Monday, 13 July 2020

Verdant back on track....

Hello,

           quite a few years ago now I purchased a can of Pulp by Verdant from Beer Central in Sheffield. I loved it - despite it's far away origins down in Cornwall the beer was fabulously fruity and hoppy and well balanced - I may even recall that it used London Fog yeast, a strain which I believe leads to a particular quality of cloudiness. Soon after I tried some of their Maybe One More PSI, which was fantastic, along with some "I played Bass on that tune" on keg, which was similarly excellent. I also tried their Even Sharks need water DIPA. Once again the quality was there - simultaneously fruity and citrussy but with excellently balanced hoppiness. Both Sharks and Pulp became strong favourites of mine, and remain so, but at the start of lockdown I purchased a few other of their beers and.....I became somewhat, underwhelmed......

In line with almost all my posts I must admit that I have sadly not kept a record of the names of those psrticular beers, but I can confirm that the strength, often a feature of my faves, was not the issue. Perhaps it could be a reflection of the incredibly wide selection of other beers, not least the excellent output of both North Brewing and Wylam, that made them promise more than that background could deliver. I should also point out that I very rarely keep even my favourite cans these days, which forms part of an excuse for not recalling the brews in question.

In my latest delivery I got another can each of my two favourites along with a DIPA called Pavement Licker. Am aware that purchasing a can from a range based on name alone is not acceptable, but it was a DIPA and also similarly named to Window Licker, an excellent track by Aphex Twin. On opening it the other night, I straight away recognised a high quality and notably hoppy balanced brew. It was delicious.

Now I realise that I have probably said before that I perhaps love hops too much, and also pointed out that my starting strength is usually 6% or thereabouts, which perhaps explains my love of DIPAs. And I have to admit that I was very impressed with the ingredients listed - not least the ever more enjoyable Sabro, along with Ekuanot, Amarillo, Galaxy, Simcoe and Idaho 7.  I had always previously thought that Verdant beers used two or three hops maximum so this alone was surprising. And it could be that lengthy list that provided some truly excellent hoppy taste, sat at the back of the flavour, atop their renowned balance.

For info, Pavement Licker is, incidentally, an underground art magazine - to be fair the can and their website states "zine" but as the oldest man on earth I have to insist on using the older descriptor. There's a link here
 to their website featuring information on the artist of the image on the can front and the folks who set up the undertaking. Well worth a look I have to say.

So although I am a bit short on further details of the beer (which I possibly imagined used London Fog yeast now I have looked into it) I am however happy to confirm that in my opinion this latest Verdant brew suggests an increase in the quality of their previously excellent output, which promises much for the future. Lets hope I can get hold of another can soon to enjoy.

Meanwhile, your very good health!

Wee Beefy

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Libations during Lockdown

Hellall,

          am not going to tell you about each one of the cans and bottles I have consumed whilst self isolating, as I am aware that I have already mentioned a few. I wanted instead to focus on the Fourth of July here in England, a date on which, for the most part, every public house in England which met the stringent arrangements and requirements set out poorly by the government, could once again open their doors. I would be interested to know how your own independent experiences were, dear readers - I heard a lot of talk of misbehaviour and trouble and other details of rambunctiousness in areas such as West Street in Sheffield, a place where one might go if desiring a mob rule, slavvering sump of stupidity, but also that behaviour across Sheffield had mostly been quite good. Here is what I encountered......

So whilst not celebrating independence day from 1776 in the US, I left the house about 14.15 and got straight on a bus to town. Having seen my friend JB starting his day at the Tap House on Alma Street, and realising it was near the two people whom I was meeting later, I went in there first of all. It appears that sending a text message to a new number is neither my quickest or most enjoyable practice, but once done, and inside, I viewed the cask from the past on the bar and decided to sit outside. After a small niggle with the cash machine requiring the whole card number of my non contactless card to pay, I started on a pint of Elland 1872 porter. It was perfectly served, and very tasty - and 6.5%. Nearly finished, I spotted Matty whom had spoken to Diane at the Fat Cat earlier, so I decided to nip in there next, not least because I have known her since 1994. The Tap House is an interesting venue - although they did serve a range of basic keg beers they did state that they were going to concentrate on cask. There was a choice of about five, and on this basis they were well kept. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

I had to sign into a book to get in the Fat Cat - and saw a man I have known for years called Ian, as well as JB. I chose a hoppy pale from somewhere in London which has sadly escaped me, and went and sat at a table by myself in the beer garden. After a quick chat with Diane and a trip to the obviatorium I quickly left, meeting up with Vikkie and Matt outside and heading to a private do at Bar Stewards.....

 So far behaviours had been excellent and this proved to be a feature here, and of the rest of the night. People had reserved seating and were served until 19.00 on tables outside. I started on a can of the excellent Festoon NEIPA from the excellent St Mars of the Desert, featuring grapefruit zest and excellent hops. I then moved onto a marvelous can of Chione from Alpha Delta in faraway Newcastle. It was about 7% and described as a Kveik IPA. It was cloudy yellow and absolutely delicious. As well as finally getting to meet the excellent Robert J Ward, and of course of seeing many regulars and the wonderful Al and Charlie, the main highlight of the three hours was the excellent range of beers. Next up was a can of the excellent Northern Monk OFS004, a Kveik DDH DIPA - and this was amazing. After a can of Pressure Drop Tambourine Mountain sour however my memories became unclear.....I know I ended up with tea at Vikkie and Matt's and slept there.  It was then time to go out again......

Sunday I awoke with a sore neck - and a not that good head - and had a few cups of tea and an egg sandwich before we all headed out for a walk after midday to Gaard coffee hide. Due to their small size once ordered we had to sit outside, but the coffee I had - and the excellent sausage roll, were very enjoyable in the bright hot sunshine in their yard. I also saw and forgot the name of Matijas Kapstien, a name I still cannot properly spell. Finishing our treats we headed to the Gardeners Rest. Matty had been on IPAs the day before and wasn't feeling up to more beer but Vikkie joined me for a half and me a pint of 4.6% West Coast Pale ale. Sat in the beer garden having filled in a form with our details, there were a few others present, and after Vikkie had gone I got chatting to an older couple from Harthill along with a man from Hillsborough who may have been called John, and a youngster from Ull who may have been called Matty.....

Several pints of this and an Empire something beast 5% pale ale were had, along with pickled eggs from the past, before I attempted a frustrating and incredible long winded trip home on the Stagecoach 52 - a very unsatisfactory and expensive undertaking.

Finally, yesterday I traveled up to Crookes after meeting up with Mumraah, and had a couple of beers - the first was a pint of Deception from a reduced range at the otherwise ace Ball Inn, where I once again had to text my details, and the second was a half of a strong pale on keg from Shindigger in Manchester I think, at the never previously visited Early Bar at the top of School road.  It was a lovely place to pop in for a quick half and very friendly - given that they initially opened about two weeks before lockdown forced them to close, I would hope that their reopening creates a surge in much needed trade and profit.

Once in town by the altered 52 route I walked to the Crow Inn on Scotland Street and started on a pint of North Tunnels of La West Coast IPA and then a half of the excellent Verdant pulp DIPA on keg from a choice of 7 or 8 keg and three hand pulled. Alas I had to quickly run to the nearest cash machine to pay for both as their new, and soon to be replaced, card reader, would not accept non contactless payments - this, and the rip off no change on a Stenchcrotch earlier in the month makes me think I may need to ask for a contactless card.....

I met up with good mate Robert J Ward and he had amongst other things a half of the 11% barrel aged sour which was immense, whilst I opted for a half of saison at 5% or thereabouts. Chatting to Ian and vicky (not certain if this is her correct spelling, but to point out hat it was not Vikkie) I also managed to get a pint of Atom stout at a similar strength on cask. We then all left for the Kelham Island Tavern and the wonderful Ed was working and saw us out to covered seating in the garden. Am fairly certain I started on North and finished with two separate halves of the excellent Buxton at 6.8%.  A fabulous day of supping in all four venues.

Overall I have really enjoyed my experiences in the recently reopened pubs in fine sunny Sheffield.  There were a few loud people leaving the Kelham later but overall behaviour and keeping within the rules has been perfect throughout. Lets hope that this continues as more and more pubs manage to reopen their doors whilst the awful pandemic lingers on.

Your very good health

Cheers!

Wee Beefy    

Monday, 29 June 2020

Pomona Island Brew Co

Afternooo.

     a few years ago I first tasted some Pomona Island on cask from the past. I had never heard of them before and didn't know where they came from apart from "somewhere near Manchester" as an informant told me. I noticed that my friend Martin who runs the Grocers Micropub in Cadishead in Salford was starting to have their beers on regularly, and he confirmed that, as am sure I would know if lived in Salford, this was where they were from - am fairly confident that Pomona Island is an area of Salford, and everything.....

Doing a modicum of checks before today's espousal I found not only their website here - about cans.... but also that they were originally set up by two chaps called Nick and Ryan, whom started the excellent Gas Lamp bar just over the river in Manchester, along with Gaz from Marble and James from Tempest Brewery. Since I have always liked Marble and Tempest output, and also the Gas Lamp bar, its perhaps unsurprising that I found that I liked their beers. But I have to pay tribute to the excellent balance and quality of their brews.

Today am on a can of their My Toe Hurts Betty, a 5.6% starter Pale ale double dry hopped with Cyro Mosaic, Bru-1 and Amarillo. Regular readers aware of my quite worrying level of hopsession may assume this is a hop fest of overwhelming bitterness, but as I said, their beers are so balanced that this isn't the case. The beer is gloriously orangey, fruity, bitter, hoppy, and oaty. And reflecting another regular feature - it is also very easy to sup.

Earlier in the month I also tried a can of their TIPA at 10% called An Overwhelming Surplus of Diggity. Am always a little concerned that I may be underwhelmed by a TIPA since the extra hops and alcohol may create an unwanted sweetness that overrides, but although there was sweet fruitiness in the flavour the brew was once again balanced for that kind of strength, and wonderfully palatable.

They continue to produce beers in both cask and keg and also occasionally in bottles and regularly in the future of beers which is in can. I often like to start my sessions in Shakespeares on a pint of cask Pomona if its on, especially their delectable APA or indeed anything they have thus far produced. They have a core range of five casks (details also available on their website) but am certain their overall range is extended in all formats - usefully their website states that many listed beers are one offs and not always produced but which may be produced again. Last night I enjoyed their Style Control Damage Aggression which was a delicious 6.5% IPA which finished my night's supping off perfectly. And one of the many advantages of buying beer from four or more different suppliers is that its often possible to go back to beers that I have really enjoyed.

Thus far that description applies to everything I have tried by Pomona island Brew Co. Long may their excellence continue.

Your very best of health

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Brettanarchist

Hellall,

     the wonderful Vikkie bought me, amongst other delights, a large bottle of beer for my birthday. I was intending to share it with Davefromtshop when he came over on the day itself, and he did say he liked "Brett" beers because they weren't resultantly, if perhaps otherwise, sour, but in the end we didn't try it. I opened it whilst sat in the baking sunshine on Friday, leaving a small amount for Matty to try yesterday, and it was good enough to warrant a post.....

The beer in question was, as the title informs, Brettanarchist, and as the label suggests, it was a Triple IPA dry hopped with Citra, aged in a Foeder and fermented 100% in Brettanomyces. It was a mere 12% and I kept it in the fridge for over a week before opening. It was produced by the Overworks wing of BrewDog, and when I called Vikkie on Thursday to thank her once again for the presents, especially this, she advised that she had encountered different experiences of the Overworks output. As a fan of sour beers she had found one or two of them underwhelming, but I was happy to assure her that this did not disappoint. And myself and Matty had tried a couple of their sours - both Raspberry, earlier in the week, and had found them excellent.

Its worth pointing out that Brettanomyce is a type of yeast, non spore forming, in the family of saccharomycetaceae, also known as Brett and sometimes as Dekkera. I mean, that's what it says on the tinterweb at least.....

I first came across it in references to the previous excellence of a similarly strong London stout called Imperial Russian Stout by Courage. I know they re-brewed it in 2013 or 2014 but am fairly sure they, or indeed anybody else, haven't done since or for many years prior. When I first worked at Archer Road Beer Stop in  the 1990s,  bottles of the same at 10% or thereabouts were £1.25 each. Apart from buying a bottle of the rerelease, this time by the huge brewery which was Youngs, the last time I bought it was in a pub down a long single track lane in kent which had some fairly old bottles still for sale in the noughties.    

The thing I immediately liked about the Brettanarchist was its lack of sweetness despite its rather high strength. And the first taste showed a good amount of wonderful hops in the background, not necessarily the Citra but a mixture holding its own either way. Having only tried one bretted pale previously, possibly by Welbeck Abbey, I didn't think it worked as an additional flavour, but this was not the case. And sat outside in the 28 degrees of sunshine I have to say I found it worryingly easy to drink - and had been on squash for three hours prior so it wasn't thirst....

Interestingly the aroma had a lingering almost sherry or other fruited alcohol to it, which if anything made the strength of the hops a great feature. It smelled of fruity alcohol but tasted of a well balanced hoppiness and some fruit - was this perhaps because of the Foeder? The excellent Saint Mars of the Dessert here in sunny Sheffield have certainly produced beers using a Foeder (and also the excellent Koolships) which I have always found incredibly refreshing and easy drinking. Whichever of the many aspects of the brewing stood out, it made this overall a very pleasurable and easy drinking strong IPA.

Well done to the folk at BrewDog for allowing us to taste a truly fabulous brew - lets hope we see many more beers like this, as well as the excellent output from St Mars and the Funk Dungeon series from Abbeydale, in the very near future.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy  

 

Monday, 15 June 2020

Fuerst Wiacek and Frau Gruber

Ay oop,

       I am hoping that the combination of these two frankly excellent brewery names together does not somehow cause offence to German speakers - not because it will, simply because all of you whom have cringed at my appalling attempts to "translate " the phrase make yourself all honey and the flies will devour you into German using a book in the 1990s will know, German is not a language I can write or speak. I can't even remember the word meaning a face that needs to be slapped, even though Tash and Vicky P are well aware.....

So, these are two absolutely stunning German breweries whom I have discovered at Shakespeares and Bar Stewards in the last six months - AKA my second and third homes. Its important to note that in June I got a large number of excellent bottled German beers including the erstwhile brilliance of Augustiner Edelstoft, but I have to admit that prior to 2020, apart maybe from some Bavarian style hoppy beers brewed in London, the name of which at present escapes me, I haven't been blown away by the output of Germany.  A recent taste of Paulaner Salvator reminded me how good that was, but this week I have been blown away by the beers of Frau Gruber. And since I heard of them after Fuerst Wiacek I figured they both warrant a mention.

It was probably 2019 when I first came across Fuerst. I remember trying and really enjoying one of their IPAs at Shakespeares and being impressed by the excellent build up, boldness and overall output of this beer. That said am unable to recall which particular brew this was, but I do distinctly remember the suggestion of it's excellence by Lucienne and others. It did not disappoint.

This month I have got hold of four beers in can (its the future) from Frau Gruber. Since I have drunk those recently, and am on one now, my details are more succinct. On Friday, both the Stewards as well as Archer Road Beer Stop dropped off two large orders, and since the first came at noon I started the day's drinking at 13.00 with Frau Gruber Helles.

At just 4.8% and actually clear (see many previous posts about my love of soup) despite my early start I drank this cracking lager beer in about ten minutes. Smooth, obviously, refreshing, perhaps more so, and also perfectly balanced. I have a can left which am going to use to start my birthday drinks soon - as well as a Schoffenhoffer pineapple lager beer.

Next up was their 24/7 a 5.2% Hopfengestopftes unfiltriertes Helles. Not as soup like as I had naturally expected this was still another firm favourite - weirdly it was  perhaps a little less easy to sup than their standard Helles.

I had heard much praise for their 6.8% Purple Haze, a double dry hopped IPA - and this was much deserved. Once again it was perfectly balanced, as well, of course, as perfectly cloudy. Its interesting to note that they don't name the hops that they use but they do use oat malt, which may help to explain their absolute ease of consumption. The thing is however the stronger beers are just as easy to drink - and in receipt of widespread acclaim.

Once again this includes tonight's tipple - the 8.0% Eden Project double dry hopped Imperial India Pale Ale. Cloudy once more, not listing the hops used, again using oat malt, but the main delight is how reassuringly balanced it is. Am drinking this slowly since am typing but I could have finished it long ago - the balance is wonderful since some of the malt and the yeast used create a sweetness, but it blends so well into the flavour and the aftertaste that the blend of all these features is seemless.

I now just need t find out if I have another can of this.....

Meanwhile I send my thanks and appreciation to both breweries for producing such a wonderful range of easy supping oaty, hoppy, delights.

Cheers!

We Beefy  

Monday, 8 June 2020

BHA at the Double H

Hullabalo,

      recently, during my self isolation here at home, I have been doing some long needed clearing up. This has revealed quite a lot of interesting stuff, not least finding my old Panasonic digital camera (which stopped working in late 2016, but temporarily at least, has been revived). I also found a lot of beer festival beer lists - I have been saving them since my first festival in 1994, and to the best of my knowledge I have never thrown any away. Recently I came across one from thew Hillsborough Hotel, AKA The Double H.

It was the end of February this year that myself and Tash last went in the Double H, after our regular trip for cheap scran from Aldi. We have always popped in for a couple of drinks post shop (and of course with shopping), but as we often shopped on Tuesday or Wednesday the Double H was often not open so that has reduced our visits, and now they have stopped due to the Lockdown measures. I heard a statement on Facebook that the pub had closed, and also that it had been up for sale for some time. I recall chatting to Tom on my last few visits and I was aware that the business wasn't doing particularly well, no doubt suffering from being too far from town and Kelham Island and also not perhaps attracting the large crowds of drinkers situated in Hillsborough. Either way, am not sure of it's current status.

The list I found was for the Hillsborough Hotel Scottish Beer Festival which took place in January or early February three or four years ago. I only made it once, with Matty, and although the sheet I have states that some beers were available outside, I honestly can't recall if they had a bar in the conservatory or under the covering right next to it. I do remember my personal favourite, Williams Brothers Joker IPA, being on the bar on Handpump.  I also loved the Cromarty Kowabunga American Pale Ale at 4.6%, but as was often the case, am certain this is not my personal list of beers tried, since only one is marked as if tasted - am not a one beer festival trier I must admit.

Overall the range was good - I love Fyne Ales and am certain I had one of each of their two beers, am certain I tried the Loch Lomond Kessog Dark Ale at 5.2%, I now remember enjoying the Tempest Pale Armadillo , as its a cracking brew, and I hope I tried some from the Swannay, Fallen (am certain I did) and Pilot breweries.      

The festival featured an address to, stabbing and serving of, the haggis, hence am a little nearer the date it took place. There was still scran available after service from the initial address so myself and Matty both paid for a haggis neeps and tatties each, which given his notorious hunger, I have to admit was quite filling. And I love haggis, so that was a treat as well.

The main reason I am writing this though is that this was one of the last times I saw Badges Andrew, or Badge Hat Andrew. As you may have heard me say previously, after many years of glugging, talking loudly, enthusing, and, alas, producing spittle, he had taken a few years away from the pub scene but made a surprise comeback for a short while, before sadly passing away.

At the fest, he made a memorable impression by, am not sure if drunkenly, performing a dance to the bagpipes pre or during the cutting of the haggis. I think most people knew about his condition, and I have to add - whatever it was, mainly because I never actually asked - and after some initial amusement I think it was actually quite appreciated. I do however remember that he went shortly after that. Myself and Marty meanwhile, had about four pints each and enjoyed them all, and am assuming that in line with normality we finished off in the Shakespeares for a last couple before heading home.

Checking the Hillsborough Hotel Friendache page Here I notice that up until the beginning (the 4th) of May they continued supplying beer for collection - but after that point nothing else has been posted. I tried to find out if the pub and hotel had been sold, using my usual carefulness in looking at a maximum of ten websites, but sadly am still not sure.  

Lets hope that the horrendous delay in allowing pubs to reopen ends soon, and sees the Double H reopen, and people once again come through their doors in thirsty glee.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Not like that boring stuff they sell at Asda, man says......

Hellabaloo,

      so far in the last week I have received two large orders of tasty canned and bottled boohar. And although I still have plenty left I have to say that so far this experience has shown me the difference between the qualities and attributes of what I would describe as standard more mass marketed output, along with the delightful soupy happiness that I so enjoy.

I have, admittedly, never made the phrase in the title by the way - but I am well aware that although Asda near me sell a few good beers from BrewDog, FourPure, Vocation, Thornbridge and Harbour, the majority of their output is, as a large retailer, of cheap mass produced beers which people guzzle without any particular interest in how it is made or what it contains. I should point out as well that this is fine - I know that in the beer universe there is plenty of criticism of some people's choices - but that is not an issue that am explaining here. What am here to say is that my choice of beers this year especially, has shown me the benefits of the styles that I like, and alerted me to features in more traditional style beers that I like much less.....

I should first of all point out that I still like draught Bass and Marstons pedigree, especially if they are gravity dispensed from the cask. And when it comes to smaller breweries the list of favourites is never ending. In this case I should confirm that I have always liked Little Critters brewery beers in Sheffield. I know that some folks don't, and I admit that I have not really got on with their standard bitters, but their single hopped C Monster beers at 6% or similar, along with their excellent stouts and porters at 6.5 - 7%, have never disappointed. So whilst ordering a large number of brews from Dronfield Beer Stop recently I chose a can of Little Critters Incubus Series Vol 9, a pale ale at 5.6% made with Columbus, Citra and Waimea hops. Along with the other hoppy delights I had purchased from Turning Point, Pentrich, Pomona Island, Brew by Numbers, Northern Monk and the excellent Kernel, I fully expected this to be a cracking brew. But I noticed a specific difference in the hops, overall flavour and crucially the type of fruit and type of bitterness in the Incubus 9. And I realised that I was appreciating the outputs of other UK brewers far more....

I have recently tried a lot of other Sheffield brews by the way - including the wonderful Abbeydale Moonshine in a can. This is ironic because despite it's renowned lagery pale appearance, as well as it's excellent hoppiness, arguably in Abbeydale's portfolio this is one of the more traditional beers in their range. And having first drunk it in 1996 when not only my tastebuds, but also the expectations of the majority of other drinker's were different then, am happy to say that I still love it. I have also loved everything brewed at St Mars of the Desert in Attercliffe and they have often used Waimea and Citra in their excellent output, so this, along with firm favourite Columbus, persuaded me that I would enjoy this combination perfectly. Yet the beer was lacking any identifiable hop punch, and the fruitiness came out as a dry sweetness in the aftertaste. It seemed that it was a beer aimed, on the basis of this tasting, at a more traditional drinker. So overall I found it  underwhelming.

I did think that this outlook may be explained away at once by the excellence of boohar produced by the firms listed above, but after receiving my second delivery, from Archer Road Beer Stop yesterday, featuring a gamut of the excellent Gamma, along with wonderful Abbeydale Voyager, I had to accept that I really appreciate smooth, cloudy, fruity and citrus bitterness, and that the ease of drinking in all such products  inescapably satisfied my needs. Last night I finished my daily session on a can of Gamma Beep Boop Session IPA at 4% and found it had a simultaneously overwhelming but joyous hop and citrus mouthfeel. It was so easy to drink that I had to go to bed.....

I know that differences in appreciation of drinks are a natural response, and I have admittedly mocked myself for hardly ever drinking clear beers below 5%,  but these two latest deliveries showed me the amazing abilities of different micro breweries and the possible intent of their produce. Am not criticising the ideas and intentions or indeed the output of Little Critters at all, and I hope nobody thinks that, instead am simply acknowledging that their current beer styles seem to lack the punch and mouthfeel of others. And  that is fine, whilst also showing me the benefits of brewers such as the impeccable Gamma, producing quite incredible brews from their brewery in Denmark.

One of the few advantages of this lock down has been my available time and willingness to see what else is available online, as well as from excellent Sheffield stores and pubs to take out. Am thinking now that my choices have reassured me that some excellent beers are still available.

Lets hope that we can get back to the excellent pubs in Sheffield soon, in order that we can enjoy this and similar beers together in sunny beer gardens once again.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Goose Willis

Good evening, readers.....

      this is a bit of a different post for me- because this is about neither an IPA, DIPA, TIPA or even a standard pale ale. No, this is a post about a sour beer. And in case some of you think it's 1983 again ( I did drink some Banks' Amber the other day as am low on boohar....) I am happy to point out that it is meant to be sour. And the beer is in date. Beer fear is therefore not appropriate in this respect.......

First brewed in 2017 as a collab with the local Brewdog, this was first brewed and released by Brew York in what I think was possibly 2018 (their website list of beers does not confirm alas, and I only know for certain that they first brewed it in 2017 as  a collab). I did try and recall the last time I tried a beer with gooseberry in it - and struggled, although I did think that gooseberries are also called goosegogs oop north so am guessing that was perhaps it? That would have been a while a go, but the beer in question would have been Grozet - and if memory serves it was frankly very nice indeed.

The first thing I did upon opening the can was to smell it - and that wasn't difficult. Because there are a decent amount of hops (and it is dry hopped as well) in the nose as well as some fruit which as a person who does not often consume the same am certain may well have been the Gooseberry. The first taste was amazing - a big hit of fruitiness and finishing with a good amount of the hops which are Nelson Sauvin.  One surprise - although perhaps a benefit of the excellent skills in its brewing, was the lack of...sourness? I admit that there was sourness in the aftertaste but being one of the first canned beers I have had proclaiming it's use of Lactobacillus I was perhaps expecting a bit more. This also may be one reason that it was in fact a perfect beer to enjoy in the now warm sunshine in my back garden - because the entire 440ml was gone in ten joyous minutes.

It was 5.3% so not babbeh milk but the strength was not a theme as I supped it down. Because as well as perfectly showcasing both the gooseberry used as well as the dry hopped Nelson Sauvin, the overall taste and mouth feel was wonderfully refreshing. It was a maximum of  22 degrees today and sitting in the bright and strong sunshine I was very happy to quaff this down - an act which would have been completed far quicker if it wasn't for the fact that I only have one more can of beer left (a favourite of mine as well....) and I won't get paid for three days - a situation managed by a pop up to the shops on Friday....

I have always liked Brew York's output, indeed it was one of their beers that I first tried in the Oxbow micropub in Woodhouse back at the beginning of March.

On the basis of this and other products of theirs (and their popularity when a selection arrived at Sean's beer central last month) am absolutely certain that I will be trying their products again in the near future, and, with the greatest of hope, heading up to York to sample their wares at their fabulous Taproom.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy


Friday, 22 May 2020

Arpus

Eefnin,

        am willing to admit that after a short period without luffly bowze, today's delivery from Bar Stewards (and with the help of the lovely Laura and Anthony), may have stemmed a worryingly early desire to spout praise about "just another" boohar. But to be fair, the reviews on Ratebeer, for what that is worth, are very high, and even though am only just finishing my first ever beer from them, I have to join the melee of praise and compliments myself.  So what do I know about Arpus?

Well, firstly, the letter A should have a small line above it, similar to an Umlaut, but only because I know the name of that. Secondly, the folk making this glorious potation are based in Latvia - a country which I have both never been to, or tried beers from. I did pop on their website and Friendache pages quickly, but apart from finding out that they chose Arpus as the name of their escapade in beer because it was a local or at least Latvian word, am not sure where they are all from. For example, The Donkey brewery on Santorini (now called Santorini Brewing Co or such...) produce excellent beers, and this may stem from the number of nationalities involved in the beer's production. Regarding Arpus am happy to confirm that my lack of knowledge of such facts does not reduce my appreciation of their output.

Am trying a can of DDH Nelson IPA, a worryingly easy to drink, and thankfully easy to enjoy, soup of Nelson Sauvin hops, unless there has recent;y been a new hop called Nelson, which I have missed. As with many new (to me) breweries I am happy to report that it may be the addition of oats into the beer, and perhaps its combination with the wheat used, which makes this beer so very easy to drink. Its also described (answering my previous question) as a double dry hopped Nelson Sauvin IPA. There is, in reality, very much to anticipate enjoying.

The other beer of theirs that I have but have not yet tried, is another DDH IPA this time with Nelson and Citra - as a proven Citra fiend I am saving that until later in the next week to treat myself to. Unless I drink it tonight.... I also saw that they produce an NE DIPA at 8% or so which of course I would very much like to try. With just a third of a pint of this left am willing to claim that the blend of flavours has settled superbly, and even though it has slightly warmed up, am not remotely disappointed.

I have to say that when I poured it I was initially worried about the strength of sweetness in the aroma - but I was immediately calmed by the simplicity of the ingredients, the fact that its double dry hopped, and also it's soup like appearance. Possibly due to the use of Nelson Sauvin, and oats, its also reassuringly more orangey than some UK brews I have tasted for the first time - exactly the right colour to persuade appreciation. Am not suggesting for a moment that I don't like pale beers of course, because as a fan of, what it pains me to describe as "craaft" based on the assumptions of others I have to admit - I realise that does come with an emphasis on the joy of pale. And this delivers a lot of joy in that, and numerous other, areas..

Looking at their list of products, whilst admitting an appreciation of certain hop types in DDH and similar beers, I have to say that I am very much looking forward to finding more of their treats in other venues here in fine sunny Sheffield.

In the meantime - if you spot some - I would suggest you buy it!

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Black. Lurcher.

Hello again,

       I am aware that aspects of this latest post may seem quite familiar to the one I posted last month about Matins from Abbeydale Brewery. Not least because memories - or a distinct lack of the same - are once again involved. This time however, instead of just memories and guesstimations, the real reason for my post is to share praise. For a classic beer brewed by Abbetdale Brewery, previously only available at a single pub, and due to the insufferable national closure of pubs, now available to all.

Back in the nineties, soon after Abbeydale started, and possibly on only my second or third visit to the same, I tasted some Abbeydale Black Lurcher in the Three Stags Heads at Wardlow Mires in Derbyshire. On my first visit the beers were all, or all apart from one, from Hoskins and Oldfield Brewery in Leicestershire. There was a bitter, a strong ale and an even stronger ale if memory serves. But when I discovered that Abbeydale Brewery in sunny Sheffield were supplying all their beers, I also became aware of a beer called Black Lurcher.

The first issue comes from strength. Checking on the Abbeydale Brewery website Archive of beers, Black Lurcher is listed as 7.0%. I also currently have a mini keg of this wonderous product and it is once again shown as 7.0%. Strangely I seem to recall it being 8%. And this is something I have found, on the tinterweb as well - including a blog called Beertalk. That said its not actually the strength of this fine ale that matters. its just it's fabulous taste. And that is in abundance.

The other thing to point out is the name - numerous websites (on the tinterweb, where everything is true, remember) state that the beer is named after one of the many pub dogs, one of which was the very same, a black lurcher. On my first visit I distinctly remember the lurchers - who are very large, and very dosile, most of the time - as well as a small dog which used to sit quite often with or near landlord Geoff. I understand the dog passed away sadly many years ago, but it is one thing that I specifically recall on a number of visits. Not how to spell the landlord's name alas.....

So, the beer - it is black. And it is, despite it's strength, a very easy drinking tipple. There is bitterness in there as well as dark maltiness and there is sweetness in the taste, but it sits soulfully and carefully at the front of the sup, and the aftertaste is mostly malty bitterness. And to state once again - it is very easy to drink. If you want to read other thoughts of mine about this there is something here... a point in time (2012 it says) when it appears that the pub bottled the beer themselves, a fact proven by my brother WK's visit in that year and never actually confirmed by the fab folk at either the pub or at Abbeydale brewery. I recall finishing there with WK, Chala and Christingpher in 2010 or thereabouts after a lengthy trip around much of Derbyshire and Staffordshire before Chris went down to Bath to study before becoming a teacher. Chris, a man of strong wills, definitely had a whole pint of this. His description of the beer was of it being an immense undertaking. It's also the Three Stags Heads where me and him went in late December 1999 and absolutely loved it.     

The last point to make is that I also remember that around the same time that Black Lurcher - and indeed Last Rites - was produced, that Abbeydale produced a strong beer called King James the....third? Or James the....number. It was brewed especially for former brewer or employee James who had taken on the running of the New Barrack Tavern in Sheffield, also in the late nineties.  Unfortunately the brewery website Archive is a very long list of beers and so whilst it may well be on there, I did not find it before finding the reference to Black Lurcher.

Finally, its one of the few benefits of this awful undertaking of pub closures that Abbeydale had some Black Lurcher spare and were able to sell it, and both myself and Wee Keefy were able to purchase a mini keg of this fabulous brew.  Long may this beer last in my house - although am afraid to say it will probably all be gone by tomorrow. Meanwhile, long may Abbeydale continue to supply it to the excellent Three Stags Heads at Wardlow Mires after they reopen, and long may they continue to brew it. If it is still available I would strongly suggest that you purchase some......

A classic beer for a classic pub.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy.