ALICE PORTER IS BACK!
Our ‘upcoming brews’ posts always get people talking, which is great – it’s one of the main reasons we flick back the raffia curtain and let you take a peak in the first place! The feedback on what specifically girds your drinking loins in each can be very interesting, too. A few weeks ago, for instance, we listed the return of IPA is Dead, Bourbon Baby, a fresh batch of Hardcore, and the latest Paradox – yet the most comments were garnered by a one-off wedding beer brewed in Fraserburgh, five years ago.
Yes, Alice Porter is back.
To be honest, her dark majesty took hold pretty much from the moment the first 15HL batch had been completed, on a freezing afternoon in late 2010. They say you can never go back, but such was the buzz surrounding January’s announcement that we thought we’d revisit the moment, for those of you who perhaps don’t know the story behind it.
In a nutshell, there really is (or more accurately; was) an Alice Porter – she’s a real person – and this beer was produced in her honour. The beer was created and brewed for her impending nuptials to the Beer King of Leeds, Matt Gorecki, almost five years ago. The idea of making a wedding beer for your special day has become pretty popular, but back then it meant a long road trip for Matt and his mates – although, as he says, it was one they enjoyed:
“It was actually the first collaboration brewday any of us had ever been on – we had a whale of a time up in Fraserburgh. Even if my best man kept shutting the lid of the mash tun when I was inside [trying to clean it out]. Mind you, we were all really pleased with it – even if we were in an advanced state of refreshment at the time. I guess it was testament to the brewers!”
“When it came out, we drank it from the cellar at North – we couldn’t wait to get started. It tasted great, even for such an offbeat beer.”
The North that Matt is describing there is the North Bar in Leeds – a stalwart location in the drinking scene of that beer-mad city; and he has been the driving force behind its success for the best part of a decade. The initial batch of Alice Porter went on sale at North and BrewDog Aberdeen (our only bar at the time!), and sold out almost immediately. It was a no-brainer to do an immediate re-brew, which is a decision that the Goreckis – as they had then become – were not surprised by.
"We thought BrewDog might bring it back one day, and when it was put into full production and the second brew was done, we all thought that was really cool. I was getting picture messages from all over the world, with people saying “I’m drinking your wife!”
It almost became something of a cult-classic. Certainly, when we’ve suggested beers to bring back into the brewhouse over the years, someone will always mention bringing back Alice. So, in that respect, it’s another no-brainer. The re-brewed version of Alice Porter is 5.2%, and will be available in our bars and here in our online shop right now. It has been tweaked slightly from the original, but the baseline of classic English hop blended with Sorachi Ace remains, and it results in an awesome porter.
If you loved Alice before (as it were), you’re in for a treat – and if you never got the chance to try the original beer, this is going to be one seasonal you won’t want to miss. Roasty and smooth like the very best porters, the blend of hops give it a light balance of citrus, spice and darker fruit that really bring the beer to life. It’s complex, rewarding, and we’re supremely excited to bring it back to the attention of a whole new audience!
As for the Goreckis, they now have a two-year old, Tomic, and Matt has moved on from North – last week in fact, and has begun to dabble in a brewery of his own, Zapata Brew. Maybe the final word should go to the lady herself (via her husband). What does she make of the fact that her beer has returned, after all this time?
“Alice is over the moon that her beer has come back, even though she hasn’t been Alice Porter for some time now!”