Keith Galbraith, owner and head brewer at the iconic Galbraith’s Ale House in Auckland, is not a man who is easily puzzled in life. However, during a recent trip to Britain he sampled a selection of beers from a range of micro-breweries which all seemed to have a particular quality he thoroughly enjoyed. At first glance, there did not seem to be any linkages between the breweries or the beer styles and this puzzled him. After some persistent research, Keith found the connection – all the beers used one particular malt. This high-quality malt grew on the chalky soil of the Salisbury Plains and was traditionally floor-malted nearby. Something about the soil seemed to make the resulting malt ideal for brewing.
Miraculously, Keith managed to obtain some of this malt and has used it o create his latest seasonal beer, Salisbury Plains Ale (5.5%). SPA is broadly in the old-school pale ale style and I had the chance to sample it at Galbraith’s last week. I don’t wax lyrical about a beer’s colour very often but the appearance of the SPA is exceptional. It is lustrous and seems to glow from within. There is a huge, luscious, deep, rounded malt sweetness in the glass. Just as you begin to worry it might be all mouth and no trousers your palate is suddenly aware of an exceptionally late real hop bitterness.
SPA was outstanding. I would recommend trying it with the new Scotch Quail Eggs which are probably my new favourite bar snack in the world. The introduction of the Scotch Eggs is timely as my usual snack, the Pork Pie, is sadly having to be removed from the menu. Good Bye Pork Pie.