The Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – dark beer selection box #11 – October 2018

The nights are drawing in and the beers are getting darker. That’s not to say that there’s no place for a super hoppy IPA in these shorter months, but a few more winter warmers find their way into the shelf of delights.

Here’s the latest selection, two for now, four for later…

Amundsen – White Crow – 10.5%

A White Imperial Stout packed full of cocoa beans, vanilla beans, tonka beans as well as coffee beans. This beer has all the characteristics of a full bodied imperial stout, whilst at the same time being white.

Brew York – Viking DNA – 5.0%

A smooth well balanced porter with subtly smoky character formed from a rich blend of 6 different malts.

Cloudwater – Parkin Cake – 10%

To celebrate their 500th gyle, Cloudwater brewed an homage to Parkin, the oatmeal and ginger cake much favoured in Yorkshire. In the Imperial Brown Ale base is a rich blend of malts, oats and treacle for sweetness, and added ginger and spices for that distinctive aroma.

Kasteel – Bruin – 11.0%

A strong Belgian brown ale. After extensive tasting, trying to fulfil increasingly strict requirements, the brewmaster found themselves with a creamy, dark Belgian brown ale: Kasteelbier. The quality of the past is still unmatched and the beloved taste is very much of the present. Kasteelbier is a dark, artisanal beer, soft and mild, full and creamy. It can age for many, many years, as indicated on the bottle.

Left Handed Giant – Choc Orange Milk Stout – 5.1%

Deeper Water is a seasonal milk stout, brewed with lactose, vanilla and cacao nibs – this time it’s been given the chocolate orange treatment! Gemma would hate this, I might just love it.

Stillwater – Critical Thinking – 11%

Stillwater brew some incredible beers across the spectrum. This does not disappoint. An opaque black colour with a lovely tan head. Roasted malt flavour with notes of bitter chocolate and liquorice. Big sticky mouthfeel and warming alcohol notes.

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The Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – selection box #13 – September 2018

There have been 28 versions of the craft beer club, in standard, dark and sour forms. Only two people have had all 28. One of them is me, and the other is regular MOFAD drinking companion Alec. That’s a stat I like. Let’s dive into this month’s box which has a very welcome 4 session ales, one just over the edge of session and an interesting looking milkshake IPA.

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Brew York – Triple H – 4.3%

Triple H is a refreshing Hazy, Hoppy & Heavenly murk-bomb of a pale ale. The beer is intentionally hazy as the steps normally taken to clarify the beer have been skipped. And a few steps have even been taken to encourage haze formation. This better retains the delightful citrus & floral flavours of the Centennial, Citra & Mosaic hops within the beer. I had this one at the Brew York birthday party in 2017 and it was lovely

Cloudwater – Summer Pale – 4%

Summer Pale is a 4% abv Citra-led pale ale to sit back and unwind with. It’s the start of a seasonal offering of a straightforward, full-flavoured beer for catching up with friends, after work, or just to have for the everyday moments that make up our days. Cloudwater do session really well, they just need to do more of them.

8 Arch – Square Logic – 4.2%

Pale golden with a haze and a white head. Grapefruit, lemon and hints of green tea can be detected in both the aroma and the taste. Quite dry and easy to drink. Another one that I’ve had before, a refreshing golden ale.

Fierce Beer – Easy Shift – 4.5%

This light and easy drinking pale ale is something that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Citrus flavours and a light hoppy character mean that refreshment is guaranteed.

Gipsy Hill/Unity – Razend – 4.7%

Razend is a collaboration between Gipsy Hill and Unity Brewing Co. Fermented with Belgian yeast, it’s a crisp, spicy, fruity, refreshing beer. Perfect for hot summer days at the quay. Not many of those left but it sounds like a good beer for an autumn evening.

Neon Raptor – The Yard – 6%

The Yard milkshake IPA is a passion fruit and mango IPA infused with lactose and vanilla to give a smooth and refreshing mouthfeel. Low quantity hot side hops lead to a low bitterness allowing more of the hop flavour from the Citra led dry hop to come through, supporting the fruit additions and silky body.

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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The Needle & Pin craft beer club – dark beer selection box #10 – August 2018

More darkness awaits within…

Arbor – Amarone Bristol Porter – 8.4%

One of the favourite N&P breweries have excelled themselves here with a rare dark beer brew, a barrel aged imperial porter brewed with eight different grains and Bramling Cross hops. The recipe for this strong porter was devised to create complex notes of chocolate, burnt caramel and stone fruit. After fermentation, it was matured in Amarone barrels, which allowed these flavours to mellow and contributed additional touches of raisin & vanilla.

De Struise – Cuvee Delphine – 13%

After the success of the De Struise in a recent Dark Beer Club,  it was time for another one. Their beer Black Albert was used in a new barrel aging project. More than a year ago, Carlo was able to get his hands on a stock of Four Roses Bourbon barrels, and filled them up. This unique creation was originally to be named 4 Black Roses in honour of its heritage, but Four Roses strongly advised against it. As the disowned offspring of Black Albert, the name Cuvée Delphine imposed itself. Savouring the Belgian irony, the artwork on the label is by Delphine Boël.

Rudgate – Ruby Mild – 4.4%

Time to go a bit old school. A dark cherry, ruby red mild, with an aroma of sweet, strawberries, and smoke, tasting soft, rich and complex.

To 0l – Mr Brown – 10.0%

This year’s Mr. Brown is very brown. An intense and full bodied stout, brewed with coffee and matured with cognac oak chips and cedar spirals for richness.

West by Three – Chocolate Milk Stout – 4.5%

This was on draft a few months ago and everyone loved it. This deep and creamy stout is built on a rich chocolate malt foundation and laden with toffee aroma from the Amber and Crystal malts. Is it the closest thing you can get to liquid cake? The rolled oats and lactose sugar work together to create a velvet smooth mouth feel. The sweetness is balanced with a touch of bitterness and some subtle chocolaty notes from the cacao nibs. Enjoy this decadent ale with your favourite roast dinner or rich dessert.

Wylam – Macchiato – 6.5%

Wylam have appeared occasionally in the N&P since opening, but you can expect to see a lot more of them in the fridges and on the taps. This hazelnut praline coffee porter has a complex grain bill for extra body and mouth feel, and a cold brew hazelnut coffee shines through in this winter warming porter.

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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…

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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.

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.

The Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – sour selection box #3 – May 2018

We are already up to the third sour beer selection box, lots of interesting beers from home and much further afield coming up in this one. Pucker up buttercup!

Brasserie Trois Dames – Joyeuse – 5.6%

A pile of whole raspberries was co-fermented with a fresh saison. After which, a mature barrel aged sour saison was added to taste, creating this lush and alluring blend. Unlfitered, unpasteurised, unadulaterated, and ready for the celebration of the everyday.

Brekeriet Beer AB – Pink Passion – 4.7%

Another Scandinavian discovery for me this year, Sweden’s Brekeriet Beer AB are all about sours and wild ales. So far I’ve had Wild & Juicy (super juicy sour fizz) and the far more subtle Rhuboise (gentle raspberry and rhubarb flavours).

Pink Passion is a tart, refreshing and gluten free oat Berliner with passion fruit and hibiscus.

Founders Brewing Co. – Rübæus – 5.7%

Optimising the flavour of fresh raspberries added at several stages during fermentation, Rübæus is the perfect blend of sweet, tart and refreshing, not just another boring summer wheat beer or shandy. With a hefty malt bill, this beer is 100% Founders.

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Stillwater Artisanal – Shoegaze – 6%

‘Distorted Farmhouse Pale Ale’ is a New England style IPA that met a farmhouse pale ale down a darkened alley. Brewed with oats, spelt and lactose and then hopped with Simcoe, Citra and Pacific Gem.

One that I’ve had before, a very easy drinking spicy saison.

To Øl – Sur NEIPA: Citra & Mosaic – 5%

A sour mashed New England style IPA (yes, another one) with Citra and Mosaic, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Hoppy and sour, but not too much of either – a quick shot of hoppiness followed by citrus notes of lime and spice.

Wild Weather Ales – Ask Me About Loom – 4.8%

Wild Weather Ales are another of my favourite breweries at the minute. I think I’ve now had 15 of their beers, and they excel at fruity and sour beers such as Dark of Ages Past, Peach of a Weekend, Damn Dead Strawberry and the ever reliable Curse of Threepwood.

The Monkey Island theme continues here, with Ask Me About Loom. For those of you not into 1990s PC games, Cobb was a character found in the Scumm Bar on Mêlée Island, and he wore a badge reading, “Ask me about Loom(tm)”. He mostly answered questions from Guybrush Threepwood by saying “aye” until asked about Loom, when he would then advertise ‘Loom’ – another game made by LucasArts.

Back to the beer, which is an orange and passion fruit sour, in fact it is a forward thinking tart colossus of a beer. An under current of rich passion fruit gives way to the satsuma umbrella wrapped around a lip puckering sour wheat base.