Saturday, January 28, 2017

Beer Of The Week - 4

This week saw Burns Night, so to celebrate the Scottish Bard I have chosen not one, but two, beers of the week from across the the border, both of which are excellent and are a complete contrast to each other. And both were available yesterday in the Victoria cafe in Halifax,

The weaker of the pair is a keg beer from 6 degree North. A brewery from Stonehaven in North east Scotland, their beers are almost always Belgian in style. I have had a few of their beer, and I am always impressed. This time their 'Pilsner' was on offer. Not usually my style but 4.8% made it a bit stronger than the usual lager fayre. It was an excellent version, fresh and crisp but with a certain softness. It was unfiltered, so a cloudy pilsner took a bit of getting used to.

To counter balance this was a strong dark beer that came from Black Isle brewery. They have been brewing since 1998, and aim to be organic in all their beers. They do produce kegs, but the 'Hibernator' I sampled was on cask. It was 7% and not shy on flavour. An oatmeal stout, it has all sorts of interesting background flavours going on. I managed to get coffee, chocolate, berries and licquorice hints out of my beer,

Should you struggle to find either beer, both can be found in bottles.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Beer of the week 2 and 3 (2017)

To all those people who were desperate to read what the second beer of the year was I apologise, (but it wasn't really my fault..blame windows ..) enough said !!!

However, because I feel that we ought not to short change you, you can have 2 for the price of 1 - in blog terms anyway - if you try it at a bar I am not sure it would be appreciated.

Cloudwater are one of our breweries from over in the dark side. They have been brewing since Feb 2015 in central Manchester  and have been producing plenty of interesting cask beers. They went through a phase of brewing beers for all seasons  (often with spring/summer, or autumn/winter) combined. And beers of all styles but I preferred their hoppy beers. Light and fresh, interesting but not overly hopped. The same cannot be said of some of their keg products.

They brew some seriously good key keg beers. Their DIPA range is exceptionally good, but sadly exceptionally strong. The range started at v1 and the latest in the range is DIPA v10 , a mere 9.0% and available at the moment at The Victoria,Halifax. As DIPA suggests it is not shy on the hop front with a massive hit of complex tastes. Admittedly not for all, but worth a third just for the experience.

However, sadly, the cask beer on the bar at Grove is a swansong. It is believed to be the last cask Cloudwater beer, and pretty good it is too. Winter Sessions 'Centennial/Chinook'  is a 4.5% light bitter. Very pleasant, not too hoppy but with a fresh twist. A shame they have stopped brewing cask, in my humble opinion, but the brewers know best. It is excellent, and  the best beer on the bar, if not one of the best beers in the town. A sad day, but we can always console ourselves with their keg beers.

In case it disappears quickly a new beer on the bar at the Star shortly should be Horbury 5 Hop. A combination of American and Australian hops I believe, and the word on the grapevine is that it is well worth a try, I will keep you posted.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Beer Of The Week, Week One

This year I have decided that instead of a beer of the day, which I did throughout December, I would select a 'Beer Of The Week' . This should be a fairly achievable target I hope, so I have had the first week of the new year to road test the idea.

Quite frankly this year has started much the same as the last one finished, but I have a cold to throw into the mix which is affecting my taste slightly. It will not be a true reflection of a weeks beer since many pubs were not open for at least some of the week but I have managed to get around a few places to sample their wares.

I have sampled a mixture of cask and keg, and my first selection comes from the latter. The Sportsman has 'Somerset Wild' from the Wild brewery of Somerset on the taps there. It is an intense tasting beer. Sour but not excessively so, it is hard to pin down the underlying taste. The brewery website refers to homemade lemonade, I would not disagree but it has more depth than that.

What really made it special was the way the beer has been fermented, using locally harvested yeasts and bacteria, which gives it a touch of the Belgian Saison style.
It is 5%, so not overly strong. It comes highly recommended, (well at least by Robin and me !)