First Chop Brewing Arm, DOC
Rik started out running the First Chop bar in Ramsbottom, near Bury, with the love of good beer leading him naturally back up the production line to see how it’s made, before really catching the brewing bug in 2012. That was when he took what’s fast becoming the modern route to brewing by borrowing capacity from local breweries and making his own.
Thankfully, all of us are benefitting from this apparent lack of a cutthroat, crush-your-enemies attitude in the industry.
Now he’s firmly ensconced under a railway arch in Salford, painstakingly selected so it could home his brewery and bar while also featuring a secret garden and vintage reggae sound system. This is another of Rik’s long term dreams which will shortly be realised - he might even be powering it up as we speak, having assembled it piece by piece over more than two years. If you’re into the Simpson’s, the whole place sounds like Hank Scorpio’s Bond villain-style complex Cypress Creek, with extra WOW.
WOW isn’t one of their other beers, by the way, but you might notice that there’s a lot of three letter capital action going on. This is half by design and half happy accident - naming their first beer HOP, their second FCB, and their third AVA (in honour of Rik’s little girl), they liked the look of the labels and stuck with it (or in brand newspeak, ‘organically created a strong visual identity’).
And they got to the name DOC for this one down the same path, but using one of the hop varieties, Doctor Rudi, as the source.
They love hops, and hate compromise - the essential formula for clean, high quality, hop-forward beers.
DOC is a great example. Four types of New Zealand Hops give you a zesty citrus aroma and taste. All those big tropical fruits you expect from NZ-hopped beers are there. The base is just sweet enough to balance it out, but it’s far from dry, and then you’re left with a long, bitter, refreshing finish.
We can’t control the weather, but we’ve tried to time this for when the British Summer is meant to be getting into the swing of things. Of course at 9pm, you’re unlikely to be drinking this in proper sunlight. Unless you’re on the International Space Station on a bright-side pass. And if you are on the ISS, don’t forget to tweet us and say hi.
It benefits from a light chill, about 30 minutes in the fridge should see it right.