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!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

News of the Brews - January 2015

It would be easy to sit back and coast for a while after a very busy December, but NO! We’re straight back into the thick of it with new brewery listings, new beers, and lots of other wonderful goodies. First off, our latest brewery listing…..

VIBRANT FOREST are a small brewery on the south coast, at Lymington in the New Forest. We find their beers to be mainly hop-forward, and full to bursting with all the correct flavours. The current range, all in 12x50cl, is: Farmhouse Ale (saison, 5%), Kaleidoscope IPA (6.5%), Radic-Ale Oatmeal & Coffee Stout (5.7%), Black Forest Porter (4.9%), Flying Saucer (4.3%). Vibrant Forest’s Radic-Ale series are all one off brews, so there will always be new specials rotating into their range.

We have also started to list again small quantities of beer from legendary Danish cuckoo brewer Mikkeller. These will be available on an ad-hoc basis, usually in fairly small quantities, with the range changing all the time. If you see something, please do grab it while you can, as the range will change fairly frequently.

Do you like craft beer in cans? Do you like Roosters Brewing Co beer? Then you’ll LOVE Roosters Brewing Co craft beer in cans! We’re delighted to be distributing Rooster’s excellent can range in 24x33cl, which comprises Yankee (pale golden ale, 4.3%), Fort Smith (IPA, 5%) and the legendary Baby-Faced Assassin (IPA, 6.1%). Roosters have invested heavily in a canning line and are doing all the packaging in house themselves, and the quality is top-notch.

On the subject of cans, it’s clear that this has been a trend in 2014, and is unlikely to go away, so just to be especially thorough, here’s a list of all the producer’s whose cans we currently stock: Beavertown Brewery (cans only), Fourpure Brewing Co (cans only), Roosters Brewing Co (cans only), Brewdog (Dead Pony Club and Punk IPA only), Sierra Nevada (Pale Ale and Torpedo only), Brooklyn Brewery (East India Pale Ale and Brooklyn Lager only), Flying Dog (Easy IPA and Snake Dog IPA) and Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale.

As requests for gluten-free beers have increased, we’ve listed what we think is one of the best on the market, Wold Top Against The Grain (pale golden ale, 4.5%, 50cl).

Rising stars Wiper & True have released some larger format bottles, with their Quintet IPA (7.1%) and Abbey Rye (7.4%) getting the supersized treatment. They look the business, and taste great too. The rest of the current range is: Amarillo Pale Ale, Red Orange Amber Ale, Topaz Export Stout (there’s now a revised lower price on this), Winter Rye, Mosaic Pale Ale, Triptych No 3 IPA, In The Pines Amber Ale, and Milk Shake Stout.

There’s not a right lot happening on the American seasonal front, but we do have some Sierra Nevada Celebration available currently.

Durham Brewery have had a tinker with their classic Temptation Stout and fermented it with a Trappist yeast. The resulting 10% beer, Finchale, is a cross between an imperial stout and a Trappist quadruple (available from Wednesday 21st January).

Thursday, 2 October 2014

News and Brews - September 2014

After a sticky situation with availability, cans from Beavertown Brewery now appear to be flowing freely from their new premises. We have almost their full range currently – no Black Betty currently – but there are good stocks of: Smog Rocket (smoked porter, 5.4%), Gamma Ray (pale ale, 5.4%), Neck Oil (session IPA, 4.3%) and 8-Ball Rye (rye IPA, 6.2%). And for the last days of summer, we also have the last run of their Quelle Saison (dry-hopped saison, 4.2%).

Left Hand Brewing have recommenced business in the UK, and so we currently have stocks of their Milk Stout Nitro (6%), 400 Pound Monkey IPA (6.8%) and Stranger Pale Ale (5%).  These beers are shipped in limited numbers to ensure optimum freshness, so stocks are limited currently - first come, first served on these.

Hackney’s Pressure Drop have been busy, and so we have a couple of new beers to add to their range. Alongside Pale Fire Pale Ale (4.8%), Bosko IPA (6.5%), we also have Stokey Brown (5.1% brown ale with new world hops) and Strictly Roots (6.5% porter with foraged dandelion and burdock root).

And last (but by no means least), we are delighted to add a new listing from Bristol-based Wiper & True. We take quality and value for money very seriously, and are happy to say that W&T deliver on both fronts. That the branding is also stunning is a big plus. Their range will vary Kernel-style from brew to brew, based around core style of pale ale, amber ale, IPA, stout and occasional specials. The current range is: In The Groves IPA (16x33cl, 6.5%), Quintet IPA (16x33cl, 6.5%), Australia Pale Ale (12x50cl, 5.3%), Autumn Rye (12x50cl, 5.7%), Litha Rye-Te (12x50cl, 5.7%, collab with Celt Experience), and Milk Shake Stout (12x50cl, 4.8%).

Friday, 4 July 2014

News and Brews - June 2014

Rooster’s The Accomplice has returned! Originally a collaboration brew with Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colorado, The Accomplice (8x50cl, 5.7%) is a pale ale as prepared for India that’s been brewed using six different varieties of hops, crammed into almost every possible part of the brewing process, to create intense floral and fruit aromas, backed up by a balanced level of bitterness, layered on top of a blend of three malts. And it's stonkingly good, a classic Anglo-American hybrid.

Our quest to bring you regular supplies of good quality new and interesting beer continues. All the way from Livingston, just west of Edinburgh, please welcome Alechemy Brewing to our roster. We hope to list a core range from them, plus specials as and when they are available. The current listings from them are as follows. In 12x50cl, we have Ritual (pale golden ale, ), Bad Day At The Office (IPA, 4.5%), Black Aye PA (Black IPA, 5.3%), Citra Burst (late-hopped IPA, 5.3%), and Galaxy Burst (late hopped IPA, 5.3%). The specials in 24x33cl are: Higildy Figildy (collab with Beavertown, fig & honey saison), Carynx (continuously hopped black saison – 100th brew, 6%), Panacea (7.5%, Macallan cask-aged imperial stout), Rye O Rye (red rye pale ale, 5.6%) and Almighty Mofo (double IPA, 7.3%).

There are certain things that have defined themselves as trends in brewing over the last couple of years. The rebirth of brewing in London is one (70 breweries and counting), and cans are certainly another. Combining both, and happily adding great beer to the mix, are Fourpure Brewing Co. of Bermondsey. The current range, all in 24x33cl cans, is: Session IPA (4.2%), Pale Ale (5%), Amber (5%), Pilsner (4.7%) and IPA (6.5%). Our on-trade customers should also note that we also have these available in Keykeg – please ask for pricing on these.

Brouwerij Emelisse have released a couple of mighty brews onto the unsuspecting public. Bourbon barrel-aged Barley Wine (12x33cl, 12%) and Ardbeg barrel-aged Imperial Stout (12x33cl, 11%) are limited editions and sure to sell out quickly.

AND FINALLY, I’m damned if I’m going to get the camera out to take a photo of yet another Thornbridge beer, but Bayern (12x50cl, 5%) is a superbly fresh Bavarian pilsner with a big noble hop aroma and snappy crisp finish.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

News and Brews - May 2014

While everyone is getting excited about Le Grand Depart being in Yorkshire this year, and all of the Tour De France-themed beers that entails, it seems that nobody has remembered that other global sporting spectacle, the football World Cup, being held in Rio in June. Luckily, Revolutions Brewing Co have kept their eye on the ball, and have produced a cracking Kolsch-style “summer lager” called Rio (4.5% - the cheeky Duran Duran reference is thrown in for free). They have also streamlined, refreshed and rebranded most of their range, which now comprises: the cracking Go-Go American Pale Ale – stuffed full of juicy American C-hops - (4.5%), Devolution Amber (4.5%), Pretender Blonde (4.5%), Clash London Porter (4.5%) and Manifesto Stout (6%).

On a bit of a roll at the moment, Finchamstead’s finest Siren Brewery have released another clutch of specials. Ten Finger Discount (IPA aged on cedar, collaboration with To Ol, 7.2%), White Tips (white IPA with citrus zest, 6.5%) and Broken Dreams Grand Cru (multi-barrel blend aged on cherries, 7.5%) are now nestling happily in the warehouse, alongside Caribbean Chocolate Cake Stout (sweet stout aged on cedar, Cigar City collab, 7.4%), Neither Double IPA (Cigar City and Grassroots collab, 8.3%), Das Soundwave (5.6%), Liquid Mistress Red IPA (5.7%), Broken Dreams Breakfast Stout (6.7%) and a couple of barrel-aged versions of the same.

Salopian Brewery (fun fact – Salopian means “resident of, or from, the county of Shropshire) have released another small-format 20x33cl special to their range. Sentinel (double IPA, 8.4%) joins Automaton IPA (7%) and Black Ops (imperial stout, 7.4%). They form a nice “craft” diffusion range to their excellent core 12x50cl range of Shropshire Gold (3.8%), Darwin’s Origin (4.3%) and Oracle (4%).

Harviestoun have released a barrel-aged version of Schiehallion, aged in Glenfarclas casks. Glenfarclas is quite a delicate whisky, and we think that this marries well with the light-bodied nature of the base beer. Orach Slie (6%) is bottled in 12x33cl, and carries a similar branding to the Ola Dubh range.

Seemingly not content with winning BBC Radio 4’s Food and farming Awards “Best Drinks Producer 2014”, Thornbridge Brewery are also going for the record for “numbers of beers in production at any one time” (we have 16 currently). This month’s new release (and we’re sure there are more on the way even as we type this) is a collaboration with the behemoths of American craft brewing, Sierra Nevada. Twin Peaks (5%) is a very pale Anglo-American summer ale, with delicate notes of pineapple, mango and lemon sherbet. STOP PRESS: Bayern (5%), their new late-hopped Bavaraian pilsner just arrived, making 17 in total.

We have a new listing on the German front, Sion Kolsch (4.8%). This is a replacement for Kuppers Kolsch, which has now been delisted.

Anchor Brewing’s latest seasonal beer is their Saison (7.2%), a new release from them. It’s a full-bodied example, enhanced by the addition of lemon zest, lemongrass and ginger.

Wild Beer Co have a couple of new releases. First, a re-brew of last year’s cucumber-infused session saison, in collaboration with Fyne Ales, Cool As A Cucumber (75cl, 2.9%). And secondly, a new properly wild lambic-style beer, Somerset Wild (33cl, 5%).

Brewdog’s annual release of IPA Is Dead (6x4x33cl, 7.2%) is upon us. This year’s hops are Comet, Kohatu, Amarillo and EXP366, and happily form a much more cohesive set of showcase IPAs than the wildly varying hop selections of last year.

AND FINALLY our Rooster’s High Tea promotion has been such a roaring success that we’d suggest acting quickly if you want to take advantage of it. High Tea is now the same as their flagship pale golden ale Yankee, and Rooster's are offering a free case of 12 glasses, plus posters and keyrings, with every 5 case purchase. But don't dally - we've less than a dozen cases left!

Friday, 7 March 2014

News and Brews - March 2014

LONDON CALLING! We’ve added another of London’s crop of breweries to our range – Weird Beard Brewing Co. Coupling striking branding with excellent beers isn’t rocket science, but Weird Beard have got it right on both counts. The current range is: Little Things That Kill (pale session ale, 12x50cl, 3.5%), K*ntish Town Beard (American wheat beer, 12x50cl, 5.2%), 5 O’Clock Shadow (IPA, 24x33cl, 7%), Fade To Black (black IPA, 24x33cl, 7%), Holy Hoppin’ Hell (double IPA, 24x33cl, 9.6%). And should you need any more reason to try them, Weird Beard were voted the 5th best new brewery in the world by the beer rating site ratebeer.com.

Continuing the London theme, we’re had a recent restock from Partizan Brewing Co. I’m sure many of you will be pleased to hear that after a period of testing “library bottles”, Partizan have elected to extend the expiry dates on their pale ales and IPAs, which will now be getting 6 months at bottling. The current range is: Saison Grisette Lemongrass, Citra IPA, Amarillo Pale Ale, X-Ale (previously Mild), 8 Grain Porter, Foreign Export Stout, and Albatross Barley Wine.

Our friends at Saltaire Brewery haven’t been resting on their laurels, with a couple of interesting new beers recently added to their range. The first, Celebration Ale (strong ale, 8x50cl, 6.5%) was brewed to commemorate the visit of the Princess Royal recently, while their second, Bock (8X50cl, 5.6%) is a collaboration with Dark Star Brewery.

We’ve noticed a bit of a contraction in the “world beers” sector over the last couple of years – not so surprising maybe, as it mostly consisted of identikit 5% international lagers. So we were doubly delighted to get our hands on the Spanish craft beer Er Boqueron (12x33cl, 4.8%), a robust pale golden ale with a full malty body and enjoyably raucous hop finish. Its USP is that it’s made from seawater (desalinated, of course), and it does have a slightly savoury note in the finish. Different and distinctive, and we like it.

After last months' "three in a row and a bonus point" from Thornbridge Brewery, we were delighted to have yet another new arrival. Otto (12x50cl, 8%). This latest addition to their range is in the mould of the classic weizenbock Schneider Aventinus, and if recent releases are anything to go by, will be nothing short of amazing.

As I’m sure you know, we offer single-bottle picks on more expensive stock, and falling very clearly into this category, we currently have some Brewdog Mix Tape 8 (blend of barrel-aged triple and barrel-aged IPA, 14.5%, pictured) and Brewdog Mikkeller Nogne O Black Tokyo Horizon (blend of 3 imperial stouts, 15.2%).

AND FINALLY, just a bit of housekeeping really. We’ve re-jigged the layout of our price list a little bit, so that rather than all the glassware having its own section at the back, it is now listed in with the brewery that it applies to. Please do drop us an email if you’d like a current trade list.