Fruit Beer – English: Samuel Smiths Organic Cherry Fruit Beer

Samuel Smith's Organic Cherry Beer

This Friday’s beer is a little different compared to a lot of beers I’ve featured, but definitely deserves a mention! This Friday’s beer is the Organic Cherry Fruit Beer, brewed by Samuel Smiths. The Brewery was founded in 1758 in Tadcaster, near Leeds and remains independent to this day. Rare these days!

Let’s start with Samuel Smiths description of the beer:

Handcrafted at the tiny All Saints Brewery set in a time warp in Stamford using the old manually operated brewing equipment. Finest organically grown barley and wheat are used to create a  complex ale which, having undergone primary and secondary fermentation with different yeasts and extended maturation, is taken to Samuel Smith’s small, independent British brewery at Tadcaster. There it is blended with pure organic cherry fruit juices and more organic beer to create fruit beers of considerable strength and flavour. The smooth distinctive character of the matured beer serves as the perfect counterpoint to the pure organic fruit juice.

Quite a humble description really, I feel like there’s a little too much emphasis on the fact it’s a Small, Manual, Independent Brewery. Although John Smith of John Smith’s Big UK Beer fame once owned Samuel Smith’s I always either get a “who’s that” or “ah yeah Samuel Smiths! Small brewery up North!” so it’s a shame they think their reputation has to be broadcasted.

The recipe is a little tough for this one, as it’s a blended beer. I’m pretty sure the beers that are blended are near identical in recipe, however. After a little research and taste testing, my take on the brew is as follows: Malt Bill: Munich Malt, Pale Malt and Malted Wheat. Fuggles and Bodicea Hops. This is then aged on Cherries for 30 Days during secondary fermentation and blended with some of the original brew, a little like a Kriek.

When you pour this beer, it’s a deep Red with an off-Pink, almost White head. It sticks around for a little while and then fades into a ring around the glass, leaving no lacing. The fact this beer has been aged on Fruit for 30 days makes this not much of a surprise! On the nose, there’s a big Sweet and Sour Cherry aroma, with some bready yeast/malt notes and some big Sugary Cherries in the background. When you taste this beer, it’s much the same, a big Sweet and Sour Cherry hit with Red Berries, some funky Wheat notes and an almost Champagne-like Tartness. The beer is quite full bodied with medium carbonation, starts sweet and finishes tart and dry. I think this is the closest thing to a UK Kriek! Although this is a year round beer in my books, it’s always nice to have something different during the winter to break up the dark beers and I seriously recommend trying this one. The beer is also 100% Vegan, which is a nice touch when there’s so many beers that aren’t.

You can buy Samuel Smith’s Organic Cherry Wheat Beer online in the UK at:

Beers Of Europe

Fraizer’s Wine

Amazon

Beer Ritz

Beer Gonzo

Everywhere above is In Stock at the time of writing. You can also buy a case of 24 here.

EST. CALORIES: 153   ABV: 5.1%

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English Style IPA – American: Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey

This mid-week offering is an English IPA, brewed in America by Left Hand Brewing in Colorado. It goes by the name of 400 Pound Monkey. I think Left Hand wanted to try to bring it back to the basics with this IPA, as there’s a hell of a lot of American Style, super Hoppy offerings in their market.

Let’s start with Left Hand‘s description of the brew:

Why does the world need another IPA? Because this one ain’t like them others. We use hops of a different color, earthy and herbal, well-balanced by bready malt. The result? An English-style IPA that separates itself from the ubiquitous bunch. Cartloads of bitter monkeys flinging wasteful amounts of bananas into the jungle … we’re so done with that.
This description has so much bravado it’s unreal! Whilst I do love American Style IPA’s, sometimes it’s nice to have a English Style one! I think both styles of IPA are great in their different ways though, and wish that Left Hand did an easily obtainable Year Round American Style IPA to compare side by side. Next time I see Warrior IPA, I’ll have to compare the two!
I usually start with Hops when doing a big, American IPA  but seeing as this is an English Style one let’s start with the Malt! Pale 2-row, Crystal, Munich and Malted Wheat. The 2-Row makes up a lot of this base. As for the Hops, surprisingly we’ve got no traditional Fuggles in here but the hop bill is impressive! Magnum, Boadicea and Sovereign Hops are used.
When you pour this beer, it’s dark Orange with a Medium White head. The head fades very quickly leaving some dotty lacing on the side of the glass and a thin white ring around the glass. On the nose there’s a lot of Orangy Citrus, Bready notes and biscuity aromas. When you first taste this beer, on the palate you get some Caramel, Biscuit and then an almost Rye like flavour followed by a Resinous Pine Finish. Left Hand have done really well with this style, and it seems like an American take on the base ingredients for a modern English IPA. The Balance in English IPA’s is always important, and it’s been done very well in this beer, Rich Malt flavours, Slightly Citrus and Piney hops with pronounced Yeast notes. The beer is very smooth and drinkable, and I’d say the Carbonation is high for this style. It finishes Medium-Dry. All in all a great Year Round offering and something I would definitely grab when I see it!
Unfortunately 400 Pound Monkey seems to be out of stock everywhere at the moment, but keep checking the below:
EST. CALORIES: 204   ABV: 6.8%

Scotch Ale – American: Oskar Blue’s Old Chub Nitro

Oskar Blues Old Chub

This Friday’s beer is from the excellent Oskar Blues in Colorado. It’s the Nitro version of their Old Chub Scotch ale. I opted for the Nitro version, as we haven’t had many Nitro beers on here. What is a Nitro beer you ask? It’s a beer that Nitrogen Gas has been used to Carbonate, instead of Carbon Dioxide.

Let’s start with Oskar Blues description of the beer:

OLD CHUB NITRO takes you deeper into the rich, malty flavors of the original brobdingnagian Scotch Ale, while the nitrogen widget liberates a cascading, uber-silky smooth oral experience only the CAN provides. This jaw-dropping Scottish strong ale (6.9% ABV) is brewed with bodacious amounts of malted barley and specialty grains, and a dash of beechwood-smoked malt. Old Chub Nitro features semi-sweet flavors of cocoa and coffee, and a wee-bit of smoke. A head-turning treat for malt heads and folks who think they don’t dig dark beer.

A bold description for this one! Oskar Blues solely brew their takeaway beers in Cans and are very strongly in favour them. With Cans coming back, it’s quite favourable right now and to be honest, I haven’t had a bad beer so their bold description usually lives up to it’s name. I like this description though, it’s descriptive and although it mentions some of the flavour I get the feeling that it’s just to wet your lips.

With a Scotch Ale (Or Wee-Heavy) the process used to brew the beer is a little different, let’s talk about that and then the recipe. The key to a Scotch Ale is the boil, it’s is a lot longer than a normal beer leading to caramelisation of the malt. The malts in this beer are 2-Row Pale, Caramel Malt, Munich Malt, Special B, Peat Smoked Malt and Chocolate Malt. As for the Hops, as this isn’t a Hop-Forward beer Nugget is used.

When you pour this beer (I opted for the straight into the glass nitro pour) you get the cascading Nitro effect with a deep Tan/Brown Colour. Once the thick head rises up, it’s a dark Brown Beer with deep Ruby around the edges with a Tan coloured head. On the nose, lots of Caramel, some Woody tones and a little smoke. Great smelling for such a malt forward brew, you can really pick up on the caramalisation. When tasting this beer, there’s an initial wave of Caramel, followed by hard Toffee and Fudge. Wood and a light Smokiness carry through the Palate. On the finish there’s a little Tea aftertone, which is quite nice. As this beer is Nitro, it’s insanely smooth and almost coats your throat. Light carbonation and a Sweet finish. What a great beer to put your feet up next to the fire with after a long day at work!

You can buy Old Chub Nitro in the UK at:

The Brewdog Webstore

This is the only place I could find it at the moment, and it’s in stock! Contact me if you know anywhere else.

EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%

Stout – English/American: Buxton/Arizona Wilderness Brewing Dragon Tips

This slightly late Mid-Week beer is a collaboration of one of my favorite breweries, Buxton Brewery and one of the best New Breweries – Arizona Wilderness Brewing. A Stout brewed with Maple, Bacon and Chipotle Chilli Peppers. What a mix! When I visited Buxton last year, I knew I had to get a couple of bottles.

Let’s start with the description of the beer:

A stout brewed with maple syrup and chipotle. Dry-baconed during fermentation with actual bacon.

Collaboration between Buxton Brewery and Arizona Wilderness.

Such a no nonsense description – and not much to say about it! I really love the phrase “dry-baconed” (as opposed to Dry-Hopping) and I wish it was something I could use in regular conversation, but it wouldn’t make any sense. I like how Buxton‘s descriptions never go on and let the drinker decide how the beer tastes. Always a plus in my book!

I did a bit of research into this one, as Buxton‘s Recipes for their special releases are always difficult to find. The malts in this brew are Crisp Maris Otter, 2-Row, Chocolate, Malted Wheat, Aromatic Barley Malt, Black Barley. Maple Syrup is also then added as a fermentable during the mashing process. After this, the Hops are added: Willamette, Fuggles, Millennium and Hersbrucker. After this, the Chipotle Peppers and Bacon are added during fermantation and before bottling, a little maple syrup is added to the bottle for good measure.

When you pour this beer it pours black, almost like a Porter with a very large Tan Coloured head (my thinking for the Wheat in the beer!) The head sticks around for a long while after finally dissipating, leaving a thin head and some lacing rings on the sides of the glass. On the Aroma, there’s some Roasty notes to begin with followed by a touch of Coffee, rapidly moving on to Earthy notes from the Hops used and the Chilli Peppers. There’s a little bit of Bacon smoke in the background too, just to let you know it’s there! When you taste this beer, it starts like the aroma with a kick of Roasty Notes on the palate, quickly followed by toffee and a little bit of chocolate. After this, there’s some sharp flavour from the Chilli peppers with a little bit of heat that carries through the rest of the flavour, which finishes with smoke from the Bacon and Maple Syrup. The beer is unusually thin for a Stout, but it more than makes up for it being so easy to drink and smooth. Medium Carbonation. All in all an interesting idea and a great brew.

You can buy Buxton / Arizona Wilderness Dragon Tips in the UK at:

Bottle Bank

Eebria

Both places are in stock at the time of writing.

EST. CALORIES: 249   ABV: 8.3%

Collaboration IPA – English: Magic Rock, Beavertown and Siren Rule Of Thirds

Siren Rule Of Thirds

This week’s beer is one I had a little while ago, but deserves a shout. I had another recently and it’s still just as fresh! Rule Of Thirds is a Collaboration beer by Siren Craft Brew, Magic Rock and Beavertown. Three of the best UK Breweries. What makes this interesting is that they’ve taken a Third of their IPA recipes and brought them together to make this beer.

Let’s start with the description of the beer:

Take three flagship IPA’s from Siren, Magic Rock, Beavertown and combine them to create something entirely new yet distinctively familiar. That’s the goal with Rule of Thirds, each of the deliciously defining features to flow seamlessly from one to another.

A simple and effective description. However, I feel as though they expect you to have tasted all of the IPA’s used to create this… some people may not have! But nevertheless, a good description with a good story behind it!

Now, with the Recipe it’s a hard one… They’ve said a Third of their recipes. Does that mean a Third of each full recipe? Or just parts? I’ve listed all the ingredients for all three brews, and then highlighted in Bold which flavours stand out the most. Maris Otter Two-Row Malt, Munich Malt, Cara Malt, Caramel/Crystal Malt. Simcoe, Cascade, Apollo, Summit, Target, Warrior, Magnum, Amerillo, Bravo and Columbus Hops. If it literally uses all the ingredients, the hopping schedule on this one must be insane! I think the best thing to do if Homebrewing is experiment with both!

This beer pours Golden with a white ring around the edges of the glass. On the nose there’s massive hits of Mango, Citrus, Orange Peel and Bubblegum. This really is one of the best IPA’s I’ve smelt for a while! When tasting this beer, you get loads of Grapefruit, Mango, Citrus, Lemon Zest ending with a Bitter Resinous Pine Needle finish. It really is quite Bitter, but if you like your IPA’s you’ll definitely love it! The beer is Medium Bodied and finishes quite dry with good Carbonation.

Although this beer is finished, Siren are always one to re-release their beers and if you can find one, even better! As I mentioned, I had another a week ago and it’s still just as full flavoured as when I first had it back in December. Also, Craft Beer Co locations are known to have it on tap.

Keep checking the following links for stock: Beer Gonzo, Ales by Mail.

Barrel Aged Porter – Danish: Mikkeller Texas Ranger Aged in Eagle Rare Barrels

Mikkeller Texas Ranger

This Wednesday’s beer is from the Legendary Mikkeller. It’s an iteration of Texas Ranger, a Porter with Chipotle peppers added. This particular version has been aged in Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey casks.

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s Description of the brew:

Ale Brewed with Chipotle Chili & Aged in Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey Barrels.

Quite a modest description from Mikeller, but he’s known to be quite a mellow and quiet person. I feel it lets you make your own mind up on the beer, and gives you a guideline on what to expect. I don’t think I need to say much more!

The recipe for this one is quite a basic American Porter recipe, the malts being Maris Otter Pale, Smoked, Chocolate, Cara-crystal and Brown malts. The hops in this brew are Simcoe and Northern Brewer. What really gives this it’s flavour is a generous offering of Smoked Chipotle Peppers and the fact it’s aged in the famous Eagle Rare Bourbon Barrels for 6 months after fermentation.

When you pour this beer, it’s Black with a dark Tan coloured head. The head sticks around for quite a while with good retention throughout drinking, starting medium and ending with a small head. It leaves a lot of sticky lacing around the glass on the way down. On the Nose there’s lots of Roasted Malt akin to Coffee, Caramel, Chocolate and a slightly fruity Smokey smell coming from the Chilli Peppers. On the Palate, first there’s hints of Roasted Coffee but it quickly goes into a lovely, smooth Bourbon flavour which balances out the heat from the Chipotle peppers. In the background you get Caramel, Chocolate and some Fruity and Smokey tones from the peppers. The body is quite thin, but it works well with this style. It finishes dry and a little bitter with a touch of heat coming from the Chilli Peppers.

I bought this beer from Cotteridge Wines in the UK, recently voted the UK’s best Bottled Beer shop. Unfortunately it’s the only place I have seen it! Including having a search of the web. It may be worth giving them a shout on Twitter to see if they have some, as it’s a really great brew – even if you don’t like Chilli!

EST. CALORIES: 198   ABV: 6.6%

Smoked Beer – English: Beavertown Smog Rocket

Beavertown Smog Rocket

This week’s beer is a Local one, I think I’m very lucky being quite local to the Beavertown Brewery. Over the last years they have been making a storm in the beer world and have quickly turned into a World Class Brewery in my opinion. Today’s offering is their Smog Rocket, a Smoked Porter.

Let’s start with Beavertown‘s Description of the Beer:

Inspired by London’s Industrial Revolution when Smog filled the air and the Porter was the Beer of the People. An original Home Brew Recipe using 9 different Malts including a good chunk of smoked Rauchmaltz from Bamberg, Germany. Big flavour hits of Molasses, Raisins and Caramel are cut with the Resinous US Hop Chinook. Smokey aromas fly, reminiscent of the smoke stacks of Industrial London.

I like how they’ve used their Hometown, London as an inspiration for this brew. Porter really is a beer than runs deep into London’s history and the smokeyness inspired by Industrial London is a nice touch. There’s a few notes on the flavours, but nothing in depth which is something I like. I think it’s always important for people to make their own decisions on a beer tastes.

As this is a dark beer, let’s start with the 9 malts used. In this brew we have Best, Smoke (Smoked Rauchmaltz), Caramalt, Crystal, Munich, Brown, Chocolate and Black… The last Malt is what I call a Fermantable – Oats, but I they usually produce a great mouthfeel. The hops in this Beer are Magnum and Chinook – an interesting mix for a London Inspired Porter! A simple, but effective recipe from Beavertown, and not one to be sniffed at!

When you pour this beer, it’s Black with a Tan head that dissipates quite quickly, leaving dotty lacing and a cap on top of the beer that sticks around for the duration. On the nose, there’s lots of Peat Smoked Malt, Roasty nuances, Coffee, a touch of Pine and a little Oat. This smells like one of the best Smoked Porters I’ve had! When you taste this beer, you get a big initial kick of Peat Smoke, then it moves on to Coffee with a touch of Chocolate and Molasses, finishing with some Caramel and Pine resonates through the entire flavour courtesy of the Chinook hop. The mouthfeel is quite full bodied, thanks to the Oats and the beer finishes Medium-Dry. A great beer, and definitely another that can warm you up during the winter but also one you can chill out in the summer weather with.

You can purchase Smog Rocket in the UK online at:

Honest Brew

Beer Merchants

Beer Ritz

Eebria

All retailers are in stock, and generally you can buy Smog Rocket from anywhere that stocks a selection of Craft Beer that isn’t a supermarket.

EST. CALORIES: 162   ABV: 5.4%

Nitro Stout – American: Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout Nitro

Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout Nitro

This week’s Wednesday post is a little later than usual, but in no way is it because this beer is sub-par. Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro is one of the most critically acclaimed brews out there. Brewed in Colorado by Left Hand Brewing, it really is a beer to be reckoned with and there’s not a lot of other beers in the style that come close!

Let’s Start with Left Hand Brewing‘s Description of the brew:

Taking America Back. Dark & delicious, America’s great milk stout will change your perception about what a stout can be. Pouring hard out of the bottle, Milk Stout Nitro cascades beautifully, building a tight, thick head like hard whipped cream. The aroma is of brown sugar and vanilla cream, with hints of roasted coffee. The pillowy head coats your upper lip and its creaminess entices your palate. Initial roasty, mocha flavors rise up, with slight hop & roast bitterness in the finish. The rest is pure bliss of milk chocolate fullness.

I love the description in this one, the passion really comes through in this! They make it sound like a mash up between a Milkshake, a Coffee and a beer. A really great description, if only I had whoever wrote it to help write this blog!

Let’s start with the recipe, seeing as it’s a Stout, the Malts are the most important. The malts in this beer are Pale 2-row, Crystal, Munich, Roasted Barley and Chocolate with some added fermentation – Flaked Oats and Flaked Barley. For the hops, we’ve got a generous amount of Magnum and US Goldings. After this Lactose Sugar is added during fermentation to sweeten up this stout and help with the creamy flavour. After this, Nitrogen is added to really bring up that creamy mouth feel.

When you pour this beer rapidly into the glass (literally tipping it upside down, as recommended) the first thing you notice is the creamy Nitro working it’s magic in the glass and a thick head forming. Once the Nitro finishes rolling it’s way up the glass, forming a thick, tan coloured head the liquid below is Black and even looks thick in the glass. The head remains for the entire time you are drinking the beer leaving some sticky lacing. On the nose, lots of Roasted Malts, Coffee and a moreish Lactose Sweetness on the tail end. When you taste this beer, the first thing you notice is the Roasted Malts, Coffee, the sweetness from the Lactose and a little bit of earthy hop. The flavour is comparable to a Mocha Flavoured Milkshake and the Mouthfeel is very similar. It finishes sweet. What a beer to cheer you up in the Snowy weather we’ve been having! This is one you really need to get your hands on.

You can buy Milk Stout Nitro in the UK at:

Beautiful Beers (IN STOCK at time of writing)

There’s other places to buy this beer online, but at the moment this is the only retailer that has it in stock.

EST. CALORIES: 180   ABV: 6%