They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Yeah, but.....

We're starting to see a little bit of a trend forming at the moment whereby a brewery will take one of their well know beers, basically double the strength of it and release it as a limited edition, special beer. I don't see this as a hard thing to do. Upping the abv of a beer is an easy task for an experienced brewer. Charging twice as much for the beer, at the end of the day, is a bit of a marketing ploy. And a clever one at that, don't get me wrong!

Let's look at some of the recent examples that've come through the shop over the past few months:

William's Brothers Joker & Double Joker
Buxton Imperial Black & Battle Horse
Buxton Axe Edge & Double Axe
Ilkley Mary Jane & Mary Jane IPA
Pressure Drop Bosko & Bosko Absoluto
Magic Rock Cannonball & Un Human Cannonball

I'm sure there are more, but asked for the beer I'm drinking right now; It's that well talked about Jaipur X. It's a beer they brewed to celebrate their 10th birthday, and rightly so, I'm not saying don't celebrate. What I will say is though that I personally think there's about 75% of these amped-up beers that don't work because of their increased abvs..! They seem too big for their own good. The alcohol masks the flavours with a prickly warming heat which distracts from what the beer was in the first place.

I can foresee a few coming in the current year as well...

Siren Soundwave & Ultrasonic
Weird Beard 5 O'clock Shadow & 10 O'clock Shadow
Beavertown Gamma Ray & Quasar Beam
Wild Beer Co Madness & Beyond Madness
Red Willow Ageless & Deathless
Roosters Baby Faced AssassinBabygesichtige Attentäter

Ok, maybe these are a bit far fetched, but are they though?? I think the problem lies in the fact that if you have such a good beer to begin with, why would you want to mess with it? When you have a beer that's so well know, so well loved, there's going to be a few things to happen when you make it stronger..

On the one hand you're going to get the beer nerd die hards who'll say yeah, it's good, but it's not as good as the original. Hashtag 'not my beer!' totes..

On another hand you'll get people saying, yeah it's really good, I really like it, but it's completely different.. Why didn't they just package it as something else...

And then you'll have the beige group who'll just stump at the cash without having an opinion because it's what everyone else is buying.

For me it's not progression.. Of course you should, and need to pay homage to the past, but it's not moving forward. Love the beers you've made, respect them, keep them alive and move on. It's not forgetting them! Jaipur X is a really nice beer, (go out and buy it, you should!) but I'd prefer a pint of regular Jaipur and set my lustful eye on their Bamberg Smoked Bock that's coming out soon. That for me is progression.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Beer "Hype"

We've been having discussions in the shop recently about a phenomenon which I'm going to call Dark Lord-itis. We feel that some breweries are making one off beers and creating such a hype about them on social media that by the time they're put on the shelves they're already sold out! And some of the time these beers in question aren't even very good! (but that's another blog all together..)

A current example I can call on is Beavertown's Bloody Ell Orange IPA. We had people asking us for this beer over twitter weeks before we got any in.. It's a beer we got in yesterday (Thursday) and in under 20 hours we sold out of all three cases we received. More are coming, but they won't last long. That's 72 cans, if you look at our five best selling products (not just beers) for those twenty hours it seems pretty ridiculous;

1- Beavertown Bloody Ell cans - 72
2- Beavertown Gamma Ray cans - 22
3- Carlsberg Lager cans - 16
4- Roosters Fort Smith cans - 15
5- Beavertown Neck Oil cans - 14

These are our five best sellers for the past twenty hours in a shop that has around 1000 items. Just let that sink in....

Another few breweries that have had a similar beers pull at people's heart strings only just recently are as follows;

Magic Rock Un-Human Cannonball
Buxton Double Axe
Roosters Baby Faced Assassin
The Rainbow Project Beers

I'm sure there are plenty more but don't even get me started on Thornbridge X which will be hitting our shelves next week. People have been asking after that for over a month!

The thing is I've not really come to a conclusion if Dark Lord-itis is a good thing or not.. I guess time will tell. If there is one thing I know for absolute certainty though, it's this - If you're going to make a limited edition beer, there will always, always, be some people left disappointed.

I think a future blog post will be focussing on when exactly did the hype created by twitter outweigh the quality of a beer...

Monday, 9 February 2015

Foreign Export Orval

After dabbling back in blending beers again recently, it seems I'm not the only one.. I've been inspired by Boak & Bailey's Orval blending over the last few weeks and thought it time to try one of my own, so here goes!

One bottle of Orval, one bottle of Partizan Foreign Export Stout, all in one glass!

You'd think a big punchy 8+% Stout would dominate the meager comparison of Orval's 6.2%, but it seemed to do the opposite! The sweet hay like Bretty flavours were really at the forefront of the drink, and the big roasted Stout flavours came in the finish.

You get all the flavours of Orval, and they are complimented by a big boozy, roasted punch in the finish. This could be because of the heavier nature of the Stout and it sinking a little beneath the Orval.. We'll have to see at the end of the glass!

For now though, I'm thoroughly enjoying this mix and am thinking of others I could do! After all I do work in a place full of possibilities....

Monday, 2 February 2015

Black n Tan Business

It's been a while since I did any beer blending so I thought it about time I put down some ideas. If there's anyone out there who says blending beers together is heathenistic well I can only note that it's been common practice in this country for a few centuries now, so get off your high horse...  

Mad Hatter brewery have been around on our shelves for a while now, and it's good to see them still churning out the good and interesting stuff. This black n tan was a creation of immense proportions. Rye IPA supercharged with Columbus hops meets the eight robust and complex malts of one hell of a porter! These two just work so well in a glass together it's actually rather amusing to me! It has it all, it starts off with the clean citrus, grassy style hops which are so dominant in US beers. It then moves to a big caramel malts and burnt sugar sweetness which is perfectly balanced against the yang of rye spice which creeps in the background. The roasted porter flavours are present all the way through, but they don't linger. They just melt away in the finish and you're brought back to  the clean citrus bite which makes you want more.

You need to try this.

My next mix of the night was from Buxton. These two beers just seemed so damn obvious to blend I was mad at myself for not doing this months ago! Axe Edge with it's hoppy glory, and Tsar Imperial Stout, famous for tearing up rule books of how to make beer. This was another blend that was just too good! I mean really so good I can't put it down. That being said....

Enough words, time for beer.

(that could be the 4 strong beers in quick succession talking..)

Thursday, 29 January 2015

That Type of Weather!

It seems winter is on the war path at the moment, with Leeds seeing it's fair share of blizzard conditions today. Let's just say it made our regular beer delivery rather interesting...! That being said, one of the advantages of January is snow, and that means beer snow cones!

I'm steering clear of the Belgian fruit beers this year, as they just weren't sweet enough for me. I'm sticking to the tried and trusted: The Imperial Stout. And one with a lot of flavour too! A 13% Imperial Oatmeal Stout brewed with copious amounts of vanilla and coffee :)

This was a good choice. The high alcohol wasn't fazed by a little bit of an ice addition. Massive flavours of icy vanilla dominated the palate just like the first big gulp of iced coffee smothered in a chocolate and vanilla frosting. While I enjoyed the cone, I couldn't help but feel that this one (like last years) just didn't match up to the original Bourbon County Stout snow cone I made.

I shall have to keep trying I guess. Till the thaw occurs I'm going to try enjoy this brief flurry of powder. I probably only say that now as I'm typing this in front of the fire eating Guylian chocolates with the rest of this 13% beer... What a match!!