer to be more interesting. However, I plan on moving back to Colorado in late August/early September and continue working as a brewer. I can't say where exactly, but I'm looking forward to working with one of the many great breweries that are engaging the consumer in a much more genuine way than the breweries who try to convince you that what's on the bottle is more important than how the beer inside tastes and is made.
I hope to see you all at the Guildford Arms on Thursday, or at one of the beer tastings I will host throughout the city...more on that later.
If you'd like to get in touch with me, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.