Pumpkin Ale – Scottish: Brewdog Pumpkin Head

It’s Halloween in the UK, so what else could I do but review a Pumpkin Beer?

Today I’m reviewing a beer that has had a bit of bad press – Brewdog‘s Pumpkin Head

Pumpkin Head is Brewdog‘s take on the Pumpkin Ales popular in America. I’m guessing it’s brewed for a UK Palate, as it’s slightly different to other Pumpkin Ales I’ve had in the past. More on that a little later.

Let’s start with Brewdog‘s description of the beer:

We’re turning Hallowe’en inside out and upside down. Pumpkinhead is not your usual unctuous, cloyingly sweet Hallowe’en pumpkin ale. Sure, there’s a huge heady hit of pungent spice on the nose, but it’s followed with bright and zesty citrus flavours, and a light mouthfeel.

Spicy and sweet autumnal favourites like toasted marshmallow and toffee apple are just some of the complex notes you’ll find in our first twisted take on a pumpkin ale, which weighs in at 5.1% ABV.

The label artwork is designed by Johnathan Reiner.

Quite a different description compared to other Brewdog’s beers, and it seems a little grown up. Also worth noting is the fact it has bright and zesty flavours as well as the spice and a light mouthfeel. Quite different to other Pumpkin beers. Have Brewdog created the ultimate Halloween Party session beer? Also, the artwork definitely did deserve a mention in the description – although as a friend of mine once said: “I’ve tried drinking the packaging but it just doesn’t add anything to a beer’s appearance, nose or taste.” it is a great piece of artwork and sets the Halloween-y mood.

After doing a little research, I didn’t have to go far as Brewdog usually openly admit whats in their brews Extra Pale, Munich, Dark Crystal, Amber malts are used. As for the hop bill we have Nugget, Willamette, First Gold. These hops have been used to enhance the woody and spicy notes in the beer provided by Pumpkin, Grains of Paradise, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Ginger and Clove.

This beer pours Ruby/Copper coloured with an off white head. The head retention is great apart from an initial decline in the first few minutes and it leaves dotty lacing on the sides of the glass. It definitely looks like a pumpkin beer! The first aroma is Pumpkin and Clove, followed by the Ginger, Cinnamon, Cumin, some of the Allspice and it seems as though a funky yeast has been used. The only aroma that’s not usually there is some background fruity notes, possibly coming from a combination of the Pumpkin and the Willamette hops. When you taste this beer, you get an inital kick of the spices, lots of Cinnamon, Peppery notes, Cumin, a touch of Clove, Nutmeg, Pumpkin and finally the Citrusy flavours promised in the background. Although there’s a lot of flavour here, I’m not sure if the light Mouthfeel makes this beer a great Halloween session brew or if it denies the mouthfeel people expect from a Pumpkin beer. It finishes medium sweet. That being said, I believe this is Brewdog’s attempt at a beer that you can session all through Halloween, scaring Trick or Treaters that knock on your door. All in all a good beer and I recommend giving it a try, but on the other hand I can see the why there is bad press. Personally, I enjoyed this and have a few more to drink later today.

You can purchase Brewdog Pumpkin Head Online at:

Ales By Mail (IN STOCK at time of writing)

Brewdog

Also, you can purchase this currently at Bottledog, Kings Cross

For any Bars/Shops looking to stock this beer you can Contact the Brewdog rep in your area for more info.

EST. CALORIES: 153   ABV: 5.1%

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Special Post – Firestone Walker at Craft Beer Co. Covent Garden

Last Sunday I attended the Firestone Walker event at Craft Beer Co. Covent Garden.

When I visited San Luis Obispo, or as the Locals call it “SLO” in 2013 I tried my first Firestone Beer and I really enjoyed it. Ever since then I’ve always wanted to get my hands on their beers. I saw a bottle of Parabola in Bottledog when it opened and made sure a friend and I bought it to share. We loved every last drop. Unfortunately it was way before I started up this site, or it would’ve been the first review regardless if it was summer. Anyway, enough reminiscing. I’m going to be writing about the event itself and briefly review the beers I tried.

I arrived at Craft Beer Co. at around 3:15 due to the great British train system being “repaired” and me paying a flying visit to Bottledog.

The bar was surprisingly quiet to begin with, but I dived in and ordered myself a DBA (Double Barrel Ale) and a Union Jack as it was sure to get busy later on in the afternoon.

On the Left: DBA (Double Barrel Ale) On the Right: Union Jack IPA

I started with the Union Jack, an IPA at a good 7.5% as I’d heard a lot of good things. On the nose there was lots of Earthy Pine, Grapefruit, Citrus and a touch of sweet malt. As soon as I smelt this beer I knew it was a distinctly Californian IPA. The taste was a lot like the smell, some Pine Sap, Citrus, Grapefruit, Tropical Fruits with a great Malt Backbone that so many breweries forget about, Firestone Walker have this covered and this makes it toward the top of the list of Californian IPA’s that I have had the pleasure to sample. The beer is medium to full bodied and ends medium dry.

More people were turning up at this point I think it’s great at a place like this when everyone is discussing the beer and it’s always nice to hear what people think apart from yourself. The snippets of chat I heard were positive so far, but in all honesty the look on people’s faces after their first sip was saying it all.

Next up was the DBA (Double Barrel Ale), a British Style Pale Ale/Bitter at 5%. The aroma consisted of a lot of Toffee and Caramel Notes, a slight hint of Red Wine and some Bready malt in the background. The first thing I noticed about this after my first sip was how smooth this beer is, it is insanely smooth and clean. The taste was like a typical English Pale ale to begin with Biscuit and Light Caramel, I then detected a tiny bit of Red Wine/Summer Fruits (Possibly from the Oak Barrel method?) some Vanilla and some Floral Dryness on the finish. This is a great example of the style and it still has that slight Californian character to it. It finished medium with a medium body. This would be one of those beers that you just wouldn’t get bored of during a session!

Velvet Merkin

After this, I opted for a swift glass of water and got the next Firestone Beer – Velvet Merkin. An Oatmeal Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels at 8.5%. On the nose I got so many complex aromas, Vanilla, a touch of Merlot, Oak, Coffee, Chocolate and Bourbon. When I tasted this beer I can honestly say it was one of the best Oatmeal Stouts I have had. Loads of Coffee, Chocolate, Light Bourbon notes, nice rounded roasty flavours and lacto sugar. The mouthfeel of this one was almost creamy, like Chocolate Ice Cream/Milkshake. It ended with a light dryness and some dark fruit lingering.

Whilst drinking this one I met one of the Firestone Team – Tommy, who takes care of the Sales in the Southwest of America. He was kind enough to Introduce me to David Walker, the co-founder of the brewery and a lot of the team which was really nice of him. He then extended the offer to a beer, which was great of him and David told him to put it on his tab. I thought to myself – hang on a second, you guys are meant to be guests here! What a nice gesture.

I was bought an 8% Saison spiked with Brettanomyces called Seizoen Bretta from a brewery near where Tommy lives called Logsdon Organic Farmhouse Ales. On the nose there was a big Tropical, Pineapple brett aroma and I thought I was in for a super sour beer. I tasted it and although there was some sour notes in there, there was also a lot of Funky Yeast, Tropical Fruits, Pepper and Wheat. It had a long, fruity aftertaste and the Brett really did ride all the way though. What a great brew and something I definitely need to try again.

After this, I met a few more of the Firestone guys, as I said all really friendly guys and down to earth.

Stickee Monkee

After this, the Stickee Monkee was on tap and after hearing all the good things about it I had to try it. Stickee Monkee is brewed with the ingredients of a Belgian Quadrupel, Turbinado brown sugar from Mexico, Belgian candi sugar and then aged in various Spirits Barrels reaching its final ABV at 13.4%. This was most definitely my favourite beer of the entire Afternoon. On the nose loads of Vanilla, Chocolate, Toasted Coconut and Oak. If you could pick any Firestone beer to try, this would definitely be it! When I tasted this beer I really could appreciate the complex flavours the barrels had added to it, lots of toasted Coconut and Vanilla, Chocolate, Bourbon, Sweet dried fruits and Woody oak. This beer finished sweet, the alcohol was there but it was well rounded off with the Spirits Barrels.

Pale 31

Finally, after chatting for a while I tried the Pale 31 – a Pale Ale at 4.9%. I’m pretty sure this is the beer I tried when I visited San Luis Obispo. On the nose lots of Light Citrus, Orange Zest, Pineapple and a touch of other Tropical Fruit. When you taste this beer you get lots of Citrus, Orange, Caramel and some Grassy notes. This beer is also so clean tasting and well balanced. It ends bittersweet. Firestone Walker really do make some world class beers.

Me and the Firestone Walker guys

I had a truely enjoyable evening and lots of fun with the Firestone Walker crew. I didn’t meet one that didn’t want to chat, and I ended up having a great night with them. They all have a great relationship and are all so passionate about beer – and that’s what I like about this rising beer scene. My only regret was not buying them drinks in return for mine – seriously thanks again guys!

I managed to grab myself a bottle of Firestone Seventeen – an anniversary ale that I will be reviewing around Christmas time. It sold out in 5 minutes, and that shows how sought after and world renowned this brewery is. It was nice to have you in the UK Firestone Walker. Come back soon! Craft Beer Co. were also a fantastic host as usual, they’re doing great things for the UK Beer Scene.

Barleywine – Collaboration: Scottish/American: BrewDog / Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus

This week’s beer is a Collaboration beer from Brewdog and Oskar Blues. This beer is a Barley Wine, the first on this site. I chose this beer because it’s a mix of an English style Barley Wine and an American Style one. There are some subtle differences, English Barley Wines are usually more malt-forward, whilst American Barley Wines are much more Hop Orientated. Brewdog (Scotland, UK) and Oskar Blues (Longmont, Colorado) are two breweries that are extremely passionate about what they do, and this is no exception.

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

In collaboration with the awesome Oskar Blues from Colorado, we’ve created this big, twisted 10.5% American style barley wine. With big boozy aromas that’ll swirl round your nostrils and a sweet viscosity that’ll cover your tongue from top to tip, this is a beer for people who enjoy nonsense and walking on tightropes. Even when the Circus packs up and leaves, you’re left with a lingering warmth and bitterness playing in your mouth.

I say this is the online description, because this beer is bottled by Brewdog and their descriptions are always full of Bravado and strange metaphors. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, and it’s what I have come to expect from Brewdog (Has anyone seen Brew Dogs on TV?!) I picked the online description, as I feel that it represents both breweries well and gives you a bit of a description of the beer, although it’s still full of some great metaphors. From the description, we’re expecting something something boozy with lots of complex flavours, which sounds like exactly what we need with the first cold snap attacking the UK!

Although Brewdog are always very open about what they use to brew, the brew-sheet for this beer has been offline for quite a while as this Barley Wine was released this time last year. The reason I’ve kept it until now is that Barley Wines tend to mellow out over time and the flavours get more complex as it sits in the bottle. The malts in this beer are what I’d expect from an English Barley Wine, Extra Pale, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate. The hop bill is where it gets interesting, and gives it the American twist. Chinook, Cascade, Citra are used giving some piney, resinous and fruity flavours. Citra definitely was an interesting addition, and when I learned this I was very interested to see how it faired in a Barley Wine.

When you pour this beer, it comes out with a Copper/Ruby colour and looks a bit like a Red/Amber Ale to start with. As more beer goes into the glass, it starts getting thicker and darker and develops a Tan coloured head. The smell of alcohol is the first thing you notice after pouring, but after a while the other aromas come through. Loads of Marshmallow, Stone Fruits, Toffee, Caramel with hints of Pineapple and Dried Apricot (Citra?!). This is definitely a sipping beer, at 10.5% and a smell like this you can tell it’s going to be a true Winter brew. After taking your first sip, you get hit by Roasted Marshmallow, Some dark, Sweet Roasty Malts, Dates, Plumb and Fig. After this fades, the hops take control and you get hints of Lime, Pineapple and a little bit of some other Citrus and Tropical fruits along with some Brown Sugar. This beer is sticky on your lips, is medium carbonated and finishes quite sweet. All in all, this is a great brew and something you can still buy even though the release was last year! Winter is coming, and this is definitely one that will see you through with some warmth from the Roasty flavours and Alcohol.

You can purchase Shipwrecker Circus in the UK at:

Beer Ritz (IN STOCK at time of writing!)

As this is a limited beer, you may need to do quite a bit of Google-ing, but it’s definitely out there!

For any Bars/Shops looking to stock this beer you can Contact the Brewdog rep in your area for more info. I hear Brewdog also import Oskar Blues to the UK, but this will have to be something you can tell them you’ve heard on the grapevine!

EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%

Imperial Coffee IPA – English: Siren Americano

This week, I’ve got yet another interesting brew from Siren Craft Brew in Wokingham, England. This is another crazy concoction from Siren, an Imperial Coffee IPA. Siren really have been pushing the boundaries of Beer Styles since they started in 2012 and as well as offering their Core Range they are always releasing interesting brews that push all different styles of beer.

Like the Limoncello IPA collaboration brew I reviewed earlier in the year, this one sits at a healthy 9.1%. For a specialty brew, this is becoming a normal strength in my opinion, especially in Siren’s case.

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

What do you get when your Head Brewer leaves some dark malts in the tank before brewing an IPA? A chance to be creative!

A true ‘American Mild’ sitting at a measly 9.1%. Packed full of Citra, Columbus, Cascade, Chinook, Mosaic, Comet and enough coffee beans to keep a barista on their feet for days.

A grande mistake made (very) good.

A very descriptive blurb for this one, almost so descriptive I don’t need to write the next part about the ingredients! Although I’m not always a fan of some brewers blowing their own whistle, the addition at the end of the description just concretes the fact that Siren think that although a strange (and therefore interesting), this is going to be a fantastic brew.

After a little research (apart from the hops of course!) I think the malts used in this brew are Maris Otter, 2-Row, Acidulated Malt, Crystal 40 and a small amount of Roasted Barley. I don’t think it’s Black Malt due to the colour of the brew unless it’s a tiny amount, and then I don’t think it would contribute to the roasty flavours. More on that after the hops! As stated in the description, it’s hopped with Citra, Columbus, Cascade, Chinook, Mosaic and Comet. What an assortment of hops, which leads me to believe that Ethiopian coffees are used in this brew. The reason for this is a lot of these hops have a lemony/citrus profile, along with the light roasty flavours imparted by the Roasted Barley this would be a perfect match to allow the Ethiopian Coffee to shine in this brew. The Coffee from Ethiopia also has a light roasty/lemon/citrus flavour which would work perfectly with the Hops and Malts chosen.

When you pour this beer, it almost looks like Coffee to begin with. A brown colour with a ruby/orange tint, after the fluffy head starts to form you realise it really is a beer! The head is an off white, starts rather thick and foamy which retains rather well for a 9.1% beer and fades to a thinner head leaving sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. The smell of this brew is so complex, hints of Lemon, Citrus, Coffee, Roasty notes, Caramel and even some Cocoa. After smelling this beer I needed to dive straight in, the first inital hit is some resiny pine notes, then the Eithiopian Coffee, Speciality malts and hop profiles start to take over with bursts of Lemon, other Citrus, Roasty coffee notes and some Caramel. Truely a tasty beer! The alcohol is hidden surprisingly well, but not well enough for it to be considered something that can keep you warm in the winter! It finishes medium/dry with a sharp carbonation comparable to champagne. Carbonation is in no way overpowering and helps with the carbonation, and the fact this is a great sipper on a cold day!

Who knew such a strange combo could work? But like Siren have said since the brewery started –

Our desire is to constantly discover ways to excite curiosity and share our knowledge of our craft. In so doing we believe that beer can be enjoyed in the same way as wine drinkers enjoy the finest wines

Siren seem to have got very good at this over the years.

Unfortunately there’s no official page for Americano, but you can purchase it in the UK at the following places:

Eebria

Beer Merchants (In Stock at time of Writing)

Alesela (Limited stock at time of Writing)

Also, a Google search never goes a miss!

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

EST. CALORIES: 273   ABV: 9.1%

Brewdog Sheffield’s Toasted Sandwiches Launch

Nothing beats some great no nonsense food with great beer, and it seems that Brewdog, Sheffield are doing it well!

Dap and Drink

I don’t know how I get myself into these situations where people want to give me free drinks and beer but I’m seriously enjoying it! A few of us were given a lovely taster of Brewdog Sheffield’s new sandwich menu last night, each sandwich paired with a beer by their seasoned employee, Meg.

Each Brewdog has a different food menu, the focus in Sheffield is their range of meat, cheese and vegan platters, Pieminster pies, and now, toasted sandwiches. The sandwiches have been long in the making and after many discussions with local institution, Seven Hills Bakery, they’ve finally settled on ciabatta as the base. It’s common knowledge amongst Sheffielders that Seven Hills ciabatta are just made to be toasted! What is also lovely is that all sandwiches are made onsite and fresh with a side of Salty Dog crisps and some pickles from, other Sharrowvale favourite, Porter Brook Deli (PBD).

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Stout – American: Founder’s Breakfast Stout

Now the weather is getting cold, I’m going to be posting about a few darker beers as well as others. Winter always seems to be the longest season in the UK. I decided to start this off with a Legendary Beer from Founders Brewing Co – Breakfast Stout. This is a big stout brewed with both bitter and sweet chocolate, Sumatra and Kona coffee and a tonne of specialty malt. It really is one of those legendary beers in my opinion.

Let’s start with Founders description of the beer:

The coffee lover’s consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffee, this stout has an intense fresh-roasted java nose topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head that goes forever.

A nice short but sweet, modest description of the beer from the brewers. Founders have never been known to be braggers. Even from the description though, you can almost imagine drinking this beer. Stouts are usually rich and some people even consider them a meal, but this particular stout takes it even further.

After doing quite a bit of research and drinking the beer myself, I believe Founders Breakfast Stout uses 2-Row, Crisp Chocolate, Briess Roast Barley, Debittered Black and Crystal malts. As this starts life in the mash as an Oatmeal Stout, Flaked Oats make up a good deal of the fermentables too. As for the hops, which aren’t usually a focus point in a Stout and are primarily used for bittering. Nugget and Willamette Hops are used in this beer to bitter the beer and let the malt, oats, coffee and chocolate to shine through. The coffee and chocolate are added during the boil and also during fermentation.

When you first pour this beer, it pours black and opaque. People often joke that light cannot penetrate Guinness, but this is something else. Light really can’t penetrate this brew! After you finish the pour you end up with a off red/pink head, almost cinnamon coloured as described. The head stays for a minute or two and then dissipates quickly leaving a ring around the edges of the glass. This really is a pretty looking beer. Big hits of the Kona Coffee on the nose, strong Chocolate and Oatmeal aromas tailing off to a nice sweet and milky smell. This is one of those beers that are so inviting, with Stouts, Oatmeal ones especially once they’re poured I always want to dive in straight away. Once you taste this beer, you will realise what you’ve got yourself into: big Coffee hits, subtly sweet Chocolate and a little bit of Oatmeal. After this some Espresso coffee notes, lots of Dark Fruits, Sugar and a touch of Vanilla.  The 8.3% alcohol is well masked by the complex flavours, it’s so smooth and the only hint at the alcohol is the slight warming you feel when you drink it. Perfect for this colder weather! Lots of sweetness and only a touch of bitterness and incredibly easy to drink and enjoy, this is definitely one I recommend sitting next to the fire with on a cold night sipping away. Who needs hot chocolate anyway?

You can purchase Founders Breakfast Stout in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

The Real Ale Company

The Liquor Shop

A few places are currently out of stock, but Breakfast Stout is a seasonal release from Founders and begins in October. Although, a bottle from last year would be just fine!

You can purchase in person (last time I checked) at The Utobeer Cage in Borough Market, London as mentioned in one of my previous blogs.

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, Founders products are distributed by James Clay in the UK. Breakfast Stout only comes in Bottles at the time of writing.

Lagunitas – Imperial Stout

Lagunitas IPA has just come out in the UK, and is now being stocked in Wetherspoon. What other beers do they do? See this weeks Reblog.

PubDrafts Beer Blog

Man, it’s been a few weeks, but PubDrafts is back reviewing a new beer! We hope that you enjoyed our last two posts. Give us some feedback if there’s anything you’d like to see reviewed!

I just cracked open a bomber of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Imperial Stout. This is an unlimited release beer that I have never tried before. Talk about a great way to review something, right? The Imperial Stout comes in at a 9.9 percent ABV. I poured the beer into a pint glasses (a brand new one actually) so I could start the review process. Let’s start drinking!

Bottle Art:

I am a huge fan of Lagunitas Brewing Company and one thing that drew me to their beer, besides the taste of course, was the artwork on the bottles. It’s very simplistic. Big fonts are used and there’s a cute little dog on the bottle too that says “Doggone…

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Red/Amber Ale – American: Stone Levitation Ale

Unfortunately, the original picture I took got deleted and another picture of a 3D model car took it’s place. Therefore, I am using the stock picture for this post. Apologies (Edit 12/02/2015)

This weeks beer is called Levitation Ale, a Red/Amber Ale from one of my favorite brewers Stone Brewing. Although in August we had a Red/Amber Ale from Scottish Brewers Brewdog, this one is slightly different.

I find this beer is good to drink during summer, but it’s also great when the weather is starting to get colder, but more on that after the description from Stone:

We’re best known for brewing aggressive, big-character beers, but we love a great sessionable ale as much as anyone. Most beers at the less-weighty end of the spectrum lack flavor and depth as much as they lack high ABVs, but not Stone Levitation Ale! This deep amber brew has a rich maltiness, big hoppy character, citrus overtones, and an impressively modest alcohol content for a beer with so much flavor packed into it.

A short and sweet description which is very informative, and I expect nothing less from Stone. However, the description on the bottle of the beer doesn’t say this and often Stone have tongue in cheek lengthy descriptions on their bottle. Even if you don’t like beer, it’s worth buying one to read the description!

Although Stone always let you know which hops are in their beer, their CEO and Head Brewer are always hinting at the rest of the recipe. Levitation is hopped with Magnum, CrystalSimcoe and Amarillo hops. Stone always heavily hop their beers, and this no exception. The Amarillo hops in this beer are the most important part, as they give the beer it’s pineapple and citrus flavours. I think this beer is most probably Dry-Hopped with Amarillo, just for that extra kick. The malts used in this beer are Crystal, Pale Malt and a touch of Black Malt. The Crystal malt in this beer is what gives it it’s Red Colour.

This beer pours with a deep red/ruby colour which almost looks brown if there isn’t a good amount of light behind it. It has an off white coloured head and medium carbonation. This really is a very inviting looking brew. The head on the beer lasts for the majority of the time you are drinking it, which is a very nice touch. This beer smells absolutely great, lots of citrus, pine and floral aromas with some great bready malty sweet smells and a little bit of sea salt even, if you could drink a smell it would be… oh wait you can! The taste follows the smell, apart from it’s better. You get the great fruity citrus, the pine but also you get this great caramel and toffee taste from the malts used. Whilst drinking this beer, it’s so smooth in your mouth and you can tell why it was the winner of the 2007 Great American Beer Festival in the American Red/Amber Ale category. At 4.4%, this beer can be enjoyed as a session beer or a one off due to the flavour.

I really recommend this beer, and it is one of my favourite beers. Great in the sun, great in the rain and great when it’s starting to get colder.

You can purchase Stone Levitation Ale in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Beautiful Beers

As always, a google search is good too!

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, unfortunately Stone beer is flown in by shops that stock it currently but Stone plan to open a brewery in Berlin next year which means wide distribution of Stone Beer soon!

EST. CALORIES: 132   ABV: 4.4%

Special Post – Craft Beer In London

I have been requested lately to write a blog post about where to go Craft Beer wise in London. As you can see from the map above (The best £1.99 on an app you’ll spend drinking in London. Craft Beer London) there’s a lot of places. So I decided to put a twist on the question and test, how many high profile bottle shops and bars can you realistically visit in a day in London without stretching yourself too much? As well as doing that, I’ll do a few mini beer reviews during this post to keep it interesting!

Sourced Market, St. Pancras Station

Since it opened in 2009, I’ve always thought Sourced Market in St. Pancras Station is a great idea. Fresh produce, great craft and local beers, wines, small batch coffee and other great bites to eat. Imagine a Train Station M&S on steroids, and you’re nearly there. Sourced Market really is a great concept and I recommend seeing it for yourself.

I arrived at around 12:15 due to the great British train system’s delays and made my way over from Kings Cross to St. Pancras. Sourced Market is easy to spot, as it’s right under the clock and train times as you walk through the main entrance facing the back of Kings Cross.

Sourced Market’s Beer Selection

Sourced Market’s Craft Beer selection really is something else, if you’re a London brewery there’s a 99% chance you’ll be represented here. There were also some brands from further afield – Anchor Brewing from San Fransico and Vedett from Belgium amongst others. You can buy your beer refrigerated to enjoy in the Market’s Café area or if you prefer that sort of thing and there’s also well kept shelf beers to take home or if you prefer your beer slightly warmer.

I opted for the Chilli, Falafel and Hummus wrap that had been made fresh earlier that morning, a Beavertown Quelle Dry Hopped Saison to take home and a Brixton Electric I.P.A. to eat with my wrap. The wrap was great lunchtime food, was spicy and filling. As I’m a bit of a Chilli Head this went down well but some people may find it a tad too spicy. It went well with the IPA.At first I was a little nervous about trying the beer, as the Pale Ale by Brixton Brewery had mixed reviews and it seemed as though they had a quality problem for a while. I noticed nothing bad about this brew at all. Lots of Pine and Citrus aromas and flavours with a slight sweet and bitter finish. All in all it was a great brew! After a good look in the fridges, filling up and finishing my beer it was time to move on.

Bottledog, Near Chancery Lane Station & 15 Mins walk away from Kings Cross/St. Pancras

Photo Credit – Tobias L

It was a nice day, so I opted for the 15 minute walk from St. Pancras to Bottledog.

Although this shop is relatively small, it has a great selection. Plenty of Belgian beers, American Craft beers, some of the best Craft Beers from London and further afield (think Mikkeller, Evil Twin!) as well as most of the Brewdog offerings (it’s owned by them after all!) I went here as Brewdog had launched a new beer called CapDog, a Black IPA brewed in collaboration with CAP Brewing with cascara, the fruit from a Coffee Plant. I picked up one of these first, together with an Evil Twin/Prairie Fine Ales Bible Belt Stout, Mikkeller Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter, a Siren Whiskey Sour (their Limoncello IPA aged in Bourbon Barrels with more lemon zest added) and a Siren Tickle Monster. Some people complain about Craft Beer being overpriced, but this came in at just over £34 which was reasonable.

Photo Credit – Digital Newsroom

All in all, the staff at Bottledog are friendly and very knowledgeable (although usually busy!) and most of the beers are reasonably priced for what they are (Between £1.75 and £18) and I recommend any beer lover to take a trip there. There’s definitely something for everyone!

Utobeer Cage, Borough Market, London Bridge

Credit – Better Bankside

After I finished at Bottledog I made my way to Borough Market – a historic food and drink market to visit the legendary “Cage” Much like Bottledog, this place is small but full of some real gems. There’s a big focus on Belgian beer and American Craft beer as well as some unusual and Craft beers from the British Isles. The Cage is somewhere to go if you’re after something a little harder to find and there were plenty of gems around. The first time I’ve ever seen bottles of Left Hand Brewing‘s beers, Maui Brewing‘s cans in the UK and the biggest selection of Flying Dog Beers (one of my friends favourites) – I had to indulge.

After having a good look on what was on offer, I picked myself 2 Maui Brewing Mana Wheat Beers from the fridge, a Left Hand Brewing Black Jack Porter, a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and a Founder‘s Breakfast Stout. There is no end of great beer at the Cage, and I plan to pay another visit very soon! Again, the prices were reasonable at £27 for these beers. After a quick chat about ABInbev purchasing Goose Island and selling the rights in the UK to Greene King with the guy serving I was on my way. I didn’t ask the staff at The Cage any questions, but from what I heard whilst I was there they too seem very knowledgeable indeed.

The Anchor, Near London Bridge

Photo Credit – Ewan Munro

I stumbled upon this pub by accident, it’s not listed anywhere to do with craft beer but it’s right next to The Borough Market and the River. In all honesty I just wanted to sit by the river and enjoy my Maui Mana Wheat as it seemed too good to save both cans. It’s a Wheat Beer brewed with fresh Hawaiian Pineapple. I’ve got a review for this coming up, so check the Coming Up page!

After this, I had to do something you need to do after a few beers and headed inside the pub. When I went in I noticed they had a few Meantime Keg Pumps at the bar, a Belgian Kriek beer and Shipyard Pale ale on Keg. I couldn’t resist and ordered a half of Shipyard American Pale Ale. I’ve tried their IPA before and quite enjoyed it so thought I’d give it a try as it was the first time I’d seen anything by them on keg. It was an orange colour with a fluffy light head, on the nose some grapefruit, light citrus and some malts. The taste was a little bit disappointing, very malt forward with a touch of grapefruit hops at the end. Although don’t get me wrong, it’s worth a try and still better than the stuff you can get in most normal pubs!

Brewdog, Camden (Near Camden Town Station)

Brewdog Camden is always such a great place, not too busy but with a good atmosphere, an extensive bottle list which involves Craft Beer from around the world, friendly staff and the opportunity to try a flight of some of the guest beers on tap at the time. A flight?! What’s that you ask?

A flight is 4 1/3 of a pints in a little paddle. In Brewdog they usually cost around £8.50, which isn’t too bad seeing as they’re a fun way to try potentially 4 new beers and you get one pint and one third of good beer. This particular one was (left to right) Brasserie de la Senne Jambe De Bois (A Tripel) which I found although strong, a very nice Tripel with hints of Apple, Funky yeast, other fruit flavours and a hint of Coriander, Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, a Hefeweizen with big hits of Banana Bread in the flavour, Brew By Numbers 04|01 Berliner Weisse, one of the best Berliner Weisse Beers I’ve ever had with big sour Lemon and Apple flavours and Brasserie de la Senne Taras Boulba, a Belgian Pale Ale with hints of pepper, grapefruit and sweet caramel.

Credit camdentown.com

I stayed for a little longer, as I’d been rushing around a little and wanted to taste some of the Hopinator, Brewdog’s Hardcore IPA sitting in even more Whole Leaf Hops and Pink Peppercorns and really did create an interesting experience. It made it even hoppier, especially on the Aroma and had a hint of the pink peppercorns on the finish. I stayed for another Brew By Numbers Berliner Weisse and after looking at the time decided to move on. It was a well needed sit down in Brewdog, with reasonable prices, friendly people and friendly staff. They also sell cocktails, wine and spirits for people who maybe aren’t into beer as much.

The Craft Beer Co, Covent Garden (Near Tottenham Court Road Station)

Craft Beer Co. in Covent Garden was probably the busiest of all the places I went, but after you look at the numbers you can’t really resist. 15 Cask Taps and 30 Keg Taps, 45 Craft Beers in Total. On top of this, hundreds of different spirits and an endless bottle selection. You can even take away some harder to find bottles here at 33% off.

Photo Credit – The Craft Beer Co

I went up to the bar and saw a great mix of World Craft beer, including offerings from Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing, Evil Twin, Beavertown, The Kernel, Five Points and more. I opted for the Stone Brewing Co Levitation Ale, as it’s one of my favourite Amber Ales and something I’ll be blogging about on Friday. I’d never tried it on tap, and it was just as good if not better. After this I moved on to a Siren Calypso – a sour beer with lots of tart cherry and lemon flavours, a beer I think is a fantastic seasonal brew from Siren. I finished off with a Five Points Brewing Co Railway Porter a great roasty, dark beer with lots of Coffee notes and then it was time to go. The light was fading and I had one more stop on my list before heading back. The staff at Craft Beer Co. are very friendly and knowledgeable. Even when it’s busy they’ll take the time to speak to you, which is nice. This place is a little pricier, but in a central area it’s expected and definitely somewhere to visit.

The Euston Tap, Outside Euston Station

As the sun was setting I arrived at the Euston Tap for a final drink. I had to include this place in the blog, as it’s been my go-to bar for great beer in London for a long time. If you want to try something you’ll probably not have again on tap in London, this is the place to go. The staff are friendly, the bottle selection either side of the bar is absolutely amazing and the tap list is always to die for.

Photo Credit – pubsandbeer.co.uk

The Euston tap is a tiny place, with some seating downstairs, a little bit more upstairs and a nice open outside area with a relaxed glass policy. This place has been here for a long while, and it’s definitely a great stop if you’re waiting for a train at Euston or you fancy trying some great beer. I picked up 2 of my favorite beers – Buxton Far Skyline to take away and ordered a half of Buxton / Omnipollo Pomperipossa – a Sour Cherry Stout. The barman accidentally poured me a pint, and I quickly told him. He said it was his mistake and charged me for a half. This truely is a complex brew, the roastyness expected from a stout is there but isn’t as heavy as usual and the sour Cherry hits straight away and remains the whole way through. It’s a refreshing stout and it was a great end to a great day. My test was over.

A market that sells great food and has a great Bottle selection, 2 well known bottle shops, a Pub I stumbled upon and 3 well known craft beer bars. I think that’s quite a success for a day in London. I spent between 1 and 3 hours in the pubs/bars and between half an hour to an hour in each of the bottle shops. I didn’t rush around the transport system often walking around. Midday until 10pm on a Friday battling through the lunch rush and the afternoon rush hour, I don’t think this was a bad sample of London’s more well known Craft Beer scene. I’m planning on doing the Bermondsey Beer Mile soon, so watch out for that!