Brewdog Fanzine issue 11

Like issue 10, this selection didn’t have the usual tracking information, so it arrived slightly by surprise again (and a day later than usual). Also like issue 10, the details haven’t been published online (edit: 2 weeks on and they still haven’t, neither have issue 10). So I’ve just quickly typed up what’s in the box.

My fanzine subscription is still hanging in the balance.

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Alter Ego – 8.5% – DIPA

Another West Coast IPA. Punchy and aggressive, it puts American hops front and centre. A deft touch of caramel and toast runs alongside massive hop aromas of pine, mango, grapefruit and lychee and a bitter finale.

King of Eights V4 – German Hop Edition – 7.4% – NEIPA

Another recycled beer idea, the 4th version of King of Eights. A duo of new German hops (Ariana, Huell Melon) deliver massive tropical fruit notes with efficiency. This European powerhouse of flavour visits New England with cantaloupe, peach, mango, papaya, lime peel and kiwi. The full rounded texture is complemented with a smooth oatiness and a touch of alcohol warmth.

Ten Ton Truck – Black Forest Edition – 10% – Imperial Stout

More recycling. This rig is hauling a forest of flavour. Deep and intense, with bitter chocolate and espresso layered over vanilla and cherry character. Dark stewed fruit notes combine with coffee, running full tilt into cocoa and mocha and hint of almond. A complex and rewarding payload aided by the addition of honey, vanilla and cherry.

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The Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – sour selection box #4 – September 2018

After the warmest summer on record in England, it’s time for just a few more funky and refreshing brews to enjoy in the early autumn sunshine.

Almasty – Raspberry Saison – 6%

A funky aroma meets a full body and the sharp sweetness of raspberries in this refreshing twist on a traditional summer farmhouse ale.

Amundsen – Loosh – 5.3%

Loosh is a happy place, an ever evolving series using whatever fruit that the Amundsen team could lay their hands on. A rich tropical fruit explosion rounded off with the sour tang of kalamansi, a Philippino fruit that is a hybrid of mandarin and kumquat. When was the last time you had a beer with that in? No, me neither.

Blaugies – Saison D’Epeautre – 6%

Saison D’Epeautre is a saison beer made in a unique traditional style, using spelt and barley malt in the mash. Very dry and light in body, with a hint of wheat tartness and a hardy texture that expresses the character of spelt, a primitive strain of wheat. It is one truly feisty brew, with an outrageous pop and a natural long-lasting head. And ah, the aroma! It has a wonderfully heady, musty, cellar character that is unmistakably Belgian and a lot like champagne. The taste delivers on the promise of the nose. Very enjoyable, and perfect for summer, but wonderful at any time of year.

Chorlton – Saffron bretted Marzen Weisse – 6.8%

One of two 2018 expressions of the annual Märzen Weisse release. Bottle conditioned with Brettanomyces isolated from a 1972 bottle of Hoschule Berliner Weisse. With a subtle addition of saffron.

Redchurch – Urban Farmhouse IPA – 6.7%

A dry hopped sour. A combination of juicy acidity, hoppy flavour and bitterness from the Citra hops combined with the Redchurch house lactobacillus strain create a suggestion of sweetness and a tropical nose.

Stillwater – Sake Styled Saison – 4.2%

Brewed with rice and dry hopped with Citra, Hallertau Blanc and Sterling. Designed to mimic the subtle and drinkable flavour of the Japanese wine, sake, without its typical strength, this low alcohol saison is the softer side of Stillwater.

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900th post!

It’s been just over 5 months since 800, but I think that has something to do with the fact that I still have 90 posts still in draft. There’s a lot to catch up with, but I’m determined to get up to date at some point. It might be in 2020, but I will do it!

Let’s do the usual quick round up then. April saw lots of pub trips in the Peak District, and a very welcome surprise when we got back home, in the shape of the Reservoir Inn, Thornton. Walkers welcome, and lovely Sunday roast baguettes (if you only do roasts on Sundays, stick them in a baguette!)

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May saw the arrival of the first of the Brewdog fanzines, an interesting idea where they send 3 cans in the post for a fixed price. No delivery issues with couriers and the promise of interesting beers. That hasn’t quite panned out over the months, there have been a few of interest, but also some utterly dull things. With Brewdog’s recent stunts (beer.porn being the worst), it’s becoming increasingly difficult to continue supporting their endeavours.

There have also been a good few Needle & Pin selection boxes, some lovely sours and some big dark beasts like Marble’s Decadence, a double mashed Russian Imperial Stout, barrel aged for nine months, so that it gives a satisfying viscosity with dark and firm bitterness, Black Forest fruits and a hopped aroma.

Quite a few camping trips have resulted in numerous takeaway posts – we’ve had a lot of fish’n’chips over the summer, almost exclusively *from a van*.

May saw another trip (only one this year though) to The Lazy Trout in Meerbrook. After a 14 mile walk, this burger was massively deserved and incredibly tasty, nice crisp bacon and big flavoured cheese added to the experience.

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Not long after this, we had chaos theory demonstrated by the Planet Pavillion Cafe at Jodrell Bank. They took your order for items on display. You paid. And then you go to your table, drop some stuff off, and go back to pick up your order. Which is still sitting in the cabinet, so other people could be ordering it, not knowing if they are going to be able have it, because one or more people could have already secured it ahead of them.

The usual summer trip to the Lake District saw us defend our title at The Pack Horse Inn (three in a row so far), as well as plenty of other pub trips. And the usual June camping trip saw the first of our “bottle share beer festivals”. That same trip also saw the crowning of the worst Wetherspoons award, with The Catherine Wheel in Henley being tagged with #avoidthisspoons.

Three trips to London have generated a fair bit of content. Interestingly, Brewdog in Camden was my World Cup watching venue of choice, accompanied by burgers and beer.

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July was about long hot summer days and camping, more takeaways and the second “bottle share beer festival” of the year. The next one is just around the corner. Some good pub trips, mixed with one very dull one. The kind of pub where you have lime and soda because you know that all of the beer that you own has been looked after far better than the dull casks delivered there each week.

August saw Yorkshire, and the completion of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. This was also celebrated with fish’n’chips *from a van*, as well as Northern Monk Patrons Project Ingleborough, the most appropriate beer for someone who has just been up and down Ingelborough.

After camping in West and East Yorkshire, the end of the month found us just outside Great Malvern, and after more fish’n’chips *from a van* on our first night, on two other nights we were visiting The Swan Inn in Hanley Swan, a fantastic village pub with well kept beer and really nice food. This steak was utterly divine…

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The final instalment of the Rainbow Project brings us right up to date with posts. A quick peek at visitor statistics show visits from exotic places like Ethiopia, Slovakia and the Isle of Man. I still seem to have one of the only web sites where you can find information on Midway Fast Food (fish and chips) in Hastings, New Zealand.

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So time to stop procrastinating and get back to writing blog posts. Next up – the big 1000!

 

To Øl Mr Series 2018

The Mr Series for 2018 is a 360 degree showreel of the most potent, playful and powerful recipes that To Øl have ever done. The Mr Series takes its beer names from Quentin Tarantino’s film Reservoir Dogs, and the colours in the names have inspired the ingredients in the beers. This year’s series is entirely different from the 2017 Mr Series. Let’s have a peek.

Mr. Blue – 9.0% Imperial Berliner Weisse

This year Mr. Blue is a handsome Imperial Berliner Weisse packed with blackberries, aronia, acai and blackcurrant. The sour mash is balanced with subtle berry notes to roam around your glass.

Mr. Pink – 6.0% East coast IPA with a twist

For this year’s Mr. Pink, a trip to the east. East coast of the US and east of Europe. Mixing one of Russia’s favourite ingredients, the beetroot, with the juiciness of the east coast IPA. The result is a juicy & pink beetroot IPA. Yes, you read that correctly. A beetroot IPA.

Mr. Blonde – 4.5% Peach Melba gose

This year’s Mr. Blonde is a Gose with vanilla, peach and raspberry. Expect fruits, slight sourness and a touch of salt.

Mr. Orange – 9.0% Sour-mashed Citra IIPA

With this year’s tropical mix of papaya, mango, apricot, orange and lemon zest, Mr. Orange is bringing the safari to your cup – wrapped up as a sour mashed Citra IIPA with a light malt profile to add space for all the hops and juice.

Mr. Brown – 10.0% Coffee stout

Be prepared (I am, because I was a Scout). Mr. Brown this year is… BROWN. An intense and full-bodied stout brewed with coffee and matured with cognac oak chips and cedar spirals for richness.

Mr. White – 5.0% New-England style grisette

This year’s Mr. White has taken a tour to the countryside. He’s full-bodied, heavy on wheat and with a decent amount of white grapefruits to balance the dryness.

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Rainbow Project 2018 – the end of an era

The Rainbow Project began in 2013 when Ryan Witter-Merithew was head brewer at Siren Craft Brew. I’ve written about it a few times before, as I’ve had some of the recent boxes. This year sees it come to an end, and it’s going out with a barrel aged bang. Let’s look through this year’s selection, which is very sour/saison heavy. Fine by me but that did put a few people off. I still remember that awful online buying experience from 2016 when HonestBrew challenged the #craftbeerhour crew to “come at us beer lovers” and everyone promptly nailed their web site, with things taking at least an hour to get orders through, payments not going through and other nightmares.

I still don’t use HonestBrew after this experience, and the only times I have used them since have been to order the subsequent 2 Rainbow Project boxes. This will probably be my last purchasing experience. At least it was an easy one, done at leisure in the pub last Saturday evening whilst waiting for dinner to arrive.

However, they still managed to spoil it by not sending me any dispatch information, so I had to DM them on Twitter on Thursday to find out what where it was.

Anyway, on with the final 7 beers…

Colour: Red
Breweries: Wild Beer Co x Side Project
Name: Rosa Rouge
Style: Sour Saison with Pomegranate & Rose Petals
ABV: 5%

A sour saison with pomegranate and rose petals, Rosa Rouge pairs the wild yeasts of Missouri with Somerset beasties for a co-fermented, barrel aged sour saison. Side Project and Wild Beer Co have incorporated the colour red with additions of pomegranate and rose petals. A funky mixture of microbes in burgundy wine barrels lends a tart acidity and farmhouse slant while the fragrant rose and pomegranate play with the woody tannins.

Colour: Orange
Breweries: Burning Sky x 3 Floyds
Name: Out From The Void
Style: Barrel-aged Barley Wine
ABV: 11%

Burning Sky’s second collaboration with Indiana beer legends Three Floyds comes in the form of a barrel aged barley wine. Fermented with Burning Sky’s house ale yeast and a Brettanomyces strain, the beer was then aged in sauternes wine barrels with vanilla pods and cacao nibs to give a decadent chocolate orange flavour. A truly luxurious and uncompromising swan song to Burning Sky’s brief but highly memorable contribution to The Rainbow Project.

Colour: Yellow
Breweries: Hawkshead x Modern Times
Name: Yellow
Style: Mixed Culture Barrel-aged Saison with Apricots
ABV: 5.3%

A mixed culture barrel aged saison with apricots brewed in San Diego. Fermented with Modern Times’ house wild yeast and a wildly foraged yeast found on loganberries (a blackberry and raspberry hybrid) this transatlantic collaboration was then rested in red wine barrels before going through a secondary fermentation on over 3 lbs/gallon of Southern California apricots. Yellow pours a pale starlit shade of gold with a light white head. It has the aroma of sunripe apricot skin and a balancing tartness and bright fruitiness round out the sensory experience.

Colour: Green
Breweries: Partizan x New Belgium
Name: Phoenix
Style: Wood Aged Saison with Aged Hops
ABV: 5%

A continuation of last year’s theme of destruction and regrowth, Phoenix is a “green” inspired wood aged saison that takes full advantage of the unique character of aged hops. Partizan’s aim was to showcase the flavours drawn from older hops and the barrel in the purest way possible, deciding against spirit barrels and mixed cultures in an effort to bring the nuanced flavours to the fore and retain a “greeness” to the beer. A simple yet bold counterpoint to this year’s releases.

Colour: Blue
Breweries: Beavertown
Name: Lapis Lazuli
Style: Sour Ale inspired by Ancient Egypt
ABV: 8.2%

A sour ale inspired by ancient Egypt. Beavertown drew inspiration from natural winemaking to produce an amphora and barrel aged beer. Beavertown pieced together a complex grist including Teff grains (a historic North African grain) as well as barley and wheat. For a fruit addition they used Pinot Noir grape must from Forty Hall vineyards in North London. The beer was then fermented with a sour mix featuring a range of wild yeasts and bacteria, simulating the cultures which would have been prevalent in pre-20th century beer production. The beer was then aged in amphora and red wine barrels on pinot noir grape skins for eight months.

Colour: Indigo
Breweries: Magic Rock x Casita Cervecería
Name: Papillon
Style: Barrel-aged Sour Ale with Blueberry, Apricot and Pea Flowers
ABV: 7.5%

Magic Rock’s Indigo release comes in the form of a barrel aged sour ale with blueberry, apricot and butterfly pea flowers. The foundation of this finale comes in the form of beautiful French oak barrels. The freshly emptied barrels came from different Châteaus nestling against the “Garonne” river in Bordeaux. The white wine was made from varietals of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon (2013 and 2014 vintages). Atop of the base beer fermented in the barrels with a mixed wild yeast culture butterfly pea flowers were used to introduce the colour indigo. To augment the colour and add a fruity depth, blueberry and apricot concentrate were added. The blueberry a fitting link to Magic Rock’s first Rainbow Project beer in 2013: a blueberry IPA they called “Beauregarde”.

Colour: Violet
Breweries: Siren x Sante Adairius
Name: Equilibrium
Style: Red Wine Barrel-Fermented Saison Blend
ABV: 5.8%

Equilibrium is a red wine barrel fermented saison. This year Siren wanted to create a concept to link up with their previous release, the “blue” themed Santo del Frio. The theme for Santo del Frio was tied to cold, Siren even used cryogenically frozen hops! In order to get to violet, they blended that beer with something hot. A red-inspired, warm-pitched, red wine barrel fermented saison. The finished beer is Equilibrium – violet. It displays flavour-packed character from across the spectrum, while crucially, being a complex but incredibly easy drinking saison.

Goodbye Rainbow Project, I look forward to drinking you for the last time.

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The Swan Inn visit #2, Hanley Swan, Worcestershire, August 2018

I’ve said pretty much everything I need to about this pub with Saturday night’s post. We booked the table tonight whilst we were finishing our dinner on Saturday night, which pretty much sums things up. Before we have a quick gander at tonight’s dinner, a quick note on poncy menu pricing. I’ve mentioned this before, but if something costs £6.50, please display it on the menu as £6.50 not 6 1/2. I don’t want to be told that a pudding is 7 3/4, it is £7.75 – why the need for fractions? What does it achieve apart from annoying people?

Anyway, on to dinner, and another beautifully kept pint, this time Butty Bach from Wye Valley Brewery, a classic malty bitter. And in a proper dimple pot too.

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More amuse bouche crisps soon came our way…

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For main course, something a bit different for me, hot smoked salmon nicoise salad. After the glory of Saturday night’s steak, I had to make a hard decision not to have that again, but it was a good decision as this salad was also glorious. And that’s not something I often say about salads!

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Mrs MOFAD had rack of lamb with polenta (another first) and that was also delicious.

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Another pudding was in order after more exertions on bikes and on foot today, so this dark chocolate and seville orange fondant with walnut and hazelnut granola and grand marnier and orange ice cream was an indulgent delight, melting in the middle.

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A second great meal at this great village pub. If we’re ever in the area again we’ll come here again.

The Swan Inn, Hanley Swan, Worcestershire, August 2018

A pub not far away from a camp site is something to always be explored. The Marton Arms in Thornton (Yorkshire) is probably our favourite “close to camp site” pub, given that it was just a few minutes walk away from the site.

The Swan Inn is about a mile away from where we were staying, but it had been recommended by regular MOFAD companions Karon & John, and looked really good on the web site. We had booked online, a quick and easy process, and they even e-mail you on the morning of your booking for you to confirm it. Very efficient and modern – I heartily approve!

We arrived a little early and ordered drinks from the bar. A very friendly barman handed us drinks and menus and we waited a few moments to be shown to our table. We had a nice little “mini booth” in the corner. We sipped our drinks and perused the menu, lots of nice things to choose from.

A waitress came over, looked at us drinking our drinks and reading menus, and asked us if we wanted to order drinks. Errrr, no. We’d like to order food. Oh, ok, I’ll get someone to take your order. She goes back to the bar, puts down her notepad, picks up a different notepad, and then comes back to take our order. Odd.

I continued to sip an excellent pint of HPA from Wye Valley Brewery. Really nice to see that a “foodie” pub is also capable of looking after their beer and presenting it in tip top condition.

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A little “amuse-bouche” arrived, a small basket of freshly cooked crisps and a little pot of salsa. This was a nice surprise, a freshly cooked crisp is a rare sight, and it was a pleasant little mouth pleaser. The salsa could do with a bit of a reduction though, rather watery tomato.

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On to the main courses, and most excellent they were. Mrs MOFAD opted for the asparagus risotto which was very flavoursome.

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After 10 miles of cycling and 5 of walking (both of which involved plenty of uphill), I needed some big tasty protein, in the form of a lovely bit of sirloin steak.

There was a time when I would almost always have steak when out and about. Now, it’s something that I only have only rarely (and always rare). Rareness (or lack of it) is one of the reasons why, it seems that it is a struggle to find places that cook steak to your liking (and it’s a personal preference which should be easy to honour).

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This one was cooked to perfection (for me) and was really tasty. Classic accompaniments of triple-cooked chips (we do love a bit of a triple cooking nowadays), a mushroom, roasted/grilled tomatoes and a few leaves on the side (with interesting parmesan shavings bringing another flavour into play). With the addition of some nicely warm English mustard, this was a perfect plate of steak and chips. More like this please!

After the exertions of the day, it’s fair to say that we had earned ourselves a pudding, and given there were plenty of lovely options on offer, we decided to indulge.

Mrs MOFAD had apple and cinnamon crumble with a scoop of ice cream. It was quite tart and might have benefitted from a spoonful of sugar. There was also a lot of cinnamon, which is exactly why I avoided it. Keep cinnamon out of my puddings 🙂

I had the roasted peach pavlova, which was a sweet delight. A very firm meringue, half a peach, nicely whipped cream and some cheffy squiggles along with some micro leaves, a couple of flowers and some fruity dots. It was lovely, although some more peach wouldn’t have gone amiss.

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A really nice dinner in a lovely pub. Whilst we waited for our plates to be cleared, I booked online for Monday night too. A fantastic village pub!