My #12BeersOfXmas 2015 – Day 11 : Gyle 50 – Brewsmith Beer


Nearly done. 2 beers to go and gotta do them both tonight. So, here goes.

Brewsmith. One of the most impressively consistent breweries of the last 12 months. Makers of superb pale ales. This one was another beer that was on cask at #ISBF2016 and was predictably excellent. But then, that’s Nelson Sauvin for you.

Print clear and ultra Pale gold, perfectly smooth carbonation giving a light soft white collar and that astringent sugared grapefruit aroma. The kind of smell that gets the drool glands going at the double. That.

Oh yes indeed. This is a star of a beer! Light biscuit malt meets ultra tart and sharp lemony grapefruit hops. Just SOOOO sharp and mouth watering! Nice bracing bitterness and, to round it off properly, a corking resinous sticky hop finish. Corrrrrrr……..!

Up there with Mallinsons for me is this. And anyone who knows me, knows how high a praise that that is…..

My #12BeersOfXmas 2015 Day 10 : Mosaic Pale Ale – Mallinsons Brewery in Cafe Beermoth


So. I know this is normally for bottled beers. But I’m weak. Temptation called. Temptation had a name. Mallinsons Mosaic.

My admiration for their single hopped pale ales has no limit. So when I noticed it was on at this new Mancunian Beer Mecca, I had to.

So what have we got?

It’s really Pale. With a tight white creamy head just OOZING tropicality. Mango, passion fruit oh. Oh. Ohhh….

Oh my giddy aunt! This is magnificent!!! Really fruity and just so light…. A light biscuit glove in which the hops can punch their fruity message. And they do. Oh yes. They do.

This beer encapsulates everything that I love about Mallinsons. Masses of hops. Really light and refreshing. And bracingly bitter! Yum. Yum. And thrice YUM!

Get down to Cafe Beermoth and grab one. If you see this anywhere, get it.

Then thank me!

My #12BeersOfXmas 2015 – Day 9 : Art Decade – Five Towns Brewery


Brewed for The Independent Salford Beer Festival by Malcolm Bastow with guest “Mash Monkeys” in Deeekos & YT. This won Beer of the Festival at our bash. And has won other awards elsewhere.

Simply stunning on Cask.

But in bottle?

At 6.4% abv, this pale golden beauty has good carbonation giving a decent white head. But that aroma!!! Oh you fruity little…………. (expletive deleted)!!!

With 5kg of pureed mango & 2kg of pulped peach added to the fermenter (to only 2 1/4 bbl of beer!), this was always going to be fruity. But oh that MANGO!

And in the mouth? It’s like the most tropical fruit cocktail you’ll ever eat. But fruitier again….  That fruit, added to the unfeasible amount of Mosaic & Citra added late in the brew….. You get the idea eh? It’s bloody delicious and – if I’d have done my Golden Pints two weeks later, could have been a contender for bottle of the Year.

It’s THAT good.

All of that fruity goodness and a lowish bitterness make this amazingly easy drinking at the strength. And lead you to a BIG resinous finish.

Beautiful. Peach. Mango. Resinous.

I need a cold shower.

My #12BeersOfXmas 2015 – Day 8 : The Queen Is Not Dead – Revolutions Brewing Co.


Get those handsome brutes on the label eh?

Brewed by Revolutions prior to #ISBF2015 and one of the stars of the festival, I’ve had this Imperial Stout twice on Cask now and it impressed me hugely on both occasions. When Andrew dropped a bottle off for me, it simply HAD to be one of the 12.

Loaded with that most marmite of hops Sorachi Ace, this black beer has a thin beige collar, nice carbonation releasing an aroma like a bitter chocolate Bounty bar, the Sorachi mellowing to coconut.

Oh my! This is LUSH! Big with dark roasted barley and smooth as silk. As you might expect, in the mouth there is bitter chocolate. Y been there is something like a fruit and nut bar, but with dark chocolate.

Next mouthful, that coconut tropicality moves up and caresses the tongue finishing with tingling around the mouth and a chocolate coating on the tongue.


My #12BeersOfXmas 2015 – Day 7 : No 04 (Brodies Prime Export – Bourbon Cask Aged) – Hawkshead Brewery


So. Over the halfway mark we go. Up to Staveley in Cumbria and Hawkshead Brewery. Kind of doing this wishing that area a speedy recovery from the seemingly constant flooding battering it. Topical also given that most of the North West appears to have suffered in the last day or so. I hope the rain relents soon and the clear up is swift.

I’ve had this beast for 9 months and it has been in my #12BeersOfXmas box since I bought it. There’s been a bit of a strong and dark theme this year.

So. What’s this one like. Well, it’s dark, as you can see. With a thin beige collar and an aroma full of Port wine and no little dark chocolate. Win and Win.

In the mouth? Yes. Lashings of bitter chocolate upfront with quite a smoky tinge. No. More than a tinge. Really smooth and lighter bodied than I expected, rendering this into the dangerously drinkable territory.

That chocolate mellows into more of a boozy mocha as a coffee note increases with each swallow with that smokiness building too.

This is one smooth operator of a beer and wears it’s strength lightly. I adore Brodies Prime on cask. This takes it forward by a leap.


My #12BeersOfXmas 2015 Day 6 : Manchester Imperial Stout – Ramsbottom Craft Brewery


This dark beauty was the strongest beer that we had at #ISBF2015 and I was one of only 2 people to have a pint. Call it “Organisers Privilege”! It was a smooth deep dark destroyer. So much so that the other person to have a pint – let’s call him “Agent C” was last heard saying the immortal phrase “I haven’t got any words”!

This ruby tinged black beer is well carbonated on opening with a lovely beige latticed head giving an aroma of deep chocolate and vine fruits. Always a good start with an Impy for me!

In the mouth? Oh my….. Full bodied, the first flavour that springs onto the tongue is spicy licorice, followed by a deep dark bitter chocolate. This beer wears its strength lightly. The bitter chocolate is eventually replaced by sweet espresso with quite a hoppy bitterness following the swallow.

The lingering impression after the swallow is a spicy tingling all around the mouth, from both the hops and the lashings of roasted barley.

Another dark beauty of a beer. Which, if I remember rightly, rendered the brewer himself, slightly tipsy at #ISBF2015.

Matt done good.

My #12BeersOfXmas 2015 – Day 5 : Govinda (Head Brewers Reserve – White Wine Barrel Aged) – Cheshire Brewhouse


This is the third iteration of this beer that has passed my lips so far. This is aged in purged German white wine casks, the previous (Brandy cask aged version was my Beer of the Year in 2014, so hopes are high for this. This may even be from the same gyle?

So, what have we got? A deep golden beer with light carbonation, a thin white head and a deep fruity nose, slightly spicy, but with a lingering grapy note, making me think of Atilla’s Pinot Grigio from last night!

This is the beer that reminded me that citrus was not the only fruity flavour to enjoy in a beer. This is a beer with big malt, but balanced well by masses of East Kent Goldings giving this a big juicy malt body with shed loads of berry fruitiness. This is a sipper, not a gulper.

This is a proper IPA at 6.8%. Big and juicy, spicy, fruity, with more than a hint of the barrel’s white wine origins. That juiciness gives way in the finish to a deep and slightly peppery hoppy note, that lingers and lingers.

Bacchus (choose your own deity), I adore this beer. It hasn’t let me down yet. In any iteration.

My #12BeersofXmas 2015 – Day 4 : Vin De Cereale 2004 -Rodenbach


On the 4th day of Christmas, my brew love sent to me….

This was brewed in 2004. Just think about that. Many of those doing the #12Beers may not have even been LEGAL to drink when this was made.

I was given this by my my Belgian beer Yoda, Des. Having had a Rodenbach or two, I immediately sensed how generous a gesture this was. And I thank him. Here and now. Cheers Des. A gentleman and a beer scholar.

This cork stoppered beer poured, with little carbonation is a deep brown and has a sour malty nose on it. It’s a Belgian sour for Christ’s sake!

In the mouth? Oh dear, the saliva glands have just submitted an overtime claim! This is indeed a beer and a half!

There a deep Soreen malt loaf fruitiness to this liquid. It’s like you’ve taken a slab of malt loaf, liquidised it, then hit it with Brettanomyces. I’m having to dab the corners of my lips!

The other thing that hits you is the warmth. This is (or was when bottled!) 10% abv and the warmth, when added to the malty sourness reminds me of a good cognac. Soured.

Did anyone ever tell you that these Belgians are quite decent at this Sour malarkey?


Thanks again Des.

My #12BeersOfXmas – Day 3 : Russian Imperial Porter (RIP) – Howling Hops Brewery


I bought this in March. From The Cock Tavern in Hackney (Howling Hops’ own pub/brewery). It’s a beautiful pub. Their cask beer is superb, the American Brown especially. Then I saw this. I HAD TO HAVE IT. Me and this beer have travelled a long way.

And I have demonstrated ENORMOUS willpower to hold back this long.

Satanically black, I swear I can see a pentangle in there somewhere! That cafe au lait head just draws me in.

The smell? Dark fruits. Molasses. Rum. Old leather. If hell smells like this, I want a first class ticket.

Good. Grief. This. Is. *******. Fabulous.

Bitter chocolate comes first. That is then jumped on and blanketed by espresso. Bitter. That is smothered by port wine. Sweet molasses. It’s like a black liquid trifle with a coffee cream topping.

The finish is sweet, boozy and warming. I would sell a kidnety for a cask of this.

And I’ve got a bottle. You haven’t. Cue smug face.

“Silky Black Fighting Beer” – What a fine description.

Go to The Cock Tavern. Say that I sent you. Then thank me later.

My #12BeersofXmas – Day 2 : Radical – Rivington Brewing Co


Rivington Brewing are a brewery that intrigue me. This is the first bottle of theirs that I have had and I grabbed it one night recently in the excellent new Micro Pub Bunbury’s in Bolton. I bought it, because I had been hugely impressed by a Belgian Ale that they had casked at the little DuBFest in Horwich. It had been a while since something brand new shook me like that.

To this beer. It’s a moderate 4.9%, hazy gold (I deliberately tipped the yeast in) with a creamy white foam and a fruity nose with a distinctly Belgian yeasty banana split aroma with something more herbal – maybe a coriander hint.

In the mouth? Nice carbonation and really creamy smooth. Banana toffee and some sweet clove with a pronounced peppery note. This, my friends, is lush! With the second mouthful, the saliva glands are doing overtime! This is really refreshing with that banana toffee giving way to a little coriander leaf with the mouth drying on the swallow leaving you wanting another mouthful.

Don’t mind if I do!

I don’t know Ben particularly well, but each beer I have had has been superb. I want more….Rivington Brewing Co