Flavourly and First Chop explore the relationship between beer and fruit

2021 promises to be an exciting year for the Flavourly community, with more new and exclusive beers being produced just for our customers than ever before. More important than the quantity though, the quality of the beers being produced by our partner breweries has never been higher, and First Chop’s output throughout the year is the perfect example of this.

Through collaboration with Flavourly, Rik and his team at First Chop are able to produce an unbelievable range of all-new beers that hit the mark in terms of what we know the Flavourly community wants to drink, and fulfils the creativity that’s overflowing at First Chop’s Manchester brewery.

Last month, we introduced you to ONE. Today, we’re telling you about OOFT.

“Both the ONE and the OOFT are collaborative experiences between First Chop and Flavourly,” says Rik Garner, First Chop’s founder.

“The fantastic thing about working with Flavourly is that it’s a risk-free way for us to produce beer. If I have an idea, I’ll chat it through with Flavourly and Rob (Flavourly’s head buyer) will say ‘go ahead and make it.’ I’ve got ideas for beers for days. There’s always loads of ideas bubbling around, loads of potential recipes and flavour combinations. It gives us a chance to try out stuff that we thought of two or three years ago and never got round to making. But when you have a customer like Flavourly who wants 10,000 or 20,000 cans of it, it becomes a really easy decision to go ahead and produce these beers.”

With an outlet for their creativity, First Chop wasted no time in pulling together a series of beers that explore one of our favourite combinations: craft beer and fruit.

“We’ve had a lot of success with JAM” Rik tells me, referencing their multi-award-winning Mango Pale Ale. “It’s one of our most popular beers, this was an opportunity to take things on from there.”

Rik is keen to stress the importance of the beer side of things in these beer-fruit-hybrids, with each recipe retaining the all-important qualities that makes each of the beer styles on show so special.

“They’re not gone to be full-on fruit beers like a Framboise, they’re not as fruity. First and foremost, they are a beer and they have very definite beer characteristics. We’re not trying to copy those Belgian styles, we’re trying to do our own thing and be a bit more subtle with the fruits. And we’re not using any flavourings, it’s all real fruit. Each beer in the range has been chosen because we think the fruit complements that beer style, and we chose a range that we thought would pair well with the seasons.”

The OOFT series will include six beers, released throughout the course of 2021 and acting as the perfect accompaniment to the time of year they are released. Kicking off in February with a Blackberry Wheat, the range will include a Blackcurrant Kolsch, Passionfruit IPA, Peach Blonde, Pineapple Session IPA, and will conclude in the winter with Black Cherry Stout.

Rik gives us his thoughts behind each recipe, and tell us what to expect…

Blackberry Wheat

“When talking about all the different styles we could do, this popped into my head immediately; how well a tart blackberry would go with a wheat beer base. I’m hoping that everyone that tries it is going to love it.”

OOFT Passion Fruit IPA

Blackcurrant Kolsch

“It’s our take on a lager and black, really. Instead of it being a pint of lager with some blackcurrant cordial stuck in the top, we’ve gone a bit deeper.”

OOFT Blackcurrant Kolsch Beer Can

Passionfruit IPA

“Passionfruit is a big flavour that you get from hops, you really get those flavour characteristics from hops. That was the idea with JAM in the first place, not to make a mango drink but to make beer that had mango characteristic in the hopping regime, and add some real mango in there to bring that through more. That’s what we’re doing again here, but with passionfruit.”

Peach Blonde

“It’s a summer drink. Whenever we can IPA, the smell in the brewery is peaches; that peach aroma is a big one for late-hopped and dry-hopped beers. Peach Blonde was just an easy one for Summer. It’s a very simple blonde beer. We put hops in it that have that peach characteristic, and we’re just helping it along with real peach. What I imagined with this beer is someone sitting out in their back garden on a deck chair with the sun beating down on them and can of Peach Blonde.”

OOFT Pineapple Session Beer Can

OOFT Cherry Stout Beer Can

Pineapple Session IPA

“Pineapple is one of those flavours that you do get from hops so it’s a fruit that we thought would complement the style of the beer, and the hops that we’re going to put in there as well. It will help bring some of the flavours in the hops to fore, flavours that are already there but that you’d need to work hard to take out those characteristics.”

Black Cherry Stout

“The cherry stout was one that was in our archive of ideas and came up when we talked about what could we do for a winter beer. It’s not going to be a cherry drink, it’s definitely going to be a stout and it’s going to have a bit more than a hint of black cherry flavour; it’s going to be there in the background but it’s not going to taste like cherryade.”

The OOFT range promises to take us on a journey through fruit and beer all year long, but you may now be wondering where that name OOFT comes from. Well, quite simply, it’s the noise Rik expect us all to be making when we take that first sip of an OOFT beer.

“I had a few ideas for names for it” says Rik. “We had a look at what the Dutch word for fruit was – we’re a half-Dutch brewery – and it was ooft. I just thought, what a perfect name for a range of fruit beers. It hopefully describes the experience people will have when they open the can and have their first sip, they’ll say ‘ooft!’”

We look forward to hearing all your OOFTs throughout the year.

Check out our First Chop collabs here

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