Saturday, 23 February 2013
Ever been in that awe-inspiring position where you've wondered what a past version of yourself would think of your present day situation? To the 2009-era Rob this would have been a distant dream. Back then it seemed the company I worked for was taking a (very gradual) turn of interest towards pleasing wider audiences. Homebrewing was my not so secret love affair, and having a range of special release beers like the ones listed above at a brewery where I was the head brewer was something that I thought would only ever exist in some kind of fantasy world.
But here we are. The Mordue 2013 monthly specials range combines some big abvs, fruit beers, bold hops in places and some slightly more unorthodox ingredients here and there. Myself and the Fawson brothers are responsible for the list in its entirety and yes four new Panda Frog beers are also featured. Many of the old seasonals are out but the Tyne range remains (Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn Tyne). Al Wheat Pet it to be re-vamped to become Al Cherry Pet at a slightly higher abv than the original. Killswitch 51, the munich malt, single malt beer from last years battle of the beers at Newcastle Beer Festival is coming back. Then a few months later, the biggest Panda Frog beer of the year the 6.8% Operation Red Thunder imperial red ale comes out in October.
I could go more into the Panda Frog range, but that's another blog post in itself. For now there's plenty of work to be done i.e sourcing ingredients, planning brewing schedules as well as trying to find the time to get plenty of special releases kegged and bottled. Mostly it's going to be about keeping on top of it all, so wish me luck.
Thursday, 14 February 2013
Go back to september last year and many drinkers will remember this one. Durham brewery had matured a batch of their Imperial Stout Templation with a lambic culture. The resulting beer, Diablous was pretty much the first of it's kind in the region and most probably the UK. Launched at Newcastle's The Free Trade Inn for their official 'Sour Power' night.
Anyway Diablous is one intriguing beer. Slightly lively carbonation with little head and a very barnyard like aroma. Diablous is signatured by burnt grain, leather, dark chocolate and sweet liqourish met by a sharp cider/geuze like tang that runs right through it. Then you get interludes of almost red wine like dark fruit, coffee and more leathery roast grain over barnyard like wild yeast. Theres a lot going on here.
This is one of those beers that takes a little time to get your head round, and I think around half way down the glass I got it. Diablous is like an untamed beast yet with nuances and flavour harmonies that almost shine like flashes of brewing brilliance. Sadly, the word 'almost' sum it up more accurately. Think of this more like the notes of a symphony to a masterpiece. All the notes are there to make this masterpiece work. Yet somethere down the line half the orchestra got distracted, decided to make everything more shouty, more dramatic and ended falling slightly out of tune.
What keeps repeating in my mind is that tastes almost like someone's taken a half full glass of rugged imperial stout and topped it up with gueze. It still sort of works in a crazy chaotic challenging sort of way, yet it still tastes more like the variant of a sour beer not a variant version of a stout. Yet all in all I found Diablous to be an interesting beer. The experience memorable mainly for being interesting alone and I can see why there was a lot of divided opinion about it.
Sunday, 10 February 2013
As many may have noticed, I've been on a bit of a blogging break. Lets just say I've been a bit distracted. Mainly by work and secondly by the bairn. Work can sure get busy especially with people far and wide after our beer. It's also easy to see why the bairn can be distracting. Despite the requirement for constant care and attention baby Susie seems to be winning a lot of attention and smiling at just about anything these day. She certainly gave the staff at Anarchy brewing in Morpeth plenty of smiles the other week. Easily pleased you could say. Person appears in vision; baby smiles. Show her a toy; baby smiles. Dog comes over; baby smiles. Play her some AC/DC; baby smiles. Wheel pram past row of degraded decapitated skulls impaled upon Zulu spears; baby smiles...
You get the picture.
Anyway, this year we have some very cool brewing projects ahead at Mordue brewery along side plenty of kegging and bottling. I can safely say that a few years back I would never have imagined spear heading such an adventurous brewing year as a head brewer. The Panda Frog is to continue for its second year and various new beers are in the making. But we shall have more on that later. Spring (as well as Mordue Spring Tyne) is on the way which means it's not long until the awesome Newcastle beer festival and any traces of random treacherous weather cease to be (hopefully).