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 🍻
Next up for review is Pulp - a 8% ABV DIPA by Verdant, who are undoubtedly one of the hottest names in UK craft beer right now. Whilst I wasn't too hot on two of their pale ale's Headband & Lightbulb, I had high expectations for this beer after seeing some of the buzz for it online. As always, Hop Shop Aberdeen delivered the goods & I secured my can as soon as it was available. Here's what Verdant have to say about this one:
"This double IPA is bigger in every way but still retains a dry finish that hides its strength. Massive fruit aromas and flavours combined with hazy golden looks and chewy body really do make this beer a stone fruit pulp fest!"
It sounds like an absolute winner, and I have a feeling I may just be right...
Pulp! pours a hazy tangerine colour from its bright purple can, leaving a foamy white head. The aromas are quite typical of this style of DIPA; big juicy tropical fruits of mango & pineapple along with some peach and a helping of piney hops. Wonderful stuff!
The flavours are just as exciting as the aromas themselves; huge juicy flavours up front - orange, pineapple, mango & peach are then balanced out with a crisp, bitter finish. This beer is quite similar to a NEIPA style, however not quite as thick & pulpy. It really is great to drink
This has been an awesome beer that has got me even more excited about Verdant. Between this & their excellent collaboration with Beavertown, I can't wait to see what comes next & hopefully sooner rather than later, I can get my hands on the elusive DIPA called Putty.
Overall Pulp! gets 4.25 out of 5 from me 🍻
Following the crushing disappointment of Indie Pale Ale earlier this year, BrewDog are back with a new addition to their Core range (which includes Elvis Juice & Jack Hammer). Native Son is a 8.5% ABV West Coast Double IPA that is now in full production following a successful prototype period last year & here's what BrewDog have to say about it:
"Our latest Amplified beer, Native Son is now in our core range and is now fully available.
The brainchild of our Head of Production Jason Pond, and one of his first two recipes after joining the good ship BrewDog, it is one of the truest representations of a classic American IPA that we’ve brewed to date.
Dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Centennial, it has a superb combination of tropical and citrus fruit, with huge fresh grassy notes, and a big savoury smack of dank hop. Native Son clocks in at double IPA strength, but has effortless drinkability, with crystal malt providing light complexity and a shred of sweetness – no big chewy toffee notes. Bittered with Columbus and Chinook, there’s a driving bassline of pine; both sticky resin and cut wood – a building presence that melds beautifully with the green hop notes."
Indie Pale Ale definitely wasn't for me, however I have a feeling that Native Son could be right up my street. It sounds like an absolute banger! Although is it going to be worthy enough to stand alongside Elvis Juice, Jack Hammer & Cocoa Psycho?
First up the can art is signature Brewdog, this time opting for a royal blue colour scheme. Native Son pours a clear golden amber with a small white head that disperses very quickly - there seems to be little to no carbonation present. Aromas are initially malts, lots of hops & pine before being followed by some citrus/tropical fruits; orange, grapefruit & mango mainly.
On taste, the first thing you notice is the bitterness - it smacks you right in the face. It's backed up by loads of pine & oily resin. I didn't get too much fruit flavours - there was certainly citrus grapefruit in there, but it's the overpowering bitterness that really takes hold of this beer. There is almost no carbonation in the body, and the texture is very oily. While the sheer bitterness of this beer may overpower almost all the other flavours, it's not to say I didn't enjoy it - because I did. I'm a huge fan of DIPA's & while this may not be the best one I've ever had, the flavours did work well together, and it was enjoyable & easy to drink.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid beer & whilst it's certainly no Elvis Juice or Hazy Jane, it is a massive improvement on BrewDog's first offering of the year. If you are partial to a DIPA, then I encourage you to give Native Son a go.
Native Son gets 3.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
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 🍻