(Where I am later!)
After May 7th and the shocks contained therein, I struggled a bit. I won’t wibble on about politics, I’ve got too much to do to wallow in self-pity, what with planning for The Independent Salford Beer Fest 2015 and all, but now is a time that I cling to what’s important. People. Hence why we’re having our little bash again in October. Announcements soon.
But, on to bottles…..
1. Rye IPA – Runaway Brewery (Manchester) – 5.9%abv – Rye IPA – 330ml – Andy Heggs
Thank you Mr Heggs! I finagled this from him at the excellent Shebeen 2015 whilst we were sat in Black Jack and I was getting sozzled. And very cheeky.
Copper coloured and with a firm white head, this beer gives of an aroma that reminds me of a spicy fresh-baked wholemeal loaf. But one with a distinct citrus note. Really appetising.
Smooth with very gentle carbonation, the fruity front is mugged by spicy rye dryness. The fruitiness is huge, with orange up top with more than a hint of mango. But that fruitiness can’t escape this thuggish spicy dryness. It’s brutal.
And Oh so bloody moreish.
2. Out of Step IPA – Offbeat Brewery (Crewe) – 5.8%abv – IPA – 500ml – Direct
(Bought direct from the brewer)
I don’t get it. Why don’t we see more of Offbeat’s beers in Manchester? Michelle makes some simply fabulous beers and I can’t se them in Manchester? Ludicrous!
A mid golden beer with a fluffy white lacy head, (slightly hazy due to a misjudged pour), really fruity aroma on this with apricot and grapefruit in the nasal vanguard.
Oh this is nice indeed. This is a full-bodied beer with just right carbonation. The fruitiness in the mouth being more apricot but this time with something a little more tropical, like mango and passion fruit. There is a bracing bitterness in this, which (to me) should be in all IPAs.
There is a cracking resinous finish to this with that fruitiness in there too. This is a belting beer from a criminally overlooked brewery. We need some of her beer in Manchester. And sharp!
3. Fat Lady Stout – Rammy Craft Ales (Ramsbottom) – 4.5%abv – Stout – 500ml – Great Ale Year Round (Bolton) – £3
A black beer with a creamy coloured head giving off an aroma of bitter chocolate with a hint of licorice.
Medium bodied with an initial sweetness, that soon slides into something more dark roasted and lush. Quite creamy textured, with bitter chocolate front and centre. That bitterness wanders more towards coffee on the swallow and a substantial bitterness takes over.
This is a sessionable dark beer after my own heart, with the dry bitter finish I enjoy in a mid strength Stout. Who needs Guinness when you have beers like this?
4. Portentous – Peter Sidwell – 5%abv – Porter
Peter is (I think) one of the Manchester Home Brewers group. He certainly isn’t commercial at this stage. If I remember rightly, i saw this bottle in his hand at the MBCF and nearly ripped his hand off!
A deep ruby brown beer that is almost black with a light cream head and a big chocolaty aroma.
A medium bodied beer, the first thing to tickle the tongue is chocolate. This is slightly sweet and really chocolaty. The next is a little winey note, like a smooth red. Then a tongue tickling spice, slightly peppery, like rocket. And all the while, that chocolate….
The aftertaste retains the chocolate, but there is a spicy woody feel to it that completes this nicely. A damn fine Porter. And brewed by a home brewer too!
The best praise that I can give, is that I’d happily pay for this at a bar. It’s that good.
5. Turing – Beer Nouveau (Prestwich) – 4.4%abv – Pale Ale – 330ml – Browtons (Ashton-under-Lyne) – £2.45
I was intrigued by the idea of using sage to flavour a beer. I had to give it a go……
A golden, almost amber beer with a light thin white head, lightly carbonated, with a light tropical fruit aroma (passion fruit is noted on the label – that works!)
In the mouth, there is a nice fruitiness to this initially, which meets a bitter herbal counterpart in the sage that is added to this brew, that bitterness almost catches me unawares. That bitterness fades and an almost tea like tannic aftertaste kicks in, really dry.
I wasn’t sure about sage in a beer, but this light, Pale and refreshing beer works a treat for me. Slainte!
6. Espresso Stout – Squawk Brewing Co (Manchester) – 6.5%abv – Stout – 330ml – Epicurean (W Didsbury)
Like a chalice full of liquid pitch, this is black. A proper Stout. Dark, delightful and dangerous to look at. Almost daring you. “Go on! You know that you want me!”
Made with fresh roasted coffee from Bean Brothers, unsurprisingly, this positively reeks of coffee. As bitter as Nigel Farage as the result was called. There’s a herbal licorice note too in the background.
For a 6.5% beer, this feels quite light and sprightly, at first, a little sweetness then BAM! Eyelid pinning coffee hit…… Yup. That’s definitely a big coffee flavour! With that underlying big Stout sweetness.
There’s quite a spicy thing at the back of the tongue as the beer slides you towards sleeplessness going down the throat. The roof of the mouth tingling after the swallow.
A fine beer indeed. If a little ill-advised before bedtime!
7. Scarborough Fair IPA – Wold Top (Driffield, N Yorkshire) – – 500ml – Birthday Pressie!
Thank you Sue! This bright ultra Pale golden beer has a light white head and a really fruity aroma, tropical fruits with passion fruit and kiwi flying out of the foam.
Full bodied is this beastie, whilst perversely feeling light. Really fruity with that kiwi well up there, but a big refreshing and tart lemon hit was a more than pleasant surprise! For a beer at this strength, this is WAY too refreshing and just damned drinkable.
There’s a nice light malty biscuit and a big balancing act going on because these hops are just beautifully tart and give a big dry finish that leaves you wanting more.
An absolute belter and a really nice beery pressie amongst the cognacs & single malts!
That’s it for bottles this month. With EastWestFest tomorrow, Brighton next week and London a week later, the focus will be on pubs (and one very special beer festival!)
On that note….’til next time