Imperial IPA – Collaboration: Danish: Mikkeller, English: Siren Craft Brew, American: Hill Farmstead Brewery: Limoncello IPA

I’m going to finish August off with this awesome collaboration brew from 3 great breweries – Siren Craft BrewMikkeller and Hill Farmstead Brewery.  This is an Imperial IPA brewed to mimic Limoncello, honestly an extremely refreshing beer and something I’d never had before until a few weeks back. After tasting it, I knew I had to put it on the blog.

Although this is definitely a summer brew, it’s something you can drink on the colder days to help keep you warm too due to the 9.1% ABV!

Let’s start with Siren’s decription of the beer:

This is a truly different beer. The concept was to develop the flavour and mouthfeel of Limoncello and fuse with the carbonation and lemony hop hit of an IPA. Using pale and wheat malts, the base beer goes through a 24 hour sour process to add to the tartness of the beer. Tons of lemon zest and juice are added to the boil along with all the citrusy lemony hops available.

A very informative, short but sweet description of the beer by Siren. So we’re expecting a nice tart flavoured beer with underlying hop tones and sweetness. Sounds incredible even from the description and very interesting indeed!

After doing a little bit of research (didn’t have to go far!) I found out that this beer uses Pale Ale malt and some Malted Wheat. Wheat usually goes well with a tart tasing beer, and will also help the head creation and retention on a brew with this much ABV! This is then made into a sour mash to aid the tartness. The hops used in this are interesting, Citra and Sorachi-Ace. A very well informed hop choice, as Sorachi-Ace is a hop that injects tonnes of Lemon aroma and flavour into the brew, whilst Citra is a crazy fruity hop that will help with the Citric Acid tones in the brew but also add some delicate Gooseberry and Lychee smoothness to the beer. After this, a bucket full of lemon zest and juice is added for good measure and some Lacto or Lactic-Acid to help with the tart flavour of this brew. I think all in all, this is a great attempt at trying to mimic Limoncello in beer form!

When you pour this beer, you’ll notice the awesome hazy-amber colour of the beer and the big white head forming. It really does take a few pours to get this all into a glass, and rightly so (after all that wheat!) The head dissipates quite quickly after sitting for a while, there is some sedimant in the beer but I think this is due to the lemon zest as it does not seem to have the typical hazy yeast appearance. When you finally get to smell the beer after it settles down, you get a big hit of Lemon Juice and fresh citrus with some citrus hop aromas and some lacto coming through. It smells a bit like freshly squeezed lemonade! Now comes the taste, if you think this is going to be similar to shandy or a lager top you will be disappointed. I was plesantly surpirsed, this beer really is something different. You get a massive hit of clean lemon flavours which then desends into a sour bite. The lemon definitely has the front seat in this beer and the sourness comes after which is a pleasent surpirse. I noticed some lychee and a little bit of freshly cut grass on the tail end. This is a truely different flavour but works out to be extremely refreshing. Obviously you can’t have too many of these due to the percentage, but this beer works well in the sun and after a hot, sweaty days work (or gym session!). It finishes quite dry and sour but with a crispness from the lemon which is second to none. 

Overall, this is a great beer and truely different and surprising compared to other IPAs that have fruit added.

You can purchase Limoncello IPA in the UK at:

Eebria

The Grumpy Goat

And at Brewdog bars and Bottledog Kings Cross.

There may well be some other places too, check google!

For any bars/shops wanting to stock this, contact Siren Craft Brew Directly

EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9.1%

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Pale Ale – American: Odell St Lupulin

This week we have the summer seasonal offering from Odell Brewing. Odell are part of the exciting Colorado brewing scene, and none of the beers I have had that are produced by them have disappointed.

I chose this beer because Pale ales are great to drink in Autumn and Summer, and as we go into Autumn with the weather still being warm this beer is perfect.

Let’s start with Odell’s description of the beer:

A mystical legend echoes in our brewhouse – that of St. Lupulin (loop-you-lin) the archetypal hophead. He devoted endless summers to endless rows of hops, tending to the flowers and the beloved resin within – lupulin. Extraordinary oils in this yellow resin provide this dry-hopped extra pale ale with an undeniably pleasing floral aroma and clean, crisp finish. One sip of this seasonal summer ale and you too, will believe.
Available May through September

It’s always nice to have a story along with a beer along with hints of the flavour, and Odell have always been very good with that. St. Lupulin truely is a crisp, refreshing beer and great for after a long day at work or indeed drinking in the garden on a hot day/humid evening. At 6.5% you probably could session it, but not as much as some other Pale Ales offered.

I recently e-mailed Odell about their recipes and they were willing to tell me some of the details of the ingredients for a few of their beers, which is nice. Some brewers keep their recipies under wraps, even when you e-mail them! The malts used in this beer are Pale Malt, ESB Malt, Vienna, and Caramalt – a great malt backbone for a Pale Ale in my opinion. It’s nice seeing a few british malts in this brew. As for the hops, CascadePerle and dry-hopped with Centennial. I think this is a really good, sensible hop bill for an (extra) Pale Ale brewed for Summer/Early Autumn as the Cascade and Centennial hops provide that nice floral, fruity taste and the Perle provide a nice clean, crisp, almost lager like taste to the brew. Odell have come up with a great recipe for this one.

This beer pours a russet gold colour and is slightly cloudy, leaving a great head even when not poured vigorously which sticks around for a long time until it slowly dissipates leaving some nice film on the glass along with a thin cap. The smell of this beer is quite complex for a Pale Ale, hints of honey, crisp malted barley which is balanced well with the floral, citrus and some pine aromas from the hops. There’s also some subtle spice which is nice. The taste is a clean malty flavour to start, which then fades into some citrus, subtle grapefruit and a little pine. It’s definitely quite hoppy as far as Pale Ales go, but still crisp and refreshing like a lager. It’s extremely well balanced. The beer is almost velvet-like and is very smooth. It finishes very crisp. An extremely refreshing brew indeed.

You can purchase Odell St. Lupulin in the UK at:

Beers Of Europe

Honest Brew

Beer Ritz (In Stock!)

Amazon

As always, a google search is good too!

Unfortunately there is no distribution for Odell in the UK, but if you’re a bar or a shop Beer Ritz does offer 24 bottles of this sesonal ale.

 

EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%

The story of Lord Chambray – Malta’s or rather Gozo’s first artisanal brewery

Looking forward to my Malta holiday even more now…

Ivan Brincat

Lord Chambray The Lord Chambray brewery (Photo courtesy of Lord Chambray)

Malta, or should I say Gozo, has its first artisanal brewery with the opening in June of Lord Chambray at the Gozitana Agricultural Village in Xewkija.

While on a visit to Gozo, I went to meet Samuele d’Imperio, the managing director of Lord Chambray to discover why they set their eyes on making Malta’s first craft beer.

He told me the family had been visiting Gozo every summer for the past 25 years and it was always their dream to eventually buy a property with a view on Malta’s sister island. They finally bought a property in Fort Chambray around five years ago.

It has always been his parents’ dream to retire on the island of Gozo. His father, an accountant, is around five years away from retirement.

Samuele, also an accountant, fell in love with craft beers during a year working…

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Special Edition – Festival: London Craft Beer Festival

Last weekend I went to the ever-growing London Craft Beer Festival. Located in the Oval Space at Cambridge Heath, it’s very close to a lot of the up and coming Craft Breweries in London.

I decided to go to the afternoon session on the Saturday, as some of the festival is outside and it’s been a little unpredictable on the weather front lately, especially at night! We arrived just before the event started at 11:40am, lucky we did as I quickly found out that the Afternoon session was sold out and the queue quickly formed behind us.

Once we got into the festival and received our free branded tasting glass, 5 tokens for our 1/3rds of a pint and our festival programme (more on that in a second!) we made our way up to the terrace before going into the space and was greeted by a great view of industrial East London.

Even from the first initial glimpses, you can tell that this is no ordinary CAMRA Real Ale fest. This a proper, balls to the wall, anything goes Craft Beer and food festival. Instead of paying on the door, paying for your glass and then paying for every beer you try at this festival everything is included in the ticket price.

We walked through the terrace ignoring the hunger coming in slowly as our breakfast wore off, as the main thing we were here for was the amazing beer!

Once we got into the hall, all the breweries were lined up and ready to go, the music had started and the beer was already flowing. I’m not sure who the DJ’s were at this particular session, but the blend of music and remixes was spot on and so were the people. Such a diverse crowd enjoying the amazing craft beers on offer.

We headed straight to the Thornbridge Brewing Stand to try some of their Parma Porter, a Porter brewed normally and then Parma Violets are crushed up and added during fermentation.

As there were 24 breweries and I tried at least 1 of each breweries beer, I’m going to keep the reviews short but sweet and want to write a little more about the event. However, there was not a single bad beer tried! The Parma Porter had a big hit of Parma Violets on the nose along with some roasty notes on the nose and was black with a tan head. When you taste this beer, you get another big initial hit of sweet parma violets and malts, which then tapers off to some roasty notes with burnt sugar undertones. The beer surprisingly finishes quite dry, but it’s a smooth brew and something I’d definitely drink in the summer.

After this, I wanted to check out what one of my favourite brewers, Founders Brewing had to offer. We walked over and I recommended All Day IPA to the friend I was with. The only beer they had which I hadn’t tried was the Porter. There’s always a lot of hype about the porter, and as usual with Founders it lived up to it’s name. A very dark, black on appearance that has a tan coloured head which dissipates quite quickly. When you smell it, you can smell the nice roasty sweet malt notes and a touch of brown sugar. On the taste you get the initial roasty, burnt sugar notes but then it finishes so crisp and clean. For me, it’s often unheard of in a porter but this one was seriously a stand out for me even though it’s such a classic style.

Next up, I had to go over to Camden Town Brewery‘s stand to check out the Australian Stone & Wood beer that was on offer – Pacific Ale. I’ve tried some Australian Craft Beer before (Little Creatures Pale Ale) and this beer from S&W meets the standards I’ve come to expect. A pale orange colour with a thick head that fades slowly leaving rings around the glass. This really is a pretty looking brew. On the nose, some grapefruit and tropical fruits. Taste is very fruity indeed but unfortunately very carbonated. Something I would definitely try again to get a full opinion on. Finish is almost crisp like a lager.

After this beer, we were going to go over to Sierra Nevada to finally try some of their Hoptimum… before this (as it’s 10%) we decided it would be a good time to go across the road to the Flanders Festival (also included in the ticket price!) to grab some food there. Although there was some great food on offer at the main part of the festival, we wanted to pop across the road to see what it was about. It was a quaint little festival with a few Belgian beers on offer as well as cooking lessons and the Flemish Kitchen Rebels. I grabbed some Belgian Frites and a freshly made and cooked Chorizo scotch egg. This was much needed at this point and went down well. I also tried a few beers over this side whilst I was there, the Westmalle Tripel which is apparently the first Tripel ever brewed, I tried the coriander and cardomon Vedett by Duvel which was very interesting. I then tried “BIIR” which was meant to be “Barcelona Craft Beer.” It was a little confusing, as it’s brewed in Belgium and I didn’t see it anywhere in Barcelona when I was there. It wasn’t the best so I went onto one of the famous Belgian Fruit beers – Liefmans Fruitesse as I sipped on it the sun came out and it was one of the most refreshing brews of the Festival with tonnes of fruit flavours and some tartness. Great example of a Belgian Fruit Beer.

After the breif tasting of Belgian beers and applying to win a case of Craft Beer (Pick us!!) we went back into the Oval Space we went straight for the Sierra Nevada stand for some of their famous Hoptimum. The beer appeared golden with not much head, as it was served from a cask. On the nose, loads of sweet malts, tonnes of pine, citrus and some grass notes. Much the same on the taste, a thick brown sugar followed by huge hits of pine and citrus undertones. Truely a tasty brew and one of the best imperial IPA‘s I’ve had to date. It finishes sweet. We then walked over to Buxton and I had one of my old favorites – Far Skyline, whilst my friend sampled their Saison. Interestingly, they told me that they are currently fermenting a new batch of Far Skyline which is even more sour and has some Brett yeast added. I’m not sure how this will come out, as Far Skyline is one of my favourite craft beers, but I’m definitely going to give it a try! I sipped on a bit of their Saison whilst chatting away and it really was a great representation of the style with all the spices and funky yeast notes. It was almost like it was from Belgium!

Next, we went across the room to check out Pressure Drop and had some of their Strictly Roots Porter. Strictly Roots is a Porter with Dandelion and Burdock added to it that has been harvested from the nearby Hackney Marshes. This one looks like a normal porter, medium body, black with a tan head. The Aroma of this beer is where it really takes it into it’s own and was one of my favourites from the day. A big bit of roasty smells and chocolate on the nose with the signature Dandelion and Burdock smell but without the sugary notes. When you try this beer, it’s a bit like dropping a shot of fruity espresso into a can of D&B and getting it to ferment somehow. Quite subtle, but you can tell it’s there and adds a really interesting taste to the beer.

After this, we popped over to Magic Rock Brewing and I had my favourite beer of the entire festival. Bearded Lady aged in Bourbon Barrels. An Imperial Stout that has been in Bourbon Barrels for 180 days. It has the consistency of motor oil and arrives thick black with a slight hint of a tan head. The smell of this one is complex. Burnt caramel, dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans. When you taste this beer, the bourbon and oak flavours hit you straight away leaving behind some great roasty caramel and brown sugar notes. It’s such a smooth beer for 10.5% and goes down very well and it’s like drinking something that has the consitancy of cough syup. I really think this beer can rival Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout. Light carbonation and believe it or not, finishes sweet. A truely fantastic effort from Magic Rock and definitely my favourite of the day.

After a quick break and some socialising with some fellow beer lovers, we moved along to Beavertown Brewery. Beavertown now have a soft spot in my heart as they’ve recently moved to my hometown in Tottenham and are helping an area become regenerated that desperately needs it. I’ve moved away from the area but as with any hometown it has a place in my heart! Back to the beer: I picked up their Lemon Phantom, a Berlinner Weiss with Lemon Zest and juice added. This beer was great and a nice deflection from the darker beers I’d just had. It arrived almost see through, unfiltered but not overly fizzy. It still had great body for such a pale beer. It reminded me of cloudy lemonade on the nose, the taste was a big hit of lacto and sour lemon, ending on a slightly sweet and sour wheat note. A lot of the Berlinner Weissbiers are so concentrated on the lacto and sourness but you could tell that the complexity of this beer was not accidental. Definitely one I need to revisit and I’m hoping I can arrange a trip to the new Bevertown Brewery as soon as possible. Hopefully it’ll still be on the tap list and I’ll be able to enjoy a pint of it!

After this, time was running out and I started rating my beers, so I’m going to be a little more brief for the rest. Plus I don’t want to bore you with endless beer ratings! Ratings are out of 5…

Green Flash West Coast IPA – Imperial IPA – 4.35 – Pine, Citrus, Golden. Dry finish.

Sierra Nevada Equinox Harvest – Wet Hop IPA – 4.5 – Bubblebum, Subtle citrus, golden colour. Crisp.

Signature Brew Candela Gold – Passionfruit Golden Ale – 4 Loads of Passionfruit, Great Lacing, Citrus. Sweet.

Brewdog / Victory Brewing U-Boat – Imperial Stout – 3.75 Chocolate, Roasty flavours, Coffee. Very dark. Dry finish.

Burning Sky Plateau – Pale Ale – 3.25 – Not my favourite of the festival, Citrus and Grapefruit. Standard American Style Pale Ale.

The Kernel Table Beer (Simcoe, Mosaic) – Table Beer – 4.35 – Complex, Bubblegum well balenced with Citrus, finishes sweet.

Redchurch Brewery Broadway Black – Black IPA – 4 – Liquorice, Citrus, Pine. Black, dry finish.

Howling Hops Rye Gose – Gose – 3.5 – White Wine, Lacto, Very dry.

Weird Beard Sadako – Imperial Russian Stout – 4.5 – Coffee, Very roasty but very sweet finish. Fantastic.

Brew By Numbers 14 | 01 Tripel – Tripel – 4.25 – Belgian Tripel with London hoppy Edge, Bubblegum from the Mosaic hops and loads of sweet malt flavours woven in. Want to try again.

After this I chilled out with a few Sierra Nevada Pale Ales and had a chat to various brewers. The atmosphere at this festival really is second to none, Amazing food, amazing friendly diverse people and last but not least Amazing beer! I also managed to grab a small haul from The Bottle Shop.

I’ll be posting about these beers where I can fit them in! I’m particularly looking forward to Green Flash – Le Freak which is a Belgian IPA.

The festival really was a great day out and I’ll be attending in the future every year, roll on the next!

Beer: Euston Tap and Siren Craft Brew’s Soundwave IPA

Good piece on Siren’s Soundwave IPA and the good old Euston Tap!

Dap and Drink

The Euston Tap was at the top of my list for craft beer, as our very own Sheffield Tap has just been very newly named one of the top 10 brew pubs in Europe, according to the Guardian. I was also recommended it by Sam of Good Beer on Friday,  so I was sure I should try it out.

As I arrived in Euston I was unsure of its exact whereabouts so I exited the station and had a little walkabout and approached a building set back from the road, a little tall and a little out of place. I later learnt that it’s a Grade II listed Portland Stone Lodge, an original part of the station. 

It’s small inside, dingy, but the best kind of pub dingy. A number of cask and keg ales were available from the menu, and a huge variety of bottles were stacked in the…

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Sours/Berliner Weissebier: Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

Peche

To mark the mid-point of August I’ve picked this one. Although the Berliner Weissebier is a German style, I thought I would pick Dogfish Head Festina Pêche beer due to it being a great example of a Berliner Weisse and Sours/This style being very popular in America as of late.

As always, let’s start with Dogfish Head‘s description of the beer:

A refreshing neo-Berliner Weisse, Festina Peche is available in 4-packs and on draft during the sweaty months.

Sadly, there are only a few breweries left in Berlin still brewing the Berliner Weisse style, which is characterized by its intense tartness (some say sour). There were once over 70 breweries in Berlin alone making this beer!

In addition to fermentation with an ale yeast, Berliner Weisse is traditionally fermented with lactic cultures to produce its acidic (or green apple-like) character. Served as an apertif or summertime quencher, Festina is delicately hopped and has a pale straw color. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse is traditionally served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup.

In Festina Peche, since the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast, the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and the taste of the beer so there is no need to doctor it with woodruff or raspberry syrup. Just open and enjoy!

A medium to long description on this one, but Dogfish always like to give a decent description of their beers. Festina Pêche is a seasonal offering from Dogfish and since the release I am talking about in this post apparently the “tart” flavour has been reduced which I think is a shame given the popularity of sour beers in the US at the moment.

After tasting this beer and doing some research, I think the grains used in this are Castle Château Pilsen 2-Row for the malted barley and Rahr White Wheat for the wheat part. This is Dogfish Head, so I’m guessing they have used Centennial Hops in this brew, but it isn’t a very hoppy beer so it’s hard to tell and could well be Kent Goldings which would also work very well. Someone at Dogfish Head told a friend of mine in Delaware that they used Champagne Yeast to ferment the beer which makes sense as it does have a very sharp taste. I must congratulate them on this, as it can be quite a difficult yeast to deal with.

The beer pours with a very light yellow/amber colour with a thin white head which fades to a thin cap, this is pretty standard for a Berliner Weiss. The only difference is that the carbonation is a lot higher than usual for this style, again probably due to the Champagne Yeast. The carbonation makes you think it’s going to be as fizzy as a supermarket lemonade but it calms down after a while and starts to look very inviting. The smell of this beer is very complex, it has hints of malt, wheat and the peach concentrate is most definitely there. There is also that sour tarty smell from the Lacto conversion of some of the Sugars into Lactic Acid and there’s a small grassy hint that there are hops in the beer (not that this is the most important part of this style). The first thing you notice when you taste this beer is the intense tart sourness of the peaches, the sugar really has been stripped out but it’s such a great addition to such a classic style. You get the wheat and malt after this intense hit and then a slight piney hop bitterness to finish off. The beer goes down very smooth but it is as dry as a Pinot Grigio. The carbonation is still almost champagne-esque but it’s nothing too bad and the quality and complexity of this brew brushes off this almost negative point.

Unfortunately Dogfish Head beers are extremely hard to get in the UK as they have stopped distribution here to concentrate on expanding their market in the US. However, if you get a chance to try or buy this beer in America or you can ask someone to bring it back for you I seriously recommend you do. If you want to try a Craft Berliner Weissbier in the UK that is brewed in the UK I would recommend Siren Craft Brew’s Calypso, you could even add some peach concentrate to try and replicate this great Dogfish Head brew. If you’re looking for something closer to the traditional style, I would recommend Berliner Kindl Weisse but I must warn you it is extremely sour!

EST. CALORIES: 135   ABV: 4.5%

Travel: Beer and Food in Barcelona

Seeing as I like heat and this summer has been a bit humid and cloudy, I decided to take a short 3 day break to Barcelona. Apart from fitting loads in seeing the sites, I managed to track down a few very good food/beer places for this blog and this special post is about them. Barcelona really is a beautiful city and I will be going back there at some point!

Kiosko

I stumbled across this place when visiting the Barceloneta area. They do absolutely amazing burgers and you can check out their menu on their website. They have a great selection with Lamb, Pork, Beef and even Vegetarian Burgers. I went for the Chicken burger which was more like an extremely tasty sandwich due to the brown bread choice. The chicken was just breast meat, cut quite thin and then marinaded for 12 hours. The bread was also freshly rolled that morning (the complete sandwich pictured above). It was absolutely incredible and they also made all of the condiments and mayonnaise themselves in the kitchen. I really do recommend this place.  Kiosko has amazing food and sells one of Barcelona’s most popular lagers – Moritz. Whilst this is a lager on a large production and is not considered as craft beer, it rivals Damm’s Estrella which is made across the city which is seriously mass produced and uses adjuncts in it’s lager recipe. This creates something less enjoyable, a tasteless fizzy yellow liquid. More on that later. Although Moritz is produced on a large scale and is not a craft brewery, for a Euro Pale Lager it isn’t too bad. The fact they use Saaz hops in the beer is a great effort and it’s a thousand times better than a lot of the mass produced lagers out there and almost tastes like a Pilsner. Pretty okay in hot weather.

The other local mass produced beers are Damm’s Estrella, which is quite frankly absolutely tasteless and there’s nothing to really write about it apart from it tastes a bit like Carlsberg mixed with Budwieser and to be honest isn’t even really refreshing on a hot day due to it’s extreme fizzyness. Damm also make Damm Lemon, which is like a Radler and to be honest was quite refreshing in 36 Degrees Celcius heat but in a sort of Sprite/Fanta Lemon way and finally, Voll Damm which is their attempt at a Märzen / Oktoberfest beer. In my opinion the beer doesn’t really reflect this style but out of the Damm beers sold everywhere it’s bearable and it actually has a very malty taste. Let’s move on…

Mosquito

Next up is Mosquito, a restaurant that is a fusion of Tapas and Dim-Sum. The menu is great and the staff are really friendly! The dumplings are out of this world, and they have cold and hot choices. The stand outs for me were the Lemon Lime Chicken and the Beef Dumplings. Another definite recommendation from me here! Mosquito also has a huge selection of Craft and Belgian beers with over 200 bottles and 7 taps to choose from.

I ordered a Belgian beer in Mosquito called Caracole Ambrée, as I’d never seen it before and the waitress recommended it. Although I usually write in depth reviews, this is an article about Barcelona’s Beer and Food places I visited, so the reviews will be briefer than usual. Back to the beer – When you pour this beer, be careful as it literally explodes out of the bottle with serious carbonation. It pours an amber colour leaving a thick foam on the sides of the glass as you drink. It really is an inciting looking brew. You can definitely smell the funky belgian yeast which has traces of Strawberries, Bananas but also some Citrusy Hops and a nice sweet malt backbone. This is definitely an outstanding Belgian beer as far as smell goes. It starts with a big alcohol kick, followed by some citrus and a lot of funky Belgian yeast notes – banana, cherries and fruitcake finishing with sweet roasted malts. It really did go down a treat, especially with the food! Good recommendation Mosquito waitress! 

Bier Cab

Last but almost definitely not least, I visited Bier Cab in the Universitat area. Bier Cab is a great Gastropub and I had some absolutely amaing Tapas here. Nachos with Pico de Gallo and Guacamole, Chicken Strips and Potato Cubes with hot sauce and sour cream on top of them. After sharing these, I had a burger which was incredible. Loads of spanish cheese, hot sauce, medium rare burger, pickles and caramalised onions on a freshly baked bun. This was another place that made all their sauces, condiments and everything else.

I had 3 beers whilst in Biercab, To Øl Amass (Oatmeal Stout), Uncommon Brewers Siamese Twin Ale that had been Barrel Aged and Lervig Aktiebryggeri AS Rye IPA. To be honest I was completely spoilt for choice as BierCab has 30 ever changing taps and over 200 bottles (and even Beavertown Cans!) The current tap beers are displayed on a digital screen and when the kegs are changed to a different beer, it comes up on the screen straight away. It really is an experience. I seriously recommend this place as somewhere you cannot miss when visiting Barcelona.

Lervig Rye IPA arrived golden and hazy with a generous head which dissipates slowly leaving some sticky lacing. I could smell the piney hops, toasty sweet Rye and citrus as soon as the beer was put on the table. It really was a fantastic smelling brew and so fresh! The taste starts with some sweet rye, goes into some pine and grassy notes ending with great citrus bitterness, it’s an extremely enjoyable IPA and definitely verges on imperial. I need to try and get this again somehow! Despite the intense flavours, it’s smooth and goes down well hiding the 8.5 percentage but finishes very dry.

Next up was the Barrel Aged version of Siamese Twin ale from Uncommon Brewers, which I’m told was aged in Red Wines and began life as a Dubbel. Arrived an Ox Blood red with a generous head which dissipates to a thin cap that unfortunately left no lacing. There’s a lot going on with the smell of this beer – Red Grape must, red wine, some sweet malts but no hop smell dectectable. When you taste this beer you get an initial hit of brown sugarn then it transforms into Red Wine with some tart flavours and subtle banana on the finish. This one is lightly carbonated and finishes pretty sweet.

Fianlly, To Øl Amass (pictured above). As a stout it arrived black resembling coffee with a thick brown sugar coloured head. Head retention was great and it left a thick coating on the glass.
It smelt very roasty indeed with some coffee notes, burnt sugar, can definitely smell some oat in there too.
When you first drink this beer, you get milky coffee dark roasty flavour followed salted caramel, some sweet oat notes finishing with some piney hop which fades to a fudge taste. This really was dark and complex and in my opinion fantastic! It finished very smooth indeed due to the oats with an almost silky mouth feel, I’m guessing this is heavily hopped although the flavours are very subtle because it finishes very dry.

Barcelona really is a fantastic city, I really do recommend visiting whenever you can. The food is incredible and if you know where to look, the beer is too. If not, there’s always Moritz as a good go to in a beach bar.

Remember this is an extra post guys! Tomorrow I’ll be back to my usual format and be writing about the awesome Dogfish Head Festina Pêche!

– Top Reviews of the Week –

Pilsner – American: Sierra Nevada Summerfest

This week comes a seasonal brew from another of my favorite brewers, Sierra Nevada. The beer is called Summerfest and is a Lager/Pilsner.

As I’ve said before, there’s nothing better than a well crafted lager on a hot day and this is no objection to that.

Let’s start with Sierra Nevada’s description:

Crisp summertime lager.

Since their invention in the 1840s, Pilsener-style beers have become the world’s most popular style. With a nod toward the original Czech tradition, Summerfest is brewed to feature the best of Bohemian nature. Crisp, golden, dry and incredibly drinkable, Summerfest has a delicate and complex malt flavor and spicy and floral hop character—the perfect warm weather beer.

 

A nice short and sweet description that gives you a little history behind the Pilsner style. For those that don’t have a long time to trawl through the Wikipedia, here’s a quick beer history lesson – Before the 1840’s absolutely everyone drank Ale and Lager did not exist. One day a brewery in a city called Plzen or Pilsen in what is now the Czech Republic made what is regarded as the first lager. Due to the softness of the water and the nearby Saaz hops, the beer became a huge success and helped make the base for what we know as a lager today – the perfect hot weather beer! After some thought and searching around, I think Sierra Nevada use 3 different types of malt in this brew. First, the two-row pale barley malt and then some Munich and some German Pilsner malt to stay true to the style. As for the hops, most definitely Saaz hops and some Perle Hops to keep it traditional, then possibly some Spalt Select hops to update the recipe a little bit.

This beer pours quite similar to a lot of the usual lagers you find, but it’s not as fizzy. The carbonation is still live but if you slip whilst pouring you get a huge head! The head turned out to be quite generous I poured it and I did it carefully (with some vigor of course, as you want some foam when you pour!) It pours a deep yellow colour which is very inviting in weather like this. The bubbles rise up quickly like a quick torrent you see in a bottle of Sprite. The smell of this beer is great, crisp earthy hops, a little bit of citrus, a big floral hop aroma with subtle banana along with sweet malts in the background. Summerfest really is an inviting beer on a hot, humid day. When you taste this beer, the first thing you’ll notice is the light lemon zest at the beginning which then fades into some nice sweet, lightly roasted malts. There’s also a light grassy taste with a little bit of spicy hop. This really is a crisp, clean beer and very well crafted. The flavours really do compliment each other extremely well. It feels solidly carbonated in your mouth but finishes really crisp and refreshing. What a great lager!

I’d recommend this beer for chilling out in the sun, or whilst doing some summer gardening. I can’t stress how refreshing it is!

You can purchase Sierra Nevada Summerfest in the UK at:

Beers Of Europe

For any Bars/Shops looking to stock this beer, Sierra Nevada beers are imported into the UK by James Clay and Fuller’s in the UK.

EST. CALORIES: 150   ABV: 5%

 

 

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