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 🍻
I've been waiting for this.
Ever since the news of their partnership with Heineken was announced, I've been waiting for Beavertown to release a beer to remind everyone just how good they are. As I said in my blog post, as long as they continue to make the same great beer that we've come to expect from them, then I'll be happy to keep drinking it. Sapling is a 7.1% ABV IPA and here's the official description from Beavertown:
"Mellow Raspberry, ripe nectarine and white peach. Super soft mouthfeel masks the 68 IBU’s with a lingering malt sweetness. A heavily dry hopped IPA showcasing two of our favourite Australian hop varieties: Enigma & Galaxy. Fermented with London Fog for fruity yeast notes and gentle sweetness."
Ever since this beer was announced, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it, and Hop Shop Aberdeen as always, came up with the goods.
First off - I can't talk about a Beavertown beer without talking about the can art. Kudos to Nick Dwyer, who really is at the top of his game with this one - check out how cool it looks?!
Sapling pours from the can a HAZY, pulpy, dark golden yellow colour, leaving a big foamy off-white head. This beer looks incredible! Aromas are fantastic - loads of sweet juicy fruits; mango, pineapple, peach and orange combine with some slight piney bitterness to leave your mouth watering. Taste wise, everything is quite similar to the aromas with loads of juicy fruits up front, then there's some slight bitterness and lingering bread/biscuit aftertaste that I wasn't overly sold on - but it wasn't in anyway off-putting. I enjoyed drinking this beer, it tastes great and it has a nice, full mouthfeel.
Overall, I highly enjoyed Sapling and whilst it's not quite up their with their best, it's another fine example of just how good a Beavertown IPA can be. If you had any doubt in your mind about the quality of their beer dropping - then I urge you to get out and try this one to put your mind at ease.
Sapling gets 4 out of 5 from me 🍻
Sell-outs Or Smart Thinkers?
Beavertown Brewery are one of my favourite breweries around, they are the brewery behind what is still my favourite beer of all time - Tropigamma. So when the news broke today confirming what had long been rumoured - that Heineken were buying a minority stake in Beavertown, I was understandably, initially, slightly worried.
I've long had this notion driven in to me; partly due to the craft beer culture as a whole, and partly due to marketing from BrewDog and general craft beer culture, that all big brewing companies are evil, and any craft brewery that gives up any of its stake to them are total sell-outs. But are they really? Lets look at this realistically before we all jump to conclusions and stop drinking Beavertown. Before I get in to some of the facts and my own thoughts about it, check out the press release from Beavertown here. They also have links to a document with just the facts, and a Q & A with Logan Plant - founder of Beavertown.
“The decision to align ourselves with Heineken was all about their expertise, resource, route to market and most importantly the dynamic of the deal. They want us to continue doing exactly what we do now, and they will be there as a support network if needed.
Lets take a look at some of the facts of the deal. I'm not going to go through everything, just what I think is most important.
It’s a minority deal: Heineken are not going to own Beavertown. They are going to be a minority shareholder. Beavertown's destiny will still be their own to shape.
Logan Plant will remain founder & CEO: He's led Beavertown on this journey until now, and he'll continue leading them with his vision for the company.
Beaverworld will create up to 150 new jobs: What's not positive about jobs being created? And further to Beaverworld, they hope this deal will allow them to open up bars across the UK, which will in turn create more jobs.
There will be no recipe changes: For me, this is key. The beer has always been the key factor when it came to Beavertown for me, and as long as the beer doesn't change, then neither will my opinions of the brewery.
As for my own thoughts on this - sure, I love craft beer and everything that it stands for. But I am not going to lose any immediate sleep over this. I've read the press release, and I've read the facts - so unless Beavertown are straight up lying to us, then things sound like they are only going to get better.
Certainly in my experience there's plenty breweries out there who are either owned or partly owned by large companies and haven't compromised on quality; Ballast Point still make fantastic beer, Camden Town? I enjoy their beer, and even Goose Island to a point still make pretty good beer.
I'm not going to go on and on and make out like I'm some kind of financial expert, or make out like I know what kind of impact this might have on other breweries - I'm just saying things like I see them.
This news is understandably going to upset some people, and I have no doubt they will lose their fare share of customers, and they might have even broken some links with other breweries with this move. For me however, as long as the beer remains great - then I'll keep drinking it.
And who knows, I might even take a trip to Beaverworld one day 🍻
Beavertown x Cloudwater
Recently, to celebrate their 6th birthday. Beavertown invited a bunch of awesome breweries to brew up some collaborations. One of those breweries was the highly decorated Cloudwater, who collaborated on not one, but three beers! Those three beers were:
Do Not Open Until 1985 - 9% ABV DIPA
Big, hazy DIPA with lots of wheat and oats in the grist, fermented with a mixture of White Labs London Fog and Lallemand New England yeasts. Whirlpool-ed with plenty of Ekuanot and Citra, and will be very heavily dry hopped with Mosaic, Vic Secret and Simcoe.
Good Night, Future Boy! - 6% ABV IPL
6% abv, Huell Melon in the whirlpool and fermented with WLP833. Heavily dry hopped with Citra BBC. As we’re doing bigger brews of the DIPA and IPL these will also be available in small pack, not just keg. Rejoice!
Finally Invented Something That Works! - 3& ABV Gose
Classic Gose Recipe, with 50% Wheat with salt and coriander Seed added at the end of the boil. Naturally soured in tank with Lactobacillus Plantarum and fermented with Lallemand New England Yeast to give a 3% beer with plenty of body. We then added Lemon, Grapefruit, Lime and Blood Orange Juice at the end of fermentation before infusing with Grapefruit, Lemon and Blood Orange Zest. Lightly tart, very refreshing, with big citrus notes.
Thanks to Hop Shop Aberdeen, I managed to get my hands on two of these beers; Do Not Open Until 1985 & Good Night, Future Boy! I had heard good things about these beers online, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into them!
Do Not Open Until 1985
First up is Do Not Open Until 1985, the 9% ABV DIPA. This was perhaps the one that I was most looking forward to, because as I've said on this blog many times before - DIPA's are one of my favourite styles of beer, and one made by Beavertown & Cloudwater is one worth getting excited about!
The can art is awesome as always - unmistakably Beavertown, with the two brewery logos merged in to one adding a cool touch. Do Not Open Until 1985 pours a hazy, thick, golden orange leaving a foamy white head. It gives off awesome aromas of orange, peach, melon & loads of pine to entice you straight in to having a gulp. These aromas follow straight through into the flavours too with a huge amount of orange up front followed by more peach & melon, before being rounded off with a hit of piney bitterness - fantastic stuff!
This is an awesome tasting beer. What else would you expect from these two beer gods?! Warning though - it is a boozy one, and drinking a couple of these would go some way towards knocking you out!
Overall, Do Not Open Until 1985 gets 4.5 out of 5 from me 🍻
Good night, Future Boy!
Next up we have Good Night, Future Boy! - the 6% ABV IPL. I don't have too much experience when it comes to IPL's, with my only other venture being West Side Beavo, Beavertown's collaboration with Firestone Walker (which was great). I'd read good things about this beer online so I was looking forward to it.
Starting off with the can art - it is outrageously minimalist; combining Cloudwater's trademark can layout with a psychedelic colour scheme & the two brewery logos. Good Night, Future Boy! pours a golden orange, leaving a foamy beige head. Aromas are full of citrus; orange, lemon & grapefruit are followed up with a drop of pine. The citrus is heavy again on taste with loads of lemon & orange with some floral notes followed by some grassy hop bitterness. This is a really easy drinking beer with a nice creamy mouthfeel & a smooth crisp finish.
This was another great example of an IPL for me & I certainly look forward to trying more. As far as "lager" goes - you might struggle to find a better tasting one than this.
Overall, Good Night, Future Boy! gets 4 out of 5 from me 🍻
Overall, these have been two pretty awesome beers from two breweries at the top of their game. I look forward to seeing these guys colab more in the future. Do yourself a favour & pick them up if you still can & raise a glass to Beavertown 🍻
Beavertown x Verdant
After the disappointment of my first beer review of the year from BrewDog, I finally got my hands on a beer that I was genuinely excited about. Shut Up and Play The Hits is a collaboration between brewing giants Beavertown & Verdant Brewing. Shut Up and Play The Hits is a 8.8% ABV DIPA & here's what Beavertown have to say about it:
"Fuelled by pure mango petrol this juicy double IPA is a banger. A sneaky but well meaning bitterness luring in the background, with a pleasant fruity sweetness being the main star on stage. Full, round and thick – You are welcome. DRINK FRESH."
This beer sounds like a dream. Beavertown have made so many of my absolute favourite beers & collaborating with another awesome brewery like Verdant is a guaranteed recipe for success. I know I am going to love this beer, the question is just how much?
Before I get in to the aroma & taste, let's take a minute to appreciate the incredible can art on display. It's the same level that we have come to expect from Beavertown time & time again. There really is no one better when it comes to designing cans.
Cracking open the awesome can & pouring into a glass...wow. I was met with a tropical fruit explosion. This beer smelled like pure JUICE; mango, pineapple & passion fruit with the slightest hint of pine left me eager to take my first sip. Shut Up and Play The Hits pours a hazy golden orange leaving a foamy white head - it is one good looking beer. You should 100% try this beer.
The first taste is every bit as good as I expected. Those juicy tropical fruits hit you right up front; loads of pineapple & mango with a hint of orange are then rounded off with a hint of resinous pine. For being a 8.8% ABV beer, it certainly doesn't taste like it & for one that tastes as good as this - it should definitely be enjoyed in moderation. This beer reminds me of Tropigamma which is a helluva comparison - it was the first world class beer I ever had.
This beer is an absolute BANGER! Beavertown & Verdant really have conjured up something special here (not that I expected anything else) & I'll be highly surprised if this isn't one of my top 10 beers of 2018.
Shut Up and Play The Hits gets 5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻