Tagged buxton

Tasting Session Report No. 009

We had a brilliant Tasting Session this month. Everyone was on form, we had an excellent time, some knowledge was imparted and we drank some great beers!

Thanks to everyone who came, I had an absolute blast!

On to the beer!

As we had some newbies in the group, we went through 'how to taste beer like a pro™,' before officially talking beer. We had a menu of three different brews with just the general theme of 'Dark and Brooding.'

Here's what ya missed;

Wild Beer Millionaire

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Wild Beer – Millionaire 4.7%

Aroma: Chocolate, caramel, biscuit, almond, red fruit, smoke.

Flavour: chocolate, smoke, biscuit malt, salty, caramel, peanut.

Palate: light body, slick, creamy.

This Beer is still a good-un. It's been around a little while now, so chances are you've had a chance to try this. It a really good, straight up, flavoured milk stout essentially. Kinda thin on the body, but you expect that for the ABV. Super full of flavour considering it comes in at under 5%, so you can drink a few of these with out issue! I think we all enjoyed this, but mostly felt the same, that it needed a bit more of the saltiness to come through. As a group we also prefer the stronger beers, so we figured this was a great winter warming up beer!

to ol maccacino messiah brew bristol

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To Ol – Mochaccino Messiah 7.0%

Aroma: Caramel, chocolate, coffee, nuts, herbal, green, pine.

Flavour: Coffee, chocolate, herbal, earthy.

Palate: Sweet & bitter, astringent.

This beer completely split the group. We reckoned that, rather than coffee, it would be more accurate to call it a cascara beer (flavour-wise,) as the coffee flavour was super green and 'plant-y.' Personally, this wasn't my favourite, but it was deemed the best of the three by some others! Definitely one to try, maybe between two or three of you!

buxton rain shadow brew bristol

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Buxton – Rain Shadow 12.2% (Single Barrel)

Aroma: Chocolate, coffee, roasty, red fruit, leather, vanilla, wood , whiskey.

Flavour: Chocolate, coffee, red fruit, spice, umami.

Palate: Rich and slick.

We've had various iterations of this in the shop before, and it's always good. Super heavy, dark, little bit of dryness, and it carried the booze well. My only suggestion would be to buy now, and keep a bottle for a year. I think it'll be even better then!

After this we all chipped in and bought a bottle of Port Brewing's Older Viscosity. We have had this before on our tasting sessions, and I am certain we'll have it again. Despite the price tag, it's worth every penny. Strong, yes, but super smooth. Just the right balance of creamy and boozy, bitter and sweet. I still maintain it's one of my favourite beers of all time, and I can highly recommend you splash out for a bottle to share at Christmas.

 

The Laughable Concept Of Beer For Boys

Ah, so, on the heels of last weeks' “Beer for Girls” I'm going to make the same mistake all over again and declare that boys suffer the same fate; of making/having assumptions made of their beer choice based on their gender.

I think that guys suffer from this in a different way to ladies. It has a lot of macho issues deeply ingrained. In the 'craft beer scene' (I apologise for the horrible phrase,) mostly, men don't seem to suffer from this so much. Dude walks in to a bar and can order pretty much anyhting, in what ever sized glass he fancies. It's in the rest of the beery world that guys seem to suddenly think that if they're seen ordering anything but “an ale”, i.e. a best bitter, or an amber, traditional brew kind of thing, or a generic macro lager, then he is suddenly less of a man. God forbid he wants anything less than a pint. Preferably two, no wait, make that three. Then he'll be three times more manly, you know.

Quite obviously that is a steaming pile of arse. As stated in the previous post taste-buds are taste-buds, and yes, you are allowed to have 'em boys. 'Cos, lets face it, crappy generic lager does in fact taste like watered down, bitter, fizzy, ditch water. And, “I'll have an ale, please” not only highlights your lack of knowledge about beer styles, but gives over your choice to a bartender (not always a bad thing) but you'll probably get the least flavourful beer available. And that's sad. Because, these guys, they don't even know. They aren't aware that things like California Common exists (almost always my first recommendation to lager drinkers.) If they know about pale ale, they don't always know it can be cooler, and carbonated and overwhelmingly tasty! They just haven't ever come across a real pilsner.

When I get these men in the shop, I get all excited trying to get them to try beers that they may enjoy, it's always fun describing the taste to them, it's often like they just didn't know that beer could taste of pine or grapefruit or mango or citrus or one of the millions of other flavours available. And, many of them look terrified. Sometimes I wish that we were able to just be able to crack open a beer or two to give samples so that these “Oh, er, I drink ale*” guys could experience something awesome! (And, then make an informed decision.)

*Seriously, like “ale” is descriptive enough for me to pick something out for you. Please. That's about, what, 75% of the entire beer production in the country, at a guess? Beer; split in to ales and lager, which have different fermentation methods. Ale doesn't narrow it down. At. All. (Sorry, sorry, rant over.)

But, this is the problem, the lack of education, and no I'm not suggesting it's put on the syllabus in schools, means that unless you stumble on a specialist bar or friendly bottle shop, and unless you ask the right question or look mildly interested, then there's no reason to even discover a better quality of beer. Drinking a third of a Black IPA at 7% isn't, sadly, going to occur to your average guy bimbling about on a Friday night, unless he's in the know.

This, however, is something I'm not willing to tackle. My quest in life is not to educate the lager lout. But, some of this programming does still hangover in to the slightly more discerning beer drinker. There are many guys who pop in to the shop and ask about one style specifically, what ever that may be. It's often IPAs or Pales. Sometimes someone only drinks porters or stouts. And, no, there is nothing at all wrong with knowing what you like. But the guys I'm chatting about are the ones who look mildly confused by the selection and focus in on something they know, and know that they like. And that is what I'm going to try and suggest our next beer for.

It isn't a 'ladies' beer, just like the Russian Imperial Stout I suggested for the ladies' post last week, isn't a man's beer for a girl. There are a lot, and I mean a lot, of men who drink sours. But, like the impy stout, it can be challenging if it's not something you're used to. If you are a chronic Fosters drinker, or have only touched Doombar in the last 5 years, then tackling a sour is going to blow your preconceptions about beer, flavour and taste out of the water. Because it is so damned different. And, hey, I'm not saying you're going to like it, not all at once, sours are an acquired taste, but this is about realising that you are in fact allowed to try something different, and the point is not to turn around to all your leering guy friends behind you at the bar, pull a face, and not try anything but boring lager because your worried they might give a s**t if you like something they don't.

Gentlemen

Well, I realise I got pretty damn ranty about this subject. I'm not trying to say that sticking to what you know is a bad thing, except it kind of is. Even red wine drinkers occasionally try a Malbec rather than a Shiraz from time to time, y'know? I'm not sure that manliness is measured on a scale of how many cheap pints of lager you can throw down your neck, as much as it's no longer measured in how many woolly mammoths you can fell. The world's moved on a little, and drinking something with a little (or in this case, a huge amount of) flavour can only be a good thing.

So, to really put the fear of beer in to you, lets take a quick look at the beer style. Sour beer is a beer that is sour. Insane right? Now, there many different types of sour beer. Some traditional, some not so much. This is one of the not-so-much varieties. Sour IPA isn't really a thing. Hunting through the BJCP guidelines I think that 28B – Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer is the closest style to this, so that's what I'm going with.

BJCP guidelines say these things; “A sour and/or funky version of a base style of beer. Aroma: Variable by base style. The contribution of non-Saccharomyces microbes should be noticeable to strong, and often contribute a sour and/or funky, wild note. The best examples will display a range of aromatics, rather than a single dominant character. The aroma should be inviting, not harsh or unpleasant” (For full info hit up the top link to the right and find page 61 in the doc, or 75/93 of the PDF as a whole.)
The notes on flavour and mouthfeel are similar. This specific take on a sour beer is very variable. Sour beers can be produced in many different ways, and, to be frank it's a little beyond my personal brewing knowledge. None the less you can expect it to taste light and less bitter than the base style, an IPA in this case. There's gonna be hop character poking through the sourness and in this case all the gooseberry-ness too.>

Buxton Trolltunga brew bristol

Buxton – Trolltunga

BREWERY:

So, we've already gone over how much we like Buxton in last weeks post. So I won't bore you again. If you didn't read that blog, then you know where to find it.

BEER STYLE:

Mystery Sour IPA

TASTING NOTES:

Despite, again, not having ha a chance to crack open a bottle for myself to actually try yet, this beer keeps getting recommendations from customers telling me how awesome it is. It would be great to hear your opinions on this beer, so if you have any thoughts on it, it would be great to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or chat with us using @Brew_Bristol on twitter, or post something to our facebook page!

Aroma: Gooseberry, lime, pineapple, passion-fruit, lemon, grapefruit.

Taste: Lemon, biscuit, lime, grapefruit, zest.

Palate: Tangy, tart, sour. Dry finish. Well balanced.

Overall; A refreshing and surprisingly easy to drink beer. Loads of up front sourness and a dryer finish leaving you not too overwhelmed.

ABV: 6.3%

ML: 330

£: 3.55 but available throughout February at a 15% discount, making it £3.02, but only to men. Or, people buying it for men. Or people who have, in fact, met men.

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So, I don't want to leave anyone out here. If you identify with neither or both of these run-of-the-mill genders, then your opinion, assumed likes/dislikes, and level of annoyance at genderised beers is just as valid as the next persons. Obviously.

The whole point of these two posts was to get across the idea that gender doesn't matter when it comes to drinking beer, or anything for that matter. Drink it if you like it, that's all there is to it.

Enjoy 🙂

The Laughable Concept Of Beer For Girls.

Hello! Happy February y'all!

Well, lookit here. February 14th and all it's associated romantic connotations are nearly upon us. Quiet frankly I believe it is a ridiculous 'tradition' which only gets worse every year with hideous cuddly toys, cheap chocolates and embarrassing balloons etc etc. No matter what your romantic condition or persuasion, Valentine's Day is a weird concept. (Aren't you meant to show your feelings all year round?)

Anywhoo, this whole palaver got me thinking about how I could market you lot some Valentine's beers. (I'm not above such manipulation, sorry.) That, though, made me think “what beer should I suggest for a boy/girl to get a girl or a girl/boy to get a boy?” Which made me realise how utterly ridiculous that concept is. Beer is beer, there is not (or at least should not) be any gender 'appropriate' beers. I mean, last time I checked, I got the same taste-buds as guys. Right? (I admit I have done no research, and there could very well be a scientifically proven difference between male and female taste-buds and taste perception, but if there is, I'm going to ignore it. Just like I ignore the fact that males are genetically predisposed to have more muscle of their frame than me, and yet I can still pick up a lotta beer. Screw science.) (Sorry science. I didn't mean it.)

So, yeah. There ought not to be any of the 'oh, I am a man, therefore I drink strong, brown, bitter beers. Manly beer. Yes.' or 'oh I am a feeble woman, and therefore if I ever venture near that odd beery stuff, I only drink sweet fruit beers.' I realise that I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but there's still an awful lot of that kind of thing going on. Maybe half the women that come in the shop are buying for themselves, and know what they like. The rest quite often come in asking help to buy beer for significant others/family etc. Obviously I love helping people pick beers, don't get me wrong, it's a part of the job that's completely awesome, but it makes me a little sad that the line I get regularly is “I don't drink beer, so I don't really know what to get him/her.”

This makes me sad, because there is such a massively, embarrassingly huge variety of beer styles readily available now, that I highly doubt that there isn't a beer that someone will like. It may be that they only like Kolsch, or Trappist Quad or, in fairness, sickly sweet fruit beer, but the possibility that someone dislikes all beer is fairly slim.

Women

Wow, so the above rant has mostly been centred on the ladies of the species. (Check in next week for the macho-too-male-for-you beer drinking failures. Crap lager and boring best bitter bashing ahoy.) What I want to do, is pick a beer/beer style that I know many women are, let's say, scared of, and give them/you a kick towards giving it a try. Because no one needs to be scared of beer.

If you mention the words Russian Imperial Stout (and explain what it is) to a lady who has spent most of her drinking time consuming Pinot Gregio or fizzy cider or gin and tonic, I can understand the fear. The flavour profile and ABV looks a little intimidating. I'll admit that this is not a little shy and retiring beer. But then, the last time women were shy and retiring as a rule was roughly 1914, before we literally had to don the trousers.

(Oh, and by the way ladies, back in the dark ages, or whatever historically accurate period, we probably invented, and certainly brewed all the beer, so it's just going old school really.)

Let's take a moment, for those who don't know, to describe what a Russian Imperial Stout actually is.

Thieving the BJCP guidelines; “An intensely flavored, big, dark ale with a wide range of flavor balances and regional interpretations. Roasty burnt malt with deep dark or dried fruit flavors, and a warming, bittersweet finish. Despite the intense flavors, the components need to meld together to create a complex, harmonious beer, not a hot mess.” (For full info hit up this link and find page 36 in the doc, or 50/93 of the PDF as a whole.)

Basically you're looking at something super dark, often with a very heavy, slick, oily or syrupy mouthfeel. Depending on the beer, could be pretty damn sweet, although there are many balanced/bitter. You should expect ABV of 8-12%. Flavours include roasty, burnt, acrid, sweet, dark fruits, coffee, chocolate. Can be barrel aged well, so these examples will have BA qualities too. They are usually really complex. I've found examples that are like liquid Christmas pudding, chocolate cake, strong coffee. There are peanut butter and salted caramel versions out there too. How can this not be a beer for anyone, let alone those of us of the “fairer” sex.

The example I've picked to suggest you buy for your selves, ladies, ('cos why wait for a man/significant other to do it for ya, when it's this good?) is;

Rain Shadow Vuxton

Buxton – Rain Shadow

BREWERY:

Buxton is one of our favourite breweries here at Brew Bristol. They have an almighty range of beer, and there are very few which I haven't enjoyed. I am usually particularly impressed with their big stouts, so hopefully this won't disappoint.

BEER STYLE:

Russian Imperial Stout. We went over that above. Weren't you reading?

TASTING NOTES:

No need for lying here, we're all friends right? I've not actually had a chance to try this beer yet. So, I'm pulling these tasting notes from a host of different sources. It's always fun to see what you make of it, so if you have opinions it would be great to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or chat with us using @Brew_Bristol on twitter, or post something to our facebook page!

Aroma: Coffee, roasty malt, dark chocolate, bready, dark red fruit, liquorice, booze, woody, rum, vanilla, cherry.

Taste: Roasty, ash, chocolate, coffee, tobacco, molasses, caramel, spices, earthy.

Palate: Dry finish, very rich, long lasting bitterness, oily mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Overall; Big. Big is the word we're going for here. Big aroma, big flavour, big mouthfeel, big ABV. And amazing. Seriously, you want to drink this.

ABV: 10%

ML: 330

£: 6.20 but available throughout February at a 15% discount, making it £5.27, but only for ladies. Or, people buying it for ladies. Or people who have met ladies.