BEST KNOWN for the original golden ale Exmoor Gold as well as the likes of Stag and Beast, Exmoor Ales is also rolling out its ‘EXILE’ series of beers, a range of small batch, modern style, limited range beers that differ from itsregulars and were introduced in 2017.
Whakatu is the current beer in the collection, a 4.2% amber-coloured fruitybitter with a dry finish that makes use of the New Zealand hop variety Wakatu, as well as maize.
According to Exmoor Ales’ head brewer Adrian Newman, ’our hop merchants Charles Faram told me about some new hops that had been delivered and one of them was this New Zealand variety called Wakatu. I liked the name and ordered some. It’s not an overly powerful hop, but it has a nice aroma and makes for a very drinkable beer. Incidentally, this is the first time I have used a hop from New Zealand.
‘As for the maize, it helps give a lightness to the beer and like Wakatu I have never used maize before at Exmoor, though when I worked at Belhaven in Scotland I recall using it there.’
Whakatu was launched nationally with Enterprise Inns as well as Wetherspoons in their Spring Beer Festival, with nearly 1000 casks consumed in less than a month. Customer feedback has been extremely enthusiastic for more of this and other ‘EXILE’ beers. Many new accounts have been opened up from pubs never stocking Exmoor beers before, but attracted by the ‘EXILE’ brand. This was evident with the debut ‘EXILE’ beer, Urban Fox, in 2017, so with three more new beers to come in 2018 the outlook is good.
Whakatu is available until early April, when it will be replaced by Wicked Wolf, a collaboration between Exmoor Ales and Wicked Wolf, producers of handcrafted gin in the famous Exmoor village of Brendon.
According to Exmoor Ales’ Managing Director Jonathan Price, ‘we selected Wicked Wolf because of their reputation for fine award-winning gin… and, of course, because they are based on Exmoor. As for the idea for the beer this happened after their distiller and co-founder, Pat, visited the brewery and met head brewer, Adrian. Pat provided some juniper berries for sampling and trial brews, as well as sharing his advice and experience. The result was this delicious beer.’
Wicked Wolf will be available for three months, and then in July it will be followed by Apollo, another debut for Exmoor Ales, being the first American Pale Ale the company has produced. ‘This is brewed to pay tribute to the first manned lunar landing, Apollo 11, at 20:18 on July 20, 1969,’ says Price, ‘and will feature the American hop Apollo as well as Willamette and Cascade.
‘Then in October we will be releasing Weizen, a pale straw wheat beer and clearly untraditional as it is not cloudy. The brewing team are having a good deal of fun with the ‘EXILE’ brand, which was devised as a sub-brand for
Exmoor Ales to represent our new, more modern breed of beers. The pump clip shape and graffiti imagery are quite different to our established traditional brands.
‘As for the story behind the ‘EXILES’ name, this originated from EXmoor. The first two letters are important and strong and the inspiration is loosely drawn from RD Blackmore’s novel Lorna Doone. Incidentally, the outlawed Donne family were EXILED in Doone Valley, not far from where Wicked Wolf make their gins.’
April will also see the re-release of XPA, an easy-drinking 4.8% golden, hoppy beer that uses two American hops (Willamette and Cascade), alongside the more traditional English varieties Fuggles and Goldings, all of which marry together to deliver refreshing citrusy and orange-jelly notes on the nose, while the palate is a bittersweet bonding of more juicy citrus and hints of berry before a dry, grainy, bitter finish. It was originally brewed in 2015 to celebrate Exmoor Ales’ 35th anniversary, and has since become a regular yearly release in spring.
For more details contact Jonathan Price at Exmoor Ales on 01984 623798 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
EXMOOR ALES started in 1980, during the first wave of small independent breweries. It was originally called Golden Hill, after its hill-top location inWiveliscombe, and its creation brought brewing back to the town for the first time since the closure of Arnold & Hancock’s in the late 1950s. Almost immediately, Golden Hill made its mark on the beer world when its 13th brew of Exmoor Ale was voted Best Bitter at CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival in 1980. Since then countless other brewing awards have come their way. Exmoor Ales are also noted for being the originators of the ‘Golden Ale’ style, with the ever-popular Exmoor Gold, available in cask and in bottle. Other beers produced include the bestseller Ale, the wily easy drinking Fox and the cult strong porter Beast, as well as a variety of seasonal specials.
A selection of Exmoor Ales
ALE (3.8%): Classic bitter the colour of maple syrup. On the nose malt comes to the fore with a hint of citrusy hop in the background; a full, dry palate and a finish which offers more malt and a long lasting bitterness. Excellent on its own or with light meals such as salads, chicken and fish.
FOX (4.2%): Cunningly crafted from a blend of several malts and hops to produce a brunette beer of unusual subtlety and taste. The slight maltiness on the tongue is followed by a burst of hops with a lingering bitter-sweet aftertaste. Just right with fragrant Thai and Chinese dishes.
GOLD (4.5%): Soft malty nose with a hint of citrus hop in the background. Well-rounded and refreshing on the palate with a slight sweetness leading to a malty finish accompanied by a touch of toffee and vanilla plus a long aftertaste. Versatile golden ale to accompany any meal!
STAG (5.2%): Strong, copper-coloured premium bitter with resiny hop mingling with grainy, maltiness on the nose. A voluminous malty character stakes its claim on the palate though a well-fined rich fruitiness also comes along for the ride, before a thrilling descent into a long dry finish where a hint of sweetness keeps matters well-mannered. Especially good with roast beef and game.
BEAST (6.6%): Complex strong porter making liberal use of chocolate and crystal malts. On the nose espresso, currants and raisins, cocoa and a fiery hint of brandy or rum. More fruit cake, alcohol, coffee beans, chocolate on the palate, all kept in line with a spicy hoppiness, before the complex long aftertaste. Surprisingly thirst quenching with a spicy curry or a traditional steak and also add to rich fruit cake.
ANTLER (4%): A smooth and warming dark amber beer. Nose of popcorn and soft toffee. Nuts and toffee on the palate spiked by light tropical fruit. Dry grainy/malty finish, typical of Exmoor beers, leaving the taste buds calling out for more.
HOUND DOG (4%): Light and refreshing dark-gold spring beer with a surge of lemon and lime on the nose, a touch of toffee and vanilla on the palate with an exquisite balance of fruity hoppiness and malt on the long finish. Delicious with fish and chips and other traditional bar meals.
DARK (4.2%): Dark amber in colour with crimson tints; crisp chocolate-like character in the mouthfeel, moderated by a blackcurrant smooth fruitiness — think a whisper of blackcurrant jam sweetness and a hint of chocolate spread, all kept from an overarching sweetness with dry toast-like and roasty notes. Crisp and dry finish. Roast duck, especially if the skin has been crisped, goes down a treat with a glass of Dark.
SILVER STALLION (4.3%): Chestnut-coloured best bitter with a full-bodied palate boasting a hint of blackcurrant; the initial grainy malty finish is followed by a growing bitter finish. Serve with Sunday lunch.
WILD CAT (4.4%): Warming amber coloured ale produced for the autumn. The nose has plenty of deep booming earthy hop notes on the nose, while the palate is malty with a touch of autumn berries and a dry finish with more muscular hop thrusting its way. Ideal with pasta and other Italian favourites.
EXMAS (5%): Ruby-coloured Christmas beer with a citrus and rich malty nose. The palate is smooth and fruity leading to a smooth finish with spicy and fruit hop notes lingering. A tasty toast to go with the turkey and trimmings.