Brewing Up A Storm In The Hills Of Paphos
After my epic efforts in the Cyprus Marathon, there was only really one thing that I needed - a trip to a brewery! Thankfully, there happened to be one pretty close by to where we were staying. Currently making a name for themselves on an island dominated by the brewing giants Keo & Carlsberg, is Aphrodite's Rock Brewing Company - a family run business that has been bringing something fresh and new to the island of Cyprus since 2013.
We arranged the visit to the brewery in the weeks leading up to our visit, opting for their Beer Quest package. This package is priced at €50pp and includes transport to and from the brewery, a three course meal, a tasting flight of beer/cider, a brewery tour and all the beer, cider or wine you can handle in-between. It seemed like amazing value for money, so we booked it without hesitation
We were picked up on the day by Derrick on the mini-bus - which was impossible to miss with the awesome brewery branding all over it. We were then taken on a short bus journey back through Paphos to pick up the remaining guests, and then we all made our way to the brewery. It was an extremely pleasant bus journey, and Derrick was very chatty, and kept the conversation flowing non stop. The brewery is in an absolutely stunning location, in the hills above the village of Tsada, around 20mins from Paphos. Whilst it was a relatively sunny day, it wasn't particularly warm - but I can just picture this being an absolutely beautiful location in the summer sun.
After arriving at the brewery, we were swiftly shown to our table and asked if we would prefer the beer flight, or the cider flight. Obviously, being gregwhodrinksbeer, I opted for the beer flight. The beers swiftly arrived, along with some tasting notes explaining the beers. From left to right (image below), we had:
So all in all, it was a pretty well rounded selection of beer that was available for us to sample. I'd already tried the West Coast IPA (and loved it) previously, so I already knew what I was getting there. It's safe to say I enjoyed all of the beers, and while one or two of them, maybe weren't quite suited to my taste, such as the ESB, none of them were certainly at all horrible. Both of the lagers were really refreshing, and the porter was full of smokey, coffee flavours. Overall, my favourite was the West Coast IPA, and that didn't come as much of a surprise, with it being one of my favourite beer styles. It is a really tasty beer, with fresh citrus flavours, and a bitter hoppy backbone - everything you want in a good IPA.
It was soon time for the food, and our first course promptly arrived - which was a platter of vegetables, bread and hummus. This was then followed by an excellent platter, of cold meats, cheese, pickles and more. This was more than enough to satisfy our appetites as we enjoyed more beers in the sun as we chatted amongst ourselves, and the other guests whilst we waited for the brewery tour.
Bill Ginn, the owner of Aphrodite's Rock Brewery, then took us all through to the brew house for the brewery tour. After a brief introduction, he then proceeded to tell us everything we needed to know about the brewery, its history and its operations. He showed us all of the equipment, explaining the brewing process in a very detailed manner. I found it a really interesting hour, and Bill was an extremely knowledgeable guy (he's a chartered engineer with years of experience in the oil industry), and I'm sure he could have talked for hours given the chance. The passion he has for brewing great, quality beer was clear to see, and it's evident that he's doing his best to stand out amongst the crowd, on an island that is dominated by giant, macro brewed beer.
If you plan on visiting the brewery then I would highly recommend checking out one of the tours. I believe they are run every weekday at 2pm, and the best part is they are FREE (providing you are a paying customer on the day)!
When the tour was over, we returned to our seats, where it was time to enjoy more drinks, and our main course - which was a sharing meat platter, that was loaded with chicken, ribs, sausages, fries & onion rings. Whilst it may not have looked quite appealing to some - I found it very enjoyable, and a perfect end to a day filled with beer! We had one final course to go following the meat feast, and that was dessert, which was a slice of delicious chocolate cake that was served with cream, or ice cream.
After the food was finished, I also got the chance to have a quick chat with head brewer, Daniel Pitts. He was a really friendly guy, and much like Bill, extremely passionate about making the freshest, tastiest beer possible. We had a quick chat about our favourite UK based breweries, and I gave him my thoughts on a few of his beers. There was just enough time left to enjoy a last beer and enjoy the sun going down - and with that, it was time to get back on the bus for the journey back to the apartment. It's safe to say the bus was a little more lively on the way back!
If you are visiting Paphos, and are looking for something different to do, then I would 100% recommend checking out Aphrodite's Rock Brewery. Even if you don't like beer, it's worth checking it out for the food alone - their pizzas have a great reputation in Paphos, and if you do like beer - then you are in for a real treat. I would love to visit it again on a really warm summer's day as it is the perfect place to enjoy some great beer, whilst enjoying the sunshine. Even if you don't get the chance to visit the brewery, you can find their beers in various bars around Paphos - and it's always good to support the local businesses, right? 🍻
For more information about the brewery, check out their website, where you can also find all the relevant booking info.
Northern Monk / Basqueland
I love Northern Monk. They make some of the best beer around. They are easily one of my favourite breweries in the UK, and they are also a brewery that has featured on this blog many times.
When I saw this latest beer in one of Hop Shop Aberdeen's recent newsletters, I just had to have it - without question. Brewed as part of their ever popular Patrons Project series, which often sees amazing beers, with such unique flavours, Northern Monk teamed up with Spain's Basqueland Brewing Project to create a beer inspired by a classic cocktail. Getting Caught In The Rain is a 7.4% ABV New England style milkshake IPA inspired by the timeless Piña Colada cocktail. Here's the official description from Northern Monk:
"We took a classic NE IPA malt base and added milk sugar to the boil to make this beer super creamy then we started putting together our cocktail inspired recipe starting with copious amounts of finely flaked untoasted coconut to the whirlpool, backed up by some zested lime; the key to this Sweet Liberty classic we were assured. In FV we brought the pineapple to the party, adding puree at 80g/L. Finally, some complementary dry hops in the shape of Citra, Sabro and Denali, all selected to accentuate key flavours. Designed for drinking on the beach or in the canal... (don’t forget your cocktail umbrella)."
Now, tell me that doesn't sound outrageous?! I couldn't wait to get it open!
Getting Caught In The Rain pours a wonderful hazy, bright, golden yellow colour, leaving behind a big bubbly, foamy white head. Initial aromas are amazing - loads of tropical pineapple, coconut and zesty lime combine with a hint of bitter pine. Again, those juicy pineapple flavours are are the forefront of the flavour, combining with subtle hints of coconut, sharp, zesty lime, before all being bound together with that thick, sweet milk sugars. There's the slightest hint of pine in there too - just enough to remind you that this is a beer you are drinking. Oh...and don't be fooled by the juice, this beer is a boozy one!
Wow. I'm impressed! This beer does it exactly what it says on the can - all the flavours of the classic Piña Colada are there, and whilst they don't quite come together to give you a Piña Colada in a can, those individual elements are all there, and they all work together wonderfully.
This beer was AMAZING and it is easily one of the best I've had this year. It may not be for everyone, but if you're like me and you like big hazy juice-bombs then this will definitely be for you. I'm not too sure how long it will be around for, so make sure to grab it whilst you can. Northern Monk is a brewery who seems to be able to do no wrong in my eyes.
Getting Caught In The Rain gets 4.75 out of 5 from me 🍻
Remember back when I spent the day at Brew Toon in Peterhead, and they were brewing up a beer with the Peterhead Lifeboat Crew? Well, that beer has finally been released, and that beer is Mayday. I was extremely excited when I found out what kind of beer we were brewing up that day, as it is easily one of my favourite beer styles. Mayday is a 3.8% ABV NE IPA, and here's what Brew Toon have to say about it:
"Peterhead Lifeboat Station has been safeguarding mariners along the North East coast of Scotland since 1865. With the help of the Lifeboat team we have brewed up a sessionable NEIPA with waves of citrus fruit flavour, made from the very best of new American hops."
All the flavour of a banging NE IPA, whilst being sessionable enough not to knock you out after a few bottles? Great! On top of making an absolutely excellent sounding beer, 20% of all profits from this beer will be donated to the charity - which is pretty awesome if you ask me!
Mayday pours from the bottle a hazy, murky golden colour, leaving around a fingers width of a frothy white head at the top. Initial aromas are refreshing, citrus, slight tropical fruits, some light floral notes and a hint of that familiar hoppy goodness that you are so used to with NE IPA's. These familiar flavours continue in the flavour, with refreshing citrus up front and combine with floral flavours - and if I am being picky, maybe slightly too much floral notes here for me. There's then an ever so slight dose of bitter hops, that rounds everything off, to remind you that you are in fact drinking an IPA.
This beer is so easy drinking, and the flavours all come together great. For such a low ABV beer, Brew Toon has done a fantastic job in packing it full of flavour. Like I said, my only gripe was that it was perhaps maybe slightly over floral, but that didn't stop me enjoying it at all and I would happily sit and enjoy a few of these in one sitting.
Overall, Mayday was another really enjoyable beer from Brew Toon. We're only four months into the year and these guys have been killing it with their releases so far - I'm super excited to see what they have planned next. I find it hard to imagine anyone disliking this beer, it is so easy to drink and for that reason, you should 100% give it a try - plus, it's supporting a great local cause... so what are you waiting for?
Mayday gets 3.75 out of 5 from me 🍻
Fresh From the Mountains [GIFTED]
There's a new lager in town! Brewed in Insch, Aberdeenshire, under the shadow of the mighty Bennachie comes Torr Lager. Brewed by the team at Beer Story Tor Lager is the latest entry into Scotland's bustling lager scene. The team at the brewery were kind enough to drop off some samples and glasses so I could try this beer out for myself.
Named after a torr rock foundation, it is hoped that this lager will help put Aberdeenshire on the map as a premium lager producer. Here's the official description from the brewery:
"Torr Lager is a Scottish lager made with pure ingredients and a traditional brewing method to create a golden lager with a crisp and refreshing taste. Our yeast is propagated in water from the mountains, taken from a river that begins in the Cairngorms and flows for over 80 miles through Aberdeenshire before entering the North Sea at Aberdeen. Only 4 ingredients are used in our lager. No rice or corn. No chemicals. No fish bladders. No GMO corn syrup. 100% natural, giving Torr a uniquely malty taste."
I've spoken before on this blog about how lager isn't my go to style of beer - but I do appreciate a well made one, and the work that goes into it, so I was intrigued to see what this one was all about.
Torr lager pours from the bottle a crystal clear straw colour, leaving a thin white head at the top. Initial aromas are extremely fresh, and refreshing with notes of malts, bread and some fresh citrus. On the first sip, there is an overriding sweetness there, that I can't quite put my finger on where it's coming from - it's not at all a bad thing though. This is then followed up by some crisp, zesty citrus flavours, ending on a slight grassy taste. All in all this beer is light, crisp and refreshing, and the sweetness really sets it apart from a lot of other lagers.
Overall, in a week where I've drank a few different lagers; including this, Lost Lager from BrewDog, and the lager that was in the Tiny Rebel box, Torr has definitely been my favourite. I don't think that a lager is ever going to blow me away, but Torr lager is different enough to stand out amongst the crowd in Scotland's lager scene. If you are a lager drinker, then I would 100% recommend giving Torr a try, and even if you're not - I'm sure you will appreciate the work that has gone into it.
Torr Lager gets 3.75 out of 5 from me 🍺
Back when I was busy brewing up a storm with Brew Toon, I hinted that hey had a beer in the pipeline that I was incredibly excited about. Well, that particular beer has now been released, and it is Dark Nite, a 4.3% ABV Nitro Vanilla Milk Stout. This beer is quite special for a few reasons; firstly it is Brew Toon's first stout, secondly, it is a nitro stout, and thirdly it is the first bottled nitro stout available anywhere in Scotland. Now, that is quite a feat for a little old brewery in Peterhead don't you think?!
As I said earlier Dark Nite is a 4.3% ABV Vanilla Milk Stout, that has been infused with nitrogen. Here's the official description from Brew Toon:
"The 70/30 split of Nitrogen and CO2 in this one has a dramatic effect on mouth feel and when poured properly, creates an amazing cascading effect inside your glass. Roasted malt and vanilla flavours create the foundation of this velvety smooth milk stout."
I've already tasted this beer - I know how good it tastes, and I couldn't wait to find out how it had developed since I had my first sip. Head over to Brew Toon's website and read all about it.
Before we get in to the beer itself, a quick word on the label - Brew Toon have supplied instructions on how to get the optimal pour from this beer, they've even cleverly included a QR code that you can scan to watch a video of "the perfect pour", which is pretty handy if you ask me!
So, now that you've popped the bottle open, and followed the pouring instructions, you are now ready to drink this beer! Dark Nite pours from the bottle a deep black colour with a beige head that cascades all the way from the bottom of the glass to the top, as it settles (think Guinness). It is a really cool effect, and one you need to check out for yourself. There's LOADS of of vanilla in the initial aromas, followed by those roasted malts and a hint of sweet chocolate - mouth watering stuff!
One sip and you know you are in good hands with this beer; silky smooth, sweet vanilla and chocolate combine with the roasted malts and touch of coffee to make this one incredible tasting beer. It's not too sweet, too rich, or too boozy either...making it almost sessionable - I would happily sit and have a few of these in one go.
This is one of the tastiest milk stouts I have had in some time, it's certainly one of the best locally produced beers I have had recently. I would also go as far as to say that it is a better example of this style of beer than Jet Black Heart by Brew Dog.
Brew Toon has done a fantastic job here with Dark Nite, and I really urge you to go out there and try it. This is the first of three new beers in three weeks, and if the quality of this is anything to go by - I can't wait to try the others.
Dark Nite gets 4.5 out of 5 from me 🍻