Special – Travel: Beer and Food in Arizona

On the way back from the Grand Canyon, we stopped in Flagstaff. Whilst there’s actually quite a few breweries after you cross the train tracks, I’d heard a lot about Lumberyard and we were on a short schedule. There was also another reason, the fact they do amazing BBQ food. For the starter we got the Nachos, which came with a generous amount of delicious Guac, Salsa and Chicken that had been cooked in the smoker with Tequila marinade. These were probably the most delicious Nachos I’ve had. As for the beer, I grabbed their Big Rapid Imperial Red Ale. Ruby in colour with a good, medium head. On the nose there were nice piney hops with sweet malt in the background. The taste was much the same, a big hit of caramel from the malts and a little bit of burnt sugar with a piney hop hit. For the main course, I went for the Santa Fe burger with believe it or not – Baked Beans! However, these were done in the smoker, and had a distinctly smoky flavour that I really enjoyed. The burger was great, very fresh Sliced Avocado, green chilies, salsa verde and pepper jack cheese.

After this I got another beer exclusive to the brewery, their Imperial Porter with Vanilla Pods and Coffee Beans. This poured pitch black with a small tan head, lots of roasty notes and a touch of vanilla on the nose. On the palate, a bit initial Coffee hit with subtle Vanilla notes, finishing with the Roasty malts. A very nice brew indeed. On the way out, I picked up the taster pack of 4 cans, their Flagstaff IPA, Lumberyard Red Ale, Knotty Pine Pale Ale and Diamond Down Lager. Out of these cans, the Flagstaff IPA was the best and I’ll be reviewing it soon.

The next day we were back in Phoenix, and on our way to a brewery I’d been looking forward to visiting for a long time – Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. Arizona Wilderness don’t bottle or can their beer but managed to be the best New Brewery in the world last year which is quite a feat!

I went for the I got a flight with the De Kofa Extra Belgian Pale ale, Gilbraltar Gose, the critically acclaimed Refuge IPA, Signal Mountain Stout and Woolsey Wit. These were all absolutely fantastic beers. The De Kofa Pale is the nearest Amber coloured one above, with a peppery, clove but nicely sweet aroma and flavour. A nice English style Spicy Bitter finish on this one. The Gibraltar Gose is the closest one in this picture, A big Sour Funk aroma, with Lemon Juice, Light Coriander and Sea Salt. On the palate, a hit of Coriander, Salt and an intense Sourness on the end. Excellent Gose that I really enjoyed. Next, was the Woolsey Wit (one in the middle) On the nose lots of Orange Peel, Coriander, Citrus, Oak soaked with White Wine. On the palate some intense sourness with some great Grapefruit, Orange and Herbal characters. Next was the Refuge IPA. This one is incredible and I really thought it was going to be my favourite of the night, on the Palate and Nose loads of Resinous Pine and Citrus with great sweet notes of Ripe Apricots and Caramel. For a bold American IPA this went down so smoothly. Finally, my favourite of the night – the Signal Mountain Milk Stout. On the nose Milk chocolate milkshake and caramel notes. Big Milk chocolate and caramel hits on the palate to start followed by a surprising fruity element in the middle. The Vanilla and Lactose Sugar comes out at the end as well as the Nitro body, bringing that nice Milkshake character to this beer.

It was time for a bit of food for us, and a couple more of the Signal Mountains, Refuge and Gibraltar Gose. Chicken Patty, Red Pepper Salsa, Sauteed Rocket, smoked gouda, Avocado on a Brioche bun and a lot of Hot  Sauce! This was served with Brewery-Cut fries, cooked in Duck Fat and sprinkled with Rosemary and Sea salt. Both of these were absolutely delicious and I can’t really fault the Beer or Food here. Unfortunately, it was time for us to leave.

The next, and final day we decided to walk 5 minutes from our Hotel to the Scottsdale Beer Company for some food and to try their beers.

I went for the Kettle Monster Double IPA, Old Town Hoppy Brown, Texas Tea Double Chocolate Imperial Stout, Uncle Rico’s Red Ale and Orangedale Wheat Ale. The Kettle Monster was a great IPA, tonnes of resinous Pine on the nose and big Citrus hits on the Palate. Very bitter, but in a great way! The Old Town Hoppy Brown was very Toffee and Caramel orientated on the nose, but when you tasted it the Citrus hops soared above the Toffee and Caramel backbone. Different for a Brown Ale, but very welcoming! Next was the Texas Tea, the aroma had huge Chocolate and Roasty notes. When you taste it, it offers nice silky Chocolate to begin with, going towards Roasty malt and a little Coffee on the finish. The Uncle Rico’s was a very well balanced Red Ale with nice Caramel hits with a little resinous Pine in the background. Finally, the Orangedale Wheat Ale, this one’s definitely a warm Weather beer! Pilsner style aromas, with some Orange Peel and Clove on the Palate. Very light bodied and would be perfect for those hot summers in Arizona. As I’d had quite a bit of lovely Southwestern Food during the day, I had the Chicken Chop Salad. Chicken, Black Beans, Corn, Avocado, Tomatoes, Spring Onion, Cucumber, Red Bell Peppers, Queso Fresco and Coriander-Lime Vinaigrette. This was such a fresh, tasty Salad and very nice on a warm evening.

My trip to America was over, I visited some great breweries and had some amazing beers. Every Brewery does absolutely incredible food, and I think that’s really helping the Craft Beer boom there.

Until next year, where I’ll be visiting San Diego for a much longer time!

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Special – Travel: Beer and Food in Southern California Pt. 2

After trying more than my fair share of Beers at Stone the night before, it was time to go to Ballast Point Taproom and Kitchen at India Street, San Diego. Everyone told me that this is the best of the Ballast Point Taprooms, so I chose this to sample some of their beers and get some grub to line the stomach from the day before! The Taproom and Kitchen do fantastic food, we shared some Crispy Duck Nachos (Blue Cheese Sauce, Duck Confit, Pickled Onion, Arugula (Rocket) and Port Reduction) and as I was in San Diego, I went for the Fish Tacos. Both dishes were absolutely delicious, and very reasonable. As we had to drive back to LA (luckily I wasn’t doing the driving) later on in the day, I decided to try as many beers as possible before we had to go.

I started with a Sculpin IPA, the classic Ballast Point brew, which in my opinion is the IPA it’s hyped up to be and then moved on to a flight of Grapefruit Sculpin, Habanero Sculpin and the Black Marlin Porter. The Grapefruit Sculpin is coming up in my reviews next month but is a truly a World Class beer. The Habanero Sculpin was interesting, as I’m a self confessed Chilli Head I had to try it and I absolutely loved it. The nose is full of Citrus Fruit, Orange Peel and some resinous Pine in the background. On the Palate, there’s a nice initial Citrus and Pine from the hops with the Habanero building in the background. The Chilli isn’t for the weak hearted, but is a nice burn that builds as you drink. The Black Marlin was an equally good Porter, with Big Roasty notes on the nose with Raisins, Stone Fruits and a touch of Citrus on the finish. On the palate, a big Roasty Chocolatey note, with Caramel and Brown Sugar. Fantastic Mouthfeel on this one. Next up, I had a Ginger Big Eye IPA and the Sour Wench Berliner Weiss with Apricot and Peach. On the Nose the Sour Wench has a huge Apricot and Peach Aroma, with a little bit of woodiness from the stones of the Fruit and that familiar funky wheat and Lactobacillus Sour odor. This one is very tart to start off with, followed by the Sour Peach. Apricot lingers on the finish. As for the Ginger Big Eye – where do I start? Big Eye IPA is just as legendary as Sculpin. On the nose there was a big Ginger hit, with Grapefruit, Citrus and a little Soapiness. Although this has a huge hit from the Citrus, Grapefruit and Pine from the Hops, the Ginger is very prominent and compliments the Fruitiness from the Hops.

After this, we headed down to Pacific Beach to visit a smaller Brewerys Taproom – Twisted Manzanita. I got a flight here as time was running by and tried the Gillespie Brown (Brown Ale), Hot Chocolate (Chocolate Stout with Ancho and Habanaro Chillis), Rustic Horizon (Red Ale), Prospect Pale (Pale Ale) Iron Mountain (IPA), Enlightenmint (Milk Stout with Peppermint). I started with the Brown Ale, it pours with a Small Head but with great lacing. On the nose some Pine Nuts and Roasted Malts, when you taste it, it’s warm and boozy with Rasins, Piney Hops and a touch of Chocolate. Apart from the Enlightenmint, which I’ll be posting about on Friday, the Hot Chocolate was my favourite. It’s black as night with a tan coloured ring around the glass. On the nose you get big Chocolate and Coffee aromas and the Chilli is hidden very well, very sweet. On the Palate is where the Chilli comes into play, first a nice smooth Chocolate note that carries all the way through, then the Chilli kick, lots of Citrusy and Hot Spicy notes. Finishes smooth and spicy. The Rustic Horizon was a standard, well balanced Red Ale with Big Pine Notes and a nice Caramel Malt Backbone, The Prospect Pale was very well balanced also, with big Citrus aromas and a bready Malt Backbone. I’ll be Posting about the Enlightenmint on Friday, as it was probably my favourite of the entire San Diego trip!

I really liked Twisted Manzanita Taproom’s vibe, the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable and the decor was quite industrial and basic. The music in this place, and Ballast Point were the best of the entire trip. Although it was a short visit, it was time to leave San Diego.

The next day we made the long drive up to the Central Coast to Visit Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks in Buellton. Unfortunately due to the famous California Traffic, we missed our tour which was a shame. Luckily, Firestone Walker have a Taproom and Restaurant attached and we thought we’d take full advantage. By this time we were really hungry, and there was a table free for us straight away. I dived straight in with the Spicy Chicken Drumettes as an appertizer and a small measure of Velvet Merkin – a barrel aged version of their Velvet Merlin stout. Though I’d had it before when they came to visit in London, it really is a great beer and I wanted to try it fresh.  It’s Jet Black, and the Aroma was a little different. Lots of chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, and toasted bread. The Palate had big brown Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Cocoa, Coffee, and Fig notes. There’s a distinct woody finish on this one. 

It was time to order the main course, and I went for the Sirloin Coulotte Steak with Shallot Butter, Fried Fingerling Potatoes and Chili-Lemon Broccolini and an Union Jack IPA. I must say again, that the food is truely delicious in this place and I really recommend having some if you visit. As for the Union Jack IPA, it was just as good as I remember. On the nose there was lots of Earthy Pine, Grapefruit, Citrus and a touch of sweet malt. The taste really is what makes this beer, some Pine Sap, Citrus, Grapefruit, Tropical Fruits with a great Malt Backbone riding throughout. What an IPA. I decided to skip dessert and go for an Unfiltered Double Barrel Ale and a Velvet Merlin on Nitro next.

The Unfiltered Double Barrel Ale was interesting, the fact it’s unfiltered really changes the aroma of this. Loads of Oak on the nose with Nutty Malt and a little bit of Vanilla Spice coming through. It tastes a little different too with big hits of Vanilla and Oak as well as the lovely Pale Malt backbone and fresh Bread Dough notes. What a great, simple beer! Next up was the Velvet Merlin on Nitro, I’ll start unusually by commenting on the Mouthfeel. The Nitro really improves this beer! The mouthfeel was like a Guiness, but this has way more flavour and aroma. On the nose there’s Roasty Coffee, Chocolate and a Milky Sweetness. The Palate is a tiny bit tart and dry, but with big hits of Milk Sweetness, Coffee and Chocolate. What a great way to end. After this I popped into the Barrelworks shop and picked up a bottle of the well known Parabola, which I’ll be reviewing in the future after it ages a little while!

Last, but definitely not least, we visited the Libertine Brewpub in Morro Bay which was Excellent. Unfortunately I was driving, but still managed to taste one of their Sours along with two other very good beers. I started with the Libertine Framboise, a beer I’d wanted to try for a long time. The Sours Libertine make are famous, if not notorious with people that have tried them! On the Nose a lot of Belgian funk and Sour Strawberry, the taste was great. If you haven’t tried a Sour, I wouldn’t recommend this as the first one, but it is delicious. Lots of Sour Strawberry and Funky Lacto notes with a great Wheaty backbone throughout. A great beer, I witnessed someone else try it and pucker. The Barman pointed at the sign above the Bar – “Ya, We Know It’s Sour.”

Next up, we decided to share a small measure of the Lost Abbey 10 Commandments – As you can see above, it’s got Honey, Raisins and Rosemary. Lost Abbey make Belgian inspired beers, and this one is a 12% Dark Strong Ale. It pours Jet Black, on the nose Chocolate, Molasses, Ginger, Honey, Coriander, Light Coffee and Nutmeg. The Flavour on this one is so complex, Raisin, Caramel, Gingerbread, Thyme, Molasses, Pink Peppercorn, some toasted Rosemary notes and a touch of Anise.

Finally, we shared a Firestone Walker Wookey Jack, a Black IPA I’ve been wanting to try for a while. Partly because of the name, and partly because Firestone’s IPA’s and Maltier offerings are great and I was interested on how they’d do a Black IPA. It pours Jet Black with a Tan Head, on the Nose plenty of Roasty Notes with Pine and Citrus coming from the Hops. They must’ve put a lot of Hops in this one, because they really cut through! There’s also some traces of dark fruits. The Palate on this one is lovely, it starts with a big Roasted Malt kick and as it fades into the background the Clean Citrus tones from the Hops come through, building up to a Roasty, Bitter finish. What a great beer!

That’s it for California. I had a great time. The vibe in all the beer-centric places I went were amazing, the food’s great even if you’re trying to eat healthily and great Beer is everywhere. Join me next week for my adventures in Arizona. Sorry this post was late, we had some Computer trouble!

Special Post – Visiting Buxton

 

Last weekend, I decided to go and Visit Buxton with a “minor” diversion on the way there and back. I’ve always wanted to go to the Peak District, and with such a great Brewery operating out of Buxton I had no excuses.

On the way I stopped by the great Cotteridge Wines in Birmingham as the Owner was nice enough to reserve a few bottles for me. It’s a really great shop and I recommend it. Loads of selection and I ended up picking up some other bottles I didn’t come for (always the way!) I’ll definitely return when I’m around the area for a more in-depth look.

Beers from Cotteridge Wines

Picked up two of Siren’s current Berliner Weisse – I Need a Vacation, Mikeller Brunch Weasel and Texas Ranger aged in Eagle Rare Barrels and the bottle I had reserved – Siren/Magic Rock/Beavertown Rule of Thirds. I’m sure you’ll see some, if not all of them on here at some point!

Anyway, back to Buxton. We arrived a little later than we’d planned, pitched up in the hotel and visited the legendary Buxton Brewery Tap.

Buxton Brewery Tap

 

First impressions after walking through the door were great, it’s a lot bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside and the Decor isn’t like a typical Craft Beer bar which was a plus. There were pump pulls for Cask beer at the front of the bar, and Keg taps facing you as you entered. The music was definitely at a Background Music volume, but I could hear some great tunes being played and I was most definitely singing along in my head!

They had a lot of Buxton Beers on tap, which is always encouraging in a Brewery Tap:

 

Being in the mood for Sours and the night wearing young, I ordered one of my Favourites – Buxton Far Skyline. Far Skyline is a dry-hopped Berliner Weisse, and it was very fresh. Sometimes I find in Brewery taps the beer isn’t as fresh as it should be, as it sits for a while but not here. The place was packed with people of all ages drinking Buxton’s great beers.

Far Skyline

 

 

 

On the nose of Far Skyline you get some Lactobacillus and an almost sweet Lemony Citrus, it pours a colour similar to Pineapple or Orange Juice with high carbonation. From the bottle you don’t get much head, but from the tap there was loads. Nice touch. When tasting this beer, you get citrusy notes to begin with followed by tropical fruit and sour pineapple. It ends with an almost sweet black current and Lacto Tartness. Truely a great beer.

 

 

Behind the bar in Buxton Tap are lots of Buxton Bottles, I spotted all the ones they had on tap plus a lot of their Special Edition bottles. As well as Buxton bottles I spotted some from Cantillon, Mikkeller and a few other US/UK Breweries. It looked like a great selection and the list of Guest Beer provided was extensive. The prices were reasonable, as you can see above from the Beer List and the Bottle Prices were around the same.

The Bar – Buxton Tap (and some of my shirt)

Red Raspberry Rye

 

I decided on the Red Raspberry Rye. Simply because I love Rye beers and I love Raspberries. Yet again another Berliner Weisse, this time by accident! I really thought that this particular brew was a world class one. It poured from the bottle a deep Red colour with a quickly dissipating fizzy head leaving no lacing. On the nose there was lots of Sour Raspberry, some Lacto and an underlying Rye Toastyness. The taste lived up to the great nose, lots of Sour Raspberry and lacto. As it warmed the Toasty Rye started to come through, I thought that was a beer that was incredibly balenced. It was more Tart than the Far Skyline on the finish, but the mouthfeel was surpisingly full-bodied for this style of beer.

 

 

 

The Old Courthouse

After a little while longer in the Brewery Tap, we decided to move on to nextdoor’s bar – The Old Courthouse. What attracted me was the fact they had Thornbridge umbrellas – the first ones I’d ever seen!

Inside the Old Courthouse

Inside was a lot more chilled out, with a live Pianist in the other room and a nice atmosphere inside the bar. I went for a pint of Jaipur – Thornbridges IPA and a Citrus Vodka and Coke. The prices here were extremely reasonable too, and it seemed like a great place to finish a chilled out night out tasting some great beers.

The Jaipur on tap was extremely fresh and it was the first time I’d had it on tap. It poured with a fluffy white head with great rentention leaving sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. I’ve always absolutely adored the nose of Jaipur, loads of Citrus, Pine and Herbal notes with a little bit of Maris Otter malt in the background. I’m glad I had this as my last beer of the night as it’s full flavoured and nice and relaxed to drink. When you taste it, the Malt takes more of the foreground leaving behind lots of Citrusy and Piney Resinous hops behind. What a well balenced, modern take on the classic English IPA!

All in all, Buxton is a really beautiful place with a lot of things to do and also a World Class Brewery and Brewery tap operating there! I’d definitely recommend a visit and it’s definitely somewhere I’d revisit. I picked up some Buxton beers during my journey, at a reasonable price from the Brewery Tap. 4 beers were around £3.50 each – pretty reasonable! A few are pictured below:

Beers from The Brewery Tap

I picked up Dragon Tips, a Maple, Bacon and Chipotle Stout brewed in Collaboration with Arizona Wilderness Brewing, another Red Raspberry Rye, Come Again – A Sour Pale ale brewed in Collaboration with Evil Twin,  Stolen Fruit, a sour wheat beer brewed with juice and zest of pink grapefruit and lime – a Collaboration with Omnipollo, Sky Mountain Sour – A Sour Beer brewed in Collaboration with To Øl, Pomperipossa – A Sour Cherry Stout brewed in Collaboration with Omnipollo and Grain and Grape – An Oatmeal Stout aged in Red Wine barrels brewed in Collaboration with Dutch brewers Rooie Dop and Oersoep. I also managed to score myself a Buxton Glass, which was great! I’m sure you’ll see some of these beers cropping up in the blog soon!

Guest Post – The Lighthouse, Margate

Guest Poster: Eddie Castle – @EddieTG_Castle

Old Dairy Brewery – Red Top

Traditional Kentish Bitter / Pale Ale

ABV: 3.8%

This week I have been roaming around the interesting and quaint town of Margate in Thanet, East Kent. As with any seaside town, the cobblestone streets are littered with all sorts of interesting historic buildings, independent stores, amusement arcades and of course, pubs!

 In the heart of the old town high street, I stumbled across a lovely rustic tavern known as The Lifeboat. If it weren’t for the sign at the bottom of that window that read “Local ale and cider” I probably wouldn’t have even noticed this pub tucked away in the backstreets.

Upon entering through the door, I was instantly greeted with the smell of a wood burning fireplace. (Instantly earning 10 Eddie points in my mind!)

Already this place is like no other tavern I’ve ever set foot in.

When you enter, the first thing you’ll notice are the kegs. So rather than keeping them in the basement to serve them using pumps, a nice lovely pint of ale can be delivered straight to your glass right there and then!

 Apart from serving quality ales and ciders, this fine establishment prides itself on beautiful, old time-y decor and charming handmade wooden tables and benches. Since they serve their drinks straight from the kegs, there’s no need for a traditional bar that you’d expect to see in other pubs and taverns. They do however, have a little desk where you can pay for drinks. Situated on this desk is a wonderful old fashioned cash register! (20 more points)!

We now know that the place itself is great…but what about the beer?

Well, when I came up to the bar I was overwhelmed with choice as well as excited with all the great little bits and bops I enjoyed. So I asked the waiter “What would you recommend?”

She said “Well, I’ve just tapped a keg of Red Top”

So I went for a pint of the traditional Kentish Ale, Red Top.

Now, as you can see from the picture moreover as the name suggests, this ale boast a pleasantly warm red hue.

The aroma of this ale has tones of citrus (my guess would be grapefruit or lemon) and a tangy, malty smell.

The initial taste is a pleasantly relaxed grassy, hoppy flavour which is followed by an almost sweet malty taste.

The aftertaste is earthy and bitter but a bit sweet which left my tongue thirsty for more!

Overall, I’d 100% recommend both this wonderful tavern and this brilliantly refreshing and accessible pale ale. If you’re ever in Margate and you’re looking for a place to grab a proper, tasty ale with plenty of character, pop in to the Lighthouse rather than popping into the local Wetherspoon.

You can find this bar on: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lighthouse-Bar-LHB/163527447016088?fref=ts

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.

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!

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!

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!