Monday, 29 February 2016

News of the Brews - March 2016

 Before we get into March, let’s wave goodbye to February with a beer that’s being launched this weekend at Craft Beer Rising in London. Outlaw Brewing Co is the experimental arm of Roosters, mainly responsible for smaller volume one-offs and “quirky stuff” (as it’s technically known). So say hello to Roots Rock Reggae (6.4%, pineapple and grapefruit IPA). I’m not sure there’s much more to say, other than it’s a small-batch one-off, so likely to sell out quickly.

Now, let’s ring March in with a triumvirate of tasty of tasty treats from New Zealand. First up, 8 Wired Brewing. Hopwired IPA (7.3%) is made with all NZ ingredients, both malt and (perhaps more importantly) hops, delivering a tropical fruit salad of flavour. Tall Poppy (7%) is their red IPA – lots of hops but also a caramel malt backbone. And also iStout (10.5%), a big, brooding imperial stout.

Next up, two beers from Tuatara Brewing Co. Sauvinova (5.2%) is their single-hopped IPA, made solely from Nelson Sauvin hops. And APA (Aotearoa Pale Ale, 5.8% - we’ll be giving a prize to the first person who pronounces that correctly over the phone) is a straight-down-the-line American pale ale made with New Zealand hops.

Finally, Yeastie Boys are a duo of “beer activists” without a brewery, in the tried-and-tested gypsy style of Mikkeller, To Øl and a host of others. Their beers were originally brewed at Invercargill Brewery, New Zealand, but this batch has been brewed at Brewdog’s new plant up at Ellon – no worries about quality control there. Three beers from them: Digital IPA (5.7%), Gunnamatta (6.5% earl grey IPA), and Pot Kettle Black (6% porter).

While we’re talking BrewDog, we should probably mention that we have stocks of their freshly-canned grapefruit IPA, Elvis Juice (6.5%), alongside a new release, the start of a single-hopped series of session IPA, the first being Ace of Simcoe (4.5%).

A delivery from Siren Craft Brew has brought all manner of crazy limited edition bits and pieces. Perhaps most hotly anticipated is the Siren Evil Twin collab BA Hazelnut Jesus (11.4% liquorice imperial stout aged in hazelnut liqueur barrels – half cases on this only, sorry), but wait there’s more. There’s a Stillwater collab Funkier Feet (8%, 100% Brett barrel fermented wild aged blended with rosé wine and aged on shiraz grapes – two years in the making!). Plus two more installments of the barrel-ageing project, Odyssey005 (10.5% wee heavy aged in Banyuls and Armagnac barrels) and 006 (10.5% blended barrel-aged wild barley wine).

As part of an ongoing effort to promote what we think are great but overlooked breweries, please do have a look at the current offering from Mallinsons. They mainly brew what is broadly known as “pale ‘n’ hoppy”, majoring on single hop pale ales. Our current range from them includes: Chinook, Mount Hood, Ella, Simcoe, Summit, Bramling Cross, Sorachi Ace and Centennial, plus some multi hop beers Lockwood and Twin Peaks.

We’ve a couple of new beers from Arbor Ales (as we do every week, seemingly) Shangri-La (4.2% session ale with lots of US hops) and a welcome return to their Triple Hop (4% Chinook Citra Galaxy).

A delivery from Weird Beard has seen the return of Decadence Stout (5.5%), Sadako (9.2% imperial stout, in bombers only), Out of Office (7% coffee IPA).

Thursday, 1 October 2015

News of the Brews - October 2015

Without wishing to make every moan by using the C-word, we are starting to see the first of our Christmas beers arriving, with the full complement expected to be with us by mid-October. We’ll be offering a dozen British beers, along with half a dozen Belgians, plus any other seasonal ones that we get offered. We do try every year to source new beers, but many breweries’ schedules mean that their Christmas special aren’t available until late November available. However, we have commissioned a brew from Wiper & True, which will sit nicely alongside the mix of contemporary and classic beers from Ilkley, Ridgeway, Salopian, Saltaire, Great Heck, Rudgate, and no doubt a few others will appear over the next few weeks.

On a seasonal tip, Brewdog have released their autumnal pumpkin ale, Pumpkin King (5.4%), along with a more malt-driven altbier, Candy Kaiser (5%). Keeping the hoppy beers to the fore, we have the latest in the series Hello My Name Is….Holy Moose (5.5%, no, we’ve no idea either, but it’s a Scandinavian berry IPA with sea buckthorn). And finally, behind a beautifully illustrated label, we have an imperial stout with vanilla, cacao and lactose, Hinterland (9%).

Also coming out of the Brewdog beer lab we have the latest release from MikkellerPale Ale Swindle (5.6%), a punchy copper-gold pale ale with bags of citrus character.

In line with the autumnal turn in the weather, we have refreshed our range of Lindisfarne fruit wines and meads. On the wine front, we now have: Ginger, Mulled, Raspberry, Cherry, Strawberry, Elderflower, Blueberry, Black Beer & Honey, Blackberry, and Blackcurrant, along with a couple of new meads – Pink Mead, with a twist of orange, and Spiced Mead.

The Transatlantic Rainbow Project 2015 (you can click here for a Google of the relevant info)has yielded some interesting collaborations, and we currently have available the collab between Siren Craft Brew and Surly Brewing Co, Blue Sky Blue Sea (5%), a cloudberry and seaweed gose, as well as the Wild Beer Co and Firestone Walker collab Violet Underground (5%, wild ale). And we’re obviously delighted that our friends at Magic Rock Brewing have sent us a few cases of their collab with Cigar City Cigarro Roja Magica (6.5% red IPA with grapefruit).

Chorlton Brewing Co have been on a bit of a research tour of late, trying to find out more about Berliner weisse by going to Germany and drinking lots of it (I know, what a job, eh?). The current version of their Woodruff Berliner has been bottled with a strain of wild yeast isolated from a 30 year-old bottle of Willner Brauerei Weissebier Export – make of that what you will! Their current range also includes Farmhouse IPA (7.5%), Sandalwood Ale (6.7%), Ahtanum Sour (5.6%) and arriving shortly, Victoria Sour (5.6%, dry-hopped with Australian Victoria’s Secret Hops), Woodruff Berliner (3.8%), and Dark Matter (6.8% imperial black gose).

About a year ago, we got in touch with Bermondsey-based Brew By Numbers to see if they were interested in selling us some of their delicious beer. At that time, their production capacity meant that they were struggling to meet the demands of their existing customers, let alone taking on any new ones. Happily, they have recently increased capacity, so we’ve added them as what we hope will be a permanent listing. Current stocks are Saison Classic (5.5%), Brown Ale (6%), Session IPA Amarillo (4%), 5C IPA (6.4%).

AND FINALLY we are delighted to announce the overdue arrival of Thornbridge Tart (6%), a “Bakewell Sour” brewed in collaboration with Wild Beer Co (they have been lately, haven't they?). Tart is a golden yellow colour, refreshingly tart and dry with a combination of citrusy hops and flavours of grapefruit and bitter lemon. The name Tart is inspired by the Bakewell delicacy where we are based and accurately describes the flavour of the beer in a single word.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

News of the Brews - August 2015

You won’t want to hear this, but we’ve recently done the majority of our ordering for Christmas. This is a funny time of year, as there always seems to be a slight lull in sales, but we still have a few new things to tell you about.

A new listing for Chorlton Brewing Co has brought a range of interesting and idiosyncratic brews. Majoring on sours, but with other forays into slightly more traditional brewing, we have Amarillo Sour (dry-hopped sour, 5.6%), Ahtanum Sour (dry-hopped sour, 5.8%), Woodruff Berliner (Berliner weisse with woodruff essence – the traditional Berliner accompaniment - 3.8%), Farmhouse IPA (7.5%) and Sandalwood Ale (amber ale aged over sandalwood, 6.7%).

Our shiny new friends at Vocation Brewery have released a couple of new beers. Divide & Conquer (black IPA, 6.5%) and Life & Death (IPA, cans only, 6.5%) join their compadres Pride & Joy (American pale ale, 5.5%) and Heart & Soul (session IPA, 4.4%). If you haven’t tried these yet, please do - they are very much on our “go to” list.

You may have already gleaned this from our weekly mailout (let us know if you’re not receiving these), but Wild Beer Co are the latest brewery to have heavily invested in a canning line, with excellent (and handsome) results. We are currently holding stocks of their Madness IPA (6.8%), Fresh Pale Ale (5.5%) and Bibble (session ale, 4.2%). We also have some of their new annual release The Blend (geuze-style multi-aged wild-fermented blend, 4.7%)
Arbor Ales have bolstered their current range with some specials. Red Henry (5.5%) is a red ale made with German and English malts, plus four different American hop varieties. Motueka IPA (6.7%) does what it says on the bottle, and Fuzzy Logic (7%) is a Nelson Sauvin-hoped saison, enhanced with the addition of several hundred kiwi fruit. Oh, and by popular demand, we have both their Yakima IPA and peerless, award-winning Breakfast Stout back in stock too!

Cloudwater Brewery have a few new releases too. US Hopfenweisse (5.2%), Cream Ale (5.2%), and Grisette (saison, 3.5%, dated 16.9.15) join summer core beers Summer IPA (6.8%) and Session IPA (4.5%).

Despite best efforts from the brewery, supplies of Beavertown beers continue to be a bit patchy. We currently have stocks of Gamma Ray (5.4%), Neck Oil (4.3%), Quelle Saison (summer special dry-hopped saison, 4.1%), Smog Rocket (5.4%), Holy Cowbell (5.6%), as well as a tiny allocation juice-spiked sours Lemon Phantom (3%) and Yuzilla Phantom (4.5%). These are available w/c 17th August, as half-case allocations – sorry we have to do this, but there is very little to go around.

A delivery from Siren Craft Brew has brought a new special – All Bretts Are Off (4.5%), a 100% brett-fermented English-style bitter, brewed in collaboration with Colorado’s Crooked Stave brewery. We also have a re-brew of their Hill Farmstead collab Love Of Work, to augment the total number of Siren beers to EIGHTEEN (count ‘em!)

Some one-liners to finish off:

The ever-excellent Thornbridge have released a strawberry-infused blond ale called I Love You Will You Marry Me (4.5%). 

Marble have just released La Petite Toulousaine (4.7%), a pale ale with grapefruit and lemongrass.

Tempest have added Farmhouse Ale (saison, 5.1%) to their excellent and extensive range of superb and reasonably-priced beers.

Friday, 3 July 2015

News of the Brews - July 2015

We’re really excited about this new listing. Vocation Brewery haven’t been in action very long, but they’ve hit the ground running, and the two beers we have from them currently are both excellent. Heart & Soul (4.4% session IPA) and Pride & Joy (5.3% American pale ale) are the opening two beers from a range of four. As a calling card, these look and taste great.

This year’s collab from Wild Beer Co and Beavertown Brewery has just hit the warehouse. Blubus Maximus (5.5%, 75cl only) is gently tart fruit beer, subtly enhance with bay leaves and ton of blueberries. That’s not a figure of speech – it was literally a ton.

Continuing the West Country collab theme, Arbor Ales have a brace of collabs in their current range. First, a wonderfully aromatic red ale with Italian craft brewery Mezzo Passo. Basta Rosse (5.5%) is chock full of delicious Mosaic and Cascade hops. And secondly, Bonsai (6.5%) is a collab IPA with Welsh urchins Tiny Rebel.

Cloudwater Brewery have upped their output substantially, so we hope to feature their beers as a permanent listing, subject to brewery supply. We currently have IPA (6.8%), Session IPA (4.5%), Lager (5.5%) and Simcoe Hopfenweisse (6%).

A pallet from Siren Craft Brew has yielded 4 (count ‘em!) collab specials. Mum’s The Word (5.5%), a cherry and chipotle milk porter, is a collab with Arizona Wilderness Brewing. Uncle Zester (8.5%) a sour-citrus braggot (a mead-beer hybrid – lots of honey here) is a collab with B. Nektar of Ferndale Michigan. Quadrophenia (9.3%), a quadruppel-style dark ale is a collab with Jackie O Brewery of Athens Ohio. And closer to home, Mrs Brown (9%) is a bourbon-aged imperial brown ale with maple syrup and pecans, brewed in collab with Huddersfield’s very own Magic Rock Brewing.

Pressure Drop have added a new IPA to their range. ENZ (7.1%) is a south pacific IPA, heavy with New Zealand hops. Also back in stock is their summer witbier Wallbanger (4.7%), Pale Fire (4.8%), Bosko Absoluto (9%), Wu Gang Chops The Tree (3.8%) and Street Porter (6.5%).

On the American front, we currently have stocks of Odell Runoff Red IPA (6.5%), shortly to be joined (w/c 29th June) by their IPA (7%), summer seasonal St Lupulin (6.5%), Loose Leaf (4.5%), and Cutthroat Porter (4.8%). Summer beers from Brooklyn and Anchor are also currently in stock.

Weird Beard Brew Co have just released Upside To A Down Day (5.5%), a breakfast black IPA, and we currently have stocks of their always-popular Little Things That Kill (3.9%), Faceless Spreadsheet Ninja (5.5%), Hive Mind (5.6%) and Dark Hopfler (2.5%), as well as their extensive core range.

Ilkley Brewery have carried out a bit of light rebranding to their Mary Jane IPA. This has been repackaged in 33cl bottles, in packs of 12, and shall henceforth be known as Mary Jane Export (6%).

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

News of the Brews - April 2015

We have a new listing this month from Danish gypsy brewer To Øl. Pictured is their double IPA Dangerously Close To Stupid, but the range encompasses everything from IPA to Berliner Weisse (Like Weisse) to Imperial Liquorice Chili Stout (Liquorice Confidence).
In fact, I’m breaking the news after the event, as many of you will know, as we have gone through a huge amount of stock in record time. We still have a reasonable range of beers, but are down to single figures of cases on a lot of them, with the next shipment scheduled for mid-late April, so it’s very much a case of grab them while you can.

After a couple of weeks of absence, we’ve just had a restock from Seven Brothers (or Seven Bro7hers), who have added a summery Strawberry & Elderflower Session Ale (3.8%) to their remarkably reasonably-priced range, which comprises an IPA, an EPA (English pale ale with citrus zest) and a Stout.

We have recently expanded out Belgian range somewhat, with the arrival of Chouffe beers in small format – La Chouffe, McChouffe, Houblon and Soleil are now all available in 24x33cl. Also just arrived, Duvel Triple Hop 2015 (9.5%) (hopped with Equinox this year), plus a range of harder-to-find large format bottles – Rodenbach Vintage 2012 75cl, HORALs Geuze Megablend 2013 75cl (a blend of young and old lambic from all 8 HORAL members - 3 Fonteinen, Boon, De Oude Cam, De Troch, Hanssens, Lindemans, Oud Beersel, Tilquin and Timmermans), Malheur Brut and Dark Brut. We also have new gift packs from Chouffe, Rochefort and Brugse Zot.

We have added a new (and highly thought of) Belgian brewery, De Dochter van den Korenaar (it means “the miller’s daughter” – nothing to do with doctors or coroners), who are a little-known microbrewery in the Dutch-Belgian border town of Baarle-Hertog. In 24x33cl we have Belle-Fleur IPA (6%), Crime Passionel (hoppy wheat beer, 7.5%), Embrasse (strong dark ale, 9%), Extase (double IPA, 8.5%) and in 12x66cl, Charbon (smoked vanilla stout, 7%). 

We have a couple of new Siren Craft Brew beers listed since last we spoke. Love Of Work (3.6%) is a collab brew with Hill Farmstead, a pale golden ale brewed with Earl Grey tea. Also just arrived is their collab with Omnipollo, Life is A Peach (IPA with peaches and lactose, 6.4%), which is a recipe scaled up from their latest homebrew competition. Liquid Mistress (5.7%, red IPA) is also now back in stock.

A delivery from Wiper & True brings a few new beers. A very drinkable session porter Mount Hood (3%), and two saisons – Prelude (4.1%) and The Breeze (3.4%) – all point to the arrival of spring, which frankly, is something I’m sure we would all welcome.

Beavertown Brewery have had a fairly massive hiccup in production, as I’m sure you are aware. Stocks are starting to get back to normal, although we currently only have Neck Oil, Holy Cowbell (a new listing – 5.6% “India Stout”) and Black Betty in the warehouse, with a delivery of Gamma Ray due to arrive shortly. A re-brew of their staggeringly popular blood orange IPA Bloody ‘Ell has been scheduled for release mid-April – we will be keeping you posted on this. Literally anything could happen.

AND FINALLY, it wouldn’t be a monthly flyer without another new Thornbridge beer. This month, it’s Bear State, a 7% West Coast IPA.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

News of the Brews - March 2015

CANNED BEER appears to have come full circle. In the UK, it started out as an innovation by Welsh brewery Felinfoel, who were the first British brewery to put beer in cans, in 1931. Over the last 84 years, cans have moved from being innovations to becoming synonymous with cheap commodity beers, and back again. Canning technology and manufacture now means that the quality and durability of canned beer is better than it ever has been. And the quality of beers that craft brewers are putting into cans is also exceptional. So much so that we’ve now added a dedicated section to our pricelist, where you will find core beers, one-off specials and even a canned cider all listed together.

And on that subject, WESTONS have just released a canned cider, Caple Rd (5.2%, 24x33cl). Westons have been quite upfront about the fact that they have used this packaging in response to current market trends, but are keen to highlight the fact that their cider is proper cider, made from apples, and not some weird concoction of spring water, alcohol and “nature identical” flavourings. We’ve listed it because we tried it and we liked it.

And at the risk of over-egging the canned pudding, we currently also have canned beers in from WILD BEER COBibble, a 4.2% pale ale with lots of Mosaic and Amarillo, and Wild Goose Chase, a 4.5% saison with gooseberries – and WEIRD BEARDFaceless Spreadhseet Ninja, their 5.5% Citra pilsner. But be quick - these are close to selling out already!

Enough already with the cans! In traditional good old-fashioned brown bottles, in cases of 12x50cl, we have a new listing this month from FALLEN BREWERY, from Stirlingshire. Behold the rugged beauty of their labels! And the beers are pretty damn tasty too. Odyssey (4.1%, hoppy blonde ale), Dragonfly (4.6%, a biscuit and citrusy American amber), Blackhouse (5% smoked porter) and Grapevine (5.4% New World pale) are all punchy, clean, well-made beers.

THORNBRIDGE BREWERY are celebrating 10 years in the game with the release of a 10%abv version of their classic Jaipur – bow down, everyone,  before the mighty,  JAIPUR X! And as if that wasn’t enough, we also have L’Eroica (4% British-hopped ale) and Cocoa Wonderland (6.8% chocolate porter, a collab with a local chocolatier also celebrating their 10th anniversary). This brings our range of Thornbridge beers to 19, which is frankly excessive, but they are all so good, it’s hard not to keep listing them.

SIREN CRAFT BREW have emerged from their post-Christmas slump even more prolific than before. As well as another collab with STILLWATER ALESSmoke Signals (4.4% smoked wheat sour) – and the annual release of Seven Seas (6% black wheat IPA), Calypso, their 4% dry-hopped Berliner weisse, has transitioned into 33cl bottles. Arriving this week, so available week commencing 9th March, we have Liquid Monstrous, an 8.5% amped-up version of their very popular Liquid Mistress red IPA, Bones of a Sailor Part III, a 9.5% imperial porter, aged in PX sherry barrels and aged on raspberries, chocolate and vanilla, and a new version of Barrel-Aged Broken Dream, (a 7.2% Ardbeg version). And if that wasn’t enough, there is the annual release of Maiden (11.1% barrel-aged barley wine), plus their most recent EVIL TWIN collab, Even More Jesus VIII (11.5%, imperial stout).

A restock from WILLIAMS BROS brings a couple of new listings. Seven Giraffes (5.1%) is a pale IPA-style beer with a twist – a lemon and elderflower twist. And in a similar vein, Caesar Augustus (4.1%) is a lager-ale hybrid – basically a lager that has received IPA-like levels of hopping. Please note that we have now delisted a couple of their lines – Alba, Prodigal Sun, Paradigm Shift, and Ginger are not currently available.

AND FINALLY, a delivery from BUXTON BREWERY has brought their latest collab beer, Ring Your Mother, a 9.5% heavily-hopped XXXX mild, brewed with Dutch micros Rooie Dop and Oedipus. Also back in stock after a prolonged absence, Wild Boar and Moor Top are available again.

Monday, 9 February 2015

News of the Brews - February 2015

Dryanuary, schmyanuary – we don’t know about you but we had a pretty brisk start to the year, and we don’t see the interest in great beer going anywhere but up for the rest of 2015. Accordingly, we are carrying on with our diligent sourcing of interesting new beers and breweries, starting with…..

SEVEN BROTHERS are a new brewery in Salford, Manchester. The “About Us” blurb on their website sounds as though it was dreamt up by an advertising agency – dad was a keen homebrewer, the seven brothers in the family knew it was their destiny to brew beer together, and so on. But it’s all true – there really are seven brothers involved in the business, and more importantly, the beer is punchy, modern, clean and distinctive. It’s also alarmingly reasonably-priced. All packed in 12x33cl, there’s an IPA (5%), an EPA (English Pale with citrus, 4.8%) and a Stout (5.2%, spiced to give a hint of liquorice). 

We’ve always got our eye out for good quality products at the right price, so we were happy when NORCOTTS CIDER sent us a box of samples. So happy, in fact, that we’ve got a pallet of their ciders arriving with us this week. The range comprises: Original (4.5%), Pear (4.5%), Elderflower (4%), Raspberry and Orange (4%) and Cranberry (4%). What we liked about them are that they are proper ciders with natural flavourings, rather than that currently fashionable weird concoction of water, alcohol, flavourings and saccharine.

PRESSURE DROP have been absent from our list for a while, but we’re happy to say that they are now back, with an expanded range of beers which incorporates a couple of specials. Freiman’s Dunkelweisse (4.8%), Stokey Brown (5.1%) and Bosko Absoluto (a 9% version of Bosko) join the core range of Pale Fire (4.8%), Bosko (6.5%) and Street Porter (6.5%).

Last year, we had a Pink Peppercorn Porter from WIPER & TRUE that sold out almost before we took it off the pallet. Whether it was just the name – it’s almost as much fun to say as it is to drink – or just the idea of it, who knows, but it sold out fast. We have another of their peppered porters – Bristol Blend Pepper Porter (5.1%), joined by: Pale Ale Amarillo (5.3%), Citra IPA (6.8%), Topaz Export Stout (6.2%), Winter Oats (5.1%), Red Orange (5.1%), and a couple of handsome large format 75cl bottles, Quintet IPA (7.1%) and Abbey Rye (7.4%).

We have a few specials in currently from FOUNDERS BREWING CO. Breakfast Stout (coffee oatmeal imperial stout, 8.3%), Backwoods Bastard (bourbon-barrel Scotch ale, 10.2%), Dark Penance (black IPA, 8.9%) and bombers of Big Lushious (raspberry imperial stout, 7.8%). Quantities of these are very limited.

We also have limited quantities of SCHNEIDER Mein Aventinus Barrique (9.5%). Sometimes, the label says it better than anyone else can, so here’s what it says: “Aventinus and Aventinus Eisbock mature in different barrique barrels before they are united to an incomparable cuvee. The maturation in American Oak Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc barriques, combined with new German oak bring berry-like and delicately sour aromas to this elegant and quiet beer”. I don’t know about you, but after reading that, I just want to run off and get my drinking boots on!