Week 3! Week 3! Are you excited? Have you been trying new things? Well, if not, here's another chance. This is our third #tryanuary trio of beers to give your taste buds a surprise.
So far we've sampled an Old Ale, a hopped German wheat beer, a Bretted wild sour beer, an American Barley Wine, a non-traditional Saison and a whiskey barrel aged porter. That was week one and two, and if you haven't tried our selections, I hope you've given something else a shot!
I wanted to chat a little bit about the awesome bar and pub scene in Bristol, but this may get messy, and I'll be sure to forget someone; so please, don't judge me.
For me, at least, it pretty much started with Brewdog opening on Baldiwn street. Many of you will know that I started working there from the opening for a little over a year or so. It's not a massive secret that I didn't especially like beer until I tried their brews. Finally something that wasn't flat 'n brown, y'know? Obviously, I now know there were many other options out there for beery drinking, even way back then in the hazy past of three years ago. Brewdog, I suppose, kind of kick started the beer scene in Bristol in to a whole new gear.
Since then many a pub has re-invented itself in a more 'craft' style. Not honestly sure when the Famous Royal Navy Volunteer opened as it is now, it may even have been before the other King Street giants, but they certainly have their place in the scene. As does, although I'm still yet to visit, The Strawberry Thief. They specialise in Belgian beer, so if that's your thing, totally worth visiting.
As I'm not just talking about the 'craft' scene here, and yes, I hate the phrase, I want to mention a few other pubs which keep them selves a little more traditional. Recently reopened under the name of the Lime Kiln, you'll find a great small pub selling a good range of beers of all kinds, ditto for the Three Tuns a short distance away. If you like cat in your pint glass be sure to visit the Bag of Nails off in the same direction. Cruising back to the centre of town you'll find The Christmas Steps at the bottom of, yup, The Christmas Steps. They've done a good job keeping the interiors mostly intact in this historical pub as well as rocking a pretty good beery selection. If you have the muscle power, walking up those steps will find you out side of the Gryphon on Colston Street. These guys do ale well, and music too. Lots of music. Also we owe them a huge favour for helping us out when we fist started as a pop up, so, yes, visit them.
Up a massive hill of doom you'll find Beerd. Back on King Street you can play arcade games at Kongs. Wonder out past Temple Meads you can visit the Barley Mow and the Moor Tap Room. Crofters Rights and the Canteen are there for your beery requirements on Stokes Croft/Gloucester Road. There's also the Brewhouse and Kitchen and Zero Degrees which both house breweries. Maybe the Hillgrove or the Hare on the Hill too.
There are plenty more great pubs and bars further from the centre too, which are worth a visit, and too numerous to mention here!
As you can see, with such a great selection of places to visit for good, well kept beer, you really shouldn't be cutting out this beautiful beverage for 31 whole days. Just drink a little less, a little less often, but better beer, more flavour, maybe even a little higher ABV. Push what you know, try a pub you've not been to before, meet some new people and drink some good beer.
Left Handed Giant – Lactose Tolerant
Left Handed Giant is one of Bristol's newest breweries. Having started out situated in Small Bar (of which it is now a seperate but related company or some complicated tax-type thing,) but is now housed in it's own brewery somewhere in the wiles of Bristol town, (or St. Philips if your a pedant.)
Milk stout are Stouts with milk in. Wait. What? Nooooo! No they are not!
Milk stouts are stouts with milk sugar in. Lactose to be precise. This is a non-fermentable sugar, meaning that the yeast says 'Yuck' and eats all the other sugars that the brewing process creates instead, (and then, y'know, pooping out alcohol like good little yeasts should.) The addition of lactose means that, as the yeast doesn't touch it, the beer retains the sweetness. Leaving you with a non-vegan, yet very tasty, sweeter stout.
Aroma: Coffee, chocolate, woody, toast, smoke.
Taste: Chocolate, caramel, bread, toasted malt, coffee, creamy, red fruit
Palate: Good carbonation, hint of acidity, medium body.
Overall; A really good, creamy milk stout, with just the right amount of complexity.
La Chouffe - Blonde
La chouffe may not technically be the brewery name, but lets roll with that anyway, because Brasserie D'archouffe is a tiny bit of a mouthful. They've has been going since the 80's and produces a small but well rounded selection of beers. They are no longer independent, but they're still making good beer.
Belgian Blonde Ale
Well, it's, y'know, blonde in colour. And, Belgian-y. Yup.
So, yeah. It's light in colour, gets a good complexity from the spiciness of the Belgian yeast, nice hint of fruit, but actually quite lager like. It's pretty clean as Belgian styles go and easy drinking despite the ABV.
Aroma: Citrus, grass, banana, coriander, biscuit.
Taste: Spicy, citrus, grass, grapefruit, orange, coriander, caramel, yeast.
Palate: Medium body, good hop character, lightly bittered.
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.
Hoppin' Frog – Hop Heathen
We try and get some more obscure beers and breweries in the shop from time to time, and Hoppin' Frog is sufficiently rare to come in to that category. These guys hail from Ohio, they make good beer, they have a tap room. Their website knows more than me. Read that.
Imperial Black IPA
Ooooh… What's an IPA? Well, my friend, an IPA is an India Pale Ale. This was originally a pale, but heavily hopped English style of beery goodness. The Americans stole our perfectly respectable beverage and ravaged it with even more hops, making it inevitably better. You now have variations such as American IPA, English IPA and NZ IPA, among others. Pale, hoppy and ever so good.
Oooooh….. How the blazes can something that has 'Pale' as a part of its name be black, eh? Answer me that? Ok! So, basically some philistine decided to brew an IPA and then probably did something stupid like sneezed a tiny bit of black malt in to the mash*. This resulted in a beer which was supper hoppy, but that was black in colour. It only had a tiny hint of flavour or aroma from the dark malt though. So in everything but its colouration, it is still an IPA. Got it?
Ooooooh…. What does Imperial mean? Stories about Russian exports 'n stuff aside, it basically means strong or double. It may not be a direct correlation, but they essentially double the ingredients in a brew without upper with quantity of water brewed with. This means that the sugar content is twice that of usual, meaning the ABV is double. As is the hop content, and therefore bitterness. As I said, not strictly speaking true on the recipe, or ratio front, but near enough to get the point across right? Sweeter, more bitter, stronger.
*I made that story up, but let's circulate it as the true origin of the Black IPA. Please? “Sneeze results in new beer style.” Has a certain something to it, no?
Aroma: Orange, pine, chocolate, coffee, caramel, citrus, grapefruit, grassy, resinous
Taste: Pithy, coffee, chocolate, earthy, herbal, pine, charcoal.
Palate: Good carbonation, balanced bitterness.
Overall; A well balanced, big Black IPA. Tonnes of flavour going on but retaining it's lightness. Great hop character. Tasty and complex.
We're offering you these three beers, if you buy 'em together, for an impressive 15% off the usual price, £18.02 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.