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 🍻
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 🍻
Magic Rock x Other Half
Earlier this year when I was researching breweries for our trip to New York City, one brewery that caught my eye was Other Half Brewing; they seemed to be extremely highly rated & had plenty of cool looking cans on their Instagram page. Now, unfortunately I did not get to sample any of their beers when I was there...however it now seems that they have come to me.
Half Cut is a collaboration between Huddersfield based Magic Rock & Other Half Brewing out of Brooklyn, NYC. Sold in 500ml cans, Half Cut is a 8% ABV DIPA that currently has a 99% overall rating on RateBeer. Here's what Magic Rock have to say about it:
"A DIPA collaboration with our friends from Brooklyn, Other Half Brewing. Along with our pale malt Golden Promise, the beer uses a reasonably large percentage of oats in the mash for a creamy body and soft mouthfeel.
A low bitterness target (for a DIPA) of around 60IBU was aimed for and Citra, Mosaic & Denali hops added to the whirlpool for loads of tropical/citrus flavour. We went heavy on the dry hopping with lots more Citra and Mosaic as well as some Simcoe, Amarillo & HBC 438. The finished beer has a really punchy aroma as well as a super juicy fruit like flavour and soft mouthfeel."
My ever dependable bottleshop Westhill Service Station managed to get some of these in, and I was delighted to get my hands on one.
Well this one is a bit special.
Opening the wonderfully designed can instantly releases big hoppy aromas, fused with loads of tropical fruits; mango, pineapple, passion fruit & some citrus orange.
It fills the glass a wonderful hazy, murky golden orange with a big foamy beige head.
The taste is incredible. Quite bitter on the first sip, with big hoppy, piney flavours but that soon relaxes to make way for the fruit. Again, tropical fruits combined with citrus orange give this beer an excellent mouthfeel that balances the bitterness perfectly.
I've raved about Magic Rock in the past. They make excellent beer. Teaming up with these heavy hitters from NYC has resulted in an outstanding beer. I can't recommend this one enough.
5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
The Kings In The North
Lately, I have been enjoying lots of awesome beer from Magic Rock Brewing. They make some seriously awesome beer. Beer that rival some of my favourites by Beavertown & Brewdog. I'm gonna give you a little rundown of some of the beers I have tried.
They first came to my attention by seeing some of their cans in Brewdog's bottleshop. Thinking they looked quite cool, I decided to pick a few of them up. Cannonball & Inhaler were the first two I tried, and as my taste expanded, I tried more and more. They definitely provide some of the more interesting beers on the market, with High Wire, and Salty Kiss being prime examples. Magic Rock have a core range of 9 different beers, as well as a HUGE back catalogue of limited releases and collaborations.
My local bottleshop, Westhill Service Station do a great job of stocking the core line of beers, and have also managed to get in some of the limited runs & collaborations. So far, I have tried the following beers by Magic Rock:
Without doubt my absolute favourite is High Wire Grapefruit, followed closely by Big Dipper. High Wire is awesome. Grapefruit works excellently in a Pale Ale, with another awesome example being Elvis Juice by Brewdog. High Wire, however, takes the crown for me.
If you have never tried a beer by Magic Rock, I would recommend at least trying High Wire Grapefruit, and Salty Kiss...they are both packed full of awesome flavours, and I can guarantee, that will not be the only can of High Wire Grapefruit that you ever have. I have never had a bad beer from them yet.
They have also today, announced their first collaboration of 2017 - with The Wild Beer Co. These guys have been doing awesome things lately, and I cannot wait to see what they can do together.
Magic Rock were formed in 2011 by two brothers; Richard and Jonny Burhouse and their head brewer Stuart Ross. Within six months, they had built up and excellent reputation and were named 2nd best new brewery in the world, 2012.
In 2015 the brewery moved to a new Brewery in Birkby, Huddersfield, which increased their capacity to 10,000hl PA. Since then, The Magic Rock Tap launched and they did their first run of cans. In early 2016, their capacity increased by a further 100% to a total fermentation capacity of 70,000 litres.
You can find out more about Magic Rock in the following places:
I can't wait to see what they do next 🍻
Magic Rock x Cloudwater
Happy New Year beer drinkers! For my first post of 2017, I’m going to be reviewing the collaboration between Magic Rock & Cloudwater – Big Dipper.
Big Dipper is a 8.3% ABV Double IPA, that is a new recipe that is loosely based on the ‘Three’s Company’ collaboration they brewed together for Manchester Beer Week last Summer. This is the third Magic Rock beer to be packed in labelled 500ml cans that feature Rich Norgate’s awesome artwork and one of the first beers to be put through their new centrifuge.
Described by Magic Rock as: “A collaborative Double IPA brew with our friends from over t’hills Cloudwater Brew Co. Golden Promise, Wheat, Oat and Crystal Malt were used for a smooth, golden, malty body. A combination of Magnum, Citra, Simcoe, Eureka and Mosaic T90 hops were used in the whirlpool and dry hopping, with additional Citra – ‘Cryo Hops™ Lupulin Powder’ added in the dry hop. Fermented with US ‘Double IPA’ yeast the result is a massively fruit-filled DIPA with loads of Mango and Peach aroma & flavour and gravity-defying drinkability. Strap yourself in!”
Again picked up from Westhill Service Station, I was certainly looking forward to trying this beer...
Cracking the awesomely designed can, you are greeted with a big whiff of mixed citrus fruit...good start. The beer pours a light hazy orange with a small foamy white head. On taste you get dry, citrus orange flavours backed up by huge bitter hops. I think that DIPA's excel with a good amount of bitterness from hops (Looking at you Bloody Notorious!) so this beer was definitely too my taste. One thing for sure, this beer is FAR too drinkable for a DIPA at 8.3% ABV. Dangerous stuff!
You can buy Big Dipper online at:
Overall, I loved this beer, and it carries on the excellent experience I've had with any Magic Rock beer I've tried - I will definitely be doing a blog post about them as a brewery in the future.
Big Dipper gets a solid 4.5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻