Written by Ben Ellery for Oxford Mail (UK)
THERE are bitters, bitter bitters and then Peter Fowler’s latest creation, which he hopes will earn him the title of bitterest brewer in the world.
Mr Fowler, 57, who owns the Pitstop Brewery, in Grove, has sent his latest creation, The Hop, to an independent science laboratory for an official bitterness rating.
The nine-gallon keg of barley wine – made using £100 worth of hops, compared to £5 for an average beer – is still untasted by Mr Fowler as he believes he might not be able to handle it.
He is hoping the beer will be about 500 International Bitterness Units (IBUs) – the measurement used for recording bitterness.
Although there is no official record, it is believed the current holder is Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA, with 200 IBUs.
Mr Fowler said: “It’s a bit of fun and I haven’t tried it myself yet because I don’t think I’m ready to pucker my lips up that much.
“It’s taken about a month to brew and has been dreadfully expensive due to the amount of hops needed. It started after a friend told me about a bitter beer in America and I said ‘I could do that’. They said I couldn’t, which was like a red rag to a bull.”
He had to commission a company to provide hop additives on top of the £100 worth of hops because using too many of the real crops would have made the brew “thick like porridge.”
Mr Fowler said for the world record to stand the beer had to be commercial.
He said: “If it is just too bitter no-one will want to drink it, and that’s not what I want.
“The beer will be on sale late January at The Royal Oak in Wantage, and if it does well I might make more.”
Mr Fowler should find out in the coming days the results of the tests, being carried out at the Brewlab at the University of Sunderland.
If successful he will send the results to the Guinness World Records, where he hopes he will be crowned the brewer of the world’s bitterest beer.
He added: “I’m sure it will be full of venom, but that there will be quite a few people who will want to taste it.”
Mr Fowler has more than 25 years’ home-brewing experience and recently expanded his brewery to the point where it can produce 180 gallons a day.
He sells his products at Grove’s Bellingers Service Station, where he is manager.