Buxton Brewery Tap, April 2017

We’ve been here before. In May 2015 to be precise. Ever since that visit we’ve been wanting to come back. It took almost 2 years, but we made it šŸ™‚

After a leisurely morning of strolling around Buxton, including a little shopping at Beer District, we were ready for some lunch. There was only ever going to be one place we were going to go. I had been singing the praises of Buxton Brewery Tap for a while, and with MOFAD drinking companions Matt & Steve as well as Mrs MOFAD, Hazel, Janette and Andy and Kerrie all in tow, I was hoping that there would be something for everyone here.

There was.

My choice was Myrica, a tasty session IPA with oaty smoothness and hazy hoppiness

Mrs MOFAD opted for the Sky Mountain Sour, a collaboration between Buxton and To Ƙl which has resulted in a nicely balanced sour ale. Mrs MOFAD was a fan of this.

Matt & Steve both had a Rednik Stout which was right up their street. Kerrie tried the Lemon Meringue Pie, which both Mrs MOFAD and I really like. She was not a fan, but surprisingly Hazel (the queen of tea who is not a beer drinker) liked it, and ended up with a bottle to take home.

On to that lunch, I had a buffalo burger with potato wedges, which was very tasty and a perfect portion for lunch. Mrs MOFAD opted for chicken souvlaki, marinated in yoghurt, mustard, lemon & oregano and served with sautĆ©ed peppers, tzatziki, sunblush salad & pitta breads. This which was also very nice. My burgerĀ came from the specials board, so itĀ might not be available when you visit. Perhaps plates will be though, as this burger appeared on a board.

On then to the shopping. You can’t come here and not take away a bottle or two. Or ten. You’ll spot the “Belgians” on the left, a Bourbon Skyline (barrel aged Berliner weisse), another Sky Mountain Sour and Lemon Meringue Pie for Mrs MOFAD, a Trolltunga (just another gooseberry sour IPA), a Superluminal (sour IPA) and one more.

That last one is Bomba Generation 4, the sequel to Tsar Bomba Generation IIIĀ which was almost beer of the year for me in 2016.Ā Generation 4 of the BuxtonĀ Brett fermented Imperial Stout has been born.Ā TheĀ yeast strain from 1978 is alive and well and has chewed relentlessly through theĀ regular Russian Imperial Stout to bring usĀ the Great Grandson of the original batch. This one will go into storage for a while, and come out on a special occasion. If it’s as good as Generation III then it will be rather special.

Matt & Steve also did some shopping, although none of us could convince the nice people behind the bar to thrown in a free glass, despite the amount that we were all spending…

Another great trip to the Buxton Brewery Tap. If you are ever in Buxton, go there. You will find good food and great beer to drink in and take away. End of.

House of the Trembling Madness, April 2017

After a lovely dinner at the Lamb & Lion, we took a short stroll to theĀ House of the Trembling Madness. We’ve been here once before, back in 2012, when we visited the bottle shop on the ground floor, bewildered by the array of beers and ciders on offer.

This time round we were less bewildered (we’ve seen a few lovely beer shops like this now), and so we made our way upstairs to the bar. By some happy coincidence (or perhaps I’d been keeping an eye on these things on Twitter), the first kegs of Beavertown Bloody ‘Ell Blood Orange IPA were released today, and THOTTM were one of the places to have a keg on.

The beer menu is impressive, basically anything that’s in the shop can be drunk, and they also have a number of beers on keg and cask, as well as bottles in the fridges along with hot drinks and some food.

Mrs MOFAD opted for something all the way from San Diego, Passion Fruit Kicker from Green Flash Brewing, a wheat beer with subtle passion fruit flavours, very gentle and tasty.

There was no choice for me, it had to be the Bloody ‘Ell, a super tasty mish mash of hops and blood orange. It’s a really good modern beer.

To contrast with that, I went for The Devil Made Me Brew It from Bristol’s Arbor Ales. It wasn’t quite as contrasting as I was expecting, an oaty stout with hoppiness and massive burnt flavours. I really enjoyed this one too, and a dinky half pint dimple pot was also pleasing.

We’ve had plenty of great beers today so curtailed our drinking activities. However, you can’t leave without passing through the shop, so we had to look around. As we were travelling by train, we had to be strict and limit ourselves to just one thing each. Otherwise I could happily have had one of everything. You might spot beers from Thornbridge, Siren, Wild Beer, Vocation, Chorlton and Beavertown (to name but a few) in this slightly blurry photo.

The one thing I didn’t get chance to capture was the total and utter quirkiness of the decor upstairs. A medieval style drinking hall could be expected to have lots of mounted animal heads on the wall, and it does.

A fantastic pub and beer shop all in one. No trip to York would be complete without a trip to the House of the Trembling Madness. Just take it easy so you don’t get the DTs šŸ™‚

The Needle & Pin, March 2017

A little “halfway between birthdays” event for us. We had a bit of a think about where we wanted to have a little event with a littleĀ group of friends. Often these happen in various chain pubs about the area, but I wanted our one to happen in my favourite pub. So we made it happen (with thanks to Sean who let us reserve the entire upstairs area for the evening).

My evening began with a pint of Beer Hub Brew #1 from The West End Brewery, a new Leicester brewery that opened up last year. This was a cracking session pale ale with good hoppy notes.

Some pizza arrived from Peter Pizza. We tucked in.

This was accompanied by North Riding Brewery’s Neapolitan Milk Stout, which is like childhood in a glass, the 1980s ice cream classic in pint form.

Downstairs, it was bar manager Jet’s birthday. Sean had very kindly rebranded one of the pumps to celebrate this šŸ™‚

Whilst one or two people were confused by this, Mrs MOFAD was choosing another beer, Curse of Threepwood from Wild Weather Ales, a fruity and tart rhubarb and hibiscus sour wheat beer. If you don’t recognise the name, Guybrush Threepwood was the main character in the Monkey Island series of games. One for you 90s gamers!

One more pint to celebrate, a Thornbridge favourite, Lord Marples, a classic bitter.

A lovely night out with friends and beers.

The Needle & Pin, February 2017

So often, you have to compromise when out for food and drink. If you go somewhere where the food is good, the beer will often be very limited, or not very good. If you go somewhere where the beer is good, the food may have been neglected, or they don’t do food at all.

Thankfully there are places where compromise is not necessary, and my pub of the year 2016 is one of those. As you might expect šŸ™‚

How do they do this? Simple. There’s no kitchen. You bring the food, they bring the beer. If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll know that’s something that we do quite often. If you just want a quick sandwich or salad, you can pop over the road to The Hog Stop to stock up on porky goodness. You can bring other things in from nearby food outlets. Or you can do what we usually do, which is to order pizza from our local pizza place, Peter. They deliver here, by hand, and it was one of the only places that they delivered to until they signed up with Deliveroo.

So, on to the thing that the Needle & Pin does best. Beer. Since my last visit, a fourth hand pump has been installed, so they now have four ales on cask at all times. Tonight my choice was Barefoot Blonde from Tenby Brewing company, a delicious pint full of delightful grassy, citrus hoppiness. I’ve had a few Tenbys now, and all have been good. And luckily I know someone who regularly visits Tenby, so I shall make sure he brings me some more back šŸ™‚

Here comes the food bit, my favourite Peter pizza, number 3, “The Sausages”. More on that (briefly) here.

On to another beer, this time from the bottle. Thornbridge’sĀ Raindrops On Roses was theĀ winning brew from their 2016 “Great British Homebrew Challenge”. ThisĀ hazy gold beer has a gentleĀ aroma of rose and lemon, something like Turkish delight with a slight hoppy character.

As it was a work night, it was time to be off home. Back again soon!

Beavertown x Heretic ā€“ Peacher Man Peach Cobbler witbier

The third beer review from theĀ Needle & Pin craft beer club selection box, and the sixth overall from both boxes. Letā€™s look through the beer blurbā€¦

Beavertown / Heretic ā€“ Peacher Man Peach Cobbler witbier ā€“ two things you probably already know ā€“ Herectic love hops, and Beavertown love hops. However, that seemed a little obvious of a choice when constructing theirr collab, and would definitely have been the easy way out.Ā So they started thinking about the classic dessert, the peach cobbler. TheyĀ started by breaking down the recipe; peach, toasted oats, lemon zest, muscovado sugar and bourbon vanilla pods. They fermented the beer out with a delicate Belgian Wit ale strain to add hints of spice and fruit and completed the picture by dry hopping lightly with Nelson Sauvin to add another layer of the aroma.

Enter the ā€œPeacher Man.ā€ A silence falls on the bar as his distinctive Peacher garb sweeps over the dusty saloon doors. Outwardly a strict man of the cobbler, but there are murmurs on the warm prairie winds of his dubious morals and heavy-handed sweet justice. His drink is already poured, and without a word it is slid down the bar to a waiting palm. The quick wit of the barman renders not a quiver on the Peacher Man’s face. The young bandit reaches for his revolver but The Peacher Man has already fired. Another convert.

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Those are their words. What about mine? Well, there are certainly peachy and vanilla notes in here, much heavier on the nose than the palate, as well as some yeasty and hoppy notes. I was expecting some huge flavours from this one (Beavertown never skimp on flavour) but they were rather muted. It is crisp and refreshing (thank the lemon zest for that) but just lacking that certain something.

There will be a sequel, asĀ 50% of the wort was taken over to theirĀ Tempus Barrel Programme where the fermentation has been pulled into the wild world of Brettanomyces and its other funky bacterial cousins. The Peacher Man will return…

Surely it has to be Son of a Peacher Man?

The Basin, Loughborough, August 2016

A quick post. Regular MOFAD drinking companion Alec usually organises a summer meal of some sort, usually to coincide with increasing age by a year. A bit later than usual this year, but we find ourselves in The Basin, a minimalist restaurantĀ servingĀ Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisine.

We were supposed to go to the awesome Needle & Pin first for a drink but Arriva buses had other ideas, leaving us hanging around at the bus stop for around half an hour’s valuable drinking time.

So when we eventually got to town, it was straight to the Basin for a drink first. And despite interesting things like Hitachino Nest being available at Wagamama, The Basin haven’t really caught up with this modern thinking, and have a very average selection. So Hoegaarden is the best choice, a fruity witbier with a touch of coriander and orange that works well with the food. A few of these were consumed.

A hoisin duck temaki to start, a hand roll of sticky rice, shredded duck, cucumber, spring onion and sweet hoisin sauce. Classic Oriental starter stuff. A nice little pea of wasabi on the side, not for the faint hearted.

To the main course. SalmonĀ teryaki, a Japanese classic served with simple boiled rice. Yay! And pointless iceberg lettuce. Boo! What a waste of space that lettuce is, taking up valuable real estateĀ on the plate whereĀ something much tastier could be sitting.

A pleasant meal certainly, but that unadvertised iceberg rather leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.