I normally get excited when Brewdog release a new small batch beer. More often than not they tend to be something different, and come with can art that rivals Beavertown. Step forward Pump Action Poet, their second small batch release of the year which is a 7.5% ABV Stonefruit IPA.
Here's what Brewdog have to say about this one:
"Pump Action Poet is loaded with stonefruit and tropical flavour – aromas of juicy peach, apricot and nectarine, pineapple and mango - all piled on biscuity malt. Hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe and brewed with added wheat and oats, this super smooth IPA has a balanced bitterness and a full-bodied mellow malt base. The addition of peach and apricot enhances the flavours of stonefruit naturally present in some of our favourite US hops, and adds a subtle tart edge to offset the intense juicy fruit character.
The second small-batch can release of 2017 is a locked-and-loaded salvo of flavour for the summer."
Sounds like a perfect beer for this glorious summer weather we are having...
Now this is seriously some of the coolest can art that I have ever seen. Artist Tracie Ching has done an awesome job here. I'd love to see Brewdog release this one as a tee.
It pours a golden yellow, leaving a big foamy off-white head. The aroma is very sweet with big juicy citrus fruits, backed by some nice piney hops. The sweetness continues on taste, with little to no bitterness present. Extremely drinkable - you wouldn't think of this as being 7.5% ABV. This beer hugely reminded me of another Brewdog beer; Elvis Juice, however the bitterness of the grapefruit has been replaced with a lovely sweetness from the apricot & peach. It is extremely easy to drink and very refreshing on a hot day.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Craft beer...in a petrol station?! It might sound crazy to some people. But not if you live in Westhill, or more recently; Peterhead.
Gary Haigh, retailer at Peterhead Motors has recently started to build the craft beer scene in the recently re-branded Keystore More at the garage. Fitting out the shop with a new 1.3m fridge, he has started stocking some of the biggest names in UK craft beer such as:
Not bad if you ask me...You can pick up some pretty good beers from that selection of breweries! And if you're just getting into craft beer & looking to try something new, then you can't go wrong with the likes of Beavertown, Northern Monk & Magic Rock.
Gary has big plans for craft beer at the garage, and plans to keep expanding on his current stock. With the help of Brewdog, he is also mid way through the Cicerone Certification Program. This is fantastic as he will be able to offer advice and tasting notes on the beer - perfect if you are new to craft beer or looking for something new to try (you don't get that kind of service in the supermarket!). There are also future plans to launch a craft beer club at some point.
To mark the recent re-branding of the store - there will be an open day on Friday 2nd June. Brewdog will be on site holding a tasting session, of not just Brewdog beers but various other beers that you can find in the store. There will also be some beers from Brew Toon Brewery available to sample. Gary will be having giveaways and prize draws throughout the day. Everything is scheduled to kick off around 10am, and run until about 5pm, with Brewdog being there from 12.30pm.
The adjacent coffee shop also offers a range of hot food and drinks for breakfast and lunch; ranging from breakfast rolls, soups, burgers, chips, pizzas, curries, pies & pastas to name but a few. They change their specials every week and post these on their Facebook page. You can phone up to pre-order your food beforehand, or take away (along with your craft beer carry out of course). The coffee shop is open between 6.30am-2pm.
It's exciting to see places like this taking such an interest in the craft beer market - this will be great for the local beer lovers, and anyone who wants to get into craft beer. Westhill Service Station has played a huge part in my beer influences, and I really think that this will have the same effect for some in Peterhead.
So next time you fancy picking up some beers in Peterhead, don't go to Tesco - pop in by Keystore More at Peterhead Motors instead and check out their excellent selection; many of which you wont find in the supermarkets.
You can keep upto date with the latest from Peterhead Motoros on their Facebook page, so go ahead and give them a like & share.
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 🍻
I've had a pretty good experience so far when it come's to ice cream flavoured beers; original & lemon meringue by Buxton x Omnipollo being the prime examples. So when I seen that Northern Monk had released a class childhood ice cream flavoured beer; Neapolitan...I was rather excited.
Neapolitan Ice Cream Pale ale is a 6.2% ABV pale ale that has been made in collaboration with York Cocoa House. Here's what Norther Monk have to say about it:
"First, it began as a terrible idea. Then, it ended in a terrific result. We're talking about a pale ale brewed to mimic the shades of the classic Neopolitan ice cream with additions of lactose, strawberries, and chocolate sauce. Neopolitan Pale Ale became such a sleeper hit in 2016 that many of the Monks consider it one of the high points of the year as did many of our fans. Its soft creamy mouthfeel and nuanced sweetness are designed to trigger your sweet childhood memories... a reawakening of your inner child by means of a grown up bevy."
I've had some pretty good beers by Northern Monk, with Peanut Butter & Jelly Brown Ale a particular highlight...so I was looking forward to this one.
Now this is a beer that does exactly what it says on the can.
After cracking it open, vanilla pods and subtle chocolate aromas fill your nose. It pours into the glass a cloudy orange, leaving a thick foamy white head.
You get instant ice cream flavours on the first taste; soft creamy vanilla fills your mouth followed by some sweet strawberry and a backbone of chocolate that just for a minute, leaves you thinking that you could be drinking a porter. The flavours really shine through in this beer - they are excellent, there is little to no bitterness and there's almost no trace of the alcohol in there.
Northern Monk are onto a winner with this one. It really is like revisiting that childhood classic all over again...except this one is for the grown ups! You should definitely check it out if you get the chance.
4.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Back in my review of DIPA v13, I mentioned that Cloudwater were planning on launching a new line of DIPAs to replace the "v" series. Well NW DIPA Citra is one of these beers.
I had seen various posts on Instagram regarding this one. I knew it was going to be good. And I was delighted when Westhill Service Station got some in as part of a glorious beer haul this week.
Cloudwater also launched this beer in the new shop section of their website.
NW DIPA Citra is a 9% ABV special edition DIPA. Here's what Cloudwater are saying about this beauty:
"Introducing our new DIPA style which showcases yeast from one of Manchester's oldest family brewers and fresh 2016 harvest hops. Citra takes the lead backed up by Simcoe, with JW Lees 4792nd generation yeast."
The aromas that come from cracking open this beautifully designed can are wonderful! Big citrus fruits; orange, and pulpy mango are backed up with just a hint of pine.
New England style IPAs are the best looking beers around when poured into a glass, and there is no exception here; a cloudy, murky deep orange liquid with a foamy white head that disperses quickly.
I'm running out of words to describe Cloudwater DIPAs. This beer is incredible. The flavour is absolutely out of this world. Those wonderful aromas carry straight through into the taste. BIG juicy fruit flavours lead the way; pineapple, orange & mango, followed by some slight grapefruit which rounds it all off nicely with some piney bitterness. Wow.
As seems to be the case with Cloudwater DIPAs of late, there is almost little to no hint of the 9% ABV in there. This beer is dangerously drinkable.
I am delighted I got the chance to drink NW Citra DIPA. It is another world class beer from Cloudwater, I'm just gutted I don't have more. Do yourself a favour and buy this beer if you get the chance! This is one of my top 3 beers of the year so far.
5 out of 5 hops 🍻
Recently on a trip back to his home land, my South African colleague Rory was kind enough to bring me back a bottle of some local craft lager.
The beer in question is Old Harbour Beer, a 4.5% ABV lager by South African based Hermanus Brewery.
Here's what the brewery have to say about it:
"Brewed in Hermanus with Overberg barley and southern hops. Its golden colour, balanced depth of flavour and smooth finish, make Old Harbour Beer a delicious celebration of our proud Hermanus heritage."
Served in 440ml bottles, when opened this beer gives off a light, hoppy, honey like aroma. It pours a light golden amber colour, leaving a small foamy white head.
The resulting taste is a clean, hoppy lager that is full of flavour. A malty, break like profile is combined with a slight citrusy sweetness to give a nice finish with little to no bitterness.
Overall, a pretty solid, yet unspectacular lager - certainly more flavourful than most of the big commercial lagers out there.
3 out of 5 hops from me
Craft Beer Comes To The Blue Toon
It seems we have new craft brewery in the North East...craft beer has arrived in the Blue Toon!
Brew Toon Brewery are a micro brewery based in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. Formed earlier this year, they have spent some time kitting out their HQ with brewing equipment and brewing their first batch of beers.
They will also be opening a café bar; scheduled for this month, that will serve cakes, speciality coffees and locally sourced deli food.
They currently have 3 beers listed on their website:
Loose Cannon - Indiana Pale Ale (4.6% ABV):
"Our American IPA is fully loaded with a juggernaut of hops that will send earthquakes crashing through your taste buds. Its strong floral and herbal aromas and sharp grapefruit notes are well balanced by its rich malt base. Its finish is edgy and uncompromising and leaves for an expressive, almost spicy palate...
This IPA is a loose cannon!"
Raspberry Cannonade - Raspberry Cream Ale (5.0% ABV):
"Our Raspberry Cream Ale is jam-packed with locally sourced Scottish Raspberries, combined with a sweet malt base making for a smooth, creamy finish. When you first open the bottle there is an explosion of raspberry aroma...and the blend of citrus hops paired with the raspberries creates an intense palate that really pushes your tart tolerance to the brink!"
Weekend Hooker - Lager (5.0% ABV):
"Get hooked on our new craft lager! Reinvented with a bold variety of malts and left to condition until the optimum moment to ensure a smooth head with a soft, refreshing finish. Earthy in aroma, expect a full bodied malt character, with citrusy undertones and an assured bitter finish."
It's great to see new breweries popping up in Aberdeenshire and hopefully Brew Toon Brewing can follow the trend of producing quality beer.
I'm definitely looking forward to trying out these beers; especially the IPA & the raspberry cream ale. Hopefully Westhill Service Station will get their hands on some 🍻
Buxton x Omnipollo
When life gives you lemons...make beer. That's what Buxton & Omnipollo did anyway.
Original Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie is a 6% ABV fruit beer, that is described as;
"This beer beer sits right between sour and sweet. In my mind it is the closest we’ve ever come to balance. Kettle-soured and brewed with added lactose, it is then conditioned on buckets of lemon juice. Perfect, like lemon meringue ice cream pie."
I have previously reviewed Original Ice Cream Pale Ale and found it utterly spectacular, as well as sampling Original Rocky Road Ice Cream at #PunkAGM2017. I can now also confirm that Brewdog DID actually mess up at #PunkAGM2017 - I was DEFINITELY served this twice instead of the Original Ice Cream Pale Ale. I knew it. Not that I'm complaining too much, this is a great beer...
Well, this is one zesty little number!
Pouring this into a glass instantly releases the sour, tart, zesty lemon aromas. The beer fills the glass a light, hazy yellow; like a cloudy lemonade, leaving a thin fluffy white head.
The first taste is EXTREMELY sour & tart, clearly from the lemon juice, and is the followed up with a nice sweetness from the added lactose. After a few sips, the sourness becomes less extreme and it settles to become a very enjoyable beer.
It may seem like a simple sour fruit beer, but I could happily sit and drink a few of these. Although it hasn't quite matched the heights of Ice Cream Pale; a rather special beer, Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie is a great beer that is perfect for a sunny day.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
It's back! Bloody 'Ell by Beavertown; quite possibly the greatest seasonal beer of all time is back. I love this beer. I once proclaimed that this beers big ugly cousin; Bloody Notorious was my favourite beer - it even inspired me to start this blog.
Local heroes Westhill Service Station again came through with the goods, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a couple of cans.
Bloody 'Ell is a 7.2% ABV Blood Orange IPA, here's what Beavertown say about it:
"A smack of citrus with hints of warm blood orange aromas brought on by refined malt bill and loads of juicy hops. All hail Bloody ‘Ell!"
I’ve made no secret of confessing my love for Beavertown and their can art, and yet again they knock it out of the park here...such a cool looking can!
Bloody 'Ell pours a glorious glowing orange leaving a creamy foam head. The smells that it produces are unbelievable; sweet, citrusy, juicy orange aromas fill your nose as your pour it from can to glass.
And taste? Incredible. What else do you expect from the beer lords that are Beavertown? This citrus IPA is full of big fruity flavours. The orange flavour is no understatement either - it is full on, before being rounded off by a lovely hoppy bitterness. Fantastic flavours, and extremely drinkable too.
I can't recommend this beer highly enough. You should buy it and find out just how good it is for yourself. If you've never had a beer by Beavertown, this will blow you away - guaranteed.
Now...how about another run of Bloody Notorious?
5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
I must admit, I had never heard of Lervig brewery before this week. However, they are now firmly on my radar.
Enter Tasty Juice, a 6% ABV IPA. When I seen the following words in Westhill Service Station's Craft Newsletter, I knew it was for me:
"Big juicy, hazy IPA"
Juicy. Hazy. IPA. Three things I love in a beer. After a bit more digging online...it gets even better, here's what Lervig have to say about it:
"Tasty Juice is a double hopped IPA. It holds massive tropical & dank flavors from the double load of citra hops."
I had to get my hands on this one.
Well, this beer is great. It wouldn't look out of place with a Cloudwater label. It's that good.
Cracking open the can, you are greeted with big, juicy fruit aromas; mango, pineapple & grapefruit. It pours a golden amber, leaving a foamy beige head.
The big fruity flavours follow through on taste; citrus & mango at the forefront. It's all rounded off with big hoppy bitterness. If I had one complaint, it would be that the alcohol was almost too in your face - but that doesn't stop this being a being a very drinkable beer.
This was an extremely pleasant experience for my first Lervig beer. I look forward to trying more from them. If you're a fan of Cloudwater, and New England style IPA's then you should give Tasty Juice a go.
4.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
An enthusiastic lover of all things craft beer from Aberdeen, Scotland.