Beer of the month – August 2016 – Cloudwater DIPA v3

August was a strong month for beer. Lots of good candidates in the line up, but all sampled at home this month, for the first time since November 2015.

We start with something from BrewDog, always one of my favourites. The black IPA (or Cascadian dark ale) is something that divides opinion. Many people suggest that such a thing should not exist, or is some kind of abomination. Arcade Nation is a 5.2% black IPA, which is a hybrid of an American IPA and a stout, with malt and hops clashing to produce roasty, chocolate and coffee notes with citrus, mango and pine coming from the hops (Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra).

Next, we travel to Somerset, for a Somerset Wild by The Wild Beer Co. When is a cider not a cider? When it’s a pale, sparkling sour beer fermented with a locally harvested culture of yeasts and bacteria from the apple orchards that Somerset is famous for. Zingy!

To something a little more familiar now, and a Tinderbox IPA by Fell Brewery, a very well rounded IPA. Hoppiness and piney flavours. Tastes more session than the ABV of 6.3% suggests. Everything I’ve had so far from Fell Brewery in Cumbria has been fantastic.

We move from one national park to another, with a trip to the Peak District. Well, almost. Bollington is just yards from the boundary of the Peak District national park, and Bollington Brewing Co produce Goldenthal, which was May’s winner. You can read all about it in that post!

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Back to Somerset again, a Modus Operandi (Modus Vivendi) by The Wild Beer Co who have already featured this month. An old ale matured in oak Bourbon barrels with wild yeast. You were supposed to buy two, one to drink now, and one to lay down. I forgot that bit and just went for the drink now option. Sweet, sour, blueberry, blackberry, red wine, fizz. So much going on, so little time.

There’s time for two more great beers.

First up we have something from the 2015 Rainbow Project, a Key Lime Tau (2π) by Crooked Stave and Hawkshead Breweries. The Rainbow Project challenges brewers to come together and brew a beer inspired by a colour. In its third year, the 2015 project involved seven UK breweries, each paired with a different American brewery and randomly assigned a colour. Crooked Stave and Hawkshead got assigned green, and Key Lime Tau was born, a mixed culture fermentation ale aged in oak with lactose, fresh lime peel and fresh lemongrass

The brief review is simple. Lime lime lime. And then limezzzzzz! With some lime. Super sourness coming through. If you love lime like I love lime, you’ll love this.

This month’s beer of the month was so good, it produced enough words for its own blog post. The DIPA V3 by Cloudwater Brew Co.

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Even after 4 months this is still stunning. It’s a 9% double IPA (DIPA). It doesn’t taste like a 9% DIPA. With many beers of high strength, you can taste the alcohol, and sometimes it can overpower the flavours of the beer (often called “alcohol burn”). Not so here, it’s wonderfully drinkable for a 9% beer.

Juicy Citra and Mosaic hops mingle with Chinook and Comet. Vermont ale yeast makes a big contribution to this beer, bringing a peach flavour to do battle with the tropical notes from the hops. It would appear that over time the hops might have fought back a bit more than when everyone tried it back in April when it was released.

The only disappointment is that I’ll never get to have another bottle of this, because I bloody loved it. I love huge and flavoursome IPAs. This was very much one of those. I just kept sniffing it and drinking it. I had a sneaky feeling that it would be beer of the month for August, and I was quite right.

A strong contender for beer of the year too!

The Basin, Loughborough, August 2016

A quick post. Regular MOFAD drinking companion Alec usually organises a summer meal of some sort, usually to coincide with increasing age by a year. A bit later than usual this year, but we find ourselves in The Basin, a minimalist restaurant serving Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisine.

We were supposed to go to the awesome Needle & Pin first for a drink but Arriva buses had other ideas, leaving us hanging around at the bus stop for around half an hour’s valuable drinking time.

So when we eventually got to town, it was straight to the Basin for a drink first. And despite interesting things like Hitachino Nest being available at Wagamama, The Basin haven’t really caught up with this modern thinking, and have a very average selection. So Hoegaarden is the best choice, a fruity witbier with a touch of coriander and orange that works well with the food. A few of these were consumed.

A hoisin duck temaki to start, a hand roll of sticky rice, shredded duck, cucumber, spring onion and sweet hoisin sauce. Classic Oriental starter stuff. A nice little pea of wasabi on the side, not for the faint hearted.

To the main course. Salmon teryaki, a Japanese classic served with simple boiled rice. Yay! And pointless iceberg lettuce. Boo! What a waste of space that lettuce is, taking up valuable real estate on the plate where something much tastier could be sitting.

A pleasant meal certainly, but that unadvertised iceberg rather leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

Pub of the month – August 2016 – Ye Olde Mustard Pot, Midhopestones

Another month of pub visiting.

First in this month’s round up, The Quorndon Fox, in Quorn. The Quorndon Fox was a fox specially bred for hunting wild Quorn in order to feed vegetarians.

Vintage Inns are another example of a good chain of pubs. We’ve been to them around the country, in Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, Derbyshire and probably some other shires too. You know what you’re going to get, which is usually decent food and a good few ales on the bar. The menu is the same up and down the country, and they change them regularly throughout the seasons.

August’s visit (we’ve been here in pre-MOFAD days) provided an example of those good ales – Abbeydale Moonshine, a classic session pale ale, light and hoppy.

You can also keep it light food-wise with a simple sandwich menu, offering things like chicken BLT – grilled chicken breast, bacon, gem lettuce and tomato. There’s also chargrilled rump steak with horseradish mayonnaise, beer-battered cod goujons and samphire tartare sauce (posh fish fingers), prawn and hot-smoked salmon, Taw Valley cheddar and pickle or Yorkshire ham and grain mustard. These are all served with “straw fries” (Stringfellows for all you 80s frozen chip children).

The aforementioned chicken BLT came in a good bap with good chips. And served on plates!!! The little chip bowl had been heated up to keep the chips warm, so it served a purpose but I still tipped them out anyway.

On warm summer evenings there’s also a nice beer garden out the back to enjoy. We were dining in the garden, and you get to go and raid the fridge for condiments. No tiny sachets here, go and grab a jar of mayonnaise or tomato sauce or whatever from the fridge in the little shed and spoon yourself some out. A lovely pub.

The next two pubs come from a Bank Holiday weekend away.

Next up we have The Royal Hotel Hayfield. Just up above the village of Hayfield is a very nicely kept Camping and Caravanning Club camp site, which was to be our base for the weekend.

On the Friday and Saturday nights we found ourselves wandering down into the village, and to The Royal Hotel, where we’ve eaten on a few previous visits to Hayfield. Good beers available as per previous visits. On the first night I started with DB Number One from Dorking brewery, with malts, a little hint of hop, and maybe a tiny amount of smokiness…

Dinner was soon served, and we had both opted for “Italian chicken”, chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and wrapped in parma ham, served on a bed of crushed new potatoes with a rich tomato sauce.

It was quite nice, but the tomato sauce needs a bit more work. It wasn’t “rich” as described, instead a little bit watery. Another 5 minutes of reduction and it would have probably been about right. A bit under seasoned too.

This was accompanied by a pint of Byatt’s “Marvellous English IPA”. If this wasn’t labelled as an IPA I would have rated it higher. It is writing cheques that it can’t cash. Nice beer but not an IPA.

Just 24 hours later, we were back. After a rainy day out on the bikes we decided that a nice quiet evening in the pub was required. We had popped in to The Sportsman Inn but they were absolutely rammed, so we walked down in to the village again, and back to the Royal Hotel. First up a pint of Longdendale Lights by Howard Town Brewery, a good session pale ale:-

Dinner was well earned, despite a curtailed ride. For me it was the Royal burger (beef and horseradish), topped with bacon and cheese and served with a salad garnish and chips, whilst Mrs MOFAD opted for the burger sliders – three mini-burgers of pulled pork, beef and chicken served with chips.

The sliders could have done with something else to accompany them (I donated my coleslaw), and the rolls were a little dry, but the fillings were all good. My burger was nice also, just a hint of horseradish, and a good brioche bun. Despite the silly mesh bucket, we did get plates, and a hint of salad garnish. A very nice burger.

The Royal Hotel is definitely worth popping in to if you’re in Hayfield. Although they do stop serving food at 7pm on Sundays, which is slightly annoying on a Bank Holiday weekend!

Our winner this month is somewhere that we’ve never been before, Ye Olde Mustard Pot in Midhopestones, on the outskirts of Sheffield.

Bank Holiday Monday must involve some kind of pub trip right? You would think so, but so many establishments seem to give their chefs the day off and stop serving food. Great for the hard working chef of course, but what about the hungry customer?

On this particular Bank Holiday Monday we were in transit from our camp site for the weekend to a family BBQ. After a nice drive across the northern edge of the Peak District, we were on the look out for somewhere near to Langsett Reservoir, where we were planning on having a little stroll in the summer sunshine.

Whilst driving around, we chanced upon Ye Olde Mustard Pot in Midhopestones. Despite the massive car park looking a little empty, they were in fact open and doing food (until 4pm), so we parked up and found a table in the bar (there’s a patio with benches out the front and also a beer garden around the back).

We ordered some sandwiches and then sat back and waited. There was a bit of a delay because it was a busy Bank Holiday lunchtime, but we were in no particular hurry. It gave us time to listen to the story of a nearby table who had recently seen a concert at Jodrell Bank, home of the Lovell Telescope and home since 2011 of a few live music events.

The gentleman on the table mentioned the name of the artist in question and it was all I could do to not burst out laughing. He had apparently been to see “that John Michael Jar”. I wondered if this was some kind of Jean Michel Jarre tribute act from the north, but further description suggested that it was the real JMJ, just beautifully mis-pronounced.

Anyway, enough of this local dialect amusement. On to lunch. We had both ordered the same thing, a roast chicken baguette with chorizo and smoked cheese.

It was absolutely delicious, probably the tasiest thing of the whole month. The baguette was stuffed to the gills with filling, loads of chicken, plenty of chorizo and no skimping on the smoked cheese. Proper home made chips and a decent bit of salad on the side. One of the sandwiches of the year.

A lovely cosy pub serving great food. There was also a good pint on (Bradfield Farmers Blonde) but there was lots more driving to do, so I passed. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area and a worthy winner of pub of the month.

Charnwood Brewery, August 2016

For a town that has always been blessed with pubs, and several always serving decent beer, it’s taken Loughborough a long time to get its own brewery.

Launched in December 2014, Charnwood Brewery were the ones to right this wrong, thanks to the Reed family who have the motto of ‘brewing happy beer!’

Andrew and Andrea were initially helped out by their son George, who later went off to University, so they recruited Andy (yes that’s far too many And- people for one brewery), a former landlord of The Swan in the Rushes. They have other people on board helping out too.

They quickly gained a reputation for brewing good beer, first around Charnwood pubs and then in the wider East Midlands area. Their beers are now found up and down the country, and are still very popular in their local area.

Their shop and brewery tap have seen plenty of visitors through the doors, selling their core range of beers in bottles, mini kegs and “bag in a box” all year round, as well as their seasonal beers at the appropriate time.

The only question that you probably have is “why has it taken you so long to visit?”

The answer is simple – just haven’t had the time. I’ve been drinking the beer in local pubs ever since it was first launched, but as you can tell from most of the posts here, we’ve been busy travelling around the country and visiting different breweries and beer festivals and what not, our local one has been neglected. Haven’t had the chance to go after work either!

Anyway, today I put that right, with a quick lunchtime trip to stock up on their current range of bottled beers:-

It’s a lovely little brewery, despite the unglamorous industrial estate location. You’re assured of a friendly welcome and some beer chat, or you can just dash in, load up a box with some beer, and then nip off to your next shopping destination, which is what I did today.

Charnwood Brewery are brewing some very good beers in our local area, if you’ve had some already, get down here and buy some. If you haven’t, get down here and try some and then buy some! A brilliant local business that is doing well and is well deserving of your support!

Ye Olde Mustard Pot, Midhopestones, August 2016

Bank Holiday Monday must involve some kind of pub trip right? You would think so, but so many establishments seem to give their chefs the day off and stop serving food. Great for the hard working chef of course, but what about the hungry customer?

Today we were in transit from our camp site for the weekend to a family BBQ. After a nice drive across the northern edge of the Peak District, we were on the look out for somewhere near to Langsett Reservoir, where we were planning on having a little stroll.

Whilst driving around, we chanced upon Ye Olde Mustard Pot in Midhopestones. Despite the massive car park looking a little empty, they were in fact open and doing food (until 4pm), so we parked up and found a table in the bar (there’s a patio with benches out the front and also a beer garden around the back).

We ordered some sandwiches and then sat back and waited. There was a bit of a delay because it was a busy Bank Holiday lunchtime, but we were in no particular hurry. It gave us time to listen to the story of a nearby table who had recently seen a concert at Jodrell Bank, home of the Lovell Telescope and home since 2011 of a few live music events.

The gentleman on the table mentioned the name of the artist in question and it was all I could do to not burst out laughing. He had apparently been to see “that John Michael Jar”. I wondered if this was some kind of Jean Michel Jarre tribute act from the north, but further description suggested that it was the real JMJ, just beautifully mis-pronounced.

Anyway, enough of this local dialect amusement. On to lunch. We had both ordered the same thing, a roast chicken baguette with chorizo and smoked cheese.

It was absolutely delicious. The baguette was stuffed to the rafters with filling, loads of chicken, plenty of chorizo and no skimping on the smoked cheese. Proper home made chips and a decent bit of salad on the side. One of the sandwiches of the year.

A lovely cosy pub serving great food. There was also a good pint on (Bradfield Farmers Blonde) but there was lots more driving to do, so I passed. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

The Sportsman, Hayfield, August 2016

We’ve been attempting to eat here for the last two nights, but it was absolutely rammed on both nights when we came in to try and get a table. They just couldn’t squeeze any more people in.

We returned tonight, couldn’t get a table, and then wandered down into the village for a nice dinner at The George Hotel. We decided to return here a couple of hours later for a drink, and it was deserted, save for a group of four people and a Jackahuahua.

Yes, that is a thing. They took two of the yappiest whiny little dogs with attitude problems, the Jack Russell and the Chihuahua, and decided to cross them to bring out the best points in both breeds. These breeds don’t have best points, so they created a squeaky little monster called a Jackahuahua, that squeals at anything and everything, including a much larger and nicer dog that came in later on for a quiet bowl of water with its owners.

Anyway, enough canine chat, let’s talk beer. A Thwaites “Crafty Dan Lil’ Bewdy”, an Australian style pale ale with Australian hops.

I’ve had this before in a bottle, and interestingly the bottled version was better. That’s not to say this was bad, a good session ale that needs more hops, but just better in a bottle in my limited experience so far.

There’s also some interesting decor in here, including this classic GPO 200 Bakelite phone, a lovely piece of history…

A nice pub, perhaps next time we might be able to get a table and eat dinner here.

The George Hotel, Hayfield, August 2016

As mentioned yesterday, The Royal Hotel stops serving food early on Sundays, so that was out. Yet again, we tried to get in to The Sportsman Inn for dinner, but yet again they were completely full, even before 7pm. So instead we wandered back down to the village again, and settled on the George Hotel, another Hayfield hostelry that we’ve visited before. Being a Marston’s house, you’ll know the beer line up. Pick one from Marston’s, Ringwood and Jennings and you’ll be fairly safe.

Double Ringwood for me tonight, with Fortyniner up first, always reliable.

Sometimes you just have to keep it classic. Fish’n’chips with a beer and black pepper batter, mushy peas and tartare sauce. Hard to get wrong, and nice when it’s done right (like tonight). Mrs MOFAD opted for lamb kleftiko, a Greek classic.

The other Ringwood offering tonight is the classic golden ale Boondoggle, always a good pub pint.

Another classic village pub in Hayfield, also worth a visit.