1st July – IPA – Scottish: Brewdog Born To Die 04.07.2015

This week’s beer is Brewdog’s tribute to Stone’s Enjoy By, which I reviewed earlier this year. Although this beer is a tribute, it’s definitely Brewdog’s twist as it’s definitely a different recipe but with the same intention – to brew an IPA that’s not meant to last to drink fresh. It’s one for all you Hop-Heads out there!

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

This beer is Born To Die.

Savagely bitter, exceptionally dry, this IPA is born to die on a predetermined day. It proudly displays its short-lived life span front and centre.

There is no better time to drink this than the moment you get your paws on it.

Awesome bitterness backed up by unrelenting aromas of resin, citrus, and juicy fruit. Born To Die is a eulogy to the hops that sacrificed themselves in its creation.

An incredibly ambitious and satisfying small batch brew.

This is one of those Brewdog descriptions we’ve come to expect, brash, bold and tonnes of hints at the flavour. Although, it has been noted that Brewdog seem to have stepped down the comedy and over exaggeration in their descriptions lately. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing! In a way I miss their funny descriptions full of things against “the man” but on the other hand it’s nice to see a company evolving!

Anyway, let’s not get into politics! This beer hopped a lot, as it’s an Imperial IPA. The Hops in this brew are Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe. I hadn’t had a beer with Citra in for a little while, so this excited me. As for the Malts, we’ve got Extra Pale, Marris Otter and Pale Malts. Quite a similar Malt Bill to Enjoy by but with the added Extra Pale malt and lowering of the other Malts giving it a paler colour. I’d say that this beer is probably Dry Hopped with Citra and Mosaic and fermented with a San Diego style yeast.

When you pour this beer it’s Amber with a Medium White head, it dissipates down to a thin cap which stays on top of the beer for most of the time you’re drinking it leaving dotty lacing on the sides of the glass. On the nose we’ve got a little bit of Bready Malt, Lemongrass, Tropical Fruits and a splash of Pine. On the Palate, the Bready Malts come through first which is a nice surprise, these carry throughout the beer providing a backbone which the Hops shine off! First a big hit of Citrus and Coriander, then Pineapple and Mango with hints of Bubblegum. It finishes with a Resinous Pine kick. The beer is very well bodied, with quite high carbonation. It finishes dry. This beer is perfect for the summer weather, let’s hope Brewdog release another batch!

You can ask Brewdog to E-Mail you when Born to Die is back in stock or get down to somewhere like Bottledog, who might have a few more bottles left. Grab it before the 4th July! (I know it’s not long).

EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%

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Barrel Aged Scotch Ale – Scottish: Brewdog Bourbon Baby

This week’s beer is a Barrel Aged beer that you could actually determine as a Session Beer. Bourbon Baby, by Brewdog. The beer starts life as a Scotch Ale, and is then Barrel Aged. Quite an interesting concept, and definitely one I wanted to write about.

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

Bourbon Baby is a baby Scotch ale which we’ve gone on to age in bourbon barrels.

The Scotch ale base is light bodied and low ABV, and brings toasted shortcake and blossom honey flavours; the barrel ageing adds a demonic, dark vanilla twist. Rich brown sugar, hints of smoke, spiced fruit, chocolate and raisins are just some of the multitude of flavours that have developed.

Our aim was to showcase barrel ageing in a lower ABV beer and we felt the malty scotch ale base was the perfect way to do this. The body remains light, yet there is a complexity quite unlike anything you would normally expect in a Scotch ale.

Bourbon Baby is a small batch beer and is available in limited quantities in bottle and draft, and will cope with further ageing in the bottle but is best suited to drinking fresh. 

Not the usual Gusto-Fueled description we’ve come to expect from Brewdog, but I find that quite refreshing. They also don’t claim that they’re the first ones to create a beer like this. There’s a lot of hints about the flavour, but that’s to be expected of them.

Now for the recipe, and as I’ve said before 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, Peat Smoked Malt and Chocolate Malt. There’s less 2-Row compared to usual to make sure the flavours from the specialty Malts are prominent without the ABV being boosted. Also, Wheat is added for good head retention. The hops used in this brew are First Gold, Willamette and Mt Hood. After this it’s aged in Bourbon Barrels during secondary fermentation.

The beer pours a nice Dark Ruby colour with a Tan head that has great retention. It stuck with the beer for the entire time I was drinking it, which is quite a feat for a Barrel Aged beer! On the nose there’s fantastic Caramel, Brown Sugar, Coffee and Bourbon notes. When tasting this beer, initially there’s a wave of Coffee and Caramel which carries through the beer. Hints of Vanilla and a big Bourbon flavour ending with a nice Chocolate crescendo. The beer is as crisp as a lager, with medium carbonation. It finishes Medium Dry. This beer really is great, wether you’re enjoying a bottle of it or want something a bit different to session. I’d say it’s another great Spring beer, given how crisp and clean it is.

You can buy Bourbon Baby at Brewdog’s store.

EST. CALORIES: 174   ABV: 5.8%

New Years Post – Imperial Amber/Red Ale – Scottish: Brewdog Mashtag #2014

My first Blog post of 2015, but I’m starting off with a great beer from last year – Brewdog‘s Mashtag 2014. Mashtag is a Beer that Brewdog ask the public to nominate ingredients for. They did one in 2013, and 2014 so I’m hoping it happens again this year! I’ll let you know a little more about the recipe later on but I really do think this is a great idea. I’m surprised the combination in this one came out so well!

Let’s start with Brewdog‘s description of the Beer:

#Mashtag 2014 – a beer for the people, by the people.
The #Mashtag concept is simple. We invited the public to vote on each aspect of the brew, from hops to malt to the special twist and even the label design, and from the thousands of possibilities this presented, the result is an imperial red ale, brewed with copious speciality malts, a global blend of hops, and blood orange, lemon peel and orange peel.
On the nose, there’s a riot of citrus, in many forms, from orange pith to lemon zest, via lime juice and even lemongrass. Fresh, bright resinous notes blend with light toasty malt aromas.
The palate is intense with toffee, with tiny hints of tobacco smoke coming through in little bursts, but the star attraction is an all-out bitter orange avalanche. A slightly psychotic, orange-that-thinks-it’s-a-grapefruit character builds upon and intensifies the hop bitterness, squaring up against the rich sweet malt base. The result is a huge red ale with a drinkable quality you’d expect in a beer half this strength.

I quite like this description, it’s not like a lot of the Brewdog’s other (now banned) bottles. It makes me sad in a way, but on the other hand I think it’s an apt description for a beer voted for by people around the world. It has a little back story on how the Public voted for ingredients and then a little insight on the flavours which really do sound incredible!

The Malts used in this beer are Extra Pale, Cara, Crystal, Dark Crystal and Black Malt – A different mix for a Red Ale, but it contributes to the appearance and flavour a lot. Next up, the Hops! Amarillo, Motueka and Mittelfrüh. Definitely a Citrus bomb with the hops, given the other ingredients; a large helping of Blood Orange, Orange Peel and various other Citrus fruits. After this, it’s Fermented with Brewdog’s usual yeast, which is a Dry English Yeast strain.

When you pour this beer, it is a dark Ruby colour with a thin off-white head. It dissipates pretty quickly leaving dotty lacing on the glass, which is a nice touch. On the nose, absolutely loads of Blood Orange, some Honey, Pine and Citrus notes follow. After smelling this beer you want to drink the entire thing straight away, but this is definitely not to be taken lightly as it’s just shy of 10%. The first thing you get when you taste this brew, is yet more Blood Orange, it really dominates this brew but it’s not a bad thing! After this, some Citrus Notes with a little bit of Grapefruit until the Caramel, Honey with a touch of Smoke comes through from the malts. The flavour in this beer sounds completely extreme, but it’s so balanced and that’s not an easy feat! The carbonation isn’t as high as you’d expect in a beer like this, finishing Medium/Dry with some Bitter Orange Peel notes.

This is a beer I’d definitely recommend seeking out before it goes completely! There’s nothing wrong with drinking a beer from last year this year! Let’s look forward to this years Mashtag!

You can still buy Mashtag #2014 at:

Ales By Mail

Beer Gonzo

Beers of Europe

All three of these places are still In Stock at time of writing, and the beer has a pretty long date so don’t worry about that.

For any Bars/Shops looking to stock this beer you can Contact the Brewdog rep in your area for more info.

EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%

Black IPA – Scottish/Swedish: Brewdog/Cap Brewing CapDog

This Friday’s beer is a Black IPA, a collaboration between Brewdog and CAP Brewing. Although we’ve had a few Coffee beers over the last week, this is the last one for a little while! I think the reason being is that I haven’t been sleeping much lately and have been working double time on this and my day job, so Coffee is well and truly on my mind! CapDog is a Black IPA infused with Cascara – the fruit of the Coffee plant making for a brew I was very interested in.

Let’s start with the description of the beer –

CAPDOG is a warped smoky black IPA brewed to imperial strength, infused with cascara – the fruit of the coffee plant.

Subtly sweet, with big resin and chocolate notes, balanced by spicy and smoky flavours, CAPDOG is a curious collaboration between CAP and BrewDog.

A good description of the beer – we’re expecting spicy, smokey flavours with some resinous hops, chocolate and some sweetness. Not a balls-to-the-wall description I’ve come to expect from Brewdog, but sometimes it’s nice to have a change! Also, it’s good for them to work with a Brewery unheard of in the UK until a little while ago.

Capdog is brewed with Extra Pale, Crystal, Rye and Carafa malts. I like this mix of malts for a Black IPA, if anyone tries it without the infusion of Cascara, let me know! The malt bill seems like it’s intended for a clean, yet Chocolatey and Roasty flavour. Only one lot of Hops in this brew, the famous Centennial. I think this is a great hop for the beer, as the Lemon and Citrus flavours from this hop will compliment the Cascara nicely. I can imagine either the Cascara is put into the boil, or is made into a “Cascara Tea” and added to fermentation.

This beer pours a thick Black with a Mocha coloured head, there’s a tiny bit of sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. The head dissipates quickly, which is expected for a 9% brew leaving a tan coloured cap on the beer. What a great looking beer! It really looks like a Winter Brew. On the nose there’s lots of Citrus, Dark Fruits and a little bit of Coffee and Pine. It’s quite an inviting smelling brew, especially if you like Citrus Forward beers. When you taste this beer, you get lots of Roasty and Chocolate notes, followed by some Clean Coffee tones, Dark Fruits finishing with a strange Coca Cola/Kola Nut flavour and some pine. The mouthfeel is thinner than I was expecting for a dark beer, but this is an IPA afterall! Medium carbonation and finishes quite dry, despite some of the sweet flavours. If you can get your hands on this beer, I really recommend it. Perfect tucked up next to the fire on a cold Evening when you don’t fancy something more heavy like a Stout.

You can purchase CapDog in the UK (be quick!) at:

Ales By Mail (IN STOCK at time of writing)

Unfortunately, Capdog was a limited brew, but for any Bars/Shops wanting to stock Brewdog’s Collaborations and more Limited Releases I’d really recommend signing up to their Mailing List.

EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%

Pumpkin Ale – Scottish: Brewdog Pumpkin Head

It’s Halloween in the UK, so what else could I do but review a Pumpkin Beer?

Today I’m reviewing a beer that has had a bit of bad press – Brewdog‘s Pumpkin Head

Pumpkin Head is Brewdog‘s take on the Pumpkin Ales popular in America. I’m guessing it’s brewed for a UK Palate, as it’s slightly different to other Pumpkin Ales I’ve had in the past. More on that a little later.

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

We’re turning Hallowe’en inside out and upside down. Pumpkinhead is not your usual unctuous, cloyingly sweet Hallowe’en pumpkin ale. Sure, there’s a huge heady hit of pungent spice on the nose, but it’s followed with bright and zesty citrus flavours, and a light mouthfeel.

Spicy and sweet autumnal favourites like toasted marshmallow and toffee apple are just some of the complex notes you’ll find in our first twisted take on a pumpkin ale, which weighs in at 5.1% ABV.

The label artwork is designed by Johnathan Reiner.

Quite a different description compared to other Brewdog’s beers, and it seems a little grown up. Also worth noting is the fact it has bright and zesty flavours as well as the spice and a light mouthfeel. Quite different to other Pumpkin beers. Have Brewdog created the ultimate Halloween Party session beer? Also, the artwork definitely did deserve a mention in the description – although as a friend of mine once said: “I’ve tried drinking the packaging but it just doesn’t add anything to a beer’s appearance, nose or taste.” it is a great piece of artwork and sets the Halloween-y mood.

After doing a little research, I didn’t have to go far as Brewdog usually openly admit whats in their brews Extra Pale, Munich, Dark Crystal, Amber malts are used. As for the hop bill we have Nugget, Willamette, First Gold. These hops have been used to enhance the woody and spicy notes in the beer provided by Pumpkin, Grains of Paradise, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Ginger and Clove.

This beer pours Ruby/Copper coloured with an off white head. The head retention is great apart from an initial decline in the first few minutes and it leaves dotty lacing on the sides of the glass. It definitely looks like a pumpkin beer! The first aroma is Pumpkin and Clove, followed by the Ginger, Cinnamon, Cumin, some of the Allspice and it seems as though a funky yeast has been used. The only aroma that’s not usually there is some background fruity notes, possibly coming from a combination of the Pumpkin and the Willamette hops. When you taste this beer, you get an inital kick of the spices, lots of Cinnamon, Peppery notes, Cumin, a touch of Clove, Nutmeg, Pumpkin and finally the Citrusy flavours promised in the background. Although there’s a lot of flavour here, I’m not sure if the light Mouthfeel makes this beer a great Halloween session brew or if it denies the mouthfeel people expect from a Pumpkin beer. It finishes medium sweet. That being said, I believe this is Brewdog’s attempt at a beer that you can session all through Halloween, scaring Trick or Treaters that knock on your door. All in all a good beer and I recommend giving it a try, but on the other hand I can see the why there is bad press. Personally, I enjoyed this and have a few more to drink later today.

You can purchase Brewdog Pumpkin Head Online at:

Ales By Mail (IN STOCK at time of writing)

Brewdog

Also, you can purchase this currently at Bottledog, Kings Cross

For any Bars/Shops looking to stock this beer you can Contact the Brewdog rep in your area for more info.

EST. CALORIES: 153   ABV: 5.1%

Barleywine – Collaboration: Scottish/American: BrewDog / Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus

This week’s beer is a Collaboration beer from Brewdog and Oskar Blues. This beer is a Barley Wine, the first on this site. I chose this beer because it’s a mix of an English style Barley Wine and an American Style one. There are some subtle differences, English Barley Wines are usually more malt-forward, whilst American Barley Wines are much more Hop Orientated. Brewdog (Scotland, UK) and Oskar Blues (Longmont, Colorado) are two breweries that are extremely passionate about what they do, and this is no exception.

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

In collaboration with the awesome Oskar Blues from Colorado, we’ve created this big, twisted 10.5% American style barley wine. With big boozy aromas that’ll swirl round your nostrils and a sweet viscosity that’ll cover your tongue from top to tip, this is a beer for people who enjoy nonsense and walking on tightropes. Even when the Circus packs up and leaves, you’re left with a lingering warmth and bitterness playing in your mouth.

I say this is the online description, because this beer is bottled by Brewdog and their descriptions are always full of Bravado and strange metaphors. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, and it’s what I have come to expect from Brewdog (Has anyone seen Brew Dogs on TV?!) I picked the online description, as I feel that it represents both breweries well and gives you a bit of a description of the beer, although it’s still full of some great metaphors. From the description, we’re expecting something something boozy with lots of complex flavours, which sounds like exactly what we need with the first cold snap attacking the UK!

Although Brewdog are always very open about what they use to brew, the brew-sheet for this beer has been offline for quite a while as this Barley Wine was released this time last year. The reason I’ve kept it until now is that Barley Wines tend to mellow out over time and the flavours get more complex as it sits in the bottle. The malts in this beer are what I’d expect from an English Barley Wine, Extra Pale, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate. The hop bill is where it gets interesting, and gives it the American twist. Chinook, Cascade, Citra are used giving some piney, resinous and fruity flavours. Citra definitely was an interesting addition, and when I learned this I was very interested to see how it faired in a Barley Wine.

When you pour this beer, it comes out with a Copper/Ruby colour and looks a bit like a Red/Amber Ale to start with. As more beer goes into the glass, it starts getting thicker and darker and develops a Tan coloured head. The smell of alcohol is the first thing you notice after pouring, but after a while the other aromas come through. Loads of Marshmallow, Stone Fruits, Toffee, Caramel with hints of Pineapple and Dried Apricot (Citra?!). This is definitely a sipping beer, at 10.5% and a smell like this you can tell it’s going to be a true Winter brew. After taking your first sip, you get hit by Roasted Marshmallow, Some dark, Sweet Roasty Malts, Dates, Plumb and Fig. After this fades, the hops take control and you get hints of Lime, Pineapple and a little bit of some other Citrus and Tropical fruits along with some Brown Sugar. This beer is sticky on your lips, is medium carbonated and finishes quite sweet. All in all, this is a great brew and something you can still buy even though the release was last year! Winter is coming, and this is definitely one that will see you through with some warmth from the Roasty flavours and Alcohol.

You can purchase Shipwrecker Circus in the UK at:

Beer Ritz (IN STOCK at time of writing!)

As this is a limited beer, you may need to do quite a bit of Google-ing, but it’s definitely out there!

For any Bars/Shops looking to stock this beer you can Contact the Brewdog rep in your area for more info. I hear Brewdog also import Oskar Blues to the UK, but this will have to be something you can tell them you’ve heard on the grapevine!

EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%

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!