Beer of the month, April 2016

Another busy month for beer tastings. My first ever visit to the Needle & Pin, a birthday trip to Bollington, another trip to the Needle & Pin, and then a trip to Edinburgh, which saw 7 different pubs over a week, including the fantastic Hanging Bat and an obligatory BrewDog trip. Or two.

On to the best beers of the month, which despite all these trips out are dominated by bottles and cans at home. There’s also a heavy New Zealand influence coming through from imports from the NZ road trip.

We start with a New World IPA by Northern Monk, from back at the start of April, and it was the biggest hop hit since returning from NZ. Tart mango flavours mixed with soft maltiness. And the bloke from Assassins Creed on the can. Pray, pray, pray, stab. That will make no sense if you don’t know what Assassins Creed is.

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Our first import next, a Voyager by Renaissance Brewing Company. An English IPA from New Zealand, with a malty backbone.

Bloody foreigners. Coming over here. Doing the jobs of British beers by being full of citrus hoppy notes & not understanding the word pale.

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We leave home for the next 2, beers tasted at the awesome Hanging Bat in Edinburgh. The Muckle IPA from Swannay brewery had the following qualities:-

Malty! Sweet! Hoppy! Not pale! All the ingredients of an American IPA! You can also spot a hat from Wooly Things in the background. On the day in question, Edinburgh had seen 4 seasons in one day, including hail and snow, so a wooly hat was much in demand!

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Staying in the Hanging Bat, we have the Spring + Summer Session IPA Mosaic from Cloudwater Brew Co., with a super fruity nose. Peaches and pear drops. A Perry-like palate with rounded bitterness and some banana. Good weird.

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We’re back at home now with another import, a Sauvinova by Tuatara Brewery. A hoppy pale ale that isn’t pale. Good NZ hop character and interesting bottle. A balance of Nelson Sauvin hops and maltiness.

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After all this hoppiness, it may come as a surprise to find that the winner is Oyster Stout by Three Boys Brewery, another NZ import.

Super stouty goodness. All killer, no filler. Perfect with Moroccan fish stew and I’ll put the recipe for that up some time.

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A worthy winner, but I suspect there will be more hoppy beasts for it to contend with to win beer of the year in December. Stay tuned!

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