Bottled Ales – January 2014 – Pt 2

“Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac
Gangster whitewalls, TV antennas in the back
You may not have a car at all
But remember brothers and sisters
You can still stand tall”

(Be Thankful [For What You Got] – William DeVaughan)

Y’alright? No shitty boring monologues this week. I’ve not stretched my legs for a while. So, at the end of this month, we have a bit of a bus stop analogy going on. 3 things in 4 days that get my blood up and make me stroll forth from BM Mansions.

1. The Opening Day for Dan & Gina Buck’s Micro Bar “Great Ale Year Round” in Bolton’s Market Hall on 21/01/2014 – Excited for both this and them!

2. Manchester Beer & Cider Festival at The Velodrome on both Weds 22/01/2014 (“Trade” Session – Ooh! Get me!) and Fri 24/01/2014 – Looks like a belter and a load of lovely people I want to witter on to!

3. Open Day at First Chop Brewing Arm in Salford Saturday 25/01/2014 – Could be the cultural highlight of 2014 in Salford!

In short – The sun is shining (?), The birds are singing….Life couldn’t be better!

Anyway, down to business…..

If you have ever read one of these before, you will know what is comes next!……The format remains….

1. The Beer, 2. The Brewer, 3. The Strength, 4. The beer style, 5. The Price & Size (including discount, eg: for CAMRA membership, where applicable – if I can remember the price of course!). 6. Where from,  and, If a website for the vendor exists, the hyperlink to the shop / brewer website, just in case you are inspired enough by my ramblings to make a purchase! Here goes…

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1. Mad MonkFive Towns Brewery (Wakefield, W Yorkshire) / North Riding Brewpub (Scarborough, N Yorkshire) – 8% abv – Imperial Stout – £3.15 (500ml) – Yorkshire Ales (Snaith, E Yorks)

Do I need to say anything else about the excellent Malcolm Bastow and Five Towns? Just an exceptional brewery making truly awesome ales in Wakefield. Last week, I reviewed a collaboration with Revolutions. This week it is a collab with the mighty North Riding Brewpub from Scarborough! Both being excellent brewers, I had absolutely no fear about what I was about to taste!

Just look at it! Black as the pitch pits of hell, this beer. A mid brown head, giving up aromas of bitter chocolate, espresso, leather and licorice along with some boozy port. Full-bodied in the mouth, with licorice, port wine, then sweet coffee then deep dark chocolate. The initial sweetness gives way to a building bitterness finishing sweet yet simultaneously grassy with a deep coffee note lingering into the aftertaste. Just bloody lovely!

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2. Lagonda IPAMarble Brewery (Manchester) – 5% abv – IPA – £3.29 (500ml) – The Liquor Shop (Whitefield, N Manchester)

To be honest, I really haven’t had that much by Marble in bottle. A true gap in my beery CV. Being so close, I suppose I’ve overlooked them a bit. I’ll be rectifying that ! Possibly the most gorgeous public house in England, they make some simply astonishing beers that deservedly have a great worldwide reputation. Need more.

Straw to gold coloured beer, with a lively white head and buckets of citrus aromas pouring out, primarily grapefruit and Lemon.

This is full-bodied in the mouth with a big toffee malt body supporting lots of lovely fruity hop flavours, with grapefruit and a distinctly piney edge. This is a fabulously well-balanced beer. Fruity dry finish and herby resins after. Incredibly moreish, superbly refined. A Manchester classic – like the car it shares its name with!

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3. Something Something Dark Side (Yes, really!) – Weird Beard Brew Co (Hanwell, W London) – 9% abv – Imperial Black IPA ? – £3.50 (330ml) – The Ale Man (Urban Market, Manchester)

Picked this up one Saturday before Christmas at Damian’s stall which – at that time – had a superb spot in Spinningfields and was deservedly busy. He rally does have some cracking beers both local and from London and elsewhere – check him out! When he mentioned this, Damian described it as a cross between an IPA & an Imperial Stout. So. A Black IPA it is then!

Black as the Ace of doodahs this one, with a gorgeous creamy tan coloured head giving up aromas of deep caramel chocolate with an apricot/grapefruity citrus overtone. I’d have to categorise this as an Imperial Black IPA, the body of a creamy stout with the hopping of a Double IPA!  Huge bodied, creamy in the mouth with bitter chocolate, tobacco hints, deep chewy caramel slithering around the mouth and BIG hops to water the mouth and balance with a resinous bitterness. This is a simply fabulous fruity, creamy smooth and resinous beer with great class. The finish is fruity and piney with coffee notes carrying on into the eternal aftertaste. Top marks!

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4. Reward Best – Revolutions Brewing (Castleford, W. Yorkshire)  – 4.5% abv – Best Bitter – £2.70 (500ml) – Yorkshire Ales (Snaith, E Yorks)

Well bless my cotton socks…….I’ve said before of my love for the music inspired beer ethos of this brewery. Of course, all the ideas and slick branding in the world are worth nothing if not backed up by tasty beer…..

This beer is copper coloured with a diminishing white head and a smooth buttery caramel toffee aroma. In the mouth, it’s medium bodied and smooth in the mouth with a smooth toffee caramel leading on to some honeyed tones, not cloyingly sweet like honeyed beers, more like a deep dark yet gentle smooth sweetness. The finish is nice dry and smooth with more than a hint of plum. A very moreish best bitter this.  Very refreshing. Just need it on draught now!

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(Subliminal Advertising!)

5. Dandy Gammocks – Cheshire Brewhouse (Congleton, Cheshire) – 5.6% abv – American Brown Ale – £3.49 (500ml) – The Liquor Shop (Whitefield, N Manchester)

From my first drop of Cheshire Brewhouse beer (Engine Vein at Winter Ales Fest last year), they just get better and better. The Little Lupy that I had last week was a corker. This is up there too! Not bad for beery bete noir of mine. It’s a Xmas seasonal!

A deep ruby brown ale with a tan coloured head and aromas of raisins, licorice and citrus. Intriguing! Brewed and bottled in time for Xmas, this really is my idea of a Xmas beer and may be the best I have had of that ilk so far! A medley of flavours in this full-bodied beer, boozy soaked vine fruits, some Dundee fruit cake, chocolate and some citrus fruit lurking and making a late tart appearance. Again, nice dry finish with a spicy afternote. Also, a very intriguing dandelion & burdock note……Nice. Top Marks!

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6. 8 Ball – Beavertown Brewery (Hackney, E London) – 6.2% abv – Rye IPA – £3.50 (330ml) – Great Ale Year Round (Bolton – or soon to be!)

Another that will be behind the bar at Dan & Gina Buck’s new venture in Bolton’s Market Hall. Make a note of 21/01/2014!

Whoever coined the term London Murky, could have been talking about this!

A hazy red beer with a white head and a booming citrus nose of sugared grapefruit and a wrinkling spicy note. Ooh….spicy rye, tingling on the tongue. Medium bodied, Lovely dirty hoppage in this, some barley sugar, quite earthy from the rye. God there’s bloody all sorts in this. Really earthy dry hops in the finish with a grassy and almost licorice note lingering. Bit of a brawler this! I love it! My only issue with this beer? Atilla likes it too! I’ll have to stash the next bottles REALLY deep!

Right then. That’s all folks! (For now anyway!)

On that note….’til next time!

Slainte!

One comment on “Bottled Ales – January 2014 – Pt 2

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