I love cherry cola. If I'm not drinking a beer, or a gin for that matter then my go to drink would be a cherry cola. Whether it's Cherry Coke, Pepsi Max Cherry or Fentimans...I love the stuff. So when I heard that Huddersfield heroes Magic Rock had brewed a cherry cola beer, I had to get my hands on some.
Cherry Cola Vice, also known as Engine Engine #9 is a 5.5% ABV Berliner Weisse that was brewed in collaboration with J Wakefield Brewing & Slim Pickens. Here's what Magic Rock have to say about it:
"Out of the deranged minds of our lead brewer Nick Zeigler abetted by Floridian flavour magicians J Wakefield and T.Odd Strauss from Slim Pickens comes our third and possibly strangest ‘Vice’ series beer yet. Engine, Engine No. 9 is a cherry cola inspired Berliner Weiss featuring no less than 20 different ingredients to create a unique beverage with that most recognisable of flavours. It erm… tastes like cherry cola, try it, don’t try it… The Choice is Yours."
It's safe to say I had everything crossed that this wouldn't disappoint...
First up, the can art looks awesome with the distinct style that is unmistakably Magic Rock.
You know as soon as you crack the can and start pouring that this beer is cherry cola. It looks like cherry cola, and it smells like cherry cola. It pours a deep brown with a slight red tinge, leaving a tiny beige head. There's no other way to explain the aromas other than cherry cola; that's EXACTLY what it smells like.
Cherry Cola Vice tastes like an alcoholic, slightly more sour version of Fentimans Cherry Cola. There's not really any other way to describe it. It's so easy to drink, and the contrasting sweet and sourness of the cherries works wonders.
If you like a cherry cola, then you will like this beer. Even if not, I encourage you to try it just to experience the pure wizardry that has gone into creating it. Cherry Cola Vice has been hugely enjoyable, and i'm surprised at how much I like it...thankfully, I have another can in the fridge.
5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Beavertown x Trillium
Following my review of West Side Beavo, the second Beavertown review of the week is Beaverillium - a collaboration with Trillium Brewing from Boston, USA.
Beaverillium is a 7.5% ABV IPA and here's the official blurb from Beavertown:
"This baby drinks like mango lassi transporting you to a lazy hazy Indian summer day on the beach in Goa, pouring like thick mango juice, rich, sticky mango juice. That aroma of tropical overripe mangos and pulped peaches hits your nose a yard from the glass bathing you in sweet fruity sunshine.
Fluffy, moussy, velvety and smooth as it passes your lips the mango and peach is pricked up with fresh, zesty tangerine that lingers to a black pepper bitterness for a bit of exotic spice."
Trillium were a brewery that I'd heard a lot about but never experienced - so with them teaming up with the big dogs Beavertown, it's safe to say my expectations were high.
Beaverillium pours a hazy gold with a thin beige head. There's big aromas of ripe fruits; mango, peach & apricot with some grassy pine. There's a huge amount of sweetness up front; maybe from the fruits, but it's almost too sweet for my liking. That is followed by some bitter hoppyness with a slight amount of spice also. Body is medium, with a nice creamy texture and not too much carbonation.
This was a good beer, however not great. Something just wasn't quite right for me - I think perhaps the sweetness up front put me off a little. In a week of two Beavertown collaborations, I would have expected Beaverillium to be my favourite. However I have to admit, I was a little disappointed by this one and West Side Beavo was definitely my favourite of the two.
3 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Beavertown x Firestone Walker
In the first of two reviews featuring Tottenham giants Beavertown comes West Side Beavo; a collaboration with US based Firestone Walker.
West Side Beavo is a 6.5% ABV IPL (Indiana Pale Lager) that was released last month. Here's the official lowdown on the beer:
"West Side Beavo is a one-off collaboration by brewmasters Logan Plant (Beavertown) and Matt Brynildson, inspired by a friendship forged at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. West Side Beavo was fittingly brewed with hops from the Pacific Northwest and the United Kingdom, most notably Jester. The result is an IPL, a beer that speaks to both breweries’ penchant for brewing hoppy beers with complexity and balance. "
I think that we could be in for a treat with this one...
West Side Beavo pours a clear golden amber colour with a foamy white head, that slowly disperses. Initial hoppy, malty aromas are followed by some citrus fruits; lemon & grapefruit. Flavours are crisp; citrus, floral lemon with a biscuit malt backbone - no where near as hoppy as expected. Mouthfeel is light, slightly oily with medium carbonation - extremely drinkable!
This was a lovely beer, and I must admit, one that was unexpectedly great. West Side Beavo is one of the best tasting lagers that I've had in quite some time, and you should definitely check it out.
Up next is Beaverillium, a DIPA collaboration with Trillium Brewing out of Boston, USA.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Brewdog x Cloudwater
New England IPA by Brewdog & Cloudwater is arguably in my top 5 beers of all time. It was so good. It was up there with the best that Cloudwater have to offer; v12, v13 & NW DIPA Citra. So it’s safe to say I was rather happy when I heard that V2 was on its way.
New England IPA v2 is 8.5% ABV New England Style IPA. Here's what Brewdog have to say about it:
"A second team up with Cloudwater sees us brewing an 8.5% ABV New England IPA, hopped with a blend of hops known for their citrus, tropical and berry characteristics. Spicy, zesty and piney aromas give way to an effervescent, tropical IPA, backed up with a hints of clove and pepper. Hopped in the whirlpool with Mosaic hops, and dry-hopped with Citra, Mandarina Bavaria and more Mosaic."
If this beer is half as good as the original it would still be a great beer. However, I suspect it may just be as good, or even better...
When you open this beer, you'll instantly notice the BIG juicy flavours that we're used to with this style of beer; pineapple, mango & orange are complimented with a huge amount of pine. It pours a hazy amber with a thin white head.
The flavours here are excellent. Those juicy fruit flavours are at the forefront of it all backed by loads of piney bitterness. You also get that slight hint of spice at the end, coming from the cloves. This is such a great beer to drink, and the 660ml bottle ensures it's an extremely boozy drink!
Now this is one HAZY beer and it has A LOT of sediment. I'm
not sure if it was just my bottle, or that is how it was meant to be, but there was a lot of it. It didn't bother me, but if you don't like sediment in your beer, then this one might not be for you.
This beer is AWESOME. You simply have to try it while you still can. It will be interesting to see if Brewdog & Cloudwater continue this collaboration in a similar vein to Cloudwater's DIPA series. Overall I loved this beer, but I think the original just scrapes it for me; that was almost the perfect beer.
4.75 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Evil Twin Brewing x Omnipollo
We all love a nice ice cold shandy on a refreshing day right? So when I seen that Evil Twin Brewing & Omnipollo had come together to brew an Old Fashioned Lemonade IPA, I was extremely interested in trying it out.
Old Fashioned Lemonade is a 7% ABV IPA that has been brewed for Evil Twin by Dorchester (home of Marky Mark!) Brewing Company in Boston, Massachusetts.
"A refreshing drink often associated with childhood nostalgia to others a pop-cultural symbol of emancipatiion. Whatever the association Evil Twin teamed up with Omnipollo to squeeze out a tasty, tempting and deceivingly well balanced IPA with sweet and sour notes of old-fashioned memories. Perhaps you can taste the dishonesty, it's all over your breath - it's Lemonade."
When brewing giants come together, it usually produces good results, lets see what happened here...
Cracking open this can and it is just lemons galore; the sweet citrus aromas fill your nose as you pour it into a glass. It pours a bright golden yellow with a foamy white head, with a surprising amount of murkiness to it.
This beer tastes exactly as you would expect it to - like lemonade. There is really no other way to describe it. From the first sip you get that instant sourness of the lemons coupled with a decent amount of sweetness. There's a slight hoppy/bitter backbone to it all that reminds you that you are in fact drinking a beer, and not a can of lemonade.
The overall result is that this is literally the perfect summers day beer. It's so light, smooth, refreshing and the ABV is almost non existent that you could easily smash your way through a few of these. However, it didn't stand out enough from me and was too similar to other fruit beers I've had in the past. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it - I did, it was just missing something that could have took it to the next level.
3.75 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Beavertown x Lervig
Gods of beer Beavertown & Norwegian brewery Lervig; the brains behind the wonderful Tasty Juice have come together to produce M.A.D, or Mutually Assured Destruction - a 9.5% ABV DIPA.
Here's the official rundown from Beavertown:
"In a world full of crazy, only one thing keeps us sane. The cold comfort blanket that is “Mutually Assured Destruction”.
Brewed in collaboration with insane Norwegian beer despots, Lervig, this hop bomb is the “gift” that keeps on giving. Pure mango juice in the glass it packs a hefty payload of tinned mangos and pineapple on the nose with just the faintest hint of pine-y menthol. On the palate it’s banging fresh, targeting your taste receptors with juicy peach, passionfruit and a lick of zesty lime, then, just when you thought the bombardment was over, a wave of punchy black pepper & liquorice bitterness reinforcements arrive that keep on going, and going, and going until your taste buds are so battle-weary you can’t remember a time before this flavour.
Beavertown can do no wrong in my eyes, and I absolutely loved Tasty Juice, so I can only assume we're onto a winner here...
Before cracking it open, take a minute to admire the outrageous can art on display here...seriously epic stuff!
The flavours that we have come to know and expect from a beer like this are all present here; gorgeous tropical fruit aromas fill your nose as you crack the can and pour into a glass, backed by a healthy amount of piney bitterness. The beer pours an extremely hazy amber with a thin beige head that disappears quickly.
On your first sip you are hit with a huge bitter hop bomb, however it doesn't last too long as the fruit soon comes into play; orange, pineapple and mango overcome the bitterness to round this beer off with a perfect sweet mouthfeel.
For a 9.5% ABV DIPA, the alcohol is hidden extremely well by the flavours...dangerous stuff!
I really enjoyed this beer - it's not quite Humuloid, but still very enjoyable nonetheless. Beavertown knock it out the park yet again.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Northern Monk x Verdant x Deya
Northern Monk's Patrons Project has produced some fantastic beers, one of them being the excellent Peanut Butter & Jelly Brown Ale.
Hazemaker is a collaboration between 3 of the UK's most exciting breweries; Northern Monk of course, Verdant & Deya. A blend of 3 different hops, Hazemaker is a 7.4% ABV IPA. It also features some incredible artwork by artist Jon Simmons. Here's the official lowdown:
"An extraordinary hazy collaboration between Northern Monk, Verdant & Deya. A jab of Amarillo, a right hook of Simcoe and an uppercut of Columbus hops equate to one knockout brew. Put your taste buds to the taste against the juicy tropical fruit flavours and punchy pine notes."
Sounds like a winner right?
Well this beer is a winner. It pours a hazy golden amber, leaving a thick foamy white head. Very hoppy on the nose, along with plenty citrus and tropical fruits.
Taste is similar to the aromas; plenty citrus and tropical fruits up front - orange, mango & pineapple. These are followed up with some nice piney, hoppy bitterness to give it a great finish.
Overall this is a really solid IPA that these fantastic breweries have conjured up - I would highly recommend it.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Magic Rock x Other Half
Earlier this year when I was researching breweries for our trip to New York City, one brewery that caught my eye was Other Half Brewing; they seemed to be extremely highly rated & had plenty of cool looking cans on their Instagram page. Now, unfortunately I did not get to sample any of their beers when I was there...however it now seems that they have come to me.
Half Cut is a collaboration between Huddersfield based Magic Rock & Other Half Brewing out of Brooklyn, NYC. Sold in 500ml cans, Half Cut is a 8% ABV DIPA that currently has a 99% overall rating on RateBeer. Here's what Magic Rock have to say about it:
"A DIPA collaboration with our friends from Brooklyn, Other Half Brewing. Along with our pale malt Golden Promise, the beer uses a reasonably large percentage of oats in the mash for a creamy body and soft mouthfeel.
A low bitterness target (for a DIPA) of around 60IBU was aimed for and Citra, Mosaic & Denali hops added to the whirlpool for loads of tropical/citrus flavour. We went heavy on the dry hopping with lots more Citra and Mosaic as well as some Simcoe, Amarillo & HBC 438. The finished beer has a really punchy aroma as well as a super juicy fruit like flavour and soft mouthfeel."
My ever dependable bottleshop Westhill Service Station managed to get some of these in, and I was delighted to get my hands on one.
Well this one is a bit special.
Opening the wonderfully designed can instantly releases big hoppy aromas, fused with loads of tropical fruits; mango, pineapple, passion fruit & some citrus orange.
It fills the glass a wonderful hazy, murky golden orange with a big foamy beige head.
The taste is incredible. Quite bitter on the first sip, with big hoppy, piney flavours but that soon relaxes to make way for the fruit. Again, tropical fruits combined with citrus orange give this beer an excellent mouthfeel that balances the bitterness perfectly.
I've raved about Magic Rock in the past. They make excellent beer. Teaming up with these heavy hitters from NYC has resulted in an outstanding beer. I can't recommend this one enough.
5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Cloudwater x Against The Grain
I have more Cloudwater for you! This time, they're tackling an iconic dessert in collaboration with Against The Grain from Louisville, Kentucky.
Make Apple Pie Great Again is a 6.3% ABV fruit beer. Bonkers. Here's what Cloudwater have to say about it:
"Sometimes your best beers are the ones you don't make. If this beer gets any stronger or tastier, it's literally going to cease to exist. An extremely credible source called our office and told us that this beer is a fraud. We love beer, and beer loves us! We have a great relationship! Make Apple Pie Great Again!
Brewed in Collaboration with our Louisville friends from Against The Grain, featuring apple puree, apple juice, cinnamon and nutmeg."
Sounds awesome right? Lets find out...
Now, this is one beer that does exactly what it says on the can. This is literally liquid apple pie.
Crack open the can, and boom...apple and cinnamon fill the air. Awesome start!
Pouring this one into a glass releases even more of the wonderful cinnamon apple aromas as the deep, dark, pulpy amber liquid fills the glass, leaving a thin, foamy beige head. Cloudwater aren't messing around here...this tastes exactly as it sounds; sweet apple puree, combined with spicy cinnamon & nutmeg result in an almost ice cold mulled cider taste...incredible! This beer is so drinkable, the apple & cinnamon mask almost all the bitterness of the hops & alcohol.
Another fantastic beer from Cloudwater here, with a little help from their friends. They can do no wrong in my eyes. If you can get your hands on this, then I highly recommend it.
4.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Brewdog x Cloudwater
Before they conjured up Coffee & Cigarettes with Beavertown, Brewdog had released a collaboration with one of the UK's hottest breweries - Cloudwater.
Arguably the biggest name in UK craft beer teaming up with the brewery that seems to be the talk of the town right now is a hugely exciting prospect.
Released in 660ml bottles, New England IPA is a 6.8% ABV IPA. Acquired through Westhill Service Station, this was one beer that I was greatly looking forward to (especially after missing it first time round).
Here's what Brewdog have to say about it:
"North East Scotland meets North East USA in our BrewDog Vs Cloudwater showdown.
This New England IPA is low in bitterness but loaded with explosive fruit flavour. Redolent with tropical fruit notes, fresh squeezed orange juice, pineapple, fragrant cut grass, and hints of pine dust, the aroma is complex and alluring. On the palate, the bittersweet balance emphasises the sweet, juicy fruit character, while the addition of oats adds a silken mouthfeel, giving the beer a full and rounded finish. If it wasn’t for the subtle bitter edge and the slight hint of alcohol warmth, you’d swear you were drinking juice.
This beer is unfiltered and intentionally hazy. Very hazy."
This beer comes with a huge amount of expectations on its shoulders. To say I was looking forward to cracking this one open is an understatement...
Straight from popping the bottle you know that you're onto a winner. Sweet, juicy fruity aromas fill the air; pineapple, mango and a hint of grapefruit fill your nose, followed by that familiar piney/hoppy smell.
This is a HAZY beer! It pours a thick, pulpy hazy golden yellow, leaving a foamy white head on top.
The fruitiness comes back in play when you taste the beer; pineapple, mango & grapefruit all come flooding through before the piney hoppiness kicks in to finish it off wonderfully. These flavours, combined with the thick, pulpy texture off the beer all work together to pack a serious punch. This is a fantastic beer.
I certainly hope there's more collaborations between these two to come. This is up there with the best beers I've ever had - probably in my top 3, and if they can recreate anything like this...I for one will be happy. I urge you to try this beer if you are lucky enough to find it anywhere, it will not disappoint.
5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
An enthusiastic lover of all things craft beer from Aberdeen, Scotland.