OK, beers at 2.8% are not renown for their depth of flavour and complexity. Nor are they famous for being stunningly satisfying. 'Refreshing' is about the best it gets. Me and my mate Wantsum James are setting out to challenge these notions - we've been cocky enough to circulate a rumour suggesting that we already know a thing or two, and that Planet Thanet Easter Beer Festival is in for a treat.
The sad truth is far from it though: we began test brewing two months ago using ass brewer Mr Stow's garden shed set up to challenge ideas and techniques. It began well and by version 2.83 we were nearing our target of a tasty low strength beer. However, versions 2.84, 2.85 and 2.86 veered off on a tangent and left us further from the bullseye than our starting point. We've run out of time now and have to make a few leaps of faith, cross our fingers and give it a whirl.
I've spoken to various brewers across the country looking for tips and techniques as yet undiscovered. Thornbridge advised on water treatment (crucial in such a delicate beer), Brew Wharf on high temperature mashing (this helps create non-fermentable sugars essential for body) and Redemption on hops (a major player in the flavour game). It's all helped give us direction, and it's great to chat, but we're on our own from 7:30am tomorrow.
Will it work? I don't know - one or two of our test brews almost did, and one or two really did not. I'll know for sure, one way or another, in ten days time and you, dear reader, will know on Friday 22nd April when you hit the festival.
Look out for 'Low & Behold' - it's got to be worth a go, if only to see me fail.
I keep doing this, setting myself stupid challenges in some kind of effort to push boundaries. Truth is it just gets me stressed out. I might have to stop and return to brewing brown bitter, though even that's stressful sometimes. I need a holiday.