Tagged BA

Tryanuary – Week 2

Hello good people. And how art thou on this fine day in January? Welcome to week two of our #tryanuary extravaganza.

So far we have tried to open your eyes to the joys of an Old Ale, a hopped German wheat beer and a Bretted wild sour beer. I hope you delved in to your discomfort zone and gave at least one of these a shot, or if not, gave another beer that you haven't been able to experience until now a try. If not, then well, that's what Week 2 is all about huh? If you wanna know all about Week 1 then read it 'ere

Each week I decided to showcase one local brewery/beer. Bristol has a multitude of awesome breweries both reasonably large (at least by small brewery standards,) and teeny tiny. I can think of eleven breweries currently brewing in Bristol it's self off the top of my head, with two due to open very shortly, and another three or four in the surrounding areas. Suffice to say the Bristol beer scene is pretty damn good. A fact that is honoured and enhanced by Bristol Beer Week which takes place in September. If you've not heard of it, read about it here. Loads of stuff happens and things are good.

Right. Enough blathering. (Yeah, I heard you rolling your eyes at my prose.) On to the beer!

Week 2

Crane Load

Crane - Load

BREWERY:

Crane is one of the teeny tiny breweries situated in Bristol. Well, they were; they've recently moved to a much bigger unit, so although I believe it's still just one guy brewing at the moment, there is the space now for more volume to come pouring out of this new-ish brewery. I was honoured to be able to try one of the sample brews of their Cake stout and Boom IPA, way back when, and now Crane has a pretty damn good selection of beers on the go. The owner is passionate and interested in people's opinions on his beer. He's even come and had a chat with out Home Brew Club about his beers in the past.

BEER STYLE:

Load is a Saison.

Are you ready for the history lesson?

To cut a long and mildly interesting story short, Saisons were basically brewed once or twice a year for the seasonal workers in the hot and dusty (I have no idea if it's hot and dusty) fields of the Wallonia area of Belgium. They were essentially brewed by the farmers wives, as all good beer ought to be, to relieve the thirst of the workers. Historically the beers were light, refreshing, low in ABV and seasonal. They were made with what ever they had available that year. Often spiced with something, which changed year to year, farm to farm, garden to garden. They were also of a spiciness that came from the yeast – almost peppery.

Because of the massive variation that this style encourages simply because of it's history the modern style is pretty damn open to interpretation. They can be weak or strong, pale or dark, spiced, hopped, have fruit, flowers, dirty or monkey paws in. So long as they're brewed with a saison yeast, it seems anything goes. (This is not the technical description of a saison. Jump to page 65/93 on this PDF or hunt for page 50 of the document its self, for the BJCP guide on it.)

TASTING NOTES:

This is a lemon, lime and ginger Saison, inspired by marmalade. All things should be inspired by marmalade.

Aroma: Ginger, lemon and lime. Pithy, spice, tropical fruit, a little yeasty, some floral character.

Taste: As above but with extra spiciness from the yeast.

Palate: Plently of bitterness which helps balance the huge citus hit. Good carbonation, quite a dry finish.

Overall; A pretty big, over the top, or 'extreme', as the description on the bottle says, Saison. Probably not the most true to style, but full of flavour and super tasty.

ABV: 7.9%

ML: 330

£: 3.50

Harviestoun Ola Dubh 16

Harviestoun – Ola Dubh 16

BREWERY:

Harviestoun has been going a pretty long time, but to be honest I don't know much about them. Link to the website just there will tell you anything you wanna know probably. They're nice guys, I met them briefly at a beer festival last year, and produce a fairly wide range of beer. For me though, personally, I have to admit that I think the Ola Dubh's are the best of what they do.

BEER STYLE:

Technically this is just a porter. Nout special about porters right? Well, aside from the fact that there are some extremely good examples of porters out there, and some of them can be really rather special indeed, this one isn't your typical porter.

Introducing Barrel Ageing. Say hello to barrel ageing folks. It might say 'hi' back if you're nice.

So, some beers get barrel aged. Its pretty cool, you end up with the characteristics of the vessel imprgnating the beer. You also get this thing called the Angel's Share, which technically you don't get. Evaporation increases the ABV a small amount, because of all the alcoholic celestial beings guzzling it through a straw. The barrel will impart woodsy flavours to a beer, but most importantly if the barrel has been used for something else first, it will impart those characteristics too. In this instance Highland Park whisky barrels have been used, so expect peat and smoke and all that lovelyness.

TASTING NOTES:

Aroma: Chocolate, smoke, toast, peat, raisins, booze! Whiskey, vanilla

Taste: Chocolate, molasses, woodsy, boozy, caramel, blackcurrant, plum, raisin, roasted malt.

Palate: Medium body, slick and oily. Good carbonation. Tiny bit thinner than you might expect, leaving it not too cloying.

Overall; Big flavour! Quite a bit of sweetness, but well balanced. Not too thick in body. Would go well with a lot of different foods actually. Mega complex, so many flavours going on. It's beautiful.

ABV: 8.0%

ML: 330

£: 7.65

Anchor Old Foghorn

Anchor – Old Foghorn

BREWERY:

Oooh. Anchor. Everyone knows about Anchor right? How they're probably the oldest brewery in the states, how they've made the style 'Steam Beer' their own, how despite being massive still manage to be 'craft'? No? Well.. more fool you.

BEER STYLE:

An American Barley Wine. (Pg. 43 in the doc. Or 57/93 on the PDF page no.s)

Barley wines have some history to 'em (I advise google, as it's too long and potentially dubious to bother writing here.) Purely invented by elves to confuse poor simple humans who think they're getting a wine when they order one at the bar. But, no! It's not a wine! 'Tis beer. Good tasty beery goodness.

Cutting it down to metaphorical bullet points; American Barley Wines (or barleywines) are hopped versions of the English variety. English Barley Wine is basically the strongest and richest of the classic English ales. They're not necessarily dark in colour, dark gold through to red-brown, but super rich in the malt character. Usually pretty viscous, sweet, with little to no hop character. That is where the American version varies, and in my humble opinion supercedes the English style. The hopping alleviates that sticky, sweet quality, making it a more betterer balanced beer.

TASTING NOTES:

Aroma: Honey, caramel, herb, red fruit; raspberry, strawberry. Pine, prune.

Taste: Sweet malt, pine, citrus, grapefruit, caramel, red fruit, roasty.

Palate: Medium bitterness. Medium-full body. Good carbonation. Nice long sweet/bitter finish.

Overall; Probably one of the best examples of an American Barely Wine that you'll come across for a while...

ABV: 8.8%

ML: 355

£: 6.00

We're offering you these three beers, if you buy 'em together, for an impressive 15% off the usual price, £14.58 for the lot. 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.

Tryanuary – Week 1

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.

Week 1

Moor Fusion 2014

Moor – Fusion 2014

BREWERY:

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.

BEER STYLE:

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.)

TASTING NOTES:

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.

ABV: 8.0%

ML: 660

£: 17.50

Schneider Weisse Tap 5

Schneider Weisse – Tap 5 Meine Hopfenweisse

BREWERY:

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.

BEER STYLE:

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.

TASTING NOTES:

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.

ABV: 8.2%

ML: 500

£: 5.60

Crooked Stave - St. Bretta

Crooked Stave – St. Bretta

BREWERY:

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.

BEER STYLE:

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.

TASTING NOTES:

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.

ABV: 5.5%

ML: 375

£: 9.80

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!