The Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – selection box #1 – September 2016

Once again, this feels like one of those “London things” that has come to Loughborough. My favourite local, The Needle & Pin, announced a while ago that they were setting up a “craft beer club”, essentially a monthly selection box where they curate 6 different beers for you in exchange for cold hard cash. The kind of thing that various beer selling web sites can do for you. But without the whole web site and delivery issues mixed in.

No deliveries. No waiting in for the postman. No couriers lying to you that they’ve tried to deliver when they’ve just driven by and thrown a piece of paper in the direction of your letterbox. No useless online stores that crash when you’re attempting to buy an exclusive selection of beers.

A nice man called Sean picks out 6 beers, and after some trials and tribulations getting hold of them he sticks them in a box, and then lets you know when they’re ready. He also knocks up some tasting notes for you and then looks after the beers until you can pick them up.

This first box (two more coming before the end of the year) was ready on the 1st of September but I haven’t been able to collect until now. The only slight problem (which is not really a problem) with having to go to the N&P to pick it up is that you’ll always be tempted to grab something else from the shelves/fridges. And yes, I did just that, as well as paying for a couple of other items that I’d “reserved” after some Facebook posts.

Sean is a very nice guy, but he really knows how to push your beer buttons 🙂

So here is the first selection box, with my added extras:-

Look for reviews of most of them over the coming months. Here’s the list of beers:-

Beavertown / Heretic – Peacher Man Peach Cobbler witbier – the brewers say that they started by breaking down the recipe; peach, toasted oats, lemon zest, muscovado sugar and bourbon vanilla pods. They fermented the beer out with a delicate Belgian Wit ale strain to add hints of spice and fruit and completed the picture by dry hopping lightly with Nelson Sauvin to add another layer of the aroma. Sean has a story to tell about trying to get hold of this one.

Hardknott – Elixir of Invicibility – their first new beer of 2015, a 7.3% Double IPA. Nose of bananas and pineapple smuggled under a grass skirt, followed by a teaser of biscuit with a crashing wave of fruity hop bitterness and a 10 mile long finish. One of my favourite Cumbrian breweries.

Siren Craft Brew – Proteus IPA Vol II – Proteus is a series devised to make the most of three hops, with this volume using Mosaic, Chinook & Cascade. Siren have brewed three pale ales using the combination before creating this dialled-up IPA version, based on everything the brewers have learned about the hops and how they work together.

Tiny Rebel – Clwb Tropicana – after last year’s champion beer of Britain, they have kept on producing great beers. This “grown up fruit salad” is as colourful as the most hideous Hawaiian shirt you’ve ever seen. It’s super juicy and crammed full of fruity hop flavours that will have your mouth watering. Imagine sitting by the pool in the blazing sun with a cocktail in one hand, but instead of a dainty little glass it’s served by the pint! Packed full of American hops, amplified by Peach, Passionfruit, Pineapple and Mango flavours!

Thornbridge – Bear State – West Coast IPA, brewed in the spirit of the West Coast of the USA. A massively hoppy beer, balanced perfectly with a touch of malt sweetness and an intensely citrus hop character to finish.

Wild Beer Co – Pogo – a draft only release earlier this year which was such a hit with both customers and staff that they decided it needed a more accessible package. A big juicy fruit bomb with a low enough ABV to be session. Head brewer Brett built the recipe around his favourite tropical fruits, passion fruit, orange, guava and some more orange. The name comes from two pogo sticks acquired by the brewery at the same time. During tank transfers and when waiting for boils you could apparently hear the regular spring and thump of pogos in the yard…

You’ll also spot a Fourpure Juicebox IPA, a Tiny Rebel Cali American pale ale, and two more Wild Beer Co bottles, Epic Saison and Gazillionaire, a Non-Imperial Non-milk stout with vanilla and cardamom. If that’s not enough to pique your interest then I don’t know what is.

Looking forward to trying all of these – watch this space!

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