after my joy unbounded at drinking the Blue Bee Shake Rattle and Roll and Magic Rock Human Cannonball in the Rutland the other night, I figured it would be some time before such a stellar line up could be found again.
This was quite a dispiriting outlook though, so I went back to the Rutland last night, assuming that (hopefully) the price would scare off all but the most determined punters from draining the Human Cannonball keg. Alas, when I arrived this is precisely what had happened. Yet I still ended up having a truly fantastic selection of ales. How could that possibly be?
Well, firstly in the Rutland Arms the Blue Bee Shake Rattle and Roll was still on so I had a couple more pints of that, Mr P opting for a Nectar to start before joining the growing band of this beer's admirers. Continuing the Blue Bee theme we bumped into Brewer Rich, who informed us that the SRnR was brewed with New Zealand hops, mainly Green Bullet but also Summit and Galena. Just another beer that demonstrates the glorious pungency and bitterness in "new world" hops. Good to see K.E Page from the world of writing as well.
Off to the Sheffield Tap next, to find a dangerously good range of beers. From the casks available 3 were from Ilkley; Mr P had a pint of their Fireside Porter and I the Mary Jane IPA (6.0%). This beer was a sumptuous blend of hops and malt that packed a nice punch but was effortlessly easy to drink. I followed this with half a Hardknott Azimuth which was a decent dry, hoppy, pale beer, and the excellent Ilkley Siberia Rhubarb Saison. The prefect foil to the ascorbic bite of the Azimuth, and a beer everyone I was to meet later on was also enthusing about.
Mr P sensibly headed home at this point and I went for a last "one" at DAda, where the brilliance continued. I had a fantastic half of Fullers Bengal Lancer on cask (first time I have seen it, and it was fantastic), plus a somewhat unwise pint of Halcyon. I was then treated to two of DAda's best bottled exotica courtesy of a member of staff from another Thornbridge pub who was buying and sharing some of the finer examples of the brewers art. A noble and highly commendable gesture.
First up at (£price too high to insert) was a large bottle of Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast. Shared between a handful of us I got a decent sized taste, and wasn't disappointed. Despite its near legendary reputation and high standing in the (wait, am going to heave) "Craft" world, I have had very little Mikkeller output. I had a bottle they did with BrewDog back in 2011 (at the excellent Andersons Bar in Fortrose) and also had a taste of the Big Worse barley wine. Other than that the whole collective Mikkeller-gasm has eluded me.
So you'll forgive me if it all seems like a bit of a late on the boat, heard it all before, well worn refrain when I say that Beer Geek Breakfast was stunning. I was worried that the beer might taste ever so slightly of hype but no, it just tasted of perfectly balanced, excellently delivered bottled coffee stout which I could have drank plenty of. It was the epitome of what a good smooth stout should be, and that's up against some stiff competition. Perhaps this is one of those rare occasions when the hype is in fact just reasonable comment.
Up next was Thornbridge/Odell Pond Hopper. I didn't really like it on draught, I found it clumsy and overly sweet and just not , well, balanced enough. In bottle it was better. It was a similar sized helping and was definitely a good choice to finish the night on. I still think that Thornbridge have done better beers but there's no escaping that this was a big statement. Very many thanks to the kindly benefactor who funded these free tastes - although financial ruination now beckons since I am now willing to go out and pay silly money for the Beer Geek Breakfast...
So, an impeccable night of local, national and international beer aristocracy was enjoyed, giving me the chance to be blown away by quality and consistency for the second time in a week. A hugely rewarding way to spend 4 hours....