SOME NEWS!

We’re taking a little break to work out how we can make this better for you guys! Toying with the idea of doing half Video half text vlog/blogs! Check back soon! We’ll keep you updated over at Twitter @goodbeerco1

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Pale Ale – Danish: Mikkeller Drink’in The Sun

 A few people have complained lately that there’s never a good beer to drink when they’re driving – so this week’s beer is a tasty Wheat Pale Ale by Mikkeller that you can drink more than one of easily and drive okay after.

Let’s start with Mikkeller’s description of the brew:

This beer is so fresh and tasty, we recommend you take it for a DRIVE! Besides the usual ingredietns, we added real sunshine. Cheers!

I’m liking the description for this one as it clearly states that it’s a beer for drivers at 0.3% and although Mikkel says that real sunshine is added – I’m not so sure but I wouldn’t be surprised knowing him!

Let’s start with the ingredients for this one, I think Belgian Wheat and Pale Malt have been used. As for the hops, it’s Centennial and Cascade. It’s then fermented with Belgian brewery D’Proef’s house yeast, once in Primary and then in secondary in the bottle.

Moving on, the beer pours a hazy Straw colour. You can either pour it lightly or pour it normally depending on how much yeast you like in the brew. It’s got a great head with good retention, leaving dotty lacing on the sides of the glass as it subsides. On the nose we have lots of Lemon Zest, Wheat and a slight Cracker aroma. It smells a lot better than a lot of the Low Alcohol brews! On the palate you have a little bit of the expected Cracker and flour notes as its a low alcohol brew but then some real flavour kicks in. Grapefruit Juice, Lemon Zest and Honey backed up with a nice wheaty backbone. Definitely better than a Becks Blue! The beer has Medium to High carbonation and finishes quite dry. I think Mikkeller have done really well with this seeing as it’s only 0.3% and seriously recommend this one to all drivers or people that just don’t fancy a heavy beer (or a water break).

You can purchase Drink’in The Sun at the Brewdog Store. It says it’s 1.4% but don’t worry – it’s a typo.

EST. CALORIES: 8   ABV: 0.26%

Imperial Saison – Belgian: De Struise Brouwers Aestatis

This Friday’s beer is an Imperial Saison from Belgian Brewery, Struise. The brewery was voted the best Brewery in the world in 2008 and my friends at House of Belgium were kind enough to send me a bottle of this seasonal beer to review. Saison is brewed in the cooler months and made to drink in the summer, so it’s one of those styles that go hand in hand with Summer!

There’s no description for this beer, so I’ll move on swiftly!

As for the recipe for this one, it’s kept well under wraps. However, after trying this brew I’m going to give it a good go! I think Munich, Honey, Golden and 2-Row Malts have been used in this one. Usually Saisons also have Wheat or Oats in too, but I don’t think this one does. As for the hops, I think Struise have been quite experimental with this one. Styrian Golding, Saaz but with some Centennial and Sorachi Ace hops. This beer is then left to naturally ferment, which gives Saisons their funky flavour.

This beer pours a Ruby/Dark Amber colour with a thin White head which dissipates quickly leaving no lacing. On the nose there’s Citrus, Honey, Floral, funky Belgian Yeast and Brett notes. I’m still really unsure if there’s Wheat in this beer as there’s that signature Wheaty smell on the nose too. When you taste this beer, the first initial notes are the tartness from the Brettanomyces. The Sour and Funky Belgian notes are the backbone for this beer throughout the palate, with Citrus, Lemon Peel and Honey building throughout. For a Saison, this is very well hopped! The carbonation is very low, which was an initial surprise for an Imperial Saison, but the mouthfeel is thick and oily. It finishes Dry.

If you’re into Saisons, this is a great Summer refresher and I recommend it highly. You can get this beer and tonnes of others delivered pretty much worldwide from The House Of Belgium.

EST. CALORIES: 330   ABV: 11%

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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Special – Travel: Beer and Food in Southern California Pt. 1

I recently visited some friends over in California and Arizona, and thought I’d have a look at as many beer places as possible. Naturally, there were a few food places on the way too! After getting over my jetlag (and shamelessly drinking a 6 pack of Ballast Point Sculpin’ IPA the night before) I decided to go down to Plaza Market, also known as Craft Beer Kings to see Moe, one of the managers as he kindly had some beers saved for me.

Plaza Market’s Extensive Fridges

The shop is located in El Monte, which is North LA close to Pasadena and East Los Angeles at 2400 Peck Road. It’s quite easy to get to, just make sure you avoid the hideous LA traffic as best you can. It’s quite modest looking from the outside, and even sells usual stuff American Liquor Stores do, but do not be mistaken. Once you walk to the back of this place, you know what it’s all about. Rows and rows of Fridges with Craft Beer from all across the US and the rest of the world. I was pleasantly surprised to see a good offering of Belgian and British beers too. As well as the fridges pictured, there’s great beer dotted all around this shop, and another isle for beers that don’t need to be kept as cold with glassware to match. I was just about to ask for Moe, when he stepped out of the office as he recognised me. From my experience, bottle shop managers aren’t always the friendliest types but Moe was very welcoming and it was nice of him to save me some great bottles of beer from the likes of Russian River, Firestone Walker, Avery and more (look for these in reviews soon). He was even nice enough to gift me a bottle of Founders KBS, which has long been sought after. Review on that soon! After looking around I selected some more bottles and a glass for Review purposes (I wish I could bring it all home!) Moe was nice enough to give me the glass for free. It all totaled around $100, which was not bad at all. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you really need to give this place a visit!

Golden Road Brewing

As we were a short drive from Glendale, we thought we’d visit the Golden Road pub for a bite to eat and a beer or two. I must say, I really enjoyed the brewery’s location in an industrial area next to a train track with the backdrop of the Verdugo Mountains. The entire complex is quite large, but it’s nice to think that they started in one building and slowly bought the others while expanding.

Inside Golden Road’s Pub

As it was quite busy, we opted to sit outside but made our way to the bar first. We ordered a Carry On Citrus Ale and a Trouble Ahead Red Ale. I like how most of their beer names rhyme. My favourite out of the two was the Carry On Citrus. It’s a Hopped up American Pale Ale with Local California Citrus added. The Citrus really carried through in the beer, although it wasn’t overpowing and well matched with the hops and malt. The Trouble Ahead Red was great too, just enough hoppiness to assert it’s American brewed source, but the Caramalt and speciality malts made a very balanced brew.

Outside at Golden Road’s Pub

I enjoyed sitting outside with the omnipresent California sun bearing down on us sampling the beers, then as one of the Golden Road staff came over, I remembered another great thing about drinking in America… table service! I opted for the Avacado Tacos and the popular 2020 IPA. The food arrived pretty quickly and was fresh and delicious, the 2020 IPA washed it down well with hints of Citrus as well as a big Pine Character which was very bold. Not a bad day all in all!

Windward and Pacific Ave.

The next day, we stopped off in Venice Beach to have a walk around. Venice is a pretty damn crazy place, but it’s worth a visit. Whilst we were there, my good friend said we should check out the Venice Ale House. I’m not one to turn down a beer, so off we went!

The Venice Ale House is a small place right on the Boardwalk, with a big selection on their “Almost Always On Tap” list. I opted for a Smog City Brewing Groundwork Coffee Porter. I was saving my “Hoppy” Palate for the visit to Stone later on in the day and there’s nothing wrong with a Porter whilst enjoying good weather. The beer was really crisp with a huge Coffee Hit! Venice Ale house have a really good food menu as well as a great beer list, and I recommend a visit! After this, it was time for the long drive to Escondido to get to the well-known and loved Stone World Bistro and Gardens.

Stone World Bistro and Gardens, Escondido. Click the picture for more pictures!

As soon as I got to Stone, it was a long drive from Venice and the only thing on my mind was the food. Which is lucky, because Stone World Bistro also do some World class food as well as World class beer! I opted for the starter of Hummus and Crackerbread and for the main, Peruvian Chicken. Both really hit the spot, and were cooked and spiced to perfection! Now for the beers. I tried to go for stuff I couldn’t usually get my hands on and started with the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA Aged in Red Wine Barrels. It arrived a Murky Orange with a decent head on it with pretty good retention. On the nose there was some funky Belgian yeast, some nice woody tones and a touch of Citrus and Tannic Red Wine notes. On the Palate it was much the same, but with the well balanced flavours of the original beer coming through with some Sour Notes which was welcome. Probably my favourite of the night. Next up was the Cali-Belgique in White Wine barrels, which was on cask. Personally, this one wasn’t my favourite but still very well balanced. This one was a little boozier, with more of the Grape flavours coming through. Also, there was definitely more of a yeast note as the beer was unfiltered as well as cask – an admirable feat! After this I had the usual, Stone IPA, Stone Smoked Porter, Stone Pale Ale, Stone Ruination. All in fine condition as expected. I then tried the Go To IPA and the Delicious IPA side by side and enjoyed the Go To IPA a lot more. The Delicious was more like a sweet hop tea. Not my thing. After this, time was getting on so I went for the heavy hitting Enjoy by 420 IPA which I’ll be blogging about this Friday and the Chai Spiced Russian Imperial Stout. The Chai Spice was spot on, but I forgot how much this beer isn’t an easy drinker and it took me a while to drink! Don’t get me wrong though, the beer was fantastic, not much head apart from a caramel coloured ring around the glass with tonnes of Roasty Coffee, Rich Dark Chocolate and Chai on the nose. On the Palate the Chai Spice and Coffee are definitely the main flavours first, leaving a creamy chocolately bitterness behind with a hint of booze.

The Atmosphere at Stone was absolutely incredible, they have a huge Garden out the back with it’s own stream, waterfalls, wildlife and more. It’s a must visit if you go to California. It really is a beautiful place.

That’s it for Part 1. Join me next week for Part 2, with a visit to Ballast Points Tasting room, Twisted Manzanita, Firestone Walker Barrelworks and more!

Beer: Tryanuary

Following on from our Guest Post on Monday – Here’s one from Claire’s blog

Dap and Drink

I’m still struggling with pronouncing Tryanuary out loud and I’m maintaining that it is better written. I’ve not been as adventurous as I would have liked, however new breweries have been sought out, new styles of beers have been tried and some new favourites have taken their place in my beer-y heart.

Anyways, here’s my summary of my favourite Tryanuary beers:

Kona – Big Wave Golden Ale: The Beer House, Ecclesall Road. 

4.4% ABV 

I was not disappointed with this beer, my first from Hawaii. Beautifully balanced and ridiculously refreshing. A definite easy drinker.

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Kiuchi – Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale: Starmore Boss, Sharrowvale Road.

7.5% ABV

Kiuchi’s IPA. Just straight up plum jam and Ribena, but surprisingly not overly sweet. Slowly matured in Cedar casks which are commonly used in the brewing of Japanese sake, which I guess the plum flavour might come through from?

Stone – Go to IPA:…

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Guest Post – Claire Swaffield (Dap and Drink) – Micropubs and Sheffield’s first, The Beer House

Fad or fixed?
The Micropub was presented in 2005 by publican Martyn Hillier with he opening of the Butchers Arms in Herne, Kent. It stood alone until November 2009 but slowly a trickle lead to a river with 106 currently in trading, 88 of those since January 2013 and 9 currently in planning. Now, according to the Morning Advertiser, by 2020 we should have 5000. But what is and defines this fast-growing business model, I hear you ask?

‘A Micropub is a small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes
conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks’
-The Micropub Association, founded by Stu Hirst & Martyn Hillier in 2012.

In the shunning of electronic entertainment, they have been praised for their encouragement in igniting real-life interaction, forcing people to sit and have a conversation and being packed full of people. Surely they should encourage you to make small-talk to lead to new friendships within your local community! Lovely! Some consider a Micropub to exclusively serve cask ale and refrain to a single room. Some are a little more lax on the rules, including one of the newest additions: The Beer House.

Sheffield’s first Micropub

Sheffield’s newest addition, and only fixed Micropub, graces my part of Sheffield, Hunters Bar. It is a welcome independent addition to Ecclesall Road and the south-western part of the city. Ecclesall road is littered with food chains and bars that are popular after work scene. There are a handful of pubs in the area, but primarily chains: Porter Brook, Porter Cottage, Nursery Tavern and the mixed-reviewed Sheffield institution, the Lescar Hotel.

The Hunters Bar area, particularly Sharrowvale Road, has quickly become the go-to place for Sheffield independents with butchers, bakers, no candle-stick makers, fishmongers, a deli and our very own boutique drinks shop. But still no friendly, independent pub embracing the full range of local northern breweries on a rotational basis, that was until December 2014!

Chris Sinclair, who has run The Dronfield Arms, Dronfield along with business partner John Harrison are the brains behind this venture and are serving up a variety of beverages that go beyond the expected cask. As well as a keg line, the Beerhouse has worked closely with Jeff and Barry of Starmore Boss, the boutique drinks shop on Sharrowvale Road, to provide carefully selected wines, including an organic Rioja and Yorkshire’s own Robin of Locksley gin.

But back to the beer, the ‘beer vision’ is to serve up good tasty beers from good small local breweries. Those not familiar with the brewings-on in the Sheffield area, here’s a little round up! Breweries featured at the Beer House so far have included, but not limited to:

• Blue Bee (2010, Sheffield): Reported to have seriously stepped up their hop presence and with it, their game this year.

• Harthill (2012, Rotherham): Classic English cask, noted especially for their wheat beer.

• Stancill (2014, Sheffield): A new brewery making waves. Their Barnsley Bitter quickly became a South Yorkshire favourite, and more recently Parky’s Pale Charity Ale, a supportive and tasty delight.

• Fuggle Bunny Brew House (2014, Sheffield): Proving solid offerings for it’s first year in the form of Russian Rarebit and Orchard Gold.

• Marble Beers (1997, Manchester): Well established Northern Brewery, making sound contributions and recognised nationally.

• Sky’s Edge Brewing (2008, Sheffield): Previously The Brew Company until 2014, Sky’s Edge have gone for a full refit and branding and with it some marvellous beers, definite firm favourites in Sheffield!

So far, best-sellers have come from Marble and Sky’s Edge, with Pictish Brewery as a house favourite. Additionally, a small number of interesting rotating bottles from far and wide have included contributions from Kona, Hawaii, Cervecería Mexicana, Mexico and Daas Blond, the gluten free abbey/trappist beer from Daas. Currently in stock is the full range of Sonnet 43, a microbrewery in County Durham. Future bottles will hopefully come in the form of Wold Top Brewery, Yorkshire and Green’s gluten free beers.

On my first visit I enjoyed a Big Wave Golden ale from Kona, which refreshing, beautiful and well balanced. I do struggle more with English cask beers having only recently begun my beer journey, less than a year ago. I prompted for a Parky’s Pale Charity Ale as my second choice, which is a solid contribution to the line up, a golden pale body, with the perfect frothy white head, just as smooth in taste as it looks.

On my second visit I began with the cask, prompting my first experience of Fuggle Bunny, and their Orchard Gold. A pleasant pale with sweet honeyed notes and savoury undertones. Finishing off with Sonnet 43’s Steam Beer Amber, which for a amber is really quite savoury, I guess the low ABV (3.8%) accounts for this.

The pub itself is set in one, but almost two, open rooms. It’s quite plain, but homey, in decor with a gorgeous fireplace in back space. It houses about 40 customers and supplements it’s beverages with bhajis and samosas from Sheffield’s own Bhaji Shop and Thali Cafe, there has also been word of the infamous Space Invaders being sold too!

Some entertainment is provided, in case the cat’s got your tongue, and comes in the form of backgammon, dominoes and chess. A weekly quiz has begun, Wednesdays 8pm, if you’re ever in the area and further collaboration with Starmore Boss comes in the form of a Gin tasting on the 3rd of February.

So far, feedback has been glowing. Attentive staff and a great atmosphere have pushed it up to the #1 nightlife spot in Sheffield, according to Trip Advisor and it seems as if I’m not the only one who’s appreciating this independent gem. Bring on the micro-pubs!

Rye IPA – American: Green Flash Road Warrior

Green Flash Road Warrior

There hasn’t been an extra Wednesday post for a few weeks, so I thought I’d start it right with this Imperial Rye IPA from Green Flash in San Diego. Green Flash’s Imperial IPA’s are some of my favourites, and Rye Beers are one of my favourite styles so I was looking forward to trying this one for quite some time.

Let’s start with Green Flash‘s description of the beer:

HOP ON AND ENJOY THE RYE OF YOUR LIFE

Our Imperial Rye IPA is brewed in the name of our Road Warriors—the sales team who tirelessly hit the streets, traveling from town to town and pub to pub sharing the Green Flash experience. Road Warrior™ charges full flavor forward. Columbus and Mosaic hops, rich crystal and spicy rye malts pave the way for Mosaic and Amarillo dry-hopping to boldly shine through in the finish. Raise a glass to those who never settle!

A catchy motto, one of the quirky things I’ve grown to love when it comes to Green Flash. Also a little story – nice they dedicate it to their hardworking sales people. I also like how Green Flash are always so open about their recipe (it makes my job a little easier too) and always seem to have a positive take on everything they make. Some brewers are doom and gloom and focus on taking down that big brewer, but Green Flash always focus on what they do best – making good beers.

The recipe for this one speaks for itself after looking at the description, so I’m going to be quick! On the Malt bill, we’ve got some Crystal, Rye, 2-Row Barley and a little bit of Pale Malt. On the Hop side, during the boil there’s Columbus and Mosaic. After this, during Fermentation it is dry-hopped with Mosaic and Amarillo. The yeast is most probably the Standard American Ale yeast.
When you pour this beer it’s a Ruby/Brown colour with a thick White head. The head retention is great for this style and leaves some great rings of sticky lacing around the glass. This really is an inviting looking brew! On the nose there’s a lot of Rye and Toffee with hints of Pine. I found myself drinking this one as soon as I smelt it and was met with a wave of Pine and Spicy Rye, followed by some Citrus, a lot of Bubblegum from the abundance of Mosaic hops with a nice complex Caramel finish. I’d say the carbonation on this one is Medium for the style, as some IPAs tend to be quite fizzy at the moment. It finishes Dry and Bitter. For fans of Big IPA’s, I really do recommend this one!
You can buy Green Flash Road Warrior in the UK at:
Beer Gonzo (In Stock at time of Writing)
Chester Beer and Wine (In Stock at time of Writing)
Beers of Europe (In Stock at time of Writing)
EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%

Brewdog Sheffield’s Toasted Sandwiches Launch

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

Dap and Drink

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

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

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Lagunitas – Imperial Stout

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

PubDrafts Beer Blog

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

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

Bottle Art:

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

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