some of you may know that I had an issue recently known as a stroke. Am telling you this now so that you can judge me and then read with a clear head. I am not for a minute suggesting I have been sensible in my recovery. So lets now get on with the gen....
I had heard about this takeover a few weeks ago and had already enjoyed two of the beers in can in the last month, so no amount of minor brain injury was going to keep me away. It did take a while to walk from the Wicker, and it was cold, but I had my stick my phone and company. The beers did not disappoint.
I started on two halves, of Northern Monk and Wylam I want to moob it moob it, and Cloudwater and the Pilcrow pub Missing piece IPA at 7%. The Northern collab was fabulous, very cloudy and tantalisingly hoppy and absurdly easy to drink.
I had heard some in the tiny village of my drinking universe suggest that they were tired of Cloudwater and of the DIPA style. I found this quite interesting. I realise that price is an issue (the Northern Monk Wylam collab was £6.60 a pint at 8.8 and the Cloudwater collab was £7.20 at 7% for example) and also that their DIPA series of 9%ers had probably run its course before it finished. However, their New England DIPAs and Double dry hopped 6% pale ales have been far better, in some cases amazing, and the idea of double dry hopping a DIPA whilst also maintaining its balance and easy drinking smoothness brings the style to a whole new level.
The missing piece IPA with Pilcrow was very interesting and featured Citra, Eukanot and Mosaic and was double dry hopped, pulling off the hoppy and balanced trick perfectly. It was also thick yellow in colour - not that this matters, but it suggested different malts or yeast to usual had been used which perhaps contributed to the flavour. It was quite frankly exceptional. A proper hop smoothie.
I also tried the Weird Beard and Odyssey Brew Co Fuck you I won't brew what you tell me, a 9.2% West Coast IPA. I have a lot of time for Odyssey and the only thing that let this down was that the strength possibly gave the beer a noticable sweetness.
The final IPA I tried was the Deya Into the Haze, a wonderfully cloudy tropical IPA at 6.2%. This was perhaps the beer of the night in terms of mouthfeel and taste, and its the only beer I had a pint of. Deya are another good brewery whose products thus far have not disappointed me. A fantastic, smooth, hoppy end to a short tasting. Alas I did not get to try the Chorlton Mandarin sour or the Amundsen from Norway, and I didn't try the Lost Industry Landlocked streets in the sky because I had tried it in bottle and didn't fancy its unavoidable sweetness (although it is a very good beer).
Having missed two excellent pub fests whilst in hospital or recovering am glad I risked a trip to Shakespeares to sample some truly fantastic ales from some influential breweries. Looking forward to another which I would recommend should take place in February when am good and better.....