Bottles Ales – July 2013 Pt 2

This month has been fairly quiet by my standards! Hence, the accent on diminishing the “cellar” stock. But, they are there to drink, not as decoration of course! So, without further ado, a few more belters that I have picked up on my haphazard wanderings.

The spiel is the same, 1. The Beer, 2. The Brewer, 3. The Strength, 4. The beer style, 5. The Price & Size (including discount, where applicable). 6. Where from,  and, If a website for the vendor exists, the hyperlink to the shop / brewer website. Here goes!

1. Hackney Hopster – London Fields Brewery (Hackney, East London) – 4.2% abv – Pale Ale – £2.38 (500ml) – Bierhuis

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I must confess that I wasn’t blown away by their Unfiltered Lager when I had it. A good UK lager, but not as exceptional as I’d hoped. THIS however worked a treat! A nice lacy white head led to a sweet citrus aroma bringing tangerines and mandarins to the hooter (slightly more mellow than advertised, and better for it). Those aromas were replicated in the mouth with the tangerine more prominent leading to a lovely dry, hoppy finish. A really refreshing fruity beer. (Nice price too!)

2. Yakima IPAGreat Heck Brewing (Great Heck, North Yorkshire) – 7.4% abv – IPA – £1.98 (330ml) – Bierhuis

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I recently found myself in the Nottingham area facing a dodgy bit of traffic one afternoon. A different route was called for and I suggested nipping for lunch in Ossett (5 mins diversion!) via a sneaky reload at Bierhuis. The butty was lovely, but no more than filling the car with some lovely beer, oh no!

Late last year saw my first (and so far only) encounter with beers from this brewer, in the form of Dark Force Treason Stout, which was my “Beer of the Festival” at the SIBA Northern bash in Manchester. I’d heard that they were going to start bottling soon, so was keen to try this when I saw it.

A deep amber beer with a nice fine white head and an aroma (for me) with toffee and raisins. The flavours were a slightly sweet raisin with a caramelised biscuit. This was a full-bodied beer (which you would expect at the strength) which had some nice resinous hop flourish. Other Yakima hopped beers I’d had, had been a bit ruinous with the piney stuff, but this had a nice warming balance to it.

3. EncoreLacons Brewery (Great Yarmouth, Norfolk) – 3.8% abv – Pale Ale – Direct from the Brewery (500ml)

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One of the quite surprising things about doing this here “Beer Blogging” has been when a brewery asks if you’d like to try some of their beers. Lacons being one of those who contacted me, a brewer that came to my attention via the excellent Twitter feed / blog of Nathaniel Southwood (aka NateDawg).

A while later, I received a card through the door from Parcelforce. Nipping to the “drop off point” (ie : the local Post Office) I collected said package. Unfortunately, Parcelforce brutalised the packaging, so, 3 bottles sent, 2 received intact. B*stards!

Anyhow (whinge over!) This is an amber coloured beer with a white head which diminished fairly quickly. A light citrus fruity nose leading to a medium body which was clean and refreshing with citrus flavours (a light sugared grapefruit)  and a surprisingly slight smoky note with a nice dry gentle hoppy finish. A pleasing first encounter with this resurrected Norfolk brewer. (Note : Prior to takeover – and eventual closure by Whitbread, Lacons had a sizeable tied house estate, including a good number in London. Note the mirror in this review...https://beersmanchester.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/the-southampton-arms-gospel-oak-london/)

4. AAPA (Anglo American Pale Ale) – Rocky Head Brewery (Wandsworth, SW London) – 5.5% abv – Pale Ale – £3.50 (500ml) – The Ale Man Manchester

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Another beer sourced from the excellent stall run by Damian O’Shea at Castlefield Market.

A lively golden beer with a light haze with a gentle citrus aroma featuring grapefruit, mango and apricot touches. In the mouth this was medium bodied with more citrus hop stuff with a bit of sharp lemon and grapefruit cutting through. Nicely bitter with a nice dry, hoppy finish. One to watch for on draught this and very nice first from this brewery!

5. Beat RedRevolutions Brewing Co (Castleford, West Yorkshire) – 4.5% abv – Red Ale – £2.39 (500ml) – Bierhuis

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I’ve had a few bottles of Revolutions beers recently and a choice encounter with their Clash London Porter in Soup Kitchen. Some superb beers. I recently had the good fortune to meet Andrew from the brewery in Manchester and had a couple of beers with him. A really top bloke with superb taste in music, as you may expect if you follow the themed names of the beers!

This is a deep ruby coloured beer with a nice spicy hop aroma. Some biscuity malt sweetness more than offset with some spicy hop flavours. I thought I got a hint of chocolate as well!  Nice bitterness with a lasting herbal grassy hop aftertaste. Another really nice beer, nearly made me “Twist & Crawl” (cue cringing attempt at musical punnage!)

6. India Pale AleBad Seed Brewery – 7.3% abv – IPA – £2.34 (330ml) – Bierhuis

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I dearly hope that the name is connected to a Nick Cave reference! This was another fruit of my recent traffic enforced “diversion” to Ossett! A deep gold almost amber beer with a full-on dirty hop aroma courtesy of Columbus, Cascade and Chinook varieties. Fruity marmalade as well on the nose followed by a huge dry hoppiness in the mouth, plenty of citrus fruit here balance by a lovely sweet malt backbone. Don’t be fooled though, the hops are the star attraction here, really bitter and resinous. A fabulous lingering piney resin taste in the aftertaste.

This beer prompts a slight change in my “Beers of the Month”. It is THAT good!

Anyway, better get off before my Sunday Dinner ends up in the dog!

Back in the fresh air next week at The Marble 125 Years celebration next Saturday. See you there!

On that note…’til next time!

Slainte!

An astonishingly hoppy beer from this new Malton brewer. (And wait ’til I tell you about the Espresso Stout – WOOF!)

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak, London

southampton-arms4(pic – http://www.londoniscool.com)

As I’ve said on many an occasion, I can resist anything except temptation, so when given an opportunity to try a new pub (to me) in London, even thinking of resistance was futile!

Now I’d wanted to try this pub for ages, but the opportunity never seemed to present itself, until now!

Tube to Kentish Town on the Northern Line then a C2 (or 214) bus drops you outside the door. Entry reveals this to be a single roomed  bar, narrow(ish) but fairly long. The door to the rear leads to the beer garden and an externally located Gentleman’s facility, via an upright piano!

20130529_130817(You give me hope, Joanna!)

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(View from the bar to the front)

10 hand pulled ales from breweries as geographically diverse as Fyne Ales and Dark Star and 8 real ciders and perries. Something for everyone here (inc 2 craft keg : Magic Rock 8 Ball and Camden Hells). In fact, if it wasn’t for a small selection of spirits, this would almost be a beer house! On first inspection, it certainly looked like my idea of a bar!

First up for me, was a small Dark Star 1810 Porter. This had a nice roasted malt and chocolate aroma and was lovely dry and chocolatey with more than a trace of bitterness in the finish. This was superb accompanied by some PROPER pub food, Pork pie and mustard. Lovely!

I (sort of) introduced myself to Alex behind the bar who was the essence of personable and managed to serve all the customers speedily whilst maintaining a friendly chat.

20130529_130809(‘Get in my belly!’)

Whilst chatting with Alex and one of the regulars, I started to notice some of the detail around the bar, including something that astonished me. No jukebox, CDs or MP3s here. Oh no. The excellent music (Ray Charles for starters) came courtesy of a VINYL TURNTABLE! I started to fall in love with this place!

Next up, a wee Cwtch by Tiny Rebel. First time I’ve had their beers. A red ale weighing in at 4.6%, this had a lovely mango citrus hop aroma which carried through into the mouth, lovely and smooth with a nice citrus bitterness. I’ll be looking out for them up North!

20130529_131803(A lovely original Lacons Brewery mirror – recently revived in Gt Yarmouth)

(One for Nate!)

A Kent Brewery Maori (NZ hopped) at 4.5% was a pale almost lager like beer. Delicately fruity and really refreshing with a dry grassy finish. Not sure what category this would fall into, but it was crisp, refreshing and delicious.

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Tempted to try a small Dark Star Revelations, I gave in to the smooth bronze beer with the hoppyness not initially apparent, but becoming more assertive the further the glass emptied. Superb.

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This place has a whole lot going for it. A stripped down basic boozer I thought as I entered. Slowly, its quirky charms revealed themselves, bit by bit. Value wise, I think I’ve had none better in London. Most of the ales were £3.30. The food was reasonably priced for a small yet tasty looking offering. My portion of pork pie was superb for the price.

The Southampton Arms. Overall, a fabulous bar. Excellent ales, friendly locals and bar staff (Thanks Alex for the chat – hope you get to Leeds International & IndyManBeerCon).

A serious recommendation. Only 10 minutes (or so) from Euston. Give it a bash!

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On that note….’til next time.

Slainte!