What can you say about Pictish? Are they hip? No. Are they fashionable? No. So what? Why? What do Pictish actually DO?
Well, “they” (Paul) in my educated opinion, make the finest session Pale Ale this side of the Pennines. Only Mallinsons rival. And I introduced them to each other. And am in awe of what they both do.
If you speak to “people in the know”, many will sigh “Ahhhhhh.... Brewers Gold*.....”. Simply put, if you want session Pale Ale on this side of the Pennines in cask, look no further. I – for one – am a HUGE fan. If I see Pictish on a bar, then they other beers can wait. This isn’t me hyping – I’ll leave that to others – just me. I adore consistency of excellence. And That’s what I get from Paul Wesley.
It’s why I’m at Rochdale Station. At 6:50 am.
I spoke with Paul about his brewing plan. And what he suggested made my heart sing. A Table Beer. That sub genre that I – for one – thought was going to take off this year. One that was sharp. And hoppy. A sweet song to my ears....
Mash in was simple. Pale malt with a bit of Cara and Oat. Pale, with body. Win. Hops? Brewers Gold and Cascade for bittering. Done. And they smelled SO GOOD. So aromatic. Almost good enough to be the late addition. But there were other ideas. I got to choose..... 😊
Transfer? Lovely and pale. But that was only the half of it. I’ve described Paul to others as like a blood cell with five different things to do. Simultaneously. He’s a blur of movement. And – like many brewers – He’s acutely tuned to the sounds of his kit. And today wasn’t simple. Today was akin to Pump Armageddon. And the skills of an artisan brewer were essential. Plumbing. Engineering. The kinds of things that you need to do when a pump fails. Other brewers will sigh with understanding. And my admiration of their skill sets increases.
From an outsider? Sensory overload. Aromas were lovely. And that was BEFORE the late hop decision. Which was mine. Yum.
How to choose? Stick your head in a bag and inhale like you’re Bill Clinton. Ahhhhhhhhhh........Citra...
Yup. I could resist. I was like a lemming on top of a cliff. And I jumped. Tropically. Oh the smells!
And then..... Transfer pitch and done. It wasn’t QUITE that simple, but things rarely are in the world of the artisan. Like I said, I am complete awe of the skills of the lone brewer. It’s far from just about grains, hops and yeast.
So. What have we got? A 2.9% table beer. I got to choose the hops. I got to choose the name.
My thought process went something like...... Pictish...... Celtic symbolism....... History nerd (me)...... Great Celtic Warrior....... Caradoc! (The Roman derivation was Caractacus). It’s a Table Beer, therefore meant to slake Thirst.... Caradoc’s Thirst! Say hello. You’re going to love this!