Does Picasso inspire your paella? Does Wordsworth inspire winemakers? Well, in the past Signature Brew beers were all inspired by and brewed with their favourite bands. Honestly I don’t get it. Trying too hard with the marketing?
Betcha Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman would make a stonking Imperial Russian Stout though.
Wanting something good to drink at gigs I understand. So I was rather glad to see that Signature Brew were launching their ‘own’ beers with a musical theme, nice. Nicer still, it was at The Long Room (lovely Reuben sandwiches) in Smithfield and not in hippest Hackney. Nicest, it was free beer in the afternoon!
So what of the beers? On cask they had Signature Pale, Candela Gold (golden ale with passion fruit), Red Wedge (a defiant [sic] red ale) and Session (NZ bitter). On keg there was Signature Pale again, Signature Lager, Backstage IPA and Black Vinyl Stout. The latter won my best named beer award.
The beers I liked were, in no particular order,
Backstage IPA, 5.6% – Looks, smells and tastes the part of a modern IPA. Satisfying and full bodied without being bonkers hoppy (IBU 50 for the geeks). This is the sort of beer that I could happily spend an evening drinking halves while those around me drink tasteless 3.8% bitters.
Red Wedge, 4.7% – Spicy, hoppy, harmonious and full. An interesting beer where you keep getting new flavours. I’d drink this instead of a best bitter.
The Signature Pale was pleasantly hoppy, quite amber and full bodied for the style. Surprisingly for this style, I enjoyed the cask version much more, the keg was too fizzy and too cold to enjoy the hops (unlike the Backstage IPA where fizz and cool were just right imho).
Of the others the Candela Gold was for me too sweet and I’m not sure passion fruit and beer is a good mix. Lager is not my thing really, certainly they had tried to put more flavour into the Signature Lager than the bland commercial brands. But don’t believe me do still try them, certainly others were clearly enjoying the Candela Gold.
I think Signature Brew have made a smart move by going for the music scene niche. Too much competition in their neck of the woods for the local niche and their beers don’t fall into new beer, thrill seeker niche. They are clearly doing something right as Professor Green’s Remedy is already in some supermarkets.
These are nice young chaps, and like all small brewers, have clearly spent untold hours in pursuit of their dream. They brew good beer and probably have a families to support. If you see Backstage IPA, Red Wedge or Black Vinyl stout at a gig or pub near you then give them a try. You shouldn’t be disappointed.
Date: Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Beer selection: 7.5/10
Beer quality: 7.5/10
A good night out: 8/10
Total score: 39/50, 78%