Merchant Brewing Co. have made some interesting beers, none more so than Earl Pear, a golden ale with pear and Earl Grey tea.
I first had this at the Sydney Craft Beer Week 2015 Opening Gala. It was one of my standout beers at SCBW15 and I’ve written briefly about it before. It blew me away then and it has the same effect each time I try it.
It’s now out in bottles and it’s worth getting hold of.
The base is a boozy blonde ale, coming it at 6.4% ABV. But that booziness doesn’t mask the the delicate and floral flavours of pear and Earl Grey tea (you can see where the name comes from).
These flavours are usually quite subtle so to get them coming through so distinctly in a boozy beer is no mean feat.
It pours a little on the dark side for a blonde but it’s a beautiful rusty gold colour. There’s a big white foamy head and it looks brilliant when you swirl the glass.
There’s some silkiness in the mouthfeel from the booze and a lingering bitter aftertaste from the hop bill. I definitely got more bitterness from the bottled beer than from the kegs they were serving at the Sydney Craft Beer Week opener. It’ll be interesting to see if this is batch to batch variance or if the recipe has been tweaked.
I drank this alongside chilli prawn skewers and a bitter green salad. It was a nice match. Otherwise, it would be fairly easy to swig at a schooner of this in a warm beer garden, it’s refreshing but just be careful as it’s very, very easy to drink for a 6.4% beer.
And a final mention for the bottle, it’s pretty cool. The Merchant boys are fairly new on the scene but they’re already developing a nice identity for themselves through the dapper Cecil the sloth. The illustrations are a bit different to how we’ve seen other small gypsy brewers brand themselves. It’s as different and refreshing as Earl Pear.
You might also like Merchant Brewing’s Three Toe Ale.
Beer style: Blonde ale
Pair with: Chilli prawn skewers and a bitter green salad
Have you tried Merchant Brewing Earl Pear? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought.