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!

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%