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Berne Amber Lager - abv 5%; £2.40/50cl
Brewers & Union is a collective of brewers operating in South Africa, Germany and Belgium. It started life as simply a bar, called & Union situated beneath a church in Cape Town, run by enthusiasts Rui Esteves and Brad Armitage.
Disappointed by the quality of mass-produced beers offered to them, they commissioned craft-brewed beers from new-wave South African microbreweries, and Brewers & Union came into being.
In 2007, it turned its attention to Europe, with craft brewers in Belgium and Germany joining the network.
This week’s feature is B&U’s take on the Viennese-style amber lager, brewed in Bavaria and bottled without filtration to preserve freshness and complexity. The beer is chestnut brown in colour, with a slight haze and a deep, long-lasting, foamy head.
There is a light toffee, caramel aroma with some earthy hops and hints of roasted nuts and banana. It has a very soft, foamy mouth-feel, quite distinct from the rather spiky fizziness of more heavily carbonated beers.
There is rounded, cakey malt in the mouth and a gentle orange and raspberry fruitiness, backed up by more roasted nuts and a little burnt toffee.
A robust bitterness builds in the aftertaste, with hoppy and spicy notes at the finish.
As recommended by Jim Helsby of the York Beer And Wine Shop, Sandringham Street, York.