Always keen to be open-minded and innovative, we jumped at the chance to collaborate with our good friends Moor Beer, original pioneers of the craft beer in the UK and the 2017 Guild of Beer Writers Brewer of the year.
We love to push the boundaries of what tea can be, which is why we love collaborating with other boundary pushing producers. Tea can be so much more than a teabag in a cup.
Together we created ‘Do it Together’ a Mango Black Tea Pale Ale, which was originally supposed to be a one-off celebration beer brewed for the album launch of punk band Berri Txarrak, but it was so popular they carried on brewing it. We’ve heard on the grape vine that there is a fresh batch in the pipeline for Summer- so to celebrate Ali had a chat (over a few pints of Beer- as is usually the case) with Justin Hawke, Head Brewer and owner of Moor Beer.
We love Justin because he is as fanatical about beer as we are about tea (he’s also fanatical about hard core punk and his dog Baz). Justin is a Californian who made his way to Bristol via a stint in Germany while stationed there in the army, gaining beer experiences along the way that eventually shaped his own beer making philosophy. Justin’s Moor Beer came into being in 2007 (the same year Canton was founded), in the days before every supermarket had an aisle of ‘craft beer’- back then times were hard as Justin stubbornly pursued his own vision of what British beer could and should be. His own ‘modern real ale’ combines the haziness of the traditional, unrefined beers he’d fallen in love with in Germany, the strong hop character of the American beers that had become popular when he started home brewing back in San Francisco and the drinkability of traditional British real ale. Now British beer drinkers have the taste for hoppy, natural craft beer (in large part due to Justin’s tunnel vision), but what he was doing 10 years ago was pretty radical and took a while to catch on- just like when Jen decided to start selling obscure Taiwanese teas packed on her kitchen table.
The process of creating Do It Together started back in March 2017 with a tea/beer tasting. Ali and Edgar took a big selection of teas to the brewery, which were then brewed and added to one of Moor’s existing beers (PMA) to give us an idea of which teas would work.
Initially Justin was reluctant even to consider a flavoured tea- but after tasting, it was undeniable that the rich caramel and tropical notes of Canton Mango Noir (Yunnan Dian Hong flavoured with mango fruit oil) complemented the beer. After the initial tasting Justin and his team adapted the beer recipe to work with the tea, using a blend of grains (Golden Promise, Vienna and three different crystal malts) they boosted the body and sweetness of the beer to counteract the astringency of the black tea and selected complementary hops Mosaic, Azacca, Calypso, Pekko and Cashmere (Cashmere having natural tea aroma notes). The tea is added to the beer as a concentrate during the late stages of the blend. As with all of Moor’s beers Do It Together is unrefined and secondary conditioned in the can.
What is special about Do It Together is its subtlety and balance, this isn’t a novelty tea beer- it’s a great beer that just so happens to contain great tea. You can expect a rich caramel like base with bright tropical mango notes and pleasant black tea tannins that are particularly apparent as the beer warms. Justin suggests that to best appreciate the aroma and flavour of the beer it should be drunk out of a stemmed glass at around 12°C.
You can find Do It Together at Moor’s Tap room in Bristol and the Moor Vaults in Bermondsey. If you are interested in stocking Do It Together please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.