The Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – Dark Beer selection box #2 – April 2017

This is the sixth selection box from the N&P, the second from the Dark Beer Club. I’ve now sampled all except one from the first dark beer selection box, as I’m saving Buxton Rainshadow for a rainy day. Let’s take a peek into box number two…

Moor – Old Freddy Walker – 7.3%

Moor, from Bristol, are celebrating their 10th birthday this year. Old Freddy Walker was Champion Winter Beer of Britain in 2004, and is one of Roger Protz’s “300 beers to try before you die”. A cult ale, described as “one for the connoisseur”, it’s a rich, dark, and full bodied old ale that really has to be tasted to be appreciated. This beer is usually the first to sell out at beer festivals, thanks to its blend of Pale, Lager, Crystal, Wheat and Black malts that are fermented with an English yeast. Bramling Cross hops are added to provide a hint of orange and a balancing dose of bitterness. I’m really looking forward to this one.

North Riding – Neapolitan Milk Stout – 4.5%

I had this one just a few weeks ago. Brewed especially for the Needle & Pin, the casks sold out very quickly. They also bottled some for the Dark Beer Club. It is like childhood in a glass, the 1980s chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream classic in beer form.

Siren – Bourbon Broken Dream Extra Shot – 6.5%

Siren are at the top of their game when it comes to dark beers. This special edition of Broken Dream is brewed with Siren’s very own bourbon barrel aged coffee. They source the finest green beans (coffee beans) from Guatemala and age them in wet barrels for at least 12 months before roasting in small batches when required.

Stringers – Mutiny – 9%

Another champion. This time, champion bottled beer of Britain, awarded by CAMRA in November 2016. This imperial stout is brewed with seven different types of malt, oats and barley, and three types of hop. It has huge flavours of chocolate, coffee and liquorice, with vinous and hedgerow fruits. It almost impossible to get hold of, so it’s a bit of a coup to get a bottle in this month’s selection.

Tiny Rebel – Staypuft Marshmallow Porter – 5.2%

Another one that I had last month, and another that is also quite tricky to get hold of. Mallow sweetness and very smoky bitterness. Smooth too. Very nice.

Weird Beard – 7th Church of the Apocalyptic Lawnmower – 6.5%

We save the best named beer until last, a collaboration between Weird Beard and Anspach & Hobday. A lawnmower beer is somewhere between a lager and an ale, the kind of beer that you crack open and quaff whilst mowing the lawn or working out in the yard. This one has been tampered with.

Taking the A&H cream ale as a base recipe and then amping it up with flaked corn for a smooth finish, Blackprinz dark malt, and the coconut flavours Sorachi Ace hops, mixed in with some Summit hops for good measure.