Well, goodness me (insert appropriate expletive if you'd prefer,) it's 2016!
This time of year finds everyone associated with the service industry crying a little bit, part in relief and part in exhaustion. The mad rush of the Christmas and New Year period is over. Relax. On the other hand, this dreamy low stress environment isn't actually all good for us.
I'm sure you know why. It's the annual “I am worried I may be an alcoholic*/too fat/too lazy so I absolutely must give up drinking for a month and potentially put a small business, independent beer shop or pub out of business”
It may sound over the top, but this is a difficult time of year for the beer (and general alcohol) trade. Regardless of the “Dryanuary” movement, it's a time of year when people drink less simply because of the over indulgence during December.
But abstinence is not the way to help your self, if all you're going to do is go back to smashing the Fosters at 6 pints a night for the rest of the year. Your liver will still be crying silently in to your poor abused body, a dry January isn't going to make you a better, healthier person in the long run. Better beer may on the other hand. Generally speaking, lowering the quantity and upping the quality is a far better method to your drinking madness.
This is where Tryanuary comes in to it's own. Rather than explain the whole deal, which, by it's name, I'd hope was fairly self explanatory in any case, you can check out their website here.
We want to help you help not only the nation's beer industry, but the local beer industry (which is awesome, by the way,) and your self by encouraging you to drink better quality beers or a beer style you've never had before, or a local brewery you've never heard of, or a foreign brewery you've never heard of…! Well, you get the idea. Good beer; try some; ideally something new and different for you.
We're going to show case three beers each week for the month. Twelve beers in all. We'll give you a small explanation of the style, the beer itself, maybe even a little back story of the brewery and the beer's vital statistics. Obviously we'd like you to come in and actually buy these beers too, and to encourage you to do just that we're going to offer you a special discount each week on the group of beers if you buy all three together.
Moor – Fusion 2014
So, Moor is one of our local beauties. They moved in to Bristol in 2014 (I think) and they are just pretty damn awesome. Great beer, great people, their tap room is worth a visit, Baz is hilarious (you have to find out who that is yourself,) their events are good fun, and they've been great friends to us. They hosted our award ceremony for the Home Brew Comp. back in September. They've fairly recently released their beer in cans, which I think was a spectacular move on their behalf, and they keep producing new and seriously tasty beers, most recently their TFA which may have just happened to come out at the same time as Star Wars. A coincidence. Totally.
Fusion is an Old Ale.
“What the F*ck's an Old Ale?” I hear you calmly inquire.
Basically it's an old (shockingly) English style of beer. Malty and seriously complex. Amber through to dark brown in colour. Medium to full character, often pretty heavy. Should have a bit of a boozy hit. Gets barrel aged before release. This usually imparts a character that can be associated with off-flavours in other beers such as brettanomyces, or a lactic hit, maybe the leathery flavour of stale beer. Told you it was complex. This style varies hugely. For full blurb check out the BJCP guidelines here (there are newer guidelines on their website, as those are out of date now, but it links to PDF which is a bitch to navigate.)
So we've got the 2014 vintage in, which has been aged in Somerset Cider Brandy barrels.
It is beautiful. Drink it.
Aroma: Herbal, liquorice, molasses, woody, fruity, caramel, cidery, sweet roast malt, spice, cinnamon, alcohol.
Taste: Molasses, cherry, herbal, liquorice, charcoal, roasty, sweet, dark chocolate, spice, caramel, woody
Palate: Hint of powdery dryness, medium-full body, nice bitterness on the finish.
Overall; Big, heavy, thick, sweet flavours. Really full aroma. Not too heavy going though. Would go well by the fireside with fruit cake. Oh, and you can totally age this a little long if you want too.
Schneider Weisse – Tap 5 Meine Hopfenweisse
Schneider Weisse is a specialist wheat beer producing brewery in Germany. They've been doing it a long long time. There is some history. They produce a good range of pretty damn good wheat beers. They know what they're doing by now. Granted, they're not some unknown quirky brewery, but they know what they're about. If you want to try a wheat beer, try theirs.
Meine Hopfenweisse is a hopped German wheat beer. Still get hints of clove and banana, like you do in standard German wheat beers, (unlike their American counterparts,) they then they've gone and got all dry hopped. This gives it a massive aroma and a smaller taste hit in the form of what ever hops are used. In all the ones that I've tasted thus far, usually tonnes of citrus and other fruit.
Aroma: Tropical fruit, spice, clove, grass, floral, banana, pineapple,
Taste: Bitter-sweet orange, wheat, mango, caramel, banana, spice
Palate: Surprisingly good bitterness, well balanced, nicely dry
Overall; Massive fruity, sweet, almost eye watering aroma. We tasted this at Home Brew Club, and we were all pretty blown away by how good it was. The flavour isn't all overwhelming, but that's a good thing! Really refreshing as wheat beers go. One to try if you don't like the heavy banana and clove flavours, as they are made rather subtle by the fruit hit from the hops.
Crooked Stave – St. Bretta
Crooked Stave is an American brewery specialising in weird, quirky sour things. Beers, sour beers. Honestly I'd tell you more, but I was getting virus alerts when I tried to look at their website, so you're guess is probably only slightly less good than mine. They haven't been going all that long, but they're damn good at what they do. The one I've had so far blew me away, and they are constantly highly rated on Ratebeer.
A bretted wild beer.
This is a wildly (see what I did there?) variable category. Well, wild beer is. The Brett part is always bretty.
Basically it's gonna be funky, show the fruit character (if there is any. There is in this case.) It'll be sour from the fruit or the wild fermentation. This means it used a wild yeast, rather than a cultured one. Wild yeasts are found everywhere. One example is in cider making where they don't add yeast because of the culture living naturally on the apple skins.
In case you're wondering brettonomyces is a wild yeast strain that is a bit mental, and makes everything super funky. And will ruin your home brew equipment if you even go near it. Like within 10ft. Don't do it kids. Think about taking out a restraining order on it if you have to.
This is the Citrus Wildbier version of the St. Bretta, brewed with Gold Nugget Mandarin.
Aroma: Yeasty, sour, citrus, funky, Brett, floral, barnyard, nettles, grass, orange peel, tangerine.
Taste: Citrus, Brett, banana, sour, floral, cherry, oak, woodsy, spicey.
Palate: Medium body, smooth, nice lasting sourness.
Overall; Orangey, funky, barnyardy, soury, tasty.
We're offering you these three beers, if you buy 'em together, for an impressive 15% off the usual price. They'll be up for grabs for £27.96, saving you nearly £5! So you'll be able to try three new beers or beer styles at a beautiful Tryanuary discount.
Get involved using the #Tryanuary tag! Photograph your beers, tweet them, facebook them. Tell people you're trying something new, let them know what you think (even if you hate it! At least your giving something new a chance huh?) Get us in on the conversation using @Brew_Bristol on twitter, or post something to our facebook page.
*If you are worried that you may be an alcoholic we advise you to visit your doctor. I've heard abstinence might actually be key for this matter. Although drinking craft beer will probably empty your wallet a little faster, so may help stop drinking faster than the White Lightening would. Still. Doctors; Go!