The History of Bitter Ale
By 1830, the expressions "bitter" and "pale ale" were synonymous and used interchangeably. It is likely the term grew in use to differentiate these pale ales from other less hopped beers, such as porter and mild. Bitter ale production is believed to have popularised a method of “aromatizing” by adding hops to the boil late, and playing with different amounts and strengths. This was not practiced in the making of porter and stout, and allowed bitters to gain their unique personality. After World War II, bitters replaced mild as the most popular British beer, and this tradition remains until today. By the mid-to-late 20th century, bitter served more and more as a synonym for young, fresh-running cask beers, while the bottled ones kept the pale ale label.
Today, the English-style bitter is described as a very sessionable drink, perfect for sociable sipping. It should be low in alcohol and sufficiently malty. Most bitters are light-bodied, gold to copper in colour, moderately hopped and with a low residual malt. Low carbonation and fruity notes are also present. Often, the use of crystal malt and dry-hopping play a part in obtaining its classic flavour.
Bitters are traditionally served from a cask, but some breweries, such as Fullers, Coniston, Hook Norton or Surly Brewing Company have bottled versions as well. Definitely worth trying!
Drought conditions continued in 2008, pushing vintage forward, beginning in mid to late February. Spring was frost free followed by an unseasonally cool February, allowing optimum ripening conditions for maximum flavour development with balanced acidity. However, the State struggled through one of the longest heat waves in South Australian history, with temperatures staying above 35 degrees Celcius for two weeks. Fortunately fruit picked before the heat spike arrived at the winery in excellent condition.
Portions of this wine underwent malolactic fermentation to soften the palate. Oak maturation has resulted in a balanced Chardonnay with excellent fruit, integrated subtle oak and cleansing acidity.
Parchment wrapped salmon with soy, ginger and shallot dressing served on a bed of wilted Chinese greens.