The Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – sour beer selection box #1 – November 2017

If you cast your mind back to June 2017, my favourite pub The Needle & Pin held its first sour beers night where we travelled from Sweden to Newcastle to Belgium via Buxton and Baltimore, and then Reading, Leeds and London all via the medium of funky, tart, sweet and sour beer.

Following on from this, they have been selling a lot of sours, saisons, gose, Gueuze and Lambic beers, and demand has grown for a Sour Beer Club, to complement the existing Craft Beer Club and Dark Beer Club.

This then is the first selection of weird and wonderful and very different beers.

Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen – Oude Geuze – 6%

A true Geuze – a blend of 1, 2, and 3 year-old lambic, unfiltered and unpasteurized, and aged in the bottle for at least a year after blending. Refermentation in the bottle gives this Geuze its famous champagne-like spritziness. The lambic that goes into it is brewed only with 60% barley malt, 40% unmalted wheat, aged hops, and water, spontaneously fermented by wild yeasts, and matured in oak casks.

Brekeriet – Rhuboise – 6%

A fruity, tart and elegant ale with brettanomyces yeast. Loads of raspberries and rhubarb are added during the secondary fermentation at this interesting brewery in Landskrona, Sweden.

Dugges x Stillwater Artisinal – Mango Mango Mango – 4.5%

This collaboration with Stillwater Artisanal explores the true depth of mango flavour. Three layers of taste and aroma from fruit and hops. Go mango go! If you’re going to put fruit in a beer, there’s no better fruit to use than mango. At least that’s what Magnus at Dugges Bryggeri says. So, when there was time for another Dugges x Stillwater Artisanal collaboration, Magnus posed the idea of a mango beer to Brian of Stillwater. Turns out, Brian had the same ideas about mango and beer as Magnus. To make it sour was an easy decision. The mango flavour comes from two types of mango and mosaic hops. Mango, mango, mango!

Good Chemistry – Field Work – 5.1%

Refreshing and rustic beers were traditionally brewed by farmhouses to sustain seasonal workers out in the fields. The malts used in this are pretty simple, as they should be – Extra Pale Propino malt, Pilsner malt, Wheat and Rye. It’s hopped with classic continental hops – Tettnang and Hallertau. The yeast produces most of the flavour and aroma though, and eats through almost all the sugar to leave a dry and tart finish to the beer.

To Øl – Gose To Hollywood – 3.8%

To Øl got starstruck and went to Hollywood to creat a salty, sour and light gose brewed with the best fruits California can offer. Best consumed on warm summer days or on the red carpet. I had one of these in March, it wasn’t sunny, and there was no red carpet, just sour fruits and zingy tartness – it was very nice.

To Øl – Sur Amarillo – 7.5%

Sur Amarillo is a sour pale ale brewed with wheat and dry-hopped over and over again with Amarillo hops to give a flowerful tart imperial pale ale. The Amarillo gives a burst of orange to this sour wild/IPA crossover.

Looking forward to trying out some of these interesting beers.

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Beer of the month – November 2017 – Chubbles by Cloudwater x The Veil

Ten trips out this month, but still not a single beer that I had in a pub. All of these were bought from a pub (in fact the same pub, my local “dealer” The Needle & Pin), but none were consumed there. And all bar one of them is a can. It won’t be long before all of them are in a can I suspect. Let’s kick things off.

Beavertown’s Heavy Water (sour cherry and sea salt imperial stout) is our opener this month, and what a big beast. Richness balanced by sourness makes this scarily easy to drink.

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Staying with fruited stouts, we have an American import, a Blueberry Maple Stout by Saugatuck Brewing Company. I paired mine with apple pie for that all American experience. This beer has super sweetness from the blueberries and maple. Please tell me there’s an imperial version. Sadly, there isn’t, but there is a barrel aged version which I’d like to try.

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Our regular Cloudwater fix next, the DDH IPA Chinook Citra. I think this one has more pineapple flavours than Pineapple (also by Cloudwater Brew Co), a classic piece of Cloudwater murk. I just love it. Awesome with methi chicken. That I made.

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Another regular brewery next, with Magic Rock Brewing’s Grower Owned, a lovely west coast pine fest collaboration with Yakima Chief – Hopunion, a 100% grower owned global hop supplier. More lovely murkiness.

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Something sharp next, a Key Lime Pie Gose by Westbrook Brewing Co. I love lime. I love beer. This combines both of these loves with a little sparkle. Really lovely stuff, and something to break up all of these hop bombs in here. But what can I say, I am a friend of hops.

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So it’s no surprise that our winner is a hop bomb. Chubbles by Cloudwater to be precise. Now, I got a bit of a ribbing on Twitter for drinking it so close to its best before date. This was purely a logistics issue, as I hadn’t been able to get my hands on it as soon as it was released, having to wait until I was able to pick it up. Given its strength, its not one that you can just chug down in a session, you need to pick the right time to drink it, unless you are sharing with friends.

Juicy, thick, citrus and melon notes and more sweetness than bitterness. Drinks way below the ABV, no alcohol burn here. Really lovely stuff. Chubbles is a collaboration with The Veil from New York city, these mad people dreamt up a 10.9% triple IPA with 100% English malt, a ton of flaked oats, fermented with a specific English yeast, and hopped intensely with Galaxy, Citra, and El Dorado.

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A lovely big beast of a beer which deserves its place in the end of year final.

BBC Good Food Show Winter, The NEC, November 2017

The annual round up of the annual pilgrimage to the NEC to visit the BBC Good Food Show. And for the first time since the last century, we had a guest, with Mrs MOFAD’s sister (and regular MOFAD supplier) Jo joining us for the first half of the day. We rocked up at the NEC at just after 10am, after a quick detour to pick up our passenger. Note to future self – coming down the A446 from junction 9 is much better than going down to junction 6.

In to the show we go. More security this year, sniffer dogs trying hard not to be distracted by the smell of sausages cooking nearby. Guide dogs doing the same. As usual we set off for the drinks sections first, which were absolutely overwhelmed by gin producers. I thought that there were loads of them last year, but I’m sure there were even more this year. Fewer cider producers and way fewer breweries. No Renegade/West Berkshire (probably the highlight of the last 2 years). No BAD Co (another good one from last year). No Empress Ale. No Crafty Devil. Not even a bigger name like Wadworth.

There were a few familiar names as well as some new breweries (reports on them to come later I’m sure). Plenty of interesting food producers, but again some notable absentees. No Croome Cuisine and their lovely hop cheese. No Debbie & Andrew’s. We picked up the usual haul of Dean’s biscuits, always the most generous with their samples of whole biscuits (unlike some of the cheese producers who have samples the size of a mote of dust).

Santa tells me that there are more goodies to come in 25 days, so I’ll wait until then to do another round up 🙂