IPA – English: Brixton Electric IPA

This week’s beer is a great chance to show off one of London’s less-known breweries and to thank Alex from The House Of Belgium for my new Indestructible Duvel Glass made from Eastman Plastic. More on his awesome shop and website soon! When I first tried a Brixton Brewery beer it had all the great flavours of a Pale Ale, but there was just a strange taste lingering. Since then, Brixton Brewery have really stepped up their Quality Control and their Beer can most definitely compete with the other Bigger London Breweries! That’s why I was excited to review this one, as at the moment it’s my favourite offering from them.

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

Inspired by Electric Avenue, the beating heart of Brixton and made with New World hops, our full-bodied IPA is packed with energy and attitude. Electric perfectly balances malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness, with a floral, citrus and tropical fruit hit.

I like this description, the fact that their local area has inspired their beer is always a huge positive point. Craft Beer wouldn’t be the boom that it is without the respective breweries local areas spreading the word. Although there’s suggestions on the flavour, it’s short and sweet and there’s still an element of you working it out yourself.

As this one’s an IPA, let’s start with the hops! This one has Cascade, Centennial and Amarillo making for that Classic American IPA Hop Bill. As for the Malts, I think Brixton have got a little creative with 2-Row, Munich, Crystal but with a twist of a touch of Biscuit and Pale Chocolate malts. I’m pretty sure that this one is Dry-Hopped with Amarillo due to the flavour profile I picked up. But it could be a mixture of Amarillo and Cascade. Fermented with a nice, clean yeast like Wyeast 1450.

When you pour this beer, it’s an Amber/Orange colour with a Medium White Fluffy head. The head retention on this one is great, especially for an unfiltered, unfined beer! Once it dissipates slightly, you’ll notice the sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. The head remains throughout drinking. On the nose there’s a big Citrus and Tropical fruit hit with some Pine and Caramel/Bread notes in the background. The Aroma on this one has been done really well! When you first taste this beer, you get a huge Orange Peel Citrus note, then the Grapefruit and Tropical fruit flavours come after. There’s a nice Bready malt backbone backing this one up throughout, which is always welcomed! The beer is Medium-Bodied with High Carbonation and finishes quite dry. This one is a definite for the summer, and at 6.5% it’s most probably one you can session during those sunny BBQ’s!

You can buy Electric IPA at Brixton’s Online Shop

EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%

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Triple IPA – English: Beavertown, American: Boneyard Brewery Power Of The Voodoo

This Friday’s beer is claimed to be the UK’s First Triple IPA, which means Triple the hops and Triple the Malt making a beast of a beer. It’s a Collaboration between Tottenham, London’s Beavertown and Bend, Oregon’s Boneyard Brewery. It’s always tricky to make one because the Malt bill cannot be too heavy to create a smooth mouthfeel but generally Triple IPA’s are 10% ABV and over.

I first met Tony, Clay and Melodee, the trio behind the awesome Boneyard Brewing from Bend, Oregon in 2014 at the Brewers dinner after Mikkeller’s CBC. We sat next to each other after an amazing two days of serving our beers in Copenhagen. By this point we had hit some amazing wine and laughed and talked a lot about life and beer. A friendship was formed and good times planned! Roll on 11 months and Tony the Boneyard brewmaster was coming to the UK on his way into Europe. “Let’s brew!?!” Oh yes!! So I asked Tony if he had any dreams of what to brew. Tony said “I like hops!” Well, so do we! Tony and I got chewing over the malts and hops…a lot of hops!!! And how we attain a kick ass, smooth, dry, sessionable 10% triple IPA?!? Easy right! DIPA and TIPA are really tough brews to nail. To create that ultimate high ABV monster that drinks with easy and finesse is a true art form. Take Vinnie’s ’Pliny’s’ and Tony’s ’Notorious TIPA’ as examples. Such well considered and brilliantly executed beers. So it’s our pleasure to give you ’Power of the Voodoo’ Triple IPA. As Tony explained about Boneyard’s Notorious TIPA “Wherever that beer goes, it takes names!” We feel that at 10% ABV, ’Voodoo’ is up there and taking them too. Watch out, Voodoo’s about!

Quite a long description, but it’s got a story in which I’m always fond of. No hints at how it should taste, which is good, with a Triple IPA so many people taste so many different things. I like how they’ve listed Pliny the Younger and Notorious March of the Pigs as influences which are both very well renowned Triple IPA’s. I’m excited for this one, so let’s move on!

As this is a Triple IPA, let’s start with the Hops! Judging by the flavours and influences stated in the description, I think the Hops in this one are Columbus, Simcoe, Centennial, Zeus, Amarillo and Cascade. There’s also a lot of Dry-Hopping with most of the Hops used, just to get as much Hop flavour in there as possible. As for the Malts, I think Carapils, 2-Row, Vienna, a small amount of Vienna and a small amount of Caramalt are used. This is then fermented with a very clean yeast that can stand up to the eventual high alcohol percentage.

When you pour this beer, it pours a Caramel colour with a Medium white head. The retention is quite good, but it eventually fades and ends up as a Thin head on the beer for the rest of the time you’re drinking. On the nose, there’s Grapefruit, Passionfruit, Citrus, Pine, Pineapple and Orange. Underneath this there’s some Biscuity and Vanilla notes to break up the Hop bomb on the senses. When you taste this beer, you get a big initial hit of Passionfruit and Grapefruit, then there’s a wave of Orange and Pineapple followed by the Pine and Resinous Hop flavours. Again, the Vanilla/Biscuit backbone carries through while drinking. The Mouthfeel is surprisingly Crisp and Smooth with good Carbonation. It finishes quite dry with an extremely subtle Alcohol kick. This is such a dangerous brew at 10%, but still so sessionable! But I really do recommend trying this, it’s one of the best I’ve had so far this year!

You can buy Power Of The Voodoo at the Brewery, Mother Kelly‘s in Bethnal Green and various shops and bars around London. Get it before it’s gone! If you don’t live in the UK, try to get your friends to send you this. It’s a must try.

EST. CALORIES: 300   ABV: 10%

Barrel Aged Sour Brown Ale – American: Russian River Supplication

The beer for this slightly later posted article this Wednesday is quite special. Supplication by Russian River. I’ve always heard that Sours from Russian River are always Saught after, and Moe from Craft Beer Kings/Plaza Market in El Monte, California was kind enough to hook me up with some Supplication!

Let’ start with Russian River’s description of the brew:

Brown Ale aged in used Pinot Noir barrels from local Sonoma County wineries. It is aged for about 12 months with sour cherries, brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added to each barrel. Flavors from the cherries, Pinot Noir and oak balance each other nicely with a little funk from the brett.

Already this sounds like a very interesting beer, I like the brief description of the flavour. A beer like this should never have a detailed description of how it should taste. I’m liking how local barrels are used from the prolific California Wine scene and as soon as I saw this I was interested. I’m a huge fan of Red Wine and Cherries, and wondered how it would work in a Sour.

The recipe for this one was semi-easy to find out. I had the honour of talking to Vinnie Cilurzo (The Head Brewer and Owner) when I asked him what temperature to drink this one at. After telling me, we were conversing about the recipe for a little while which I really appreciated. The Malts in this one are 2-Row, Vienna, Crystal 40L and Carafa III Malts. I think there’s possibly a little bit of Wheat because the head on this one is crazy, more on that soon! As for the Hops, this is a Sour Brown Ale so they aren’t that prominent. I think Saaz and Hallertau are used. This is then aged in Oak Pinot Noir barrels and Sour Cherries are added to it with Brettanomyces Yeast for 12 Months. After this, it’s re-fermented in the bottle with Belgian Yeast.

This beer pours an Amber/Ruby colour with impressive carbonation and big head! The head doesn’t really recede as you drink, until you’ve nearly finished the bottle and leaves foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. It has one of the best head retentions I’ve seen in a while. On the nose there’s Tart Cherry, a touch of Wine notes, Oaky Tannins with some Belgian style funky notes and a touch of Bretty sourness. When you taste this beer, it truely is complex, up front there’s Pinot Noir and Tart Cherry notes with a big, bready and Oaky backbone. You really can taste the Oak Barrels in this beer in the backbone, which was a huge surprise. There’s also some sweeter Cherry notes in the background, some Belgian funk and a little bit of Nutty undertone towards the finish creating a salty feel. The beer is very well bodied for a Sour and very well carbonated. It finishes dry.

If you can get your hands on this, trading, going to California or asking a friend there to get you one I really recommend it! I’ve posted this article today as Russian River have just released a new batch of Supplication! If you’re visiting in the very near future or you have friends there, I definitely recommend getting a bottle of this.

EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%

Blended Saison/Sour – English: Wild Beer Co. Zintuki

This week’s beer is Zintuki from the Wild Beer Co. in Somerset, England. It’s a blend of a beer I’ll be writing about later this year (Ninkasi) and a beer from their core range – Somerset Wild. I was really interested in this beer, as I’ve always liked blends from other Brewers and think that they need to be more widely recognised. A good example is in the Wine world, where a blend can make two Wines taste even more incredible.

Let’s start with Wild Beer Co‘s description of the brew:

“More lessons in the art of blending from Wild Beer Co. This project sees the combination of Ninkasi and Somerset Wild creating a beer that is sour, hoppy, and acidic with an immaculate effervescence and super dry finish.”

A short but sweet description for Online, however it goes into way more detail on the back. There’s not a lot to say about this shorter description really, apart from that it’s straight to the point. It’s a blend, it’s sour, it’s hoppy and it’s pretty fizzy with a dry finish – more on that later.

As for the recipe with this one, with Wild Beer Co. Beers it’s very difficult as they’re always a little bit “out there” This one’s a blend of two of their beers. Somerset Wild, which I’m quite sure uses Sorachi Ace and Mosaic hops, White Wheat and Pilsner Malt. Ninkasi, on the other hand is little more complicated, they use Local Somerset Apple Juice, Wild Yeast and Hops from New Zealand to make this one, judging by the flavour I think these are Riwaka, Nelson Sauvin and possibly Southern Cross. After this, it undergoes a secondary fermentation with Champagne Yeast meaning it’s very bubbly indeed. After these beers are fermented, they are blended and some Lactobacillus is added. It’s always hard to decipher Wild Beer’s brews, which is always a good challenge for me.

When you pour this beer, it pours a cloudy and straw yellow with a medium white Head. The Head retention on this one is really good, probably because both the blended beers have Wheat in and the Champagne yeast keeping the carbonation going. It fades to a thin head and eventually a cap on top of the brew but it doesn’t disappear all together. On the nose there’s Apple, Lime, Wheat and some Belgian Funk. On the Palate there’s a nice Bready, Wheat backbone that carries throughout tasting, on top of this there’s Sour Apple, Lemon, Lime, some Floral Notes and some nice Belgian Funk. I was expecting this one to be a lot more sour, but it’s mild on terms of Tartness and it’s a very complex brew. It’s very full bodied for a sour beer with high Carbonation. It finishes Medium Dry.

This one’s definitely a refresher for the nice weather, and I recommend it.

You can buy Zintuki at:

Beer Gonzo

Beer Ritz

Both places are IN STOCK at the time of writing!

EST. CALORIES: 219   ABV: 7.3%

Smoked Rye IPA – Welsh: Celt Experience Celt Brigid Fire

This week’s beer is Brigid Fire, brewed by the Celt Experience. I haven’t featured a beer from Wales before, and I’ve heard good things so I thought I’d give this one a go! The beer is brewed in South Wales in a town called Caerphilly. Smoked Rye IPA sounded like something I would definitely like – and I never post beers I don’t like so this seemed like the one to try!

Let’s start with Celt Experience‘s description:

A gripping spice backbone held by a piney bitterness. Brewed with oak smoked wheat and borrowed Biere de Garde yeast.

Through eternal flames, wisdom has become conscious. St Brigid was seen as a rousing healer.

I like how the Brewery named the Yeast they’re using, a lot of Breweries keep their Yeast secret when in actuality you can get it from any Homebrew shop. Hints at the flavours and the recipe too, which is always nice when you’re shopping for a beer you want to clone at some point. It seems all the Celt Experience Beers have the mystical names, which is understandable seeing as Wales is full of Celtic history and legend. Afterall, their Flag even has a Dragon on it!

Let’s start with the Malts in Fermentables in this one. I’ve managed to get hold of some of the recipe, but other parts I’ve put together judging by taste. There’s the Oak Smoked Wheat and Rye as Fermentables, on top of this I think 2-Row and a touch of Carapils Malts are used. As for the Hops in this one Brewers Gold, Citra, Marynka and Nelson Sauvin (Dry Hop only) are used. This is then Fermented with a yeast from Flanders, often used to ferment Saisons which is quite interesting!
When you pour this beer, it pours a Cloudy Dark Orange with a Medium bright white head. It dissipates quite quickly leaving a white ring around the glass and a thin White Cap on top of the beer that lasts the duration. There was quite a lot of Lumpy sediment in my one, so be sure to pour this carefully! On the nose hints of Citrus, Toasty Rye and a little bit of Smoke from the smoked Wheat. On the finish there is a slight hint of Pine. On the palate, you get a big initial hit of Smokey Wood flavour and toasty Rye. After this some Spicy hop notes and Citrus. As the hop flavours come through, the Smokey and Toasty malts carry them throughout. It’s well carbonated and Medium-Bodied. It finishes Dry. I can imagine this beer would be a perfect companion for some slow cooked Steak on a Wood/Charcoal BBQ, or indeed any BBQ’d meats. I definitely recommend you try this one during the summer!

You can buy Brigid Fire in the UK at:

Eebria

Beer Gonzo

EST. CALORIES: 189   ABV: 6.3%

The Craft Beer Guide to Aberdeen – May 2015

For those going to the Brewdog AGM this weekend!

beerglasshalffull

Given the fact that one of the UK’s largest and most successful craft breweries, BrewDog, was founded and operates a few miles north of Aberdeen, Scotland’s third largest city, it may be surprising to many that the availability of quality craft beer, in the form of craft beer bars or stockists, in the city at first appears to be relatively limited, particularly when compared to Edinburgh and Glasgow. There are however some gems in the city in terms of both quality bars and some reliable stockists. My particular favourites are as follows:-

Bars:

Brewdog

17 Gallowgate, Aberdeen AB25 1EB

http://www.brewdog.com/bars/uk/aberdeen

The flagship BrewDog bar, opened in 2010, effectively kick started the craft beer scene in Aberdeen. The decor is typical BrewDog; exposed brick and steel, comfortable booths and larger group tables, all with the usual boardgames to keep craft beer drinkers entertained between intellectualised debates about hops, yeast and label…

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IPA – American: Lumberyard Flagstaff IPA

This week’s mid-week beer is one I got in America during my visit to Lumberyard Brewery in Arizona. I really enjoyed my visit to the brewery and decided to grab their 4 pack can sampler as I left. This is the last one I had left, as I wanted to include it on here.

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

Silver Medal Winner at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival. Bronze Medal Winner at the 2010 World Beer Cup. This ale is medium bodied with higher bitterness. The blend of English and American hops make this copper colored ale especially pleasing for pale ale lovers.

A few awards, which are always nice to mention when trying to get people to try your beer. I also like how they don’t hide the fact they’ve mixed British and American hops, which sometimes people don’t like. The recipe however, is pretty secret and I had to guess the entire thing! More on that shortly. I like how they don’t say “IPA Lovers” or “Hop Heads” and concentrate on the fact that it’s an India Pale Ale!

Right, the recipe in this one. It’s shrouded in secrecy it seems! I’ve had to guess on flavour alone. So, seeing as there’s a blend of English and American hops I’m going to go for Fuggles, Cluster, Challenger, Centennial and Cascade. As for the Malts, I’m going to go for 2-Row, Caramel Malt and Carapils. I’m not sure what type of Yeast Lumberyard ferment with, but it’s quite different from the usual American yeasts that are clean. I have a feeling it’s an English Ale Yeast.

When you pour this beer, it’s a Amber/Copper colour and has a Medium white head. It dissipates slowly leaving a thin white ring around the edge of the glass as you drink. On the nose there’s some Citrus, Pine and Floral Aromas with no Malts detectable. There’s a touch of Tropical Fruit in the background but it’s very mellow. When you taste this beer, you get an initial hit of Spicy Hops and Pine, then comes the wave of Citrus and Floral notes followed by a touch of Cracker from the Malts used in the brew. It’s quite a Mellow IPA, but it makes a change from a lot of the IPA’s at the moment which can be refreshing. The beer is quite full bodied for the style, however and ends Medium-Dry with Medium to Low carbonation.

Unfortunately you can’t get Lumberyard IPA in the UK. But, if Americans are interested in trying this brew as it is quite close to an English IPA then give it a go! If anyone is visiting Arizona, I 100% recommend a visit to Lumberyard as it’s a great brewery with some fantastic beer and food.