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Traffic Street #7, a pale ale and Pinot Grigio beer/wine hybrid launches in January 2016. Castle Rock's Lewis Townsend writes a few words about the beer...

There’s no doubt that the beer scene is more lively and diverse than it ever has been and us beer drinkers are so lucky to enjoy such a wide range of styles and flavours, from big & juicy hop-forward IPAs to pale ales, sour saisons, dry hopped red ales, creamy milk stouts, balanced brown bitters and smooth wheat beers. Breweries and pubs all over the UK are embracing this awesome diversity which has emerged like a whirlwind. Traditional brewer complacency is now a thing of the past. Castle Rock combine tradition with innovation, which I think is so important. But in terms of the boundary-pushing, experimental and idiosyncratic craft beer scene, wanted to get right  amongst it. And respond with some beers of our own. That’s why we started the Traffic Street Specials.

Dan and Ade (2) lo-res

Castle Rock’s head brewer Adrian Redgrove and Dan Gilliland

Head brewer of the range and my good friend Dan Gilliland has been working developing exciting beers for the past two years using small five barrel vessels and loads of lovely ingredients and novel ways in which to introduce them. Everything about it has been hands on. Dan and I took the Traffic Street Specials out to the wider public in October this year (the Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival) and the feedback was better than we could have hoped. We both massively fed off the enthusiasm of the customers and following the festival Dan started on something he’d wanted to try for many months now: a pale ale / white wine hybrid – to our knowledge the first of its kind in cask.

New Era & Half (1) lo-res

New era and the newly designed pump clip

The beer, entitled New Era, is just undergoing some final checks before we set it loose on you. It has clocked in at 7.7% and is tasting unlike anything I’ve ever tried. Brewed with pure Pinot Grigio grape juice which was fermented within a US-style pale ale with champagne yeast, the beer is opulent and demands respect. A lot of people have asked us: “How on earth is that flavour combination going to work?!” but it really does. You’ve got the crisp citrus notes of Centennial and Cascade hops from West Coast US combined with the dry gooseberry tartness of the Pinot Grigio grapes, with a pleasant pale malt background. The beer is fruity and full of body with a hint of sweetness and a lasting dry finish.

I know I speak for Dan as well here when I say we can’t wait for you to try it. This beer represents exactly what the Traffic Street Specials are all about; not only experimenting with cool flavours and style combinations but also with the brewing process itself. The only unfortunate thing is that this beer is a bit like golddust and extremely limited in quantity. We’ll let you know where you can get your hands on it as soon as we know. We are planning to launch the beer at the Canalhouse in January – watch this space!

The other thing we wanted to update you on was  the Traffic Street Tour 2016 – we’re putting the beers, and Nottingham on the map! The tour will comprise of a string of tap takeovers and meet the brewer evenings in some of the major cities in England. In the first quarter of 2016, Dan is hoping to brew four brand new beers for you, including a double IPA hopefully breaking 10% and a Traffic Street / Black Iris collaboration beer.  If you want to get involved with the tour, whether you’re a publican or a customer, just let us know by contacting us (there is a form on the website, or email lewis.townsend@castlerockbrewery.co.uk)

We’re making a Traffic Street Special splash in 2016 – so look out for us!

Lewis Townsend