Fierce Beer x Brew York / BrewDog x Fierce Beer
Over the last couple of weeks I've had two versions of Very Big Moose. Initially brewed as a collaboration with BrewDog as part #COLLABFEST2017, it has since been re-released as a collaboration with Brew York using Tonka beans & again with BrewDog in celebration of #PUNKAGM2018.
Since I had both these versions just days apart, I decided to review them together. Hop Shop Aberdeen again delivered the goods in getting these two awesome collaborations on the shelves in no time at all.
Very Big Moose: tonka - fierce Beer x Brew York
First up we have Very Big Moose: Tonka edition, a beer that was my beer of the show at #northhopabz recently. VBM: Tonka is a 12% ABV imperial chocolate stout that has been brewed using Tonka beans in collaboration with york based brewery, Brew York. If like me, you didn't know what Tonka beans were...here's a quick explanation from Google:
"Tonka beans are a somewhat exotic ingredient that is becoming more and more common in home cupboards. The beans are about an inch long and look similar to raisins in texture and are actually seeds from a type of flowering tree found in South America. They are often used as a substitute for vanilla in recipes and have their own vanilla-like flavour – but with fruity, spicy notes. Tonka beans pair well with chocolate as well as sweet fruits such as strawberries and is often used in puddings and in ice creams."
So, now that we're all educated, here's what Fierce beer had to say about this beer:
"When deciding on what beer to make with the amazing guys from Brew York,it really was an easy decision. Taking our multi-award winning Very Big Moose, and using their expertise in the use of Tonka beans has produced something superspecial. A robust stout with a velvety mouthfeel, cacao notes and – wham! – Tonka awesomeness."
I'd heard very good things about this beer, so naturally when I seen it on the Fierce Beer tap list at North Hop, I had to try it - and wow, it blew me away. The flavours were incredible! So much so, that the very next morning, I got myself round to Westhill Service Station to pick up a can.
VBM: Tonka pours a deep, oil black colour, leaving a thin brown head that disperses pretty rapidly. The aromas from this beer are incredible; sticky, sweet toffee, combined with loads of chocolate & vanilla are rounded off with a touch of coffee - almost like a sticky toffee pudding in a glass! Unsurprisingly, the flavours do not disappoint either - huge vanilla flavours are combined with bitter chocolate, sweet treacle, roasted coffee & a warming alcohol finish. Wow. This beer is so good. For being 12% ABV, it is extremely drinkable too, very slick mouthfeel with little fizz.
Overall Very Big Moose: Tonka gets 4.75 out of 5 from me 🍻
Very Big Moose - BrewDog x Fierce Beer
Unfortunately for me, I missed out on last years collaboration between Fierce Beer & BrewDog. So when I heard from Hop Shop Aberdeen that it was being released again to celebrate this years #PUNKAGM then I made sure I wasn't missing out again. Very Big Moose is again, a 12% ABV imperial chocolate stout and here's the official lowdown from BrewDog:
"Not only did crew from BrewDog Aberdeen assist in the brewing of this beer for #Collabfest2017 - but it came out on top as the winner, beating 33 other beers for that top spot!
Together they brewed up a super-imperial version of Fierce Beer's session chocolate - Moose Mousse. They used the best Colombian Cacao and Madagascan Vanilla. It drinks really well at room temp, chilled, or with an ice cream float.
We brought this one back by popular demand for #PunkAGM2018!"
Yeah, this is going to be something special...
Very Big Moose pours from the awesomely designed bottle a dark black with a thin tan head that doesn't hang around very long. The aromas here are again awesome - roasted coffee, sweet brown sugar & marshmallow are combined with loads of vanilla. Flavours are out of this world - rich milky chocolate combine with vanilla, brown sugar & roasted coffee to create almost the perfect imperial dessert stout. For a 12% ABV beer there also isn't too much sign of the alcohol either, which is pretty dangerous! The mouthfeel is excellent too - luxurious, silky smooth, slightly creamy & very little carbonation make this extremely enjoyable to drink.
It's understandable why this beer has a 100 overall rating on RateBeer. Wow. For me, it just pips the Tonka version. Overall, Very Big Moose gets 5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
So overall, these are two incredible versions of the same beer & one that I'm glad I finally got round to drinking. Hopefully we can expect to see more awesome collabs between BrewDog & Fierce, especially with them being practically neighbours now!
Northern Monk x Deya x Verdant x YCH Hops
Northern Monk, Deya, Verdant...all in one beer?! Yeah, that's what I thought. Well they have come together along with YCH Hops to produce this years Hop City DIPA.
Brewed in honour of Northern Monk's annual celebration of the same name that takes place this weekend (29th-31st March), Hop City is a 8.4% ABV DIPA. Here's the official line on this one:
"A special Double IPA brewed in collaboration with Northern Monk, Verdant and Deya plus Hop City 2018 sponsor YCH Hops, a 100% grower-owned supplier of the finest hops from the US and beyond.
This DIPA combines Citra, Amarillo and Mosaic Cryo pellets in a 20g/hl dry hop. The grist features malted wheat and oats plus flaked wheat to bulk up the body further. The result is a chunky, round DIPA loaded with mandarin notes and tropical fruit character."
With these names behind it, my excitement for this beer was too much.
Let's talk about the 440ml can first of all. The design is awesome, and it has a label that you can peel back to reveal all sorts of info regarding the beer itself - a nice touch.
Hop City pours a nice thick golden orange colour leaving a thin white head & very little carbonation. The aromas from this beer are insane! Juicy pineapple, orange, lemon, peach & melon fill your nose as you pour from the can into the glass - there's some nice earthy pine in there too. Taste wise, this beer is out of this word - huge pineapple & melon flavours are back at the forefront, combining with a thick full bodied mouthfeel making this one absolute juice bomb of a beer. These fruit flavours are then rounded off with a nice piney bitterness that compliments them perfectly. Wow. It's a shame this beer is 8.4% ABV, because I could honestly drink it all day!
This beer is awesome. Without doubt one of the best DIPAs I've ever had. I'm not sure what else I expected to be honest with the level of talent involved. If you see this beer...buy it, drink it, enjoy it & be happy that it exists.
Hop City (2018) gets 5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
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 🍻
I love cherry cola. If I'm not drinking a beer, or a gin for that matter then my go to drink would be a cherry cola. Whether it's Cherry Coke, Pepsi Max Cherry or Fentimans...I love the stuff. So when I heard that Huddersfield heroes Magic Rock had brewed a cherry cola beer, I had to get my hands on some.
Cherry Cola Vice, also known as Engine Engine #9 is a 5.5% ABV Berliner Weisse that was brewed in collaboration with J Wakefield Brewing & Slim Pickens. Here's what Magic Rock have to say about it:
"Out of the deranged minds of our lead brewer Nick Zeigler abetted by Floridian flavour magicians J Wakefield and T.Odd Strauss from Slim Pickens comes our third and possibly strangest ‘Vice’ series beer yet. Engine, Engine No. 9 is a cherry cola inspired Berliner Weiss featuring no less than 20 different ingredients to create a unique beverage with that most recognisable of flavours. It erm… tastes like cherry cola, try it, don’t try it… The Choice is Yours."
It's safe to say I had everything crossed that this wouldn't disappoint...
First up, the can art looks awesome with the distinct style that is unmistakably Magic Rock.
You know as soon as you crack the can and start pouring that this beer is cherry cola. It looks like cherry cola, and it smells like cherry cola. It pours a deep brown with a slight red tinge, leaving a tiny beige head. There's no other way to explain the aromas other than cherry cola; that's EXACTLY what it smells like.
Cherry Cola Vice tastes like an alcoholic, slightly more sour version of Fentimans Cherry Cola. There's not really any other way to describe it. It's so easy to drink, and the contrasting sweet and sourness of the cherries works wonders.
If you like a cherry cola, then you will like this beer. Even if not, I encourage you to try it just to experience the pure wizardry that has gone into creating it. Cherry Cola Vice has been hugely enjoyable, and i'm surprised at how much I like it...thankfully, I have another can in the fridge.
5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻