Beers of 2016 – Just top 10’s

A little late but I thought I would have a quick listing (for my memory if nothing else) of my favourite beers of 2016 (the only criteria is that I must have first drank them in 2016 so some old favourites don’t make the grade)

Cloudwater appear to have dominated the IPA scene in 2016 with no sign of them letting up.Mikkeller knocking the sours out of the park and finally To Ol putting out great Stouts throughout the year.

But what did you enjoy in 2016? Let me know in the comments, any tasting notes on the beers?

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IPA / Pales / DIPAs

  1. Three’s Company – Cloudwater / Magic Rock / JW Lees
  2. DIPA Series v6 – Cloudwater
  3. Two Hearted – Bell’s
  4. Guardian of Peace – Moor
  5. Tidal Wave – Siren
  6. Lil’ Drunk Baby – Warpigs
  7. Kingmaker – Buxton
  8. Pulp – Verdant
  9. Armarilla Mater – Beavertown
  10. The Juice Brothers – BRUS / Cloudwater

Honorable mentions to Double Heathen and Heathen – Northern Monk, Lupoloid – Beavertown and Proteus on Cask – Siren

Sours

  1. Varg TaB Dry Hopped – Warpigs
  2. Key Lime Pie Gose – Westbrook
  3. Sour Power – Beavertown / Mikkeller
  4. Triplespontanblueberry – Mikkeller
  5. Far Skyline – Buxton
  6. Amarillo Sour – Chorlton
  7. Spontancassis – Mikkeller
  8. Kai Moana – Hawkshead / Yeastie Boys
  9. Palate Trip – 8 Wired
  10. Orange Boom – Siren

Stout / Porter

  1. Smoke on The Porter, Fire in the Rye – To Ol
  2. Imperial Nibs – Kereru
  3. Original Texas Pecan Icecream – Omnipollo / Buxton
  4. Noa Pecan Mud Stout – Omnipollo
  5. Spresso – Beavertown
  6. Limfjords Porter – Limfjords / Mikkeller
  7. Goliat – To Ol
  8. Black Mojo Espresso Stout – Tuatara
  9. Original Porter – Truman
  10. Stillwater is Nothing Big Bunny is Everything – Stillwater

Honorable mentions to – Coffee Time All The Time – BRUS, Malt – Northern Monk, and pretty much all versions of Beer Geek – Mikkeller

 

 

 

Cheers to 2016!

N

#CraftBeerHour – Beer Review #1 – Flat-Pack Fruit Bat – Brewdog / Omnipollo – IPA

Raspberry berets might be forever alas this beer is not

What? – Flat-Pack Fruit Bat – Raspberry Smoothie IPA
Who? – Brewdog / Omnipollo – Brewdog a little known Scottish brewery… and Omnipollo, based out of Stockholm and brewer of some of my favourite beers, including the sensational Noa
Well? – Where to start. Cracking the can you are immediately hit by the fruit bomb, raspberry quite literally bursts out. 
Pours beautifully with a distinctive deep pink colour and creamy head. Immediate taste is incredibly tart with the sickly sweet lactose fighting against it.  There are some tropical hop notes coming through I’m told it’s mosaic but it’s hard to pick out individually as the raspberry really does have a punch and there are some other aromas muddying the water here… more on that later.
The mouthfeel is surprisingly thin for both a lactose IPA and a beer marketed as a smoothie.  The expected creaminess and full mouthfeel could well have rounded out some of the less subtle elements of this one and it feels a bit like an opportunity missed.  Overall it loses the fight against the raspberry.

The first impression fades quite quickly and you’re left with a beer that probably has too many clashes to be completely loveable. Vanilla comes through softly but blends with some slight diacetyl notes which only add to the slightly cloying nature of this one.  The tartness is a little too ‘synthetic’ in texture and becomes quite difficult when fighting against some of the other characteristics of this beer like the aforementioned vanilla and diacetyl.
Overall I’m not madly in love with this one. I am a fan of a lot of Omnipollo’s beers and have some very high hopes for the Buxton collaboration ice cream beers and unlike some I don’t hate on Brewdog who still produce some interesting beers.  I note on untappd and several other review sites this gets more positive reviews and I’m sure that some folk will think this is a fun little beer, but for me there are just too many flaws for me to get behind it.


Pub Review – The Beer Kat

 

#WeAreBeavertown

The Beer Kat is a new concept pub on Holloway Road (on the corner with Liverpool Road). The pub is set up to host  monthly takeovers / residencies of craft breweries putting their own stamp on the place and serving a wide range of beers, a sort of gypsy tap room.  For its inaugural month Tottenham Hale’s Beavertown take up the mantle and it’s a logical choice for the first month, their unique visuals leave you under no illusions that this is a special event. Nick Dwyer’s artwork gracing every possible surface including some great takes on classic film posters and the usual Gamma Ray and 8-Ball artwork throughout this 3 storey boozer.

 

Food was provided by Grill My Cheese and we enjoyed some excellent buttermilk chicken and hot sauce which went very nicely with the IPA I was drinking at the time. Music was a pleasingly old school 90’s R&B vibe including Inner Circle’s classic ‘Bad Boys’, I’m led to believe there is also live music from most weekends as well as other special events.

 

But the real reason we are here is for the beer.  18 different Beavertown beers are available plus a weekly guest brewery in the fridge (on the day we visited it was Stockholm Brewing Company).  Of course the core range is there plus some excellent seasonal and short run beers. Disappointed to miss out on Molecular Mayhem and ‘Spresso on cask but still couldn’t complain about the choice on offer!

 

I took the opportunity to try some of the beers I haven’t yet had chance to sample and wasn’t disappointed.  Bloody ‘Ell on cask was a pleasant surprise, giving a nice round taste to an already cracking beer.  I also took in two of the ‘Invasion of the Lupoloids’ series, Uy Scuti which was very decent but paled in comparison to the genuinely excellent Armillaria Mater.  AM was cloudy, rich juicy and beautiful tropical aroma and clean bitter finish.   Very drinkable and I went back for more as the night went on. It was also very exciting to see Heavy Water on tap, the Cherry and Sea Salt Imperial Stout was a real beauty, like drinking the kind of black forest gateaux that would give Mary Berry a soggy bottom.  We also enjoyed the collaboration with Heretic, Peacher Man was an enjoyable Witbier (I’d have like the peach to have been a bit fuller) and a new one from Beavertown’s Phantom sour beer range – Pom Pom Phantom a grapefruit Berliner Weisse, I’ve been spoilt by some excellent Berliner Weisse’s recently so PPP didn’t quite hit the spot for me, I’m hoping to see Yuzilla or Lemon Phantom make a return at some point but sadly these weren’t to be seen.  I finished up with Stockholm’s Hop Hound which was excellent and piqued my interest in them.

 

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(photo courtesy of twitter.com/beerkatpub)

Also a word to the bar staff who were very friendly and knowledgeable on the beers available.  No mean feat for a pub that was only two weeks old and with a constantly changing line-up of beer.  Overall an excellent idea well executed, it will be very interesting to see how it develops when the next brewery comes to town and what they bring to the set up.  Will definitely be there  to check it out and am hoping to get another visit in before Beavertown finish on the 26th of June.

Follow The Beer Kat on Twitter @beerkatpub and on Instagram

What’s on this week – London

There are a couple of interesting things cropping up over the next week or so across London that have made our ears prick up. Here’s the heads up on a couple of things happening this week in Craft Beer in London

We Are Beavertown – 26th May-26th June

Tottenham Hale’s Beavertown have a total pub takeover at The Beer Kat on Holloway Road starting from Thursday 26th.  Anyone familiar with Beavertown’s excellent taproom and sensational food at their bar & que Dukes mus be excited for this. There will also be live music, DJs and other events.  I’m hoping to get down there to get my lips on Peacherman (collaboration with Heretic) which I haven’t managed to sup yet and see what they have done with the place some of the visuals and posters look incredible (as you’d expect from Nick Dwyer)

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(copyright Beavertown Brewery)

 

London Beer Factory – Taproom summer opening

Going south now and the London Beer Factory’s Tap Room opens for the summer on Saturday – located on 160 Hamilton Road, SE27 9SF they’ll be open from 1pm and will fittingly be broadcasting Crystal Palace vs Man Utd’s FA Cup final as well as serving up beers. I’m sure this will be a great spot to watch the eagles on home turf #DareToPardew

Also note that because of the FA Cup final clash the Crystal Palace Beer Festival is now taking place on the 28th May (despite what Timeout might tell you) so anyone who was planning on heading to Selhurst Park should skip down the road to LBF.

 

That’s what piqued my interest this week of course there are the usual fun and games to be had across London on the beer mile, in Hackney Wick’s beer riviera and Beavertown’s taproom in Tottenham Hale (this week with meatballs from Capish)

 

Until next time

Nathan

 

All Time(ish) Top 5 – Coffee Porters and Stouts

What better way to start a week than with a strong coffee.   This led me to thinking it was a good place to start with coffee infused beers for my monthly All Time(ish) Top 5.

Whilst there are some decent examples of non-Stouts and Porters with additional coffee added (Weird Beard’s Out of Office being a very serviceable IPA) my personal opinion is that the coffee lends itself best to the darker malts and roasted barley, oat or malts of a Stout or Porter.  Futhermore, this list only includes beers which have coffee added in some form either from a  bean infusion or the addition of brewed coffee.  If this was a list of stouts and porters with powerful coffee notes achieved through the brewing process it would be much longer and would certainly include Lervig Aktiebryggeri’s mighty 3 Bean Stout (the beans in this case are vanilla, coco and tonka and not a coffee bean in sight).  I’ve also tried to stick to beers that have been relatively easy to get your hands on in the UK in recent times (hence the “ish”).

Word of caution before diving into these particular recommendations, if you’re anything like me then drinking these in the evening may lead to a sleepless night.  Some of these beers ABV strength is matched by their caffeine strength.  Here are my favourite 5 Coffee stouts and porters.

5. Common Grounds – Magic Rock (UK) – rich dark and full bodied porter, they really got it right on this beer.  A great afternoon beer and at 5.4% works as a pint as well. A collaboration with Darkwoods Coffee.

4. Gautemalan Coffee Extra Porter – Buxton (UK) – Loads and loads of coffee in this and a very nice sweet dark fruit taste coming through.  Very enjoyable

3. Breakfast Stout – Founders (US) – 2 different coffee beans, flaked oats, 8.3%.  It must be breakfast time.  This just goes and goes, dangerously drinkable.

2. Beer Geek Breakfast – Mikkeller (Denmark) – Powerful, complex and rich. A real classic and one of my all-time favourite beers full stop. Just so happens that another of my favourite ever beers is on the list too…

1. Spresso – Beavertown (UK) – a collaboration between the good folks at Beavertown and Caravan Coffee.  It’s as good as you would expect when you mention those two craft champions.  Like a smack round the face from Tyler Durden (if he was made of coffee). This was a limited release, though I have a can tucked away for a special occasion but if you see this anywhere I implore you to stockpile this.

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Nathan’s wish list – Imperial Java Stout – Santa Fe , Big Bad Baptist – Epic Brewing, Victory at Sea – Ballast Point, Beer Geek Brunch Weasel – Mikkeller

 

This list has also inspired us to cook up something special in the Silverdale brew-shed should have something very exciting to share with you this time next month.

 

What do you think though? Have you tried these and love them or does my list leave a bitter taste? What would you add to this list?

Cheers

Nathan

Spring Beers – 2016 (Part 3)

Dubbels and Tripels

Despite the illusion to darts, this has nothing to do with a conference room full of lashed up punters watching slightly podgy athletes throwing arrows.  These Belgian beers aren’t for the faint-hearted but once you’ve got the taste they can lead to some very interesting flavours and slightly hazy memories. Strong and fruity with complex spicy notes.

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The beer to try – Konigshoeven – La Trappe

Cheese match – Morbier

Food – Cajun and Creole – The American deep south meets the Belgian lowlands? This works surprisingly well the spicy notes pick out the cayenne and aromatic flavours of this food it will also work great with fish – a chicken and shrimp gumbo would loves this beer. Alternatively Steak and Chocolate (yes together!) go well with the bolder Quadruppel.

Other recommended – Westmalle TrappistWestvleteren 8

 

Part 1 available here and Part 2 here

 

Spring Beers – 2016 (Part 2)

Part 2 of our springtime recommends –  today’s edition is aimed at some spring beers that work around the BBQ especially as the night draws in.

Smoked Beers – Rauchbier or a Smoked Porter

Smoky, malty and delicious.  You can see why we love this style. I’ve given you the choice here as Rauchbiers are criminally under represented in even the most well stocked craft beer pub.  Try a Smoked Porter if you can’t lay your hands on a Rauchbier.

The beer to try – Mikkeller – Beer Geek Bacon – I never hide my love for all things Mikkeller, this is a great smoked beer that works well with BBQ food.  This is the smoked version of the classic Beer Geek Breakfast stout

Cheese match – Blue cheese especially when paired with…

Food – Dream combination that you can make at home. Make up some burger patties and stuff them with blue cheese grill on the barbecue and serve with some smoked bacon – heaven

Other recommended – Beavertown – Smog Rocket, Evil Twin – Ashtray Heart, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier – Marzen

Cheers

Nathan

(Part 1 available here)