Saturday, March 12, 2011

Summer Wine Comes Good

One of the local breweries that has not often featured on 'A Swift One' is Summer Wine. There have been a couple of reasons for this; one still applies, one less so. Their beer has not been easy to find locally on a regular basis, this still is the case, but the other, the beer quality itself has improved in leaps and bounds in my opinion in recent times, and it not just my opinion as we will see.

The brewery has been going since 2006 and are based in a unit off New Mill Rd at Honley. Their plant there is capable of producing 30 barrels a week.

In the early part of their career their beer never really hit the spot for me, but in recent times their new look pump clips have been a sign of something special on the bar. On my travels I have seen them as a featured brewery in London and Sheffield, both on bars that have BrewDog and Thornbridge as well, so they must be doing something right. Their beers stand comparison with both the aforementioned breweries.

Their web site shows 6 beers in their core range, surprisingly for a local brewery I have only managed to find 3. Their 'Zenith' is a 4% pale ale, a good quaffable session beer; 'Teleporter' is the one I have seen around most, a 4.8% porter, brewed according to the pump clip, with 10 malts (how you can tell that is beyond my taste buds!); and 'Diablo' is a 6% IPA, packed full of flavour and exceptionally moreish. Throw a stout, a mild and a bronze ale into the equation and you have a brewery that has managed to cover all bases.

I started to hear good things about them with feedback from beer festivals over 'Diablo', which many people raved about. It took some finding but when I did I discovered what all the fuss was about, it was excellent. Now and again I had come across some of their monthly specials. Last year they produced a range of strong beers to showcase certain hops under the 'Project 6' title, some I liked, some less so. They all came in at 6.6% which was a fairly hefty strength for a session beer ! But recently I have tracked down some of their newer beers which continue the theme of innovation and I have not been let down.

Well to say tracked down was a bit of an understatement, they are this month's showcase brewery at the Sheffield Tap. I called in yesterday, and on the bar were two beers new to me, 'Heretic' at 7.2%, and 'Nerotype no1' a mere 6%. A quick half of each and time to compare and contrast. 'Heretic' is their take on the black IPA, that beer style that seems to be the beer to brew in 2011. It is a stunning example of the type. Bursting with hop flavour with the darker malt background, it does not drink its strength and stands comparison with other brewers beers of this style. 'Nerotype' is another take on the black IPA, but this time to showcase the attributes of using different hops in the same base beer. This one is single hopped with Simcoe, and gives a more fruity background to the beer that makes it different to 'Heretic' but equally as drinkable. I will look forward to their next effort.

Rather than overlook Summer Wine beers as I have tended to do previously, I am now actively trying to search them out to sample them. It may have taken 5 years for me to appreciate them but lets hope they continue to go from strength to strength.

2 comments:

Neil, Eating Isnt Cheating said...

I'm a big fan of Sumer Wines Diablo and Nerotype. Had both in Mr Foleys which seem to have the beers on very regularly at the minute, same goes for North Bar, where I tried there Red Eye ale which was also really good.

I reviewed Nerotype (the simcoe black IPA) on my blog if you fancy a read mate.

Anonymous said...

I have Just ordered 'Valencia' 4% dry hopped with citra, Apache and another one whose name escapes me. Expect them on the bar over the next couple of weeks. Rob at the Rat