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 🍻
There comes a time, where we all pray for a beer that is so bat-shit mental that it borders on ludicrous. Well, I think I may just have found the one. The beer in question is Banana Toffee Chocolate from Swedish giants Dugges Bryggeri - a brewery that I knew had a banging reputation, but a brewery that I'd yet to try any beer from (bar a collaboration with Fierce Beer). I picked this beer up as part of my Xmas stash from Hop Shop Aberdeen, immediately adding it to my basket after reading the label. Banana Toffee Chocolate is a 11.5% ABV imperial stout and here's the official description from Dugges:
"Sometimes you need to go a little overboard. Well, we do at least. Then again… there’s overboard and then there’s overboard. Let’s say we went Dugges style overboard with this one. So, what does that mean? Well, it means that we’ve made an as balanced beer as you can make while getting it to taste like bananas, toffee and chocolate. We felt we just had to try it. Like, could it be done? Turns out, it could! It can!"
After I'd bought it, I'd had it sitting around for about three weeks waiting for Xmas to come around. So I was extremely excited for this beer. I couldn't wait to get it open and finally drink it.
Banana Toffee Chocolate pours a deep, dark brown leaving a thin tan coloured head. Initial aromas are well...banana. There's not really much else to say except banana, and loads of it - it was pretty much like sticking your nose over a banana milkshake. After the first sip, I couldn't believe what I was drinking. This beer is like liquid sweets - Swizzles Banana Skids to be exact. Sweet banana combines with sticky toffee flavours and a hint of milky chocolate to create one of the most bonkers beer experiences you're likely to have. The alcohol is well hidden behind all the sweetness, which I'm not sure is a good thing, considering this is an 11.5% ABV beer! It has an absolutely wonderful smooth, silky body, and there's little to no carbonation, all in all making this a very enjoyable beer to drink. I loved this beer.
Wow. Just wow. This beer was truly outstanding. I think it may have just taken top spot in my beers of the year - it really is that good. The flavours are out of this world and I just wish I had more of it. Seriously, if you are able to get your hands on some of this, then do it, you will not regret it. This has put this brewery firmly on my radar and I'll by trying as much beer from these guys in the future as I possibly can.
Banana Toffee Chocolate gets 5 out of 5 from me 🍻
Buxton x Omnipollo
Yellow Belly. Potentially the daddy of all beers, it's most certainly considered the daddy of imperial stouts. This beer has been around for years, and yet it's taken me until now to get round to trying it. Why? I'm not sure really. I think when I first started my craft beer journey, it was partly the price that put me off - paying the guts of £10 for a beer seemed outrageous to me. But as I grew to appreciate beer more, and just how complex and incredible the flavours could be, I realised that it might actually be worth it.
Yellow Belly is a collaboration between Buxton Brewery and Swedish giants Omnipollo and is a 11% ABV imperial peanut butter biscuit stout (yes, you read that right). Here's the official description from the breweries:
“Yellow belly” — a person who is without courage, fortitude, or nerve; a coward. To us, one of the most cowardly deeds is to act anonymously, hiding behind a group. A signifying trait of institutionalised racism. This beer is brewed to celebrate all things new, open minded and progressive. A peanut butter biscuit stout with no biscuits, butter or nuts. Taste, enjoy, and don’t be prejudiced."
You may have seen this beer in the press lately regarding an ongoing legal situation regarding the name, and as a result it is actually being discontinued in its current form. You can read the full story behind this beer here. I picked this beer up from Hop Shop Aberdeen, as usual, as part of my Christmas stash, and Christmas Day seemed as good a time as ever to enjoy this beer.
We can't talk about this beer before talking about the presentation. It is striking, potentially unlike anything else on the shelves, and to anyone who doesn't know the full story behind the beer - possibly quite confusing. But when you unwrap the bottle from it's white hood, and read the message on the bottle , then you realise exactly what this beer is all about.
Yellow Belly pours from the bottle a dark brown, almost oil black, leaving a thin tan coloured head. The initial aromas are loads of peanut butter, roasted malts, hazelnut and sweet buttery biscuit. It really does smell incredible! After one sip of this beer then you know you are in good hands; big roasted malts up front combine with peanut butter, some bitter chocolate, butter biscuit and a hint of vanilla. This beer is incredibly full bodied, nice and creamy, with low carbonation. The flavours are faultless, and come together wonderfully to make this everything a great stout should be.
Was this beer worth the wait? Absolutely. Does it live up to the hype? Absolutely. I'm just regretting the fact I left it so long to try it out, as I would have loved to have experienced it evolve over the years. I am, however, glad I tried it while I still had the chance - and if like me, you have left it this late to try it, then I urge you to do so before it's gone forever, in its current form at least.
Yellow Belly gets 5 out of 5 from me 🍻
Beavertown x Caravan
We are now well and truly in to stout season and back again this year was one of my favourites from last year - Spresso by Beavertown, which is brewed in collaboration with Caravan Coffee Roasters.
Spresso is a 9% ABV imperial espresso stout and is now in it's third year of release. Here's the official description from Beavertown:
"Made with our pals at Caravan – a big ol’ stout brewed over 160 kg of roasted beans. Full on roasty, bittersweet coffee with hickory & treacle richness."
I was highly impressed with last years effort, so I was looking forward to seeing how this years release matched up. Hop Shop Aberdeen were again on point, get this in the fridges shortly after release.
First up, we can't talk about a Beavertown beer without talking about the can art, and as usual Beavertown have delivered another awesome looking can - I actually think it looks better than last year. Spresso pours from the can an almost jet black, leaving a fingers width of a foamy dark beige head. Initial aromas are pretty much what you'd expect - LOADS of rich coffee, that combine with roasted malts and a hint of hazelnut to leave your senses tingling. Flavour wise, it's pretty much just a continuation of the aromas; loads of silky smooth coffee, which is complimented nicely by roasted malts are both then combined with bitter dark chocolate and cocoa, with a hint of hazelnut. This beer is extremely smooth to on the palate, and there is loads of booze in there. I think the ONLY downside for me, that it was a tad too much on the bitter side for me. It reminded me slightly of like an 80/90% dark chocolate - which isn't really for me, although it wasn't too overpowering and was masked pretty well by the other flavours.
Overall, I really enjoyed Spresso and is an excellent start to my season of dark beer. It is jammed pack full of rich, boozy , warming flavours - everything you want from a beer like this. Do not underestimate the boozy aspect of it though, and I certainly took my time drinking it. If you are a fan of stouts, and if you are a fan of coffee, then this is the beer for you - grab it whilst you still can.
Spresso gets 4.5 out of 5 from me 🍻