Sunday, 13 November 2011

November 12th 2011, twissup in the toon.

I have to say the Newcastle twissup has been a lot different from the adventure in York last time. It started with a familar face. Since I was the first to arrive at Tynebank brewery for the brewery tour/talk I got chance to catch up with former Mordue brewer/current Tynebank brewer Mark McGarry before the twissup crowds arrived.

Mark gave everyone a talk, we got to sniff some hops and try free cask samples. Out of the beers available I remember eventually deciding on the deep amber golden Monument Bitter as my all round favourite with its biscuity malmalade and blackcurrant like hop notes. The cherry stout was a hit with the ladies and even though I thought it had a lot of richness Mark wasn't quite happy with it and wanted it richer. He also explaned that Castle Brown ale had in no way stolen any name ideas from the famous/over rated Newcastle Brown or Newky broon (as the locals say).

Many samples later it was time to head to the The Free Trade Inn to see how my Pandazilla cascadian dark ale tasted now that it was in the cask and free to try. It had plenty of takers and a lot of people seemed to give positive comments but even when the beer didn't, the pumpclip certainly caught a lot of attention.

Thanks again to assistant brewer Dave's mate for that, it's a shame I still haven't met the artist. The beer itself poured an almost jet black with just a touch of condition. The crazy thing about it was the obvious difference between with citrusy almost flowery nose and sappy, heavy sherbet-like sweet palate that's laced with berry fruit flavours and chocolate. Compared to the very alcohol-laiden samples that were tried at the brewery this sure had improved. I wanted it hard hitting (like a giant 200 foot tall Pandazilla monster trampling on buildings and destroying all in its path) but more than anything I was chuffed about its approachability.

Moving on I decided to go for the bottled offering from Stateside gypsy brewery Pretty Things. I'd been trying to hunt down Pretty Things since their UK Debut at Zak Avery's shop a short time back and it didn't dissapoint. Jack D'Or is a creation from ex-Daleside brewer Dan Paquette. Like I expected very Belgian farmhouse ale-esque, peach and pear like subtle fruit combine with savoury grain and yeasty flavours. Very balanced, a touch quirky, a touch familiar and finishing with a nice rounded malt sweetness. It drinks like an old world Belgian and I could imagine it being immensely versatlie with food, especially cheese. Loved it.

Covenant Aromatic Red from Summer wine brewery was another memorable number. Lots of floral Centennial like hop notes over a smooth but light malt background. A nice interlude of session beer before I ended up trying Woolpacker Dave's 11% monster Imperial stout Vitesse Noir. Infused with chocolate, coffee and vanilla it sure is a huge powerhouse of a beer. Great flavours especially when served with chocolate truffles. Its only downside was the slight lack a little carbonation.

Jeff laughs at Dave's headbanging
  Anyways... From recollection after that Mordue's Matt Fawson turned up on the scene and I got a free lift to the Cumberland Arms. I think the consumption of quite a few over 6% beers early in the day really hindered my stamina. I do remember Thornbridge Crux being loaded with upfront catty hop resins over smooth malt and Boggart Walnut Porter being deep brown, quite dry, biscuty and nutty. It was about half eight when I threw in the towel, maybe I'm getting old? But overall a great day out, and it was great to see the old twissup crew, Dredgy, Rob from Hopzine, Wooly Dave and this time even Olly Fozard turned up.  

Not sure what was going on here, I don't remember this being taken.


Ed said...

Go, go Pandazilla!

Mark said...

Ha, that photo at the bottom is brilliant!

Great day yesterday - good to see you!

Rob said...

Cheers Ed

Mark: Yeah, good to see the mighty Dredge again. It appears Rob's beer quest has a new star. Unknown barmade from Newcastle arms.

Ian Beer said...

Yes Rob the Jack D'Or was nice but it cost £9.60 - on my round!! I'll forgive you this time as it was a good session.

Steve Lamond said...

Good write-up. Thanks for making the pandazilla available, one of the most interesting beers of the day for me, never tasted watermelon in a beer before

Leigh said...

love that Pandazilla label!

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