Berliner Weisse – English: Buxton Red Raspberry Rye

This Friday’s beer is another Sour, this time made in England by one of my favourite brewers – Buxton. Whilst Wednesday’s beer was a Lambic, this one’s a Berliner Weisse which is one of my favourite styles. It’s also brewed with Rye as one of the fermentables. I originally had this beer on my trip to Buxton, but I enjoyed it so much I purchased a few bottles the next day.

Let’s start with Buxton‘s Description of the beer:

Red Raspberry Rye is a tart Berliner weisse style beer brewed with whole raspberries. This sour fruit beer contains barley, wheat, rye, hops, yeast and raspberries. It contains 100g raspberries per liter. It is soured naturally in the copper for 4 days before boiling.

A very matter of fact description from Buxton, which they are known for. The first time I saw the description it made me really want to try the beer, but it didn’t tell me how it should taste and it didn’t try to “stick it to the man” in big beer. That’s why although clearly from Videos, the Buxton Staff are lively it’s clear when it comes to beer they always concentrate 100% on it.

Let’s start with the malt and mashing process first, the malt in this beer is Pilsen 2-Row malt, with Rye and White Wheat as fermentables. Once mashed in, this is cooled and stored for 4 days to sour the mash. The hops in this beer are hard to determine, but I think Hallertau have been used. Fuggles or similar could just as easily be used in this brew, as this beer is not meant to be hop forward. After this, it’s fermented with quite a clean yeast and during secondary fermentation raspberries are added for 10 days.

This beer pours a deep Red, almost Ruby colour with a quickly dissipating fizzy head leaving no lacing. Usually wheat is great for Head Retention, but in this beer, probably due to the Sugar from the Raspberries. On the nose there’s lots of Sour, almost Fruit Pastille like Raspberry, some Lacto and an underlying Rye Toastyness. This couldn’t smell any different to a Lambic with the same fruit! The taste lived up to the great nose, lots of Sour, Jam like Tart Raspberry, ending with some delicious toasty Rye notes lingering on the Palate. The beer is medium to high carbonated, quite full bodied and finishes medium sweet. I thought that was a beer that was incredibly balanced and I really do recommend it. Make these warmer Spring days that are bound to be few and far between good.

You can buy Red Raspberry Rye in the UK at:

All in stock at time of writing.

Beer Ritz

Mother Kelly’s

Beer Gonzo

EST. CALORIES: 147   ABV: 4.9%

Stout – English/American: Buxton/Arizona Wilderness Brewing Dragon Tips

This slightly late Mid-Week beer is a collaboration of one of my favorite breweries, Buxton Brewery and one of the best New Breweries – Arizona Wilderness Brewing. A Stout brewed with Maple, Bacon and Chipotle Chilli Peppers. What a mix! When I visited Buxton last year, I knew I had to get a couple of bottles.

Let’s start with the description of the beer:

A stout brewed with maple syrup and chipotle. Dry-baconed during fermentation with actual bacon.

Collaboration between Buxton Brewery and Arizona Wilderness.

Such a no nonsense description – and not much to say about it! I really love the phrase “dry-baconed” (as opposed to Dry-Hopping) and I wish it was something I could use in regular conversation, but it wouldn’t make any sense. I like how Buxton‘s descriptions never go on and let the drinker decide how the beer tastes. Always a plus in my book!

I did a bit of research into this one, as Buxton‘s Recipes for their special releases are always difficult to find. The malts in this brew are Crisp Maris Otter, 2-Row, Chocolate, Malted Wheat, Aromatic Barley Malt, Black Barley. Maple Syrup is also then added as a fermentable during the mashing process. After this, the Hops are added: Willamette, Fuggles, Millennium and Hersbrucker. After this, the Chipotle Peppers and Bacon are added during fermantation and before bottling, a little maple syrup is added to the bottle for good measure.

When you pour this beer it pours black, almost like a Porter with a very large Tan Coloured head (my thinking for the Wheat in the beer!) The head sticks around for a long while after finally dissipating, leaving a thin head and some lacing rings on the sides of the glass. On the Aroma, there’s some Roasty notes to begin with followed by a touch of Coffee, rapidly moving on to Earthy notes from the Hops used and the Chilli Peppers. There’s a little bit of Bacon smoke in the background too, just to let you know it’s there! When you taste this beer, it starts like the aroma with a kick of Roasty Notes on the palate, quickly followed by toffee and a little bit of chocolate. After this, there’s some sharp flavour from the Chilli peppers with a little bit of heat that carries through the rest of the flavour, which finishes with smoke from the Bacon and Maple Syrup. The beer is unusually thin for a Stout, but it more than makes up for it being so easy to drink and smooth. Medium Carbonation. All in all an interesting idea and a great brew.

You can buy Buxton / Arizona Wilderness Dragon Tips in the UK at:

Bottle Bank

Eebria

Both places are in stock at the time of writing.

EST. CALORIES: 249   ABV: 8.3%

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!

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!

Black Imperial IPA – English: Buxton Imperial Black IPA

BIIPA

This week comes with a newer style on the block, an Imperial Black IPA. I’d say this one can be enjoyed year round, although best enjoyed in the evening as they are usually around 7.5%.

Let’s start with Buxton Brewery‘s description of the beer:

Full bodied jet-black ale with a pale-tan head. Abundant fresh hop aromas suggesting zesty citrus pulp and forest fruits.

Quite a brief description, but Buxton has been known to be more modest with their blubs and leave a lot to the imagination which I think is a good idea for such a complex style.

Let’s start with a bit on the style, as I think a great new style such as this needs more recognition. An Imperial Black IPA/Black IPA or American Black Ale. It’s often mistaken for a hoppy Porter or Stout but this is not the case. Whilst this beer has the roasty flavour (hints of coffee and dark chocolate) this usually takes more of a back seat then it does in a Porter or Stout. Don’t get me wrong, the malty roasty coffee/chocolate tones are there and they are still a big part of the flavour. The main showcase however, is the nice fresh citrus/pine hop kick from the hops which is a lot different to a hoppy Porter or Stout as they tend to use Dark Roasted Malts like a Black IPA, but they use English hops sparingly to give it the true character of a stout or porter (usually). Black IPA’s use as many hops as an IPA and sometimes even more in order to get the flavour to cut through.

I contacted Buxton Brewery about the recipe of their beer, but unfortunately they didn’t reply so I have to take an educated guess. Usually with a Black IPA, you start with the base for a normal American Hopped IPA and add Carafa III Special Malt. I’m guessing the recipe is something similar to this: Pale Ale Malt, Crystal Malt and the Carafa III Special Malt. This beer also has some Wheat in, so I think that is most probably a German Strain as the head has very good retention like a bock. The hops are definitely American and going from the fresh Citrus and Pine flavours I think Chinook, Simcoe and Amarillo have been used.

When you pour this beer, the first thing you will notice is the smell of roasted coffee and citrus. Then you’ll notice that the head is spilling out the glass due to the wheat in the beer and possibly to do with the Bottle Conditioning. Once poured it looks very impressive, extremely dark with a crazy Tan coloured Head. The smell is still quite overwhelming and very inviting. Once the head reduces it stays on top of the beer as a medium cap the whole time, which really is quite impressive. Once you taste this beer it initially hits with hints of Fresh Roasted Coffee, Caramel and Brown Sugar. After this the hops kick in with a great punch of fresh citrus and hints of pine. It’s a bit like eating a Key Lime pie with a cup of coffee without it being so sweet. Although it is 7.5% there is no sign of the alcohol in the flavour and instead you get this sweet and sour aftertaste from the malted barley and wheat. It really is quite a complex brew but very enjoyable. Unlike the standard IPA it doesn’t have a dry finish and instead finishes sweet with medium carbonation.

This is definitely a beer to enjoy slowly after a long hard day at work.

I’d purchase this beer again and I’m glad Buxton Brewery have made this a year-round beer instead of a special release.

You can purchase Buxton Imperial Black IPA in the UK at:

Buxton Brewery’s Online Shop
Beer Ritz
Deliciously Different

At the time of posting, you can also grab a bottle from The Pint Shop, Cambridge in person For any bars, shops etc that are interested, I would contact the Brewery directly. Black Imperial IPA comes in Bottles, Kegs and Cask.

EST. CALORIES: 225   ABV: 7.5%