Time for a new beer post! It's been a while since I've done one of these...
As of late, I have been doing all my beer reviews over on Instagram - and I have been enjoying it. I definitely feel that it works better as a platform for nice, concise, informative reviews. That's not to say I'm gonna stop posting about beer on here - this blog is called gregwhodrinksbeer after all.
I was lucky enough to win a competition over on Instagram, that was ran by @hop.look.listen, where I won three Verdant beers, and a shiny new Verdant glass. For being one of the biggest and best breweries in the UK - Verdant hasn't featured on this blog too much, which is unfortunate! Now, that's not for any reason in particular, other than mainly a combination of my reluctance at buying beer online, and my local bottle shop (Hop Shop Aberdeen) not stocking too much of their beer. So I thought it would be good idea to talk about all three beers in one big review blog post.
So lets get into these beauties!
First up we have MaryLou, a 5.2% ABV Pale Ale brewed with Mandarina Bavaria, Citra, Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin hops. First things first - that can art is absolutely beautiful! There's not much on the can in the way of an official description, other than a quote from the great American author Jack Kerouac, and his iconic novel, On the Road.
“So I went up there and there she was, the girl with the pure and innocent dear eyes that I always searched for and for so long. We agreed to love each other madly.” - Jack Kerouac, On the Road
MaryLou pours from the can a murky bright orange colour, leaving a big foamy white head. There's instantly a HUGE floral hoppy aroma, backed by big juicy tropical fruits. This beer smells wonderful! On your first sip, you are met by that lovely floral hops, followed by a touch of citrus, juicy melon and tropical, slightly bitter finish. This beer is very, very good! It has a nice medium body, not too much carbonation and it is incredibly easy drinking - it would be so easy to smash a few of these in one sitting. Overall, a very impressive start.
MaryLou gets 4.75 out of 5 from me 🍻
Even Sharks Need Water
Next up we have Even Sharks Need Water, which is a 6.5% ABV IPA, which again, has some pretty cool can art. Here's the official description:
"Murky, thick, juicy and chewy. It’s like a packet of sherbet sweets drenched in tangy fruit layers cuddled by a comforting bready hug. Soft to drink with a slight creamy texture and medium dry finish, it’s tough to stop drinking it."
Even Sharks Need Water pours from the can an absolutely outrageous looking murky, milkshake looking pale orange colour, with just over a fingers width of an off-white head. There's initial aromas of citrus, and white grape, followed by a hint of pine. It all smells pretty awesome! The first thing you notice about the taste, is that it's not as sweet as the aromas lead you to believe. There's an initial sweetness of hoppy citrus, but that is soon replaced by an overwhelming amount of savoury, pastry like flavours - now, that's not to say it wasn't enjoyable, it just took me by surprise. Once I got my taste buds around what was going on, this was then all followed by a nice bitter finish to round things off. This beer is silky smooth, medium bodied, and has soft carbonation - it's very easy drinking, and easy to forget it's coming in at 6.5%. Lovely stuff.
Even Sharks Need Water gets 4.25 out of 5 from me 🍻
There Was No Why
Now it's time for the main event...
Here we have There Was No Why, an 8% ABV DIPA that has been brewed in collaboration with Brooklyn giants, Other Half. I was particularly excited about this beer following my visit to Other Half in November. Here's the official description:
"A few weeks ago, Anthony from Other Half joined us in Falmouth to help brew up our latest collaboration with the Brooklyn juice slingers. We decided on a DIPA!
We packed in five hop varieties: Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic, Idaho 7 & Sabro. Expect layer upon layer of juicy and fruity hop flavours thanks to a dry hop that consisted of 60% Citra and 10% each of the aforementioned varieties. There’s also creamy, tropical citrus and candy notes alongside a very subtle coconut creaminess thanks to the Sabro.
We wanted to ensure this spirit of collaboration was strong with this one, and worked closely with Sam and Anthony at Other Half. They suggested the hop ratios and doubling the percentage of oats we’d typically use in the grist from 8% to 16% to enhance that slick and smooth mouthfeel. We reckon the result is a DIPA carrying the mark of both breweries - and one we’re incredibly excited to see released into the wild!"
There Was No Why pours from the can a thick, hazy lemon yellow colour, with a thin white head. Initial aromas are very dank with tonnes of ripe tropical mango and grapefruit, followed by a hint of grassy pine. Excellent start! Those dank, juicy fruit flavours are at the forefront when you take your first sip, with huge amounts of mango, orange, pineapple and a the slightest hint of coconut. Everything is then rounded off by a big whack of boozy bitterness. This beer is full bodied, thick, creamy and properly boozy - everything you are looking for an a huge DIPA! I loved this beer. A beer of absolutely epic proportions.
There Was No Why gets 5 out of 5 from me 🍻
Overall - I have been majorly impressed by these three beers, and I would go as far as to say, they have been three of the best beers I have had this year. They 100% live up to the hype. Thanks again to @hop.look.listen for putting on such an awesome competition, and for adding some more awesome glassware to my collection. I'm gonna make it a mission of mine in 2020 to get my hands on plenty more Verdant beer, and who knows... I might even get a hold of the elusive Putty.
Cloudwater X Other Half
It's great when someone gives you a beer...even better when it is a beer of epic proportions! That's exactly what happened when fellow beer, and running enthusiast, Mark Ramsey (aka the_king_of_aberdeenparkrun on Instagram) messaged me on Instagram to ask if I fancied a can of Tremendous Ideas, the DIPA collaboration between brewing giants Cloudwater & Other Half. Needless to say, I said yes.
I haven't had a Cloudwater beer on this blog for quite some time (no reason in particular), so I couldn't think of a better beer for them to make their return, in collaborating with Other Half. Tremendous Ideas is an 8% ABV DIPA, and here's the official description from Cloudwater:
"Tremendous Ideas was the first collaboration brewed in Manchester with our friends from Other Half back in 2017, and we've revived it just in time for the second edition of their Green City festival. Combining a huge, pillowy body with vibrant citrus and tropical fruit flavours from a selection of punchy, modern hop varietals, this is a smooth and decadent DIPA."
I was super excited to try this beer. I'd seen so much hype around it on Instagram, and kudos again to Mark for sorting me out...go and give him a follow if you don't already!
Tremendous Ideas pours from the can a slightly murky yellow/orange colour, leaving an almost non-existent head. There's loads of citrus in the aroma, with lemon, grapefruit and orange all combining with a hit of tropical mango pulp and a dose bitter pine. Lovely stuff so far. Those citrus aromas are there at the forefront of your first sip with a juicy tangy assault on your taste-buds before those dank, bitter pine flavours round everything off in stunning fashion. Wow. This beer is so easy to drink, it's sweet, juicy and just bitter enough - there's also little to no carbonation present too.
As far as DIPA's go, they don't come much better than this. There's no doubt about it, deciding to brew this beer was a helluva tremendous idea.
This was a phenomenal beer, and has easily made it's way in to my top three of the year so far. To be honest, I didn't expect anything else with the level of talent involved. There are two breweries at the top of their game here. I would encourage anyone to seek this out and get their hands on it - you will not be disappointed in the slightest.
Tremendous Ideas gets 5 out of 5 from me 🍻
North Brewing x Other Half
Hello! It's been a while since my last post, and I think it's been even longer since my last beer review. That doesn't mean I haven't been drinking them - I've just been lazy! Thankfully, I have chosen a rather special beer for my latest review - a collaboration between one of the UK's hottest breweries, North Brewing, and Brooklyn powerhouse, Other Half (a brewery I hope to visit later this year).
This beer doesn't have an actual name as such, and it just referred to as "DIPA", which comes in at a whopping 8.3% ABV. Here's the official description from North Brewing:
"We are in awe of this beer! Super chuffed, humbled and proud! This is what it’s about, people coming together to create something great. During the madness of Hop City Leeds, Antony from Other Half Brewing Company squeezed us in his busy schedule to weigh in on how we should brew this beer together. With plenty of Mosaic, El Dorado and Ekuanot in the early dry hop, this beer is a hefty Double IPA with heaps of tropical aroma and flavour, an absolute mouth full of smooooothness and a nice bit of 8.3% booze to carry it all and give you that giddy feeling."
As soon as I read about this beer, I had to have it. With the level of talent involved, I couldn't imagine this beer being anything other than spectacular. I couldn't wait to get it open.
DIPA pours from the can hazy, murky, golden yellow colour, leaving behind a fingers width of a foamy white head behind. Aromas are huge amount of tropical fruits - pineapple, mango, orange, along with a touch of lime combine with a nice hoppy backbone...wow, mouthwatering stuff! The first sip gives you loads more of those tropical fruits - thick gloopy pineapple, mango and orange are there are the forefront with a splash of pine at the end to give the right amount of bitterness, and reminding your brain that this is in fact a beer, and not straight out of a Tropicana carton! It is super fresh tasting, and the booze is well hidden too, making it extremely drinkable, for an 8.3% beer.
This was an extremely enjoyable beer to drink. I loved every second of it. This, in my mind, is exactly what a perfect DIPA should be - thick, juicy, fruity and just enough hoppy bitterness in there to round everything off. Bravo.
This was an utterly phenomenal beer, and without doubt one of the best I've had this year. North Brewing are a UK brewery at the top of their game, and Other Half come with a reputation that speaks for itself - I can't wait to visit their brewery and tap room later this year. Should you buy this beer? Absolutely, and I can't recommend it enough.
This DIPA collaboration gets 5 of of 5 from me 🍻
Seven Beers, For Seven Years
Tiny Rebel, are without doubt one of my favourite breweries in the UK - they make some great beer, have a fantastic core range and they've featured on this blog several times. So when I received the Hop Shop Aberdeen newsletter, advertising their 7th birthday collab pack, I pre-ordered it straight away.
Now, I'm not usually one for ordering special edition boxes of beers, or beer advent calendars; I usually wince at the price, thinking that there's no way I can justify the outlay, but when I seen the lineup for this one (and the glass!) I just had to have it. Tiny Rebel have joined forces with some of the biggest hitters in UK craft brewing to put together a special collection of beers. The 7th birthday collab pack consists of seven collaboration beers with some of the hottest breweries in the UK, and a limited edition glass - all packaged in a rather awesome looking box (that can even be coloured in!). Each can, is a whopping 440ml and is wonderfully designed by the extremely talented Tamsin Baker, with each a interesting spin on a popular style.
Unfortunately, due to a supplier issue, I was a few days late in getting my hands on the box - but when it finally arrived, I didn't hang around in working my way through the beers...
Beer #1 - Citra Session IPA, 4% ABV, feat. Magic Rock
First up was a beer brewed in collaboration with one of the hottest breweries in the UK - Huddersfield's Magic Rock Brewing. The make some of the most drinkable session IPA's around, so that's exactly what they've brewed up - a 4% ABV Citra Session IPA. Magic Rock are a firm favourite of mine, so this was teed up nicely to be a hit.
The beer itself pours a murky dark golden colour leaving a foamy off-white head behind. There's a huge hoppy citrus aroma up-front, just as you'd expect to see from a citra IPA - lovely stuff so far. Flavour wise, there are loads of citrus flavours in there from the off, with grapefruit and a hint of pineapple, before it all becomes a bit of a hop bomb with some sharp bitterness rounding everything off.
All in all this was a very drinkable beer, and a really tasty session IPA, reminding me ever so slightly of Cybernaut from BrewDog. Overall, an excellent start to the collab box.
BEER #2 - DDH Pilsner, 5% ABV, fEAT. Fourpure
Next up, in collaboration with Fourpure was a 5% ABV DDH (double dry hopped) Pilsner. Now, I'm not usually a pilsner/lager drinker, but I do appreciate one when it's made well, and those are both styles that Fourpure have a reputation for. I also don't recall ever having a pilsner from Tiny Rebel, so it was certainly an intriguing prospect.
DDH Pils pours an almost crystal clear amber colour, leaving a fingers width of a foamy off-white head. Initial aromas are notably grassy, hoppy, and some citrus lemon. The first sip, is clean, crisp and refreshing with some nice citrus flavours before being followed up by a harsh hoppy backbone, and a touch of resin - which, if I'm being honest, don't think worked too well for me.
Overall, this was a decent enough beer, whilst not quite suited to my taste. But I'm maybe being too harsh on it as this isn't really my preferred style.
Beer #3 - Tropical Sorbet IPA, 4.8% ABV, Feat. Neonraptor Brewing Co.
The next beer is one that I was particularly looking forward to - a 4.8% ABV Tropical Sorbet IPA, brewed in collaboration with Nottingham's Neonraptor Brewing Co. Neonraptor are a brewery that I've yet to experience first hand, but their beers are always eye-catching, and come with a good reputation. So that, combined with the beer itself - a Tropical Sorbet IPA, things were already looking good.
Tropical Sorbet IPA pours from the can (how cool is it?!) a quite clear golden orange colour, leaving less than a fingers width of a bubbly white head behind. Initial aromas are very pleasant - sharp, zesty, citrus aromas with loads of lemon, grapefruit, pineapple and a hint of mango fill your nose. One sip and you are met with tart, juicy fruit flavours; more lemon, grapefruit, and loads of pineapple all come together nicely to make this very drinkable.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable beer - absolutely jam packed full of juicy flavours and extremely drinkable. The only thing I would say is that I would have probably said it was more a sour than an IPA? But that doesn't take away from how tasty this beer was!
Beer #4 - Dark Chocolate & Cherry Barley Wine, 11% ABV, Feat. Siren
The next beer, is certainly an interesting one for me, as it's a style that I'm not overly familiar with - barley wine. This beer, in particular, is a dark chocolate & cherry barley wine brewed in collaboration with Siren, that comes in at 11% ABV. Siren are usually on point when it comes to interesting flavours, so I was pretty excited about this one.
The beer pours from the can (how cool is this can, by the way?!) a deep burgundy colour, semi translucent, leaving a small beige head, that disperses pretty fast. Initial aromas are very sweet, with chocolate & cherry immediately noticeable, with a hint of caramel running through it. Much like the aromas, the initial flavours are very sweet, with caramel, chocolate & malts, laced with black cherries - it was a bit like liquid black forest gateaux. The flavours all balance out pretty well, and there's a warming boozy finish that packs quite a punch.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this beer - the flavours were complex and interesting, and whilst it wasn't perfect - it definitely left me wanting to try out more barley wines in the future.
Beer #5 - NEIPA, 6.8% ABV, Feat. Deya
Next up is the beer that I was probably most looking forward to in this box - the 6.8% ABV NEIPA, brewed in collaboration with Deya, who are quite the masters of this craft. A particular favourite beer style of mine - there's not much better than a juicy, hazy, NEIPA hop bomb when it comes to beer.
This NEIPA pours from the can, a surprising haze-less dark orange colour, leaving a small foamy white head behind. Firstly, this beer smells absolutely wonderful, with loads of peach, apricot and citrus up front, which is backed up with a piney resin aroma. However, after the first sip - things aren't as great as they first smell. Something is amiss here, sure the peach and apricot show themselves, but they aren't quite working, and I think that there's also slightly too much carbonation. There's a good helping of hoppy bitterness at the end to rescue things slightly, but overall I was left unimpressed - this certainly wasn't what I was hoping for from these two.
Sure, it was a perfectly drinkable beer, it just didn't deliver on the levels that I was hoping for.
Beer #6 - Imperial Mocha Vanilla Shot Stout, 0.5% ABV, Feat. Big Drop Brewing
Next up we have a really interesting one. When I first ordered this box, I thought that this beer was actually 10.5% ABV, and then about a week before it was released, it came to my attention that it actually was 0.5% ABV. Initially I was a bit gutted, as this box was already expensive enough, but the more I thought about it, the more this beer intrigued me. For this one, there was only really one way to do it - join forces with the biggest low alcohol breweries around, Big Drop.
Firstly, I just want to mention the can. It is easily the coolest looking can in the box, featuring an awesome pixel art, video game style - I think it actually could be the coolest looking can I've ever laid hands on. This beer pours from the can, a dark black colour, leaving a thin beige head around the top of the glass. There's not much else to say about the aromas other than vanilla and coffee - loads of it! One sip of this beer, and you think you are drinking a rather tasty iced coffee; lots of sweet vanilla combine with lovely coffee and chocolate flavours to bring this beer together nicely. It is incredibly sweet, silky smooth and the lack of alcohol make it very easy drinking.
I was very impressed by this collaboration. If this is what low-alcohol beers can be, then I am all for it. It is about time we had a bigger, tastier selection on the shelves.
Beer #7 - Pomegranate & Molasses Belgian Strong Ale, 8% ABV, Feat. Yeastie Boys
Finally, we have a 8% ABV Pomegranate & Molasses Belgian Strong Ale, brewed in Collaboration with Yeastie Boys. Yeastie Boys have been part of some of the biggest collabs around over the last year or so (including the epic stout with Vocation), so it only makes sense for Tiny Rebel to team up with these guys to celebrate their birthday. This was another style that I was unfamiliar with, but the flavours sounded extremely interesting, so I was rather keen to check it out.
This beer pours from the glass an amber brown colour, leaving a thin beige head at the top of it. Initial aromas are caramel, orange, sweet fruits with a hint of spices. The first sip is full-on sweetness, with brown sugar, caramel and molasses followed by a hint of pomegranate and some orange. There's then a warming finish from some festive spices to round everything off.
Overall, I found this beer to be...Ok. There was something with it that I couldn't quite put my finger on that didn't work for me. It certainly wasn't horrible, and I drank the whole thing, but I think the combination of all the flavours just wasn't my thing.
And that's it! Although there were a couple of slight mishaps along the way, I really enjoyed working my way through special box of beers. In particular, my favourites were the Citra Session IPA (the first one I had!) with Magic Rock, and the Tropical Sorbet IPA with Neon Raptor, followed by the low alcohol stout with Big Drop.
If you are up for trying some really interesting flavoured beers, along with an awesome glass, all packaged together in a really cool box, then I would highly recommend picking this up whilst you still can. I guess the only thing left to say is happy birthday Tiny Rebel, here's to the next seven years! 🍻
Manual Brewing Co.
It's always exciting when a new Scottish brewery pops up, especially in the rather mysterious way that Dundee based Manual Brewing Co. did. Cryptic posts from their social media accounts started popping up all over the place, showcasing their rather awesome sounding beers. It was all very exciting, and intriguing, and I was looking forward to getting my hands on some of their beers.
Hop Shop Aberdeen was on the ball as usual, and I managed to pick up Tickets, Please - which is an 8.5% ABV NE DIPA (my favourite style of beer), coming in a 440ml can, and here's the official description from Manual Brewing:
"Dry-hopped with Mosaic, Amarillo and Azacca, fermented with a blend of London Ale III and Burlington yeast strains = tropical, stone fruit, pine, wheat, haze. Suitable for vegans."
I was really looking forward to this beer. There was a lot of hype surrounding it, and naturally, I was hoping it lived up to it.
First up, starting with the pretty cool looking can art. I don't know why, but the rather minimalist style of their designs instantly remind me of Cloudwater for some reason...nothing wrong with that however - I like it.
Tickets, Please pours from the can a hazy, bright, golden orange colour, leaving a finger of a foamy white head. Aromas are huge, sweet, juicy fruits; peach, mango and pineapple combine with a slight creaminess and a hint of pine to leave your mouth watering! Flavour wise, this beer does not disappoint either - those juicy stone fruit and tropical fruit flavours are at the forefront with lashings of peach, pineapple, mango and orange before a touch of bitterness from the pine rounds it all off - lovely stuff! This is a full-on NE DIPA, if maybe only ever so slightly lacking in the bitterness for me. The beer has a slight creaminess to the texture, and the alcohol is well hidden amongst the fruit flavours, making it extremely drinkable and I certainly enjoyed every single second of it.
Overall, I really don't think I can fault this beer, and it's almost everything I look for in a NE DIPA. It's certainly a promising start for Manual Brewing, and I now look forward to working my way through their other beers, and of course what comes next for them. I highly recommend checking them out, and this beer, in particular, is absolutely worth your money.
Tickets, Please gets 4.75 out of 5 from me 🍻