The Needle & Pin – Craft Beer Club – selection box #12 – July 2018

You all know the score by now. The latest selection from the Craft Beer Club. I’ve actually had 5 out of 6 of the previous selection, 5 out of 6 from March’s box and all of the ones in the previous box to that, so I’m doing a bit better at keeping up with these 🙂

This month’s photo is another one that I’ve borrowed, because I didn’t get time to assemble them together myself…

npcbc-07-2018

Here we go…

Arbor – Dunning Kruger – 4.8%

A great beer from one of the UK’s best breweries. This beer was a real hit when we there was a cask of it on at the N&P. An easy drinking pale ale, brewed with American and Australian hops. It has flavours and aromas of mango, passionfruit and lime. Yes please!

Black Isle – 5 a Day Passion Fruit IPA – 3.5%

You are greeted by an aroma of sweet and tart passion fruit with a hint of fruity hop. In the glass there’s hazy gold and a tight, white foam. The flavour is all about that lively passion fruit. Easy drinking, light bodied and crisp, finishing with a touch of sweet malt

Brewboard – Ripchord – 4.3%

A new brewery for the N&P. Just like me, they like new breweries!

A deep-gold multi-hopped session pale ale. US Cascade, Chinook and Falconer’s Flight work their magic, imparting a beautiful citrus, spicy and grapefruit flavour. Mosaic produces a seriously good tropical tang. Meanwhile, on the malt side of things, Cara Gold and Cara Ruby also do their thing with a rich caramel-sweet aroma and toffee-like flavour. Rhapsodic.

Brick – Peck – 3%

There’s nothing small about Brick’s Table Beer. Each release will pack a wallop of aroma and flavour by using hops that work together to produce low ABV but high hop character. And that’s all I can tell you, because there’s no other information about what is in this release of it!

Five Points/Northern Monk – Birthday IPA – 6.7%

There are countless things to admire about Northern Monk. Not least their accomplishment in weaving together the tradition of old with the progressive
approach of today, always illustrated so well in their bold, hoppy pales and IPAs. For this
collaboration Five Points wanted to celebrate exactly this, and together, they brewed a big, tropical IPA hopped with Mosaic and experimental Bru-1 Hops. Aromas of mango, cantaloupe and pineapple alongside a smooth, rounded mouthfeel and low bitterness.

Salopian – Slipstream – Blood Orange IPA – 5.1%

A juicy IPA with fresh blood orange resonating through hints of candied peel and sparkling orange blossom.

Advertisements

The Plank & Leggit, Sawley, July 2018

This is another of those occasions where we don’t get to choose the pub. We’d been out walking with friends around Shardlow and Castle Donington earlier in the day, and were due to meet more friends here early in the evening. We abandoned the second part of our walk due to the scorchio temperatures and headed to the pub early. Normally this is a cause for celebration. In the case of a Greene King “IPA” establishment, it’s a cause for lime and soda.

So we sat back with some refreshing not-beer, and planned some future walks whilst waiting for other friends to arrive. When they began to arrive, I headed to the bar to order food, and another tasty pint of lime and soda.

Tonight’s dinner was “Route 66”, a burger topped with cheese, BBQ pulled pork rib meat, 2 hash browns and a free-range fried egg. Reasonable fodder, nothing special. Enough to replace lost calories afer a warm walk in the heat of the day…

img_9301

Another of those pub visits where you know that all of the beer that you own has been looked after far better than the dull casks delivered here each week.

The Bill Murray, Islington, June 2018

It’s Edinburgh preview season. And fortuitously I’m in London for work, although the fortune comes at a cost, five days of training and two exams, the second of which is two and a half hours long. I keep vowing to stop doing exams, and one day I will eventually keep that vow. This week however, I have a daily cycle of 20 minutes of sweaty tube journey, 90 minutes of learning, 15 minutes for a coffee, 90 minutes of learning, a sandwich in the park, 90 minutes of learning, 15 minutes for a coffee, 90 minutes of learning,  20 minutes of sweaty tube journey.

Anyway, on to the pub for a double bill of Edinburgh previews, a relaxing evening instead of doing mock exam papers. The Bill Murray is somewhere I’ve heard about quite a bit since I’m very much a follower of the live comedy “scene”. It’s a short-ish walk from Angel tube station (home to the UK’s longest escalator – one for you pub quiz fans).

Something that usually happens on these pub comedy nights is that you will bump into one or more of the acts at some point. This was in full effect tonight, as I followed opening act Sofie Hagen into the venue, and Mark Watson was hanging around at the interval before his set, and chatting with the audience. This is a proper preview experience, a small room in a pub, tiny stage, microphone, and a few lights. And the acts walk on from the back of the room, there’s no backstage area behind that curtain on the right hand side.

img_9270

On a warm night in London, a beer was needed to keep refreshed during the evening. Beer at comedy venues is generally pretty awful. The Soho Theatre try and break the mould by getting some reasonable cask ales in, but they need a crash course in how to look after cask ale, since it almost always suffers from mistreatment. And the way that the bar staff treat the beer engine, you’d think it was a piece of gym equipment with 50kg on the end of it. And they certainly don’t embrace the sparkler.

So it was a nice surprise to find a St Mungo from Glasgow’s WEST brewery, who produce all of their lagers and wheat beers in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Law. A Munich style lager with a sweetness to it, and one of the best comedy venue beers that I’ve had. That is damning with faint praise, but it was good.

img_9269

As was the comedy. Sofie Hagen is trying out material for her 2019 Edinburgh show (nothing like being prepared), so the set was a proper tour through random bits and pieces that may or may not form a show one day. Mark Watson will be in Edinburgh in August (and likely touring after that), so his show was much more polished, although it got a bit derailed by someone finding a folder for him to balance his wine glass on (you had to be there). The show covers a few topics, but there is much about family and his recent-ish divorce. If I were in Edinburgh I’d be going to see the finished version, and hopefully we will catch it in Leicester or somewhere else local next year.

Soho Theatre, London, June 2018

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. Beer at comedy venues is generally pretty awful. The Soho Theatre try and break the mould by getting some reasonable cask ales in, but they need a crash course in how to look after cask ale, since it almost always suffers from mistreatment. And the way that the bar staff treat the beer engine, you’d think it was a piece of gym equipment with 50kg on the end of it. And they certainly don’t embrace the sparkler.

If you have a keg beer (and they have one or two reasonable ones) then you’re fine, but they seem to wreck every cask ale that they touch. This T Drop by Adnams might have been nice, with subtle notes of jasmine, hibiscus and Earl Grey tea.

img_9254

However, there was none of that here, and it just tasted a bit beery. At least it was cool on another hot night in the big smoke.

One person who was not cool, was tonight’s entertainment, Robin Ince, trying to fit about 2 and 1/2 hours of material into about an hour, whilst breaking in a new cardigan. Manic doesn’t even begin to describe it, but brilliant does. Try and see the full length version, where Robin’s joy of performing in London doesn’t overtake his ability to perform at least some of the routines. A deranged delight.

The Needle & Pin craft beer club – dark beer selection box #9 – June 2018

Off we go with another dark beer selection box, some interesting flavours to explore here, even in the height of summer.

Anderson Valley – Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout – 5.8%

With its deep, dark brown-black colour, thick, full-bodied, velvety-smooth mouth feel, mocha character, and, strong (yet subtle) hop bite, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout is one of the thickest, richest, and most complex stouts on the market today.

Bear Republic – Big Bear – 8.1%

Big Bear is a big, black stout that you can really sink your teeth into. The bold, roasty, caramel malt flavour is balanced by those American favourites Centennial and Cascade hops.

Elusive Brewing – Invisible Wall – 8.2%

For their 100th brew Elusive pushed the boat out and brewed something big and decadent. This rich milk stout was taken to the next level by organic cacao nibs that were soaked in Bourbon and a single-origin coffee from Hasbean.

Marble – Decadence – 10.5%

Another big beast from Marble, 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.

Odyssey – Grievous Angel V3 – 9%

The third in the series of Odyssey’s Imperial Oatmeal Brown Stouts. The colour is a deep brown and the aroma is all about the coconut and vanilla. A big, smooth body initially yields more coconut and vanilla before chocolate and coffee flavours round the beer out beautifully.

Tiny Rebel/Fierce Beer – Orange Mocha Frapp – 7%

Tiny Rebel’s friends up at Fierce are some of the best in the business when it comes to adding other flavours to beer. Tiny Rebel also think they’re pretty good at it, so they collaborated on a beer with LOTS going on. Inspired by Derek Zoolander’s coffee of choice, Orange Mocha Frapp Stout does exactly what it says on the tin. Orange, chocolate and coffee. It’s reported to be awesome.

Brewdog Fanzine issue 5

A new set of beers have arrived. Hopefully none of them are as bad as the English IPA from issue 4, which was very poor by BD standards, like a tribute to Greene King IPA (and why would you do that?)

img_9172

Origami Orangutan – 8.5% – Tangerine Double IPA

A big, classic American IPA brewed to double strength and packed with C hops and tangerine. The addition of tangerine carries itself through the beer with notes of pine, citrus and fresh cut grass also making an appearance.

King of Eights v2 – 7.4% – East Coast IPA

This juicy, smooth New England IPA has returned, and this time around it’s been double dry-hopped with an increase in ABV. Hopped with just Citra (but a lot of it), the hops take the spotlight and show exactly what they are capable of. After tasting it, there’s a lot of Citra but not much else in there.

Alice Porter – 6.2% – Nitro Porter

The first #ReBrewDog for Fanzine is here, and it’s pretty darn special! The enigmatic porter Alice Porter is back, brewed with the addition of vanilla and put into nitro cans exclusively for Fanzine.

Brewdog fanzine issue 4, May 2018

The next issue of fanzine is upon us. A couple of these will be sampled very soon.

Small Batch English IPA – 5.2% – IPA

An old school English IPA brewed with the addition of traditional English hops which bring lavender and bergamot to the front of the beer. Supporting the hops is a light biscuit malt flavour, followed by a dry, bitter finish with a touch of warmth.

Interstate – 4.6% – Lager

A perfectly balanced Vienna-style lager brewed with subtle spicy German hops over toasty-base malts which bring out bread crust and biscuit in the beer, followed by a bittersweet finish.

Hop Shop – 9% – IPA

This hop-forward big IPA is intense, dank and resinous, with bursts of stonefruit and citrus. Grapefruit and apricot sit on top of a building bitterness, with a honeycomb malt base followed by a dry yet bittersweet finish.