Porter – Anspach and Hobday Table Porter

This week I’m reviewing a great mash up of a Table Beer (like a Table wine – Low ABV) and a London Porter from Anspach and Hobday – a relatively new brewery in Bermondsey. I tried their beers at the Winter Brew Fest and thought they were amazing. It’s nice to see them better distributed in London now!

Let’s start with Anspach and Hobday‘s description of the brew:

Best described as like an Iced Coffee (no coffee beans used), this interesting beer is a nod to the Table Beers of old London when water was more dangerous than beer. A David of the beer world, The Table Porter (2.8%) packs lots of flavour for its ABV and it also pours over vanilla ice-cream to create a great flow.

I like the description of this one, it gives you a hint of what it’s going to be like and gives you a little history behind it. I’ve never tried it over Vanilla Ice-Cream, but that might be something I’ll have to try another time. A porter with Ben and Jerry’s?! Tempting seeing as this brew is only 84 Calories… so hey! It doesn’t matter about the Ben and Jerry’s, right?!

The key to the Low-ABV in this one is to reduce the amount of 2-Row and Pale Malt but keep the specialty Malts at the same level as a normal brew. I think the specialty Malts in this one are Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Black Patent and Caramel 120. As for the hops, I got a little Citrusy tone from this one when I opened the bottle, so I’d say a subtle addition of Amarillo or Cascade could do the trick nicely!

The beer says pour carefully on the side, and I swear I did! It pours Black with an impressive Tan coloured head! It takes a good while to go down, I’ve had this experience with Table Beer before and I think it’s because of the lower ABV not annihilating as many proteins and therefore getting an impressive head. On the nose some faint Citrus, Cocoa Chocolate and Coffee. Smells like a decent, heavy Porter! I think the taste of this one is the most impressive, bundles of Roasted Malts, Coffee, Caramel with that slightly fruity Citrus kick at the end blending into some Dark Fruits. It tastes exactly like a 7.4% Porter, but you can drink it all night! The body isn’t really affected too badly for a porter, either with Medium carbonation. It finishes slightly dry. I really recommend this brew, all year round! It’s a great change from a session IPA and it’s a very tasty brew indeed.

You can Buy The Table Porter Online in the UK at:

Craved

Beer Merchants

Eebria

EST. CALORIES: 84   ABV: 2.8%

IPA – American: Stone Enjoy By 4/20/15 IPA


This week’s beer is something I picked up whilst in California. Stone’s Enjoy By series is quickly becoming a very sought after beer, and I was happy to sample a few and bring a couple back.

Stone’s idea was to make an IPA that doesn’t really last, which means you definitely need to drink it by the “Enjoy Date.” What better way to advise people than to plaster it on the front of the bottle as part of the name? I picked up the Enjoy By 4/20/15 (20/04/15), also lovingly called “Enjoy by 420” by lover’s of Hop’s naughty cousin.

Let’s start with Stone’s Description of the beer.

You have in your hands a devastatingly dank double IPA. Freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, hoppy IPAs – but we’ve taken it further, a lot further, with this one. We brewed this IPA specifically NOT to last. We’ve gone to extensive lengths to ensure you get your hands on this beer within an extraordinarily short window, and we’ve sent a very clear message in the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right NOW to enjoy this IPA!

I’m enjoying the Stone bravado on this description and the fact they changed “fresh” to “dank” in the description. Dank is a word that’s used to describe Hops as well as the “other hop” so it’s a good play on words. As I said, the date is plastered on the front of the bottle as part of the name, and I don’t think another brewery could do it and get away with it like Stone do.

Let’s start with the Hops on this one, as there’s a lot! Centennial, Warrior, Amarillo, Northern Brewer, Simcoe, Cascade, Motueka, Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy are used. It seems like Stone threw their whole store of Hops at this one, excluding a couple and it definitely shows. As for the malts in this beer, we’ve got 2-Row and Maris Otter Pale. A nice basic base for a lot of hops. After this it’s Dry hopped for around 7 days whilst it ferments with a good, clean, hardy yeast like San Diego Super.

This beer pours a nice translucent Orange with a Medium white head. The retention on this one is great, especially for a 9.4% brew. When it starts to dissipate, it leaves rings around the glass as you drink down. On the nose, wow, you can really tell there’s a lot of hops in this one. Mango, Pineapple, Orange and Tropical Fruits hit first, with a touch of Pine and Sweetness from the Malt on the finish. Whilst drinking this beer, the first thing you’ll notice is the bitterness from the word go. On the Palate lots of Pine, Citrus Peel and Tropical Fruit. This is definitely an IPA for warm weather, although it could also work in the colder months as that Alcohol is detectable but not overwhelming. On the finish there’s a few Grapefruit notes and a touch of sweetness from the Malt. The beer is surprisingly smooth, and although starts bitter and dry, finishes sweet with good carbonation. If you can get your hands on this one, I really recommend you do!

Your best bet to find Stone’s Enjoy By IPA’s in the UK are in Brewdog bars across the country, you could always import from Quality Liquor Store or Craft Beer Kings if you really want it! Alternatively, if you have friends in California, ask them to send you some of the next iteration!

EST. CALORIES: 282   ABV: 9.4%

Sour – Collaboration: English: Wild Beer Co. New Zealand: Good George Beer English: Burning Sky Shnoodlepip

Well, I’m back and trying to fight my jetlag whilst writing this, I think that’s why the picture I took of this one looks extremely sinister (a complete accident). But what better way to cure Jetlag than a great Sour Beer and a bit of Sunshine?

This Friday’s beer is Shnoodlepip. A collaboration of Wild Beer Co from Somerset, Good George Beer from New Zealand and Burning Sky in Sussex. What I admire about Wild Beer Co is that they really push the boundaries of beer, and teaming up with these other craft brewers meant that there definitely wouldn’t be an exception to the regular schedule, if you can call their brewing schedule regular!

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

A collaboration of three brewers, three nationalities and six ideas brought together to learn, experiment and enjoy. Made by Kelly Ryan from Good George Beer in NZ, Brett Ellis (originally from the US) from the Wild Beer Co, and Mark Tranter from Burning Sky Brewery. This beer explores new ideas, techniques, ingredients, combinations and processes.

Using all three brewers combined knowledge and experiences to create an incredibly unusual and complex beer, this utilises every opportunity to take advantage of amazing ingredients and try alternative techniques.

Full body, gentle-sweet spiciness, a dry depth with oak undertones, and tropical fruit character, all finished off with tangy Hibiscus flowers – this is one shnoodlepippin beer!

I like this description, it’s very light hearted, gives you an insight into how the beer was brewed and the story of the collaboration. What’s also great about it, is that it doesn’t give too much away and although flavours are mentioned, it leaves it open to the “beerholder” (a phrase I learnt in the United States last week!)

Let’s start with the hops in this beer, I believe that the New Zealand influence is definitely on the Hop front and New Zealand Pacifica Hops have been used. As for the malts, I think Two-Row and Caramel Malt have been used, using the Sour Mash method along with Somerset Sharpham Farm Spelt. During Secondary Fermentation in Red Wine Barrels, the Pink Peppercorns are added. Later on, it’s “Dry Hopped” with the Hibiscus and Passion Fruit for a little longer to ensure the flavours come out in the final product. It’s fermented with Brettanomyces Yeast to really get the residual sugars out and create even more of a sour flavour.

When you pour this beer, it’s a very colourful Orange with a medium head which dissipates very quickly. I’d also say it’s as fizzy as Champagne. On the nose there’s lots of Brett Yeast aromas, Spelt which is similar to Wheat in the aroma, Passion fruit and some peppery notes with hints of Honey and Summer Berries. On the Palate it’s a little less complicated, but still delicious with a lot of Sour Brett Notes with Passion Fruit and a light Peppery note in the background, malty sour mash flavours carry throughout. It’s quite a thin feeling beer in the mouth but, as I said the beer is very fizzy and the bubbles more than make up for the body and bulk it up a little. I often find that Sours that have a little more bubbles always go down very well. It finishes dry.

This is a perfect Spring beer, if you can get your hands on it!

You can buy Shnoodlepip in the UK at:

Amazon (out of stock)

The Pint Shop, Cambridge

Bottledog, London

EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%

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

Oskar Blues Old Chub

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can buy Old Chub Nitro in the UK at:

The Brewdog Webstore

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

EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%

Double IPA – American: Stone 18th Anniversary IPA

Stone 18th Anniversary IPA

This week I’m writing about a beer I had a little while ago, and may be a little hard to come by now. It definitely deserves a mention though. This Friday’s beer is Stone 18th Anniversary IPA. A beer brewed for the 18th Anniversary of the company. And, of course it’s an IPA! It’s what Stone has become known for over the years.

Let’s start with Stone‘s description of the beer.

As we compose the text for this celebratory beer‐a golden‐brown India pale ale dry-hopped exclusively and abundantly with El Dorado hops‐we stand ready to leap from the precipice of all we know into a new era for our company, our beers and, most importantly, our fans. It’s one that will see us exploring new territory, both geographically and creatively, as we evolve from pacesetters for the American craft brewing movement to cross‐planetary champions of the worldwide cause of craft, hoisting our banner to proclaim artisanal beers’ vast superiority over stripped‐down, business-driven, industrialized, fizzy, yellow mediocrity. We thank you for shadowing us for the first 18 years of our journey, and welcome you to join us for next leg and all that follows.

I won’t spoil what’s on the back of the bottle, as these are still around. Just make sure if you get one now, drink it asap! Stone’s IPA’s are never meant to last long. Quite a modest description for Stone, which I like. However, there’s still the comment about the larger brewers. It’s a good description, it celebrates their journey so far and gives you a tiny insight into the beer with the fact they use El Dorado Hops.

Let’s start with the malts in this one, 2-Row Pale, Crystal with a small amount of English Brown Malt and Briess Dark Roasted Malt. This is how it gets it’s colour and also some of the complex flavours that I will talk about a little later. As for the Hops, as it says in the description:- El Dorado Hops are used in both the boil and Dry Hop during Fermentation. El Dorado Hops are relatively new to the table, and I think it was quite brave of Stone to only use them in such a high profile offering.

When you pour this beer, it pours a Ruby colour with Golden sides and a medium white head. It really does look nice in the glass. It leaves dotty lacing on the glass as the head dissipates to a Thin Foam on the top of the beer. On the nose there’s loads of Lemon, a little Liquorice, Pine and some slight Cocoa. The way this beer looks and smells makes you want to drink it straight away, I haven’t written about a beer that looks this good in the glass for a little while! On the palate, the first thing you get is Toffee and Liquorice, followed by a big Lemony Citrus kick, ending with some bitter Orange peel and Pine. The Lemon flavour carries through the entire time, tied in with some complex coffee and toffee undertone. This beer feels quite light in the mouth, is medium carbonated and ends quite dry. What a fantastic beer, one that I wish Stone would brew again! I’d recommend it if you can get hold of one now, but in a few months it may be worth passing up.

I purchased Stone’s 18th Anniversary beer at Bottledog in Kings Cross, unfortunately I can’t find anywhere online in the UK to grab one of these. Even if you can’t this time, I’d recommend looking around August time for their 19th Anniversary beer, they’re always good!

EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%

Porter – American: Odell Cutthroat Porter

As the weather gets colder, beer gets darker! It’s always been the way. There’s nothing better than a nice dark Porter or Stout on these cold evenings. This Friday’s beer is Odell’s Cutthroat Porter. This beer is brewed in Fort Collins, Colorado and is meant to emulate an English London Style Porter, so you would expect it to be similar to the dark beer that was popular with Street and River Porters throughout the 1700’s and 1800’s. Porters were one of the first beers to be aged before selling them in the 1700’s.

Enough history for now – Let’s start with Odell’s description of the beer:

Not quite a stout but definitely no lightweight, Cutthroat Porter is smooth and robust. Inspired by the classic London porters, we use dark roasted malts to create a deep, rich color and flavor that hint at chocolate and coffee. We named it Cutthroat Porter as our tribute to the Colorado state fish – with its own rich heritage and unmistakable dark coloring. And while we’re big fans of small batches, here’s to the currently threatened Cutthroat population reaching mass quantities.

A nice little blurb regarding the beer, a small story and a hint at the style/flavour is always good. Also, I like how Odell are often connected with Colorado and naming this beer after the Cutthroat Trout is a nice gesture.

Usually with the London Porter style, the Malt takes the front seat, whilst the hops are still there in the background. After a little research, I think the malts used are 2-Row, Caramalt, Crystal, Brown, Munich, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley Malt. There is possibly a little bit of Smoked Malt hiding in the brew also, but I am not sure of this and going on flavour alone. I like the malt profile that has been used, as it’s a good mix of traditional Malts used in Porter and American Style Malts. Next the Hops, Fuggles, Kent Goldings and Northern Brewer. Again, two traditionally English Hops, and then some US grown Northern Brewer Hops which are similar to Kent Goldings. This makes a nice bitter, profile in the background with hints of honey allowing the all important Malt to shine through.

The beer pours black with a medium sized off-white head. The head retains well and leaves rings of lacing around the glass as you drink. This really is a nice looking beer. On the nose hints of Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Brown Sugar and some Coffee notes. This beer was one of the first Porters I ever had, and as soon as I smelt it I was absolutely hooked. When you taste this beer, the first thing you notice are the light Roasted Coffee notes. They aren’t as pronounced as a stout, but they are definitely still there! After this the flavour moves onto hints of Toffee, Caramelised Sugar, Molasses ending with a hint of Butterscotch at the end. Odell really have got the flavours and hops right in this brew, as it has that bitter hoppy finish a lot of Modern porters tend to ignore. Malty in flavour, but with the hop bitterness at the end. The beer is quite light bodied with medium carbonation. Although bitter, it finishes surprisingly sweet. There is also a light smokeyness which is a very nice touch and well received. It’s not like a Smoked Beer, but on the aftertaste there’s a nice hint there.

All in all a great example of an American Brewed London-Style Porter, and it frequents my fridge/cellar.

You can purchase Odell Cutthroat Porter in the UK at:

Beers of Europe (Low stock at time of writing)

Beer Ritz (IN Stock at time of writing)

Beer Gonzo (IN Stock at time of writing)

Honest Brew

Unfortunately there is no distribution for Odell in the UK, but if you’re a bar or a shop Beer Ritz does offer 24 bottles of this great Porter with regular shipments from the US.

EST. CALORIES: 150   ABV: 5%

American Independence Day! Beer: Anchor California Lager

Anchor Beer

I thought I’d start with this Anchor California Lager, seeing as it’s independence day, it’s made by an American company and the sun is shining. This one is definitely a summer brew!

A lot of people don’t like lagers, but I think there’s nothing better than a well crafted lager on a hot day.

Let’s start with Anchor Brewing‘s description of the beer:

“Anchor Steam’s roots go back to the Gold Rush, long before icehouses and modern refrigeration made traditional lagers a viable California option. In 1876, thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State, a little brewery named Boca created California’s first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager® is our re-creation of this historic American beer.

Made in San Francisco with two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th-century California), and our own lager yeast, this all-malt brew is kräusened and lagered in our cellars. Its golden color, distinctive aroma, creamy head, balanced depth of flavor, and smooth finish make Anchor California Lager® a delicious celebration of California’s unique craft brewing heritage.

The California grizzly bear on our Anchor California Lager label is from a woodcut by Durbin Van Vleck (1833–1898), courtesy of The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. First published in 1856 in San Francisco, it is a superbly crafted rendering of an original illustration by Charles Christian Nahl (1818–1878), who had painted both eastbound and westbound versions of this bear. Nearly a century later, Nahl’s bear served as inspiration for the design of the bear on California’s modern state flag. Although that bear is heading west, our bear—like the bear on Boca Brewing’s historic lager label—is heading east.”

Quite a long description, but Anchor always like to almost over describe their beer, a bit like Stone Brewing. However, Stone always are quite sarcastic in their blurbs and it makes it funny. More on them another time.

The recipe of Two-Row Barley, Cluster Hops and Lager Yeast is definitely a great attempt at a Pre-Prohibition Lager. The story behind it also has some truth in it which is always nice. It’s much better than MillerCoor’s attempt when they made Batch 19, which was meant to be Coors before Prohibition, or Miller, or something. It ended up tasting the same, but looked like food colouring had been added to it. Anyway, this blog is meant to be about good beer so I’ll continue with the California Lager.

This beer pours slightly different to a lot of lagers, with a head that is quite thick and dense which tends to stay on top of the beer the whole time with an impressive thin cap. It has a lovely strawberry blonde/yellow colour and looks a lot more inviting than most lagers. It smells very biscuity but instead of the often metallic smell of a lot of lagers you get a nice clean grassy note from the hops in the beer. That’s right! This lager actually has a hop profile! It’s a really simple clean smell, but the hardest part of a lager isn’t usually the recipe! The first thing you notice when you taste this beer, is the fact it’s not heavy at all. It’s really light and clean, refreshing. The taste of the lager yeast is still there, as it is with all lagers but on top of that you get a really nice clean grassy note and a tasty biscuity flavour. It’s quite carbonated, which is expected but it’s ultra-smooth at the same time and one of the cleanest and light craft beers I’ve had. You really could imagine drinking this all day whilst working hard in the sun, or you could actually do it (if your job allows that sort of thing).

Definitely something I would buy again, and definitely something I would recommend

You can purchase Anchor California Lager in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Noble Green Wines

Amazon (No I’m not winding you up!)

And probably some other places too, google it!

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, Anchor products are distributed by James Clay in the UK and comes in Cans and Bottles.

EST. CALORIES: 147   ABV: 4.9%