Beer of the month, June 2017 – Spring + Summer IPA Mosaic Exp 431 by Cloudwater Brew Co

A holiday month often results in some difficult choices for beer of the month, as there have usually been many beer tasting opportunities. This month was no exception. These ones all came from the supermarket, but only one of them actually made it into the top ten or so. That shows what a good month it has been.

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Let’s start with that supermarket beer, which is not a derogatory term in this case. Shameless by Redwillow Brewery has a lovely hop profile, and is a cracking little IPA.

We’re off to Cheltenham next, for a Steady Rolling Man by DEYA Brewing Company, which was full of delicious tropical hoppiness. I didn’t have a copy of 461 Ocean Boulevard to hand, so I couldn’t accompany it with Eric Clapton’s cover of the Robert Johnson song.

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We stay with DEYA for Into the Haze, very chewy, soft and full of fruity hoppiness. Smooth and delicious.

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We stay with hops (as with most months) with a Tap Type APA by Magic Rock Brewing, also full of hoppy juiciness. You may spot a pattern of hops and juice – that’s the trend right now and it’s fine by me.

Psychokinesis by Magic Rock Brewing is next in the round up, very much a herby and fruity IPA with a hint of mint (and lime) in the finish. Very good this one.

A detour to Sours night for almost all of the rest of the best beers of the month.

Dark of Ages Past by Wild Weather Ales (featuring Calculon) was full of awesome blueberry flavours, one of the best sour fruit beers I’ve had for a while.

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Superluminal by Buxton Brewery was one that I was expecting to have massive hoppiness. In fact it was full of enormous grapefruit flavours but no hops. Pucker up buttercup! Mrs MOFAD loved it, the first for any beer labelled IPA.

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We take a quick trip to Newcastle for the next two. Knowledge by Rhinegeist Brewery was sampled at BrewDog Newcastle, and is made from peachy loveliness. The fruit takes over from the hops but it works so well. It took a while to work out what was going on, but it was really nice.

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Just down the road at Box Social I enjoyed this North Brewing and Het Uiltje Double IPA collaboration, full of grassy, hoppy, orangey sweetness. Yum yum!

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Back to sours night. A Vandervelden 135 Oude Geuze Vieille by Brouwerij Oud Beersel was one of our “bonus beers”. I’d already bought one of these, and after our tasting my bottle is going into storage for a large number of years. A wine amongst beers. It might just be rather special in a good few years.

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Once again we find ourselves travelling (metaphorically) to Cloudwater Brew Co. for our winner, the Spring + Summer IPA Mosaic Exp 431.

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Juicy tropical/stone fruit hoppiness is overflowing in this one. This is what a stone fruit IPA should be like. Take note BrewDog! It goes through to the end of year final.

 

Sours night, The Needle & Pin, Loughborough, June 2017

Yes, it’s another “night” at the N&P. The latest in a long line of great evening events, including Belgian night, dark beer night, Thornbridge night, IPA night and the original (and messiest) craft beer tasting evening.

Tonight was the rearranged sours night, a month later than planned due to Sean’s man flu which caused the postponement of the original date. The best things come to those who wait, and wait we did, for the new date a month later. Mrs MOFAD was here again tonight, as sour beers are very much her thing. We were also joined by regular MOFAD companion Alec, and managed to have a table all to ourselves.

We started the night a little early, with pizza (from Peter as ever) and a beer from the bar.  This was a Platinum Blonde from Byatts, light and refreshing bitterness.

And this was a tasty pizza as usual:-

On to the main event, the sours. We began our journey with a very refreshing little number, a super sunny summer time beer, Jasmine Dragon from Dugges. Subtle jasmine notes, very nice. These Swedes know what they are doing…

Beer number two was standard saison stuff from Wylam, in the form of Le Saisonnier. The label hints at subtle rosemary and lemon balm flavours, but they were too subtle for me, because I couldn’t find them anywhere in here.

Snacks started to arrive next, humous and breadsticks first. We moved on to a “wild card” beer next, which Sean added in to the line up late in the day. Duchesse de Bourgogne is a beer that we have both come across before, in the famous Eagle pub in Cambridge (where Watson & Crick first announced their discoveries around DNA). Mrs MOFAD hated it (vinegary coke) but I quite liked it. That continued tonight, as I enjoyed the sweet, sharp and sour funky cola flavours, and Mrs MOFAD did hop face once more, despite no hop profile. Hop face appears when an unpleasant flavour is encountered.

Back to the plan next, and we journey up the A515 (or A6) to visit our friends at Buxton. In fact, you will notice the next beer in my haul from our last visit:-

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Superluminal is a collaboration with Stillwater, and they has produced a sour IPA. What you get is enoromous grapefruit flavour, but no hoppiness. Even Mrs MOFAD quite liked this one, the first time she has said that about an IPA.

Another wild card next. Vandervelden 135 Oude Geuze Vielle is a geuze released to honour the founding of Oud Beersel in 1882. It was released in the spring of 2017 and is a blend of a 1-year old lambic aged in 30-year old Tuscan Brunello di Montalcino barrels and a 3-year old lambic aged in Beersel’s own foudres. I’d already pre-ordered a bottle of this, so it was nice to “try before you buy”. It has a best before date of 20 years hence, so I can safely cellar mine for a little while. I’m going to do just that, it was like a champagne amongst beers. It also went very well with a subtle goats cheese.

We return to the plan with another collaboration, NxSE, a joint effort from Gypsy Hill (the SE), and North Brew Co (the N), who have made a kettle soured raspberry beer. This was full of raspberry tartness and no sugary nonsense. Lovely stuff.

We move on to one of my favourites, mostly for the flavour, but partly for the artwork, which appears to feature Calculon (the acting robot from Futurama). Wild Weather make great beers, and they also do great names and artwork (cf. Curse of Threepwood and its Monkey Island homage). Dark of Ages Past was a lovely blueberry beer, which matched perfectly with Rebecca’s chocolate and cherry brownies, which complemented the sweetness of the beer very well.

We end on something more subtle, Morello Cherry Gose from One Mile End, very subtle cherry flavours and a hint of saltiness.

Another great “night” at the N&P. It’s been quite a journey from that inaugural craft beer night, and a sold out sours night shows that local drinkers are ready to explore all kinds of areas on their beer journeys. Looking forward to the next one, whatever it may be.

Booths, Ulverston, June 2017

These posts pop up several times a year. Booths is still our best supermarket when it comes to good beer.  Tesco have made great strides this year, chucking out dozens of Heineken lines and replacing them with good beer. Asda are catching up. Waitrose are expanding their range (our most local one has just started stocking Redchurch from Bethnal Green). Morrisons are keeping up. Sainsburys are still rather average.

Booths are still better that all of those. They stock loads of local beers (Hesket Newmarket pictured here), bigger names such as Brewdog, imports such as Connecticut’s Two Roads and other smaller names from around the country such as RedWillow from Macclesfield.

As this selection shows, plenty of breweries, and plenty of different styles to tempt you. You can also buy good food there too 🙂

Sara’s Indian, Coniston, June 2017

As you will know if you’ve ever read any post tagged #curry, Friday night is curry night. When we’re on holiday, that usually means finding the nearest Indian restaurant. Whenever we’ve stayed in Coniston previously, that has proved to be a problem, because there wasn’t one. The first time we stayed, it would probably have meant an hour’s round trip to Tagore in Ambleside (since closed). In fact, if we’d been stuck behind some of the tourists that have plagued our journeys this week, it could have been closer to two hours!

Thankfully, things have changed with the opening of Sara’s Indian in 2015. An Indian restaurant and takeway, which doesn’t have an alcohol licence so you can take your own alcohol (there’s a brewery literally across the road if you’re stuck for ideas). Menus are available outside all day long, so you can pick one up and take it back to your holiday cottage for later use. We did that last weekend, and tonight we were perusing and ordering our dinner.

A really interesting selection of dishes to choose from, a lot more variety than just some tikka masalas, bhunas and kormas. Plenty of things that I’ve never seen before (and we’ve been to our fair share of curry houses).

For me it was chicken podina piaza with mint, ginger, onions and mango chutney all mixed in. This was delicious, nice warmth and good flavours coming through from the mint. I like mint in a curry.

Mrs MOFAD had her usual chicken tikka rogan josh, and we both had a very tasty coriander naan.

If you are looking for somewhere that serves food in Coniston after 9 (since most of the pubs stop then), or you are just looking for a good curry, this will do nicely. At last a curry house in Coniston!

The Apple Pie, Ambleside, June 2017

An Ambleside institution.

We have been visiting the Apple Pie on and off ever since we’ve been visiting Ambleside. If there’s ever a day when we’re not out on the fells (usually due to inclement weather), you’ll find us having lunch at The Apple Pie. Named after their famous apple pie, they also do sandwiches, pies, quiches, salads and other items, as well as various hot drinks and soft drinks, and a few local beers.

There are many great places to eat in Ambleside, but this is usually the only place where you see people queuing out of the door on a weekday lunchtime. That was the case today, with a 5-10 minute wait for tables, but everyone in the queue happy to wait for their table. Once seated, service was quick and food arrived swiftly.

Inside the pie things have changed around a lot over the years. The front entrance and counter are still pretty much unchanged (you can still get your takeaway and bakery items from the main counter). There are no tables in the front area any more, and no more seating upstairs. Things have changed out the back too, with tables moving around and new seating areas created, as well as kitchen areas where toilets used to be and various other changes. They are not ones for standing still. You can also stay at the Pie if you want to.

Like the premises, the filled roll (sandwich) line up has changed over the years. The Thai chicken used to be one of our favouries, today that is replaced by the “spicy chicken” which has mayo, mango chutney, cream and various spices to make a nice sandwich filling, along with a good filling of salad (including beetroot which so many places shy away from).

As we’ve walked plenty of miles this week, we treated ourselves to the famous apple pie (although the mixed spice and sultana version had sold out) with ice cream.

Delicious, and a lovely Friday lunchtime treat. The ice cream to remind us it is summer (we’ve had some scorching days this week) and the warm pie to combat the cool drizzle of today.

The Apple Pie is a must visit if you are in Ambleside.

Our Plaice, Coniston, June 2017

A very quick fish’n’chips post. Another lovely day out in the Langdales today, conquering Loft Crag and Pike O’Stickle (proper scrambling required to get to the top of that one). The cottage (ground floor apartment) that we are staying in is overlooked (although hidden by massive trees) by Our Plaice, and sometimes the smell of fish’n’chips drifts over. It’s always tempting.

Tonight, we gave in to temptation and both had fish and chips, putting in the effort required for the 60 second walk to get there 🙂

Lovely fresh fish and chips (cooked to order, so they haven’t been hanging around under heat lamps). Delicious, crisp batter (sign of a nice high temperature in the fryers) and lovely fresh chips. As we have no dishwasher, we opted to eat straight from the carton.

A cracking takeaway fish and chip shop, perfect for all parts of Coniston. You can eat them just outside on picnic benches (lovely views of the A593) or you could take them down to the water’s edge and enjoy them with a proper view.

Recommended!

The Sun Hotel, Coniston, June 2017

A lower and easier walk today. We walked from Coniston over to Tarn Hows, had lunch down by the tarn, and then meandered our way back down in to Coniston again. This left plenty of time in the evening, so we decided to go out for dinner. After perusing a few pubs and their menus we decided to take a short stroll up to the Sun Hotel. We’ve been here before, stopping in for a pint after conquering the Old Man of Coniston a good few years ago. If you want to be precise, 31st May 2009.

No such exertions today, although we are still feeling the effects of Bowfell and Rossett Pike on Sunday, so even climbing the steps up to the hotel/pub was causing us to be reminded of this! Despite being an utterly glorious evening, and the elevated position offering some lovely views, the place was almost deserted, with just a few other couples dining on the terrace outside, and the inside of the pub completely empty. Undeterred, we picked up some menus from the bar, ordered food and drinks and then went to sit outside in the conservatory, which enjoys the same views as the terrace, but with the added protection of being sheltered.

First up for me, a pint of YOLO from Fell Brewery, which last featured here in May 2015, at The Wainwright in Keswick.

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Looking fine again tonight, and still a great golden session ale (although sadly no dimple pot).

Dinner was soon served. Mrs MOFAD had chosen a mushroom stroganoff, which was not bad, a little bit vinegary but an interesting combination of ingredients. I opted for the pan fried salmon with crushed new potatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes, asparagus, mange tout and pesto.

It was lovely. A nice crisp crust on the salmon, lovely potatoes, and the rest of the green and red stuff all worked together well. A really nice meal. This was accompanied by a pint of Red Bull.

No, I’ve not ended up on a stag do in the middle of our holiday, Red Bull Terrier is a superb malty red ale, easy drinking and it went perfectly with the salmon.

I can’t explain why this place was so empty. Lovely food and lots of good ales on, great views. What more do you want? Make the short walk up the hill to check it out.