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 🍻
BrewDog & Friends
Sometimes you just know that a beer is going to rock. As soon as BrewDog announced this beer, I knew it was going to rock. I've been waiting for BrewDog to release an absolute banger of a beer this year, something along the lines of their Cloudwater collaborations...and this may be just the beer. Brewed in collaboration with Northern Monk, Deya, Cloudwater, Magic Rock, Seventh Son, Stillwater Artisanal & The Bruery - Eight-Bit is a 8% ABV New England style IPA. Here's the official description from BrewDog:
"Eight-Bit was brewed in collaboration alongside each of the breweries that joined us at this year's #PunkAGM2018 - Northern Monk, Deya, Cloudwater, Magic Rock, Seventh Son, Stillwater Artisanal, The Bruery and of course - us! Each brewery contributed a different hop to the beer, adding a shed load of hop-forward goodness!
We tapped into a style that several of the collaborating breweries are masters of, and with all those hops in the mix, it only made sense that we brew a New England IPA. Coming in at 8% ABV, Eight-Bit is as soft and juicy as you'd expect from this beloved sub-style, with the several hop additions bringing out stonefruit, tropical notes and a hit of citrus coming through from the addition of orange peel."
I have a good feeling about this one.
Starting off with the impressive 500ml can; jet black with eight silver brewery logos and silver text, it looks seriously cool (although it was a pain in the ass to photograph!).
Eight-bit pours from the can an extremely hazy golden yellow colour, leaving a thin white head. The aromas are absolutely glorious - tonnes of big juicy fruits; pineapple, mango, orange & peach combine with a whack of piney bitterness get your taste buds going before the first sip. There is loads going on flavour wise too; sweet peach flavours are at the forefront, combining with juicy mango, pineapple & a slight grassy bitterness at the end. The carbonation is soft, and it is extremely smooth drinking - part of me was worried that this could be a case of too many cooks, but man was I wrong...this beer is glorious.
This beer 100% lived up to the hype and more. This is what I've been waiting for this year from BrewDog. I know they had a little help from their friends but it speaks to the fact that when BrewDog are good, they can be up there with the best. Try this beer if you get the chance, you will love it.
Eight-Bit gets 5 out of 5 hops from me 🍻
Sometimes a beer comes along that is just bat-shit mental. That's exactly what Northern Monk have done here. Teaming up with UK movie distribution company Tribal Films, they have brewed a beer to celebrate the home release of the 5th instalment in the Sharknado movie franchise, titled Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. Sharknado is a 5.5% ABV blood orange & sea salt IPA. Here's the official brief from Northern Monk:
"To coincide with the Home Entertainment release of Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, the latest in the comedy-horror-disaster film franchise, UK distributor Tribal Films has partnered with us to produce a limited run of Sharknado themed beer!
A Blood Orange and Sea Salted IPA with milk sugar addition for a smoother mouthfeel."
Now, I have absolutely no idea how this collaboration came about, and it seems utterly mental...but I love it. It will be interesting to see how this beer compares to other blood orange IPA's such as the mighty Bloody 'Ell by Beavertown.
First up, the can looks absolutely awesome - it is basically a movie poster, featuring the lead characters, wrapped around the can.
Sharknado pours from the can a translucent ruby red colour, leaving a slightly pink, foamy white head. The aromas are instantly zesty bloody orange, sweet sugar strawberries & a hint of grapefruit. Taste wise, the blood orange is full on from the first sip; sweet, juicy & ever so slightly sour. It's then all rounded off with the slightest hint of the sea salt - it's there, but it's definitely not overpowering or off putting, it all tastes rather great. This beer is very easy to drink, it has the perfect balance between an IPA & a sour beer that I can imagine would make for perfect summer drinking.
Overall, this was an awesome beer that I didn't want to end. For something that could be laughed off as a marketing gimmick, and whilst their beers rarely disappoint, Northern Monk really have pulled it out the bag here. It doesn't quite edge out Bloody 'Ell as my favourite blood orange IPA, but it is still a damn great beer.
Sharknado gets 4.5 out of 5 from me 🍻
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 🍻
Northern Monk x Verdant x Deya
Northern Monk's Patrons Project has produced some fantastic beers, one of them being the excellent Peanut Butter & Jelly Brown Ale.
Hazemaker is a collaboration between 3 of the UK's most exciting breweries; Northern Monk of course, Verdant & Deya. A blend of 3 different hops, Hazemaker is a 7.4% ABV IPA. It also features some incredible artwork by artist Jon Simmons. Here's the official lowdown:
"An extraordinary hazy collaboration between Northern Monk, Verdant & Deya. A jab of Amarillo, a right hook of Simcoe and an uppercut of Columbus hops equate to one knockout brew. Put your taste buds to the taste against the juicy tropical fruit flavours and punchy pine notes."
Sounds like a winner right?
Well this beer is a winner. It pours a hazy golden amber, leaving a thick foamy white head. Very hoppy on the nose, along with plenty citrus and tropical fruits.
Taste is similar to the aromas; plenty citrus and tropical fruits up front - orange, mango & pineapple. These are followed up with some nice piney, hoppy bitterness to give it a great finish.
Overall this is a really solid IPA that these fantastic breweries have conjured up - I would highly recommend it.
4 out of 5 hops from me 🍻