The Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – selection box #2 – November 2016

I know I haven’t finished drinking all of the beers in the first selection box yet, but that’s not a problem. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Not having guzzled a load of beers is a good thing – a sign that you’ve got plenty of lovely things to choose from. You can read more about the selection box concept in that link above, I’m just going to dive straight in with details of what’s in this month’s box. Once again, there are several added extras that I’d reserved previously…

First up this month we have London Brew Lab Mosaic Pale Ale. A single hopped Mosaic American Pale Ale (APA) with a gentle fizz promosing scents of tangerine, pale malts and zesty hops. The palate suggests melon, marmalade and malt sugars with a grassy pine aftertaste.

Brixton Atlantic APA is next – Brixton are an N&P favourite, being very much a local brewery who make many deliveries on foot to their very local customers. Generous dry hopping delivers a juicy tropical flavour with extra pale malt keeping it crisp.

To a previous favourite of mine next, described by me in 2014 as “like an axe made of hops”. Buxton Axe Edge is now hopped with Amarillo (do you know the way?), Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops, bringing mandarin orange, pineapple, schnapps and juicy tropical fruits to your mouth. Looking forward to having this one again.

Speak Easy from Powder Keg is brewed in Devon by John Magill, a good friend of the N&P. It has been stocked ever since the N&P first opened, and I had some back in May. The Transatlantic Pale Ale is dry hopped to maximise the fruity aromatics whilst keeping bitterness in check and presenting a clean finish, bringing British reserve to the brash American pale ale, as if they were still part of the Empire.

Magic Rock Common Grounds Triple Coffee Porter is another that I’ve had before, just last month in fact. This one was put in to the box to try and challenge some of the patrons. Seven different malts are combined with seven different coffees added at three stages during the brew (hence the triple). This produces bitterness and slight hints of chocolate, as well as a little toffee and dark fruits. I did enjoy this one but added NMC to the end of my review. That’s “needs more coffee” which is a change from the usual NMH (needs more hops). It doesn’t quite reach the heights of Buxton’s Guatemalan Coffee Extra Porter.

The last one in the official selection is Mother Earth Boo Koo West Coast IPA. This is another one that has been stocked at the N&P since day one, bursting with flavour, a dry finish and hop-forward. It is also desribed as teeming with fruit and pine notes, and drinkable like a session ale. Looking forward to trying it!

A lot of words there, so let’s have that picture again whilst we finish off!

Finally, we move on to my additional purchases. Let’s start with Cloudwater DIPA v8. I’ve already written about the Cloudwater DIPA experiment as well as a review of v3. Cloudwater DIPA v8 marks the last “event based” release in this range. The strategy was to time releases around beer event dates to try and get these special beers to the most people in the shortest possible time. Cloudwater DIPA v8 was released for IMBC16 (that’s Indy Man Beer Con aka the Independent Manchester Beer Convention).

From v9 onwards Cloudwater will be releasing their new DIPA versions on the first Saturday of every month. This means that v9 is out today, v10 will be released on the 3rd of December and so on. There are no plans to drop the version numbers, so this experiment will keep on running. I’m very happy about that!

To finish off this month, we have two from Siren Craft Brew, who are fast becoming a favourite of mine. Ten Dollar Shake was originally brewed in collaboration with Brewdog Shepherds Bush, with an idea to create a fruit smoothie of a beer, a juice-packed IPA with the most fruit they’ve ever used in a brew (mango, papaya and passion fruit). A big dollop of lactose was added for a thick and smooth body so it pours like a smoothie.

V.I.P.A. is a collaboration with Indy Man Beer Con (the second mention of that today!) The inspiration was Vimto, which was created in Manchester in 1908 as “Vim Tonic”, a health tonic. This was shortened to Vimto in 1912, which no-one seemed to spot was an anagram of vomit… Raspberry, blackcurrant, hibiscus and oak spirals all contribute to creating a familiar colour and taste, brewed using a Belgian Ardennes yeast strain which complements everything with delicate fruit esters, subtle spicy notes and a dry finish.

Looking forward to trying all of these, look out for reviews in the future.