County Durham brewery Gambling Man is banking on drinkers’ love of new world hops after scrapping plans for monthly special beers and creating a new regular offering.
Fourth Street, a 4.4% ABV IPA joins the Willington-based firm’s existing 3.4% Willamette and Citra hopped “session” ale Croupier, 4.4% US style pale ale Pit Boss and 4.7% rye porter Jack O’Clubs among head brewer Paul Armstrong’s usual stable.
“Over 2013 we did a special every month, with two at Christmas as well as two additional one offs for beer festivals,” said Paul.
“But when we looked back at this we realised, and will openly admit, that we overstretched ourselves and became a little too ambitious.
“So much so that even though we had fully planned another twelve specials for 2014, we thought it would be more sensible just to increase the regular range of beers to four, and concentrate on these during the next year, and shelve the specials for some time in the future.
“For our fourth beer, I knew pretty much straight away that I wanted to do a New World IPA as I’m a massive fan of the fresh and clean profile one gets from New Zealand hops.
“I also wanted to keep it to the same strength as Pit Boss, and so once I had the base recipe in mind thoughts turned to a name.
“Usually these come to us quite quickly but this one proved difficult. My Dad was quite keen on the name Jackpot, but we thought that this was too similar to our rye porter Jack O’ Clubs. Other names suggested early on were Bookmaker and Cashier, but neither really gelled with us.
“And so in between Christmas and New Year David (Wells, the brewery’s technical manager/drayman) and I set out for our annual festive bar crawl, sat down in the Ivy House in Sunderland, confident that we would have come up with the perfect name before we had finished out first pint. However several hours and pints later, we left Newcastle’s Free Trade Inn no further forward.
“Then a just over a week later, I got a late night text from Dave who had come up with the name Fourth Street. This was apt as it was both a Gambling term – meaning the fourth card dealt in a flop card game, and more commonly known as ‘The Turn’ in Texas Hold ‘Em – and also the fourth regular beer.”
The first small batch of Fourth Street was brewed on January 13, and Paul said it will first go out in bottles and pins to his “focus group” before, if needed, being tweaked and re-brewed for the general public in February.