Heralded as one of the biggest sporting events of the year, the Six Nations is guaranteed to keep fans glued to their sofa or at their local, cheering on their teams amidst fellow supporters. No hand should go empty over the next 6 weeks, so we’re trumpeting the return of Union Flack beer, its roundel or badge you’ll see, at many local clubs and pubs in and around Hampshire, sporting a shiny new rugby ball. And if you don’t see it, then encourage your friendly landlord to place an order.
Union Flack has some great substance to it, and we’ll let Terry the Head Brewer do the explaining:
The name “Union Flack” is not only in reference to our national game or the Union Flag but also representative of the beer itself. The brewers at Flack Manor were tasked with using ingredients that go together to form a Union that is recognisable within the finished beer.
Union Flack – the detail is in the name
Starting with the malt grist (as all good brewers do). Taking floor malted, locally grown, Maris Otter Barley and adding a blend of crystal malt and crystal wheat to create the perfect Union of body, sweetness, flavour and mouth feel with the amber sparkle that will reveal the malt characteristics of this beer at first sight.
Next come the hops. As with all Flack Manor beers, the hop grist is calculated to be in Union with the malt grist, not to overpower and mask other flavours but to compliment and contribute to the overall character of the beer. This Union between Malt and Hops is achieved by the use of English hops. Hops grown in our unique maritime climate possess distinctive yet subtle flavour characteristics and create the sort of drinkability required in a lower ABV beer.
The brewers have selected two varieties of hops that they feel will form a perfect Union. For an early (bittering) hop, UK grown Chinook is the chosen variety. Chinook is an American variety that is widely used for its distinctive grapefruit flavours. These hops have been grown by Martin Powell-Tuck at Pridewood farm in Herefordshire. His first planting of Chinook was in 2014 with a small crop in 2015. With good results from this crop, Martin now grows Chinook in the UK for supply to brewers. Chinook grown in the UK still imparts the distinctive characteristics but these are far more subtle than in the US grown hops. For late (aroma) hops the brewers have selected Bramling Cross, this variety was selected for its distinctiveness in both flavour and aroma and because of the way it will work in Union with the Chinook. Bramling Cross imparts a strong spicy / blackcurrant flavour and an American style aroma but still retains the drinkability of English hops. These hops were grown by Chris Nicholas at Hoads Farm in Kent.