Jazz Beer: Crown Brewery’s Django Reinhardt

Crown Brewery's Django Reinhardt

Crown Brewery's Django Reinhardt

Avid readers of my blog (are there any other than my mum? Probably not) will already know about Crown Brewery and my love for them. Read me raving about it here and here and visit their website here.

So, this is one of their jaaazzz (one can’t say jazz without stretching that “a”) beers, a series of beers named after classic jazz musicians. As far as I can tell the musician and style of beer aren’t really linked, beside it being a nice name.

I’ve not had any of Crown Brewery’s other jazz beers, indeed I’ve never even seen one before, and I didn’t realise the series even existed until I browsed the brewery’s own website.

So, what’s this beer like? Well, it’s a Double Damson Porter.

What’s that mean?

Well, I assume the double relates to the use of  a Belgian yeast strain (maybe?) the damson relates to the fact that they brewed the beer using damson for the sugar, rather than boring old sugar itself, and the porter refers to the fact it’s brewed dark and rich using roast malts, like what porters are.

Now, I don’t like criticising this beer. Crown Brewery have always impressed me, and this beer was brewed with the assistance of Zak Avery, a man whose company I’ve enjoyed while perusing his excellent store Beer Ritz and whose blog I religiously read/watch.

But, this beer has not quite hit the spot for me. It poured a lovely deep, dark brown, almost black colour with maybe a hint of damson-y purple (but that might be my brain playing tricks), but it also poured completely and utterly flat. No head, no carbonation, no nothing.

I’m no fizz enthusiast, indeed, I prefer my beers too flat to too carbonated, but the complete lack of carbonation left the flavours rather flat and the nose nigh-on nonexistant.

So while I enjoyed those deep, roasted, espresso flavours of the malt, that bitter kickback and those lingering, sharp, tangy fruit notes, it just all seemed to attack my palate at once, rather than presented itself nicely and ordered as I hoped.

And my hopes were high. I had this on draft at North Bar back in December and while I took no notes, I remember being massively impressed. It was vibrant and fully flavoured.

So, what went wrong? Well, my guesses would be:

1) this beer is just better on cask

2) my habit of not getting round to drinking bottles of beer meant it was passed it best

3) I just got a bad bottle (bottle conditioned bottles are, by their nature, inconsistent)

One of the three above points would also explain why the aforementioned Zak Avery loved it while I did not.

I’d say that I’d like to try it again and see whether this was a one off. But, as far as I know, there’s none of this left. So we’ll have to wait for the next time it’s brewed.


8 Responses

  1. […] post: Jazz Beer: Crown Brewery's Django… Comments [0]Digg […]

  2. this is not your mum

  3. I agree, I had it in North Bar on my way back from Beer Ritz after picking up a box of Brewdog for Christmas day with my new extended family (23 in total). Me and my mate Martin had this along with a half of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale and we both preferred the Django. It was a real winner.

    As a fan of Zak’s writing/videos and friendly associate of mine (I’d like to class him as a friend, but I’m not sure where the customer/friend definition starts and ends). I like to support his work and the shop that he runs because I like the guy. So I bought myself a bottle to drink at home, one for my friend who was visiting from the US and by accident bought another because I forgot I had one in my cupboard at home. So the next time I was heading up to Matt’s (HopZine number 2. Yes I’m number 1!) I took two bottles for a tasting and potentially a review on our website.
    My bottle was Ok, at best. Enjoyable but not a patch on what I’d had on tap. Matt’s bottle was pretty bad, I think he’d been a bit aggressive with the pour and the sediment had really done a number on the beer. Not good…

    I’ve enjoyed many Crown beers in bottles but from my experience of drinking at The Hillsborough Hotel, the best place to taste them is from the source.

  4. you’ve hit the nail on the head! bottling wasn’t good enough part of the problem is the temperature in the cellar down here, we strugle to keep the beer warm enough to get the refermentation going properly in the bottle. cask worked much better.
    Rob your right about it being better from the source. the same can be said about Smokin Oktoberfest the bottles i still have here are lively but you can still open one without getting covered in it, the problem is as soon as transport the beer anywhere it becomes to lively.
    sorry lads I must do better

  5. Well Stu, that’s just a splendid excuse to get over to the Hillsborough.

    Despite your bottling woes, I did find that both the Wheat Stout and Unpronounceable IPA were great at home in the bottle.

    And yes, despite the slight negativity of my post, the Django on tap at North was splendid.

    Good work.

  6. Aaaaarrrh….come on Stu, don’t be like that.

    I’m sure you’ve read my post on HopZine of Unpronouceable and IPA on Hopzine, both bloody lovely! And I prefered Sam Berry’s in the bottle than on tap.

    I even said Django was better than Celebration on draught, look at the positives not the negatives.

    We still love ya Stu!

  7. cheers lads, delivering to North next friday, might even go and see Avery too

  8. Was about to chime in on this but I see Rob’s already on the chiming case already!
    Still, I have the Unpronouncable IPA in my refridgerator currently and I’m looking forward to that 🙂

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