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 🍻
Christmas Time Mistletoe and...Beer
Christmas time is all about spending time with your family & overdoing it on great food so I thought that should apply to great beer also. For the past few weeks I have handpicking a selection of beers from Hop Shop Aberdeen and putting them away to enjoy over the festive season. I have managed to get my hands on beers from breweries such as Beavertown, Magic Rock, Amundsen, 6 Degrees North, Siren & Brewdog to name but a few. This includes some new exciting beers alongside some favourites from the past year like Humuloid, Cherry Cola Vice, Pineapple Oceans & a dark twist on Neapolitan Pale Ale.
In this blog post I'm going to take 12 of those beers & run through my favourites by picking a top 5. Some of these beers are pretty heavy hitters & it's not going to be easy deciding a champion, that's for sure.
Well it's safe to say that was an incredible selection of beers. It was hard enough to pick 12 of them...never mind 5! All of these beers were fantastic in their own right; great to drink and full of flavour. But overall, my top 5 is as follows:
Amundsen - Desert In a Can: This beer was INCREDIBLE. Amundsen really have done something special here. The flavours work together so well, it actually tastes like liquid desert. I can't wait to try the rest of the series. PS this is one BOOZY beer, so beer sure to enjoy it in moderation.
Northern Monk - Dark Neapolitan: A close second, I actually think I prefer this to the original. Everything just works so well; all the flavours of the original are there & with the addition of dark forest fruits & some coffee notes it becomes something really special.
Beavertown - Spresso: A beer that I missed last time round, and one I was delighted to finally sample. It is a BOOZY coffee beer. There's not really much else to say. Beavertown have worked their magic here.
Magic Rock - Dairy Freak: This one was great. It is such a sweet & milky beer that I enjoyed every second spent drinking it. Unlike other porters which can feel very indulgent, this is one I feel I could drink a few of in one sitting.
Beavertown - Humuloid: I think almost everyone reading this will know all about this one. The only non dark beer that made the top 5 but Humuloid is probably one of my all time favourite DIPAs that it would be hard not to include. I loved the original version & this was every bit as good, maybe even better?
So there you have it, my top 5 from my 12 beers of Christmas. The others that didn't make the list were still good, they just didn't have that extra special something about them that the top 5 did. They say winter is stout season and they are not half wrong, there is just something about drinking a warming dark stout/porter that just feels right at this time of year.
I'd like to finish this post by thanking everyone of you that has read any of my posts throughout the year. It means a lot & encourages me to keep writing. I'd like to wish you a very Happy New Year & I look forward to sharing even more of my beer journey with you all in 2018 🍻
The Christmas Box
IT'S CHRISTMAS! That means it's time for Christmas beers, and in this month's Beer52 box, there's a few to choose from. This month's box of awesomeness, features beer from:
Ferment magazine features a debate on Christas beers - good or gimmick? Plus features such as festive cocktails, beers & wrestling and a Christmas gift guide.
As always, if you are interested in trying out Beer52, then you can sign up via my subscription link below...it will save you money. It would make a great stocking filler for the beer lover in your life!
Merry Christmas 🍻