Thursday, 20 October 2016

Beers of Autumn

This post title should maybe read Alnwick beers of autumn as these were locally sourced. Well locally as in some were from supermarkets but hey, they were all purchased in the local vicinity. Autumn is the best season even if seemingly the shortest it's best accompanied by beer.

The Purple Panther

From the shelves of Lidl. A slick and slightly light bodied porter with a dollop of sweet toffee and chocolate. A kind of chocolate digestive aftertaste.

Toon Broon

The first beer I have came across actually paying homage to Newcastle Brown Ale. I personally don't think it needs to be done but find this better than the original. An old school feel is dominant. It's 4.7% and closer to deep russet than brown. Caramel malt and almond aroma, palate brings licorice and caramel, charred grain and a flinty bitterness. Very much traditional through and through.

Distiller's cask range

A new one from Theakstons obtained at Morrisons. A 6.5% ale 'acquainted with the flavours of Speyside malt whisky'. I was expecting an Innis and Gunn like experience and its vaguely similar but nowhere near as sweet. The thing that isn't clear form the label is whether this is genially oak aged in speyside whisky barrels or blended with speyside whisky. None the less is aint half bad. Candied almond meets woody vanilla, an American oak influence for sure.


Familiar to most Hobgoblin is clearly an autumn beer. Dominated by sweet nutty malts, chocolate and a hint of fruity English hops. For supermarket beers it isn't half bad although my preference is for the cask version.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Rochefort 10

Delving into its boozy, figgy depths at the John Bull

There are times in one's journey of beer when a throwback to the old is revisited. A chance to re-live the experience that once changed one's very perspective of beer. It so happens that Alnwick's The John Bull has recently restocked its Belgian beers and after a long time Abbey St Remy Rochefort 10 is now back in stock (after a long time).

Rochefort 10 for me was a world-changing beer of its time. Like the Judas Priests Painkiller Album, a classic masterpiece of metal that still sounds awesome today. The Metallica/Slayer era came along, so did Nirvana and the dark days of 'Nu-metal'. German power metal cheese and new wave American metalcore came in and out of trends but Judas Priest, like Rochefort 10 still evokes great memories. Amongst the various passing beer trends it never really got lost in the crowd and always remained one of the bench mark Belgian strong ales. Rochefort 10!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

North East Brewers Market

Matt and Josh man the Mordue/Panda Frog bar

The North East craft brewers market was was a craft beer showcase held at the Palace of arts in Exhibition Park near Newcastle University. The basic back story is Wylam Brewery have moved site. Their new 'brew' palace is equipped with a big fancy brew kit (which I forgot to photograph) bar area, some kind of barrel aging program and nice interior design.

Wylam keg fonts

The event featured seven breweries of the region on the Friday night session; Wylam, Tyne Bank, Errant, Trufitt, Mordue, Credance and Out There, alongside guests Cloudwater brewery from Manchester. Some quality scran was also on offer.

I got a tour of the new brew kit yet the event was mostly about good beer, good people, good food and camaraderie. Sorachi Dollar from Tyne Bank was an early choice for me, a variant from the much respected Silver Dollar. Pine mouthfeel and not overly lemony compared to some sorachi ace hopped beers. Overall impression was quality premium strength pale ale.

Moving on Trufitt from down Middlesbrough way had a very smooth almost creamy Vanilla Porter. I also got to meet the folks at Errant Brewery, relative newcomers to Newcastle's collection of breweries. The Waimea-cascade hopped Blonde ale  Clever Girl brought pleasant mild orange and pine. Credence brewing also had a nice Red ale, a development of their very straight forward core range.

There were familiar sights like Wylam Jakehead and Hexan as well as the Panda Frog/Mordue bar serving our new Sterling-Hersbrucker hopped Pilsner alongside Northumbrian Blonde IPA and Panda Frog Allelic Drift. I also tried a rather nice Cloudwater Centennial IPL. Overall a rather splendid evening.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The annual Longframlington Beer fest post

It's becoming an annual post is the Longfram beer fest post. One of the highlights the month of June has to offer. From humble beginnings I have always admired head man Andrew Findlay and the Coquetdale Round Table's efforts on it. A bouncy castle and face painting for the kids meets respectable scran and that's without mentioning the beer.

On the whole the beer range is well selected and balanced despite not being expansive. This is a pleasant change from some other beer fests that seem to overplay the same cards thinking the more session blond/bitters gives the broader the appeal. In other words it's easily possible to have twice the number of beers but half the amount of diversity and choice at the same time.

This year the first one on the hit list for me was North Utsire by Cullercoats brewery. A dark Rye influenced 4.1% bitter. Lots of bready doughy caramelised malt meets peppery Rye finish. Quite straightforward and loads of character for the abv. The two Mordue entries were also on form, Poznian Pils and Breakfast pale. Bad Seed Jester Pale was then fresh with floral summer fruit yet with an odd savory tobacco note. Out of the ordinary was Mosaic Saison by Two By Two brewery. Blueberry and fruity bubblegum with a definite Belgian yeast presence and residual sweetness. Worth a try yet a little unusual.

Brass Castle Session IPA was the final note of the evening. More fruity Mosaic Hop-esque influenced with a decent mouthfeel for 3.5%. Overall we had a splendid day, the bairn had her face painted and now thinks all beer festivals provide this.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

There is beer in the house

One of the most comforting thoughts of them all, the knowledge that beer is in the house. Although the majority of the time, some beer is in the house. Normally it's from a tank or cask at work or found locally, the expanding range of the local Aldi (aka Wonderland, where every man's a rich man) for example.

On this occasion we have none of the sort. Stone Pataskala Red X IPA is a relatively new release from San Diego based Stone brewery yet to be released on the UK market (my aunty Wendy from California is to thank for this). It's a big red 7.3% Red IPA brewed with Mosaic, Cascade and Amarillo hops and the German malt variety BESTMALZ. A unique take on the Red IPA as it says on the bottle and seems reminiscent of so many other Stone beers. The flavours are smoothed out yet big and burly with a perfumed pine aroma from aggressive dry hopping that doesn't compromise approachability (as with many Stone beers). Sweet red fruit, grapefruit like citric notes mix with boozy toffee and thick malt. A big mouth feel contrasted by hop pine. All in all certainly worth a try if you can get hold of it.