The Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – Dark Beer Selection Box #1 – February 2017

This is the fourth selection box in total, and the inaugural dark beer selection. If you’ve been following the other boxes (1, 2, 3) then you’ll know that many hoppy beasts have been included. Sean has also mixed it up a bit with a can of Magic Rock Common Grounds triple coffee porter in box 2 and an Anspach & Hobday porter in box 3.

This time round there’s an all new box, the dark beer selection box. Let’s dive in:-

There’s a lot more in that photo, so I’ll start with the official selection box…

First up, Buxton Rainshadow, a brooding, heavyweight imperial stout full of deep roasted malts. It took them 8 months and multiple edits before they were happy to let it out in the wild. A Ratebeer score of 100 suggests that they got it right…

Kernel Export India Porter is up next. Kernel like to mix things up, combining rich dark flavours with American hoppiness. A very dark beer, with a tan head. Smooth and medium/full bodied, with pine and hops on the nose and coming through in the palate along with toasted grain, chocolate and roasted chicory.

To New Zealand next, and Renaissance Craftsman Oatmeal Stout, brewed with cocoa nibs and organic oatmeal to give a rich and intense stout with dark chocolate notes and a subtle hop finish.

Down to Wales next for Tenby Black Flag. The black flag, otherwise known as the Jolly Roger was raised to identify a pirate ship to their prey in order for them to have a chance to surrender. Black Flag porter is full of character with notes of coffee and chocolate and just a touch of vanilla spiced rum…

Staying in South Wales but heading back east, we find ourselves just outside Newport at Tiny Rebel. Dirty Stop Out is a smoked oat stout that I first had all the way back in October 2014. Nine malts combine with smoked oats and Slovenian hops to bring all of those elements to the palate.

We cross the Severn Bridge to go to Bristol and meet Wiper & True, a brewery who like to tinker and make things a little out of the ordinary. Milkshake Milk Stout is laced with vanilla pods and brings notes of chocolate, coffee and dried dark fruits. The sweet and creamy flavour has a little spicy earthiness from British hops.

Let’s have a look at some of those others that I also picked up.


There’s a selection of cans from Wild Weather Ales in Reading, including Storm in a Teacup – an Earl Grey IPA which does exactly what it says on the tin, Mudslinger – a smooth velvety stout with a rich chocolate beginning leading to just a hint of bitterness, Little Wind – a deep amber ale with a touch of copper where lovely hop flavours dance on the lingering malty base, Peach Of A Weekend – a luscious peach aroma and tart sour finish and Damn Dead Strawberry – a massive strawberry nose leading to a puckering tartness rounding off with a smooth and creamy mouth coating.

More Bristolians next, with two from Arbor Ales, Super Yakima, an American double IPA which sounds like it will be a chewy and hoppy beast, and Mega Mega White Thing which sounded like the perfect beer to coincide with the release of Trainspotting 2 – a Motueka single hopped pilsner.

You’ll also spot a couple of Cloudwaters in there, the new Autumn + Winter Fazenda Ouro Verde Porter and DIPA v11, which joins the queue of Cloudwater DIPAs waiting to be sampled. There’s also Thornbridge Valravn, an Imperial Black IPA and another couple of interesting new beers.

Look out for more reviews coming soon.