Saturday, July 02, 2016

Beer Of The Day - Raw 'All Along The Herb Garden'

Raw Brewery is based in Staveley, near Chesterfield, and has been brewing since 2010. I have family connections in the area and encounter their beers quite often, but I have never encountered a beer of theirs  quite like the one I came across yesterday. In fact, I would be hard pressed to think if have ever come across a beer like it.

'All Along The Herb Garden' was at the Flowerpot beer festival at Mirfield. It is pale, 3.9% and has no discernable hop flavours. That is not to say that they are not there but the main flavours there are  created by an infusion of herbs. I checked the brewery website to assist me but it does not feature there so my notes are taken from the festival notes.

The beer has a distinctive nose, with lavender notes and lemon grass but the tasting notes also mention lemon verbana, nettle and chamomile. They all blend together to create an interesting beer. I thought it would be ok for half and then that would be it, but I found myself with a second one because I found it so interesting.

If you want to try it it will be available at the Flowerpot until it runs out, but there again there are plenty of other festival beers there to compensate.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Has the Bubble Burst ?

If you have read the previous post, you will have found that Hornbeam brewery of Manchester has just produced its last beer, That is a shame as I quite enjoyed their beers, but in the recent past they only seem to have been available close to their home area.

This revelation started a conversation with the Bar Fringe barman, who is a knowledgeable guy , about the demise of the brewery. He reminded me that there are several other breweries in the Manchester area that have ceased brewing the recent past. Boggart and Allgates are two others at least, but I am sure there are more.

The concern here is that these are larger breweries, well established in their own area,but one's that seem not to be able to cope with the massive influx of the new wave of breweries in the area. Hornbeam had been brewing for nearly 10 years, the other two even longer; if breweries of this pedigree feel unable to continue, what of the rest of the brewing world ?

There may be personal reasons I am unaware of to close the breweries, but I am sure that the newer breweries ethos may also be a reason. The older breweries brewed beer, and sold it to pubs in casks. Often via a wholesaler.They rarely bothered with kegging, or canning, just occasionally bottling their beer. The new wave seem to be totally the opposite.

I am not criticising their practices - you have to move with the times. But the new wave beers are more often seen on keg, and in cans with cask being a small part of their output. Their sales often coming through brewery swaps, doing away with the middle man. This seems to be the way forward and what the new generation of drinkers wants and consequently the older generation of brewers who are reluctant or fail to adapt may fall by the way side.

I hope this is not the case and there is enough capacity in the brewing industry to support both the old and the new, but on the strength of yesterday I am not so sure. Watch this space


Since I wrote this I have received information that my suggestion that Allgates has closed is incorrect, although brewing is currently suspended. If this is the case and I have caused any distress I apologise. Timbo

Beer Of The Day - Hornbeam 'Bowing Out'

Todays Beer Of The Day is somewhat different to those I selected previously, but more of that shortly. It is a light, hoppy beer, at 4.8%. Nothing unusual there then. It is an excellent beer, with citrus notes, and a slightly flowery nose. There were further hints of hedgerows with nettles and spice in the background of the beer. It was complex and interesting.

I assumed when I drank it in the Bar Fringe, in Manchester's northern quarter yesterday that it's name 'Bowing Out' was a reference to the Brexit vote or the Football debacle, but I was wrong..... it is Hornbeam brewery's last ever beer.....and that got me thinking.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Beer of The Day - Hawkshead - Great White

After yesterday's trip down the dark side, today takes us to the other end of the spectrum with a wheat beer. Hawkshead 'Great White' is not just a wheat beer, it is a British (sorry, Cumbrian) take on a typical foreign wheat beer.

'Great White' is 4.8%, and has a decent body - mainly from the Maris Otter malt used - and with the hints of orange and coriander does sound little like a foreign wheat beer we have encountered before but the New Zealand Motueka hops gives it a different twist.

If you want to sample it it is currently on the bar in the Grove

Beer Of The Day - Ashover 'Milk Stout'

Ashover began brewing in 2007, in a stable block at the rear of the Old Poets Corner, in Ashborne in Derbyshire. Their beers were good but were rarely seen outside their home area. However, last year they moved into a unit in Clay Cross and as a result increased their capacity from a 4bbl plant to a 20bbl, and they are now being found well away from their home area.

At that time the brewery rebranded itself and their pump clips are now in a distinctive leaf shape, coloured to reflect the style of the beer.

I encountered their 'Milk Stout' yesterday in the Record Cafe in Bradford. It is part of their specials  range and weighs in at a hefty 6%, a beer to be treated with respect. I was about to leave it when it was suggested it was well worth a try. And it certainly was.

It is everything milk stout should be. Rich and smooth, not too heavy and very accentuated towards the malts rather than hops. It has a chocolate profile, but I got coffee and caramel hints. As a milk stout it has lactose added to give it a slight creamy sweetness. It was very moreish.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Beer Of The Day - Brodies 'The Grove Pale Ale'

As we have mentioned before, this month is the Grove's 10th anniversary, and to celebrate the event the pub has commissioned or collaborated with several breweries to create special beers. One of these has come from Brodies in East London.

'The Grove Pale Ale' (catchy name !) does exactly what it says on the clip. It is a 5% pale ale, crammed with hops. There is little else I can say about it except that it is presently on the bar at the pub and is excellent.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Beer Of The Day - Wimbledon 'SW19 Summer Ale'

With all the recent political hiatus, you may have lost sight that the Wimbledon Tennis tournament starts today. Frankly I can take or leave tennis, but when I saw a Wimbledon brewery beer on the bar at The Star I thought it would be a little churlish of me to ignore it. I am glad I didn't.

Firstly it was a new brewery for me, which I had not realised at the time, and secondly it was a pretty good beer.

The brewery has been brewery in its present form for just about 12 months, but it traces its history back in to the 1830's. It brews a variety of beers, their website showing 5 of them but the one I was sampling was 'SW19' - their summer seasonal.

As one would expect, it is a pale beer, at 4%. It is brewed using a combination of English, Australian, and New Zealand hops and is subtly balanced. None of the hops predominates but rather they compliment each other to provide a straw coloured, well balanced offering, with a clean finish. A perfect antidote to the tennis !!