Following on from my review of Liberty APA by Reids Gold, I'm keeping things local again with the latest beer from one of my favourite local breweries - Brew Toon. I'm a massive fan of these guys, especially their Mango Unchained and Purple Reign offerings. I originally planned to have this beer over Xmas, but for whatever reason, I just never got round to it. The beer in question is Ship Launch, a 6.2% ABV Brut IPA - an interesting style of beer that grew in popularity over the last year. Here's the official description from Brew Toon:
"Ship Launch is a new style of IPA which originated in San Francisco, fermented down to a bone-dry gravity using champagne yeast (and some glucoamylase enzyme), to create a hop-forward IPA that is crisp, sparkling and full of flavour. We’ve filled this one up with a full tank of hop fuel, so expect big citrus grapefruit aromas when you let this ship launch."
It certainly sounds like a very interesting beer and I was curious to see how it turned out.
Ship Launch pours from the bottle an almost crystal clear amber colour (the picture really doesn't do it justice), leaving about two fingers width of a lively white head. The first whiff of this beer was huge champagne aromas - it was quite a weird sensation actually... expecting beer and getting bubbly! This is followed up by some melon, a touch of biscuit and some floral notes. The first sip is again champagne, followed by a combination of grape, melon, and a touch of biscuit. The flavours are crisp, dry and come together excellently alongside the light carbonation. For being 6.2% it's a real easy drinking beer, and one I really enjoyed drinking.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this beer - it was jam packed full of interesting flavours, and it was something different from what I usually go for, which made it more enjoyable in my eyes. If you are looking for something a bit different, then I definitely suggest giving this one a go.
Ship Launch gets 4 out of 5 from me 🍻
Reids Gold Brewing
I'd like to kick this post off by saying Happy New Year, and wishing you all the very best for 2019!
For my first review of the year, I'd like to start by keeping things local - I like to try my best and show as much local beer on this blog as I can. So, featuring for the first time on this blog is Reids Gold Brewing, from Stonehaven (they really should have appeared before now, but I never got my hands on any of their beers until just before Xmas - my fault!).
Liberty APA is a 4.5% ABV american style pale ale, that has been brewed with grapefruit. The first thing that springs to mind here for me is Elvis Juice. Now I highly doubt that this beer has been brewed as an imitation of Elvis Juice, but if it's at all in anyway similar - then I'm sure I'll like it. Here's the official line from Reids Gold:
"Liberty APA 4.5% ABV: (American hopped pale ale with pink grapefruit) This beer is an American pale ale. It only has hops added that are grown in America, these are Amarillo, Mosaic and Sorachi ace and it is not as highly hopped as an IPA so it has a more malty character. This all American bad boy is a smooth, easy drinking session ale, it has some pink grapefruit added to give it a fresh twist and something different that seems to work well with this beer. This beer is suitable for most foods and is a good all rounder, this would work well with most meat dishes, seafood and deserts."
I was looking forward to this beer. I love trying new beer from local breweries, and the Sonehaven Fireballs Beer had wet my appetite for more.
When Reids Gold first appeared on my radar, their branding was completely different - but ever since their re-brand, the beers all have a distinct, clean and modern look - they really do stand out. Liberty APA pours from the bottle a hazy, dark amber colour, leaving behind a lively off-white head - so lively in fact, that when I popped the cap I had to deal with some beer escaping from the bottle! Near disaster over...initial aromas are citrus grapefruit, biscuit malts and toffee - so far, so good. Flavours are slight bitterness up front from the grapefruit, with a hint of citrus. These then combine with some floral notes and some slight toffee flavours to round everything off quite nicely - an easy drinking beer overall, with quite a decent amount of carbonation.
Overall, I found this to be a pretty enjoyable beer and along with the Stonehaven Fireballs Beer - it has good me quite excited about what's to come from Reids Gold. Whilst it didn't blow me away - it was easy drinking, and full of flavour. Do the right thing and support this local brewery by checking out some of their beers!
Liberty APA gets 3.5 out of 5 from me 🍻
My Top Five For 2018
Now that 2018 is a distant memory I thought it would be good to run through some of my favourite beers of the year. Over the course of the year, I've had some outstanding beers, some great beer, and some downright average beer, but this post is only going to focus on what I deemed to be the best. Sure, there will likely be some fantastic beer that I've missed off this list, but a man can only drink so much beer, right?
This list changed dramatically during its writing as I finally got round to working my way through my Xmas stash that I'd been building up for weeks.
So starting from #5 lets get in to it...
#5 - AXE^X, BUXTON BREWERY
At number five is Axe^X by Buxton Brewery, their first canned beer. This beer joined the brewery's core lineup this year, and I could simply not fault it. Everything from the can design, to the aromas, and the flavours makes this one of the standout IPA's of the year for me, and certainly one of the best core beers around from a UK brewery.
#4 - Yellow Belly, Buxton x Omnipollo
Taking fourth spot is a beer that needs no introduction - the legendary Yellow Belly collaboration by Buxton and Omnipollo. It took me forever to get round to drinking this beer, but I finally cracked one open on Xmas day and it was certainly worth the wait. A truly phenomenal imperial stout that lives up to the hype.
#3 - Hop City, Northern Monk x Deya x Verdant x YCH Hops
Coming in at third place for 2018 is Hop City DIPA, a four way collaboration between Northern Monk, Deya, Verdant and YCH Hops, brewed in honour of this years beer celebration of the same name. I guess this could be considered cheating a little, because it involves some amazing brewing talent - but it was just so good to leave out, this beer blew me away!
#2 - Octopod, Wander Beyond Brewing
In second place is a absolutely phenomenal beer from a new brewery that I discovered this year - Wander Beyond Brewing. The beer in question, Octopod, Imperial Milkshake IPA with mango and passion-fruit.
On a side note, these guys are probably my hottest new brewery of the year and I can't wait t see what they do in 2019!
#1 - Banana Toffee Chocolate, Dugges
Taking the top spot for 2018 is a beer that I drank on the 29th December - Banana Toffee Chocolate, imperial stout by Dugges. This beer is utterly outrageous. It is liquid chewy sweets that it also a beer, and it blew me away! This is a beer that just simply has to be tried by everyone - even if you don't like it (no idea why that would be the case), the flavours should still be crazy enough to leave your mind blown.
Before I go, a special mention has to go to Love & Hate by Vocation Brewery. Whilst it may not stack up against the rest of these beers in terms of overall quality, when you take the price in to account, along with what it's done for making truly excellent beer available on the supermarket shelf - it's hard to ignore it. There's no excuse for not trying this beer.
So there we have it. I'm sure you will all agree that there is some amazing beers in that list, and whilst they may not be everyone's favourites they were certainly mine. Anything you think I've missed? What were yours? Let me know in the comments below 🍻