DIPA V12 by Cloudwater

Tuesday, 28 February 2017
DIPA V12 by Cloudwater
Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Beer Name: DIPA V12

Brewer: Cloudwater Brew Co., Manchester, England

Date Sampled:  27th February 2017

ABV: 9%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

You can have too much of a good thing right? Well if you're talking about Cloudwater DIPAs then no, I say just keep them coming.

The Cloudwater V11 is without doubt one of the best beers I've drunk this year (possibly ever but that'll take some more thought) and their special Birthday DIPA was another master class in modern heavy hopped brewing.

This V12 (officially released only a couple of days before the Birthday DIPA) represents the latest in the now monthly Cloudwater offerings and suggests that we're now at recipe refinement stage rather than revolution. I guess when you've already brewed something so good the last thing you want to do is fiddle with it too much.

V12 looks lovely, the now familiar golden haze slightly more translucent than V11. It has a white head which laces well, sliding down the glass as the beer disappears.

The nose, whilst not as fruit-punchy as previous incarnations, is jam packed with tropical aromas. Mango and pineapple dominate, along with hints of pine.

The mango follows through strongly, along with the pine which is more evident than in V11 and in that respect, this has more in common with the birthday DIPA.

V12 has lovely finish with just the right amount of mouth watering lip smacking bitterness, making the whole thing incredibly drinkable.

Cloudwater have produced another remarkable beer in V12, which although for me doesn't quite eclipse V11, demonstrates once again why they are gaining such a reputation across the globe.

I have seen some comments suggesting these monthly releases may be causing a 'DIPA fatigue' amongst some beer lovers. Whilst I don't agree with that sentiment, I do feel that whether these monthly releases all remain as 'must buys' will depend on what each beer offers. If, as I expect, each version is simply a tweak on the now established awesome beer, then I'm not sure that I will buy every month. Instead, with the Cloudwater DIPA's actually relatively easy to get hold of these days, I can foresee a situation where it becomes a 'go to' beer which can be relied upon to represent the gold standard of UK DIPA brewing which also offers subtle difference according to which version is currently on sale.

Either way, regardless of which version you're able to get hold of (providing it's fresh), if you're looking for a British brewed DIPA that can hang with some of the very best East Coast USA juice bombs then you have to give Cloudwater a go.






Milk Shake by Wiper and True

Monday, 27 February 2017
Milk Shake by Wiper and True
Monday, 27 February 2017

Beer Name: Milk Shake Milk Stout

Brewer: Wiper and True, Bristol, England

Date Sampled:  23rd February 2017

ABV: 5.7%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

This is my first ever beer from Wiper and True, another craft brewer from what is fast becoming the hoptastic hotbed that is the South West of England.

Without a facility to call home, they describe themselves as nomadic and brew in a number of locations, an approach that seems to work well for established beer guerrillas Evil Twin.

This bottle of their Milk Shake Milk Stout was part of my most recent order from Hoptimism.

It pours a think glossy dark brown, almost black, with no real carbonation or head to speak of.

The nose is delightful, with chocolate, brown sugar and vanilla giving it the aroma of a decadent desert.

All of this carries through into the flavour, along with some rich malts; if you try and imagine a beer crossed with a luxurious dark chocolate truffle then you're somewhere close to what this Milk Stout offers.

This really is a very good milk stout, full of flavour with barely a hint of any alcohol. I look forward to ploughing through many more of the Wiper and True range.








Birthday DIPA by Cloudwater

Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Birthday DIPA by Cloudwater
Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Beer Name: Birthday DIPA

Brewer: Cloudwater Brew Co., Manchester, England

Date Sampled:  22nd February 2017

ABV: 9%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

I don't think I've seen any UK beer releases cause the same level of immediate excitement and buzz as when Cloudwater revealed on social media that they were releasing a very limited special second birthday DIPA (Double IPA).

Announced on the 12th February for a release on the 13th and only available either via Eebria or in person from the brewery, the online stock was sold out within a couple of hours of it going live at 9.30am. Then through a combination of Cloudwater and Eebria's hard work and efficiency, come the morning of the 14th people were already receiving boxes of hoppy goodness!

It was a marketing master stroke; not only did I suffer from a crippling dose of FOMO (fear of missing out), but once I decided to get some of the Birthday DIPA it made sense to also order some cans of the V12 DIPA, you know, just to maximise the return on the postage costs. Fortunately my other half kindly offered to pick up the tab as my valentines gift; now that is love!

I am writing this review on the 22nd February, but as the beer was canned on the 13th of the month you can definitely still call it fresh. But I will also be referring to how the can tasted that I opened when I got home from work on the 14th.

I don't think anyone can dispute how amazing it looks; the hazy yellow orange sitting in the glass like a fruit juice, barely letting any light through, with just a hint of a creamy white head.

The nose continues the juice theme, with mango and pineapple the dominant tropical fruit aromas amongst many others. I think it may have mellowed slightly in the nine days since canning as the one I've opened tonight seems to have slightly less acidity than the first I tried.

It has a lovely thickness to it which, with the smooth carbonation, gives it a lovely mouth feel.

There is no doubt that this Birthday DIPA tastes amazing. Flavours of mango, peach, pineapple and pithy grapefruit fill your mouth, but the resinous pine stops this from simply being an alcoholic fruit smoothie. In fact there's a bitterness, especially in the can opened today, that hasn't been evident in the previous Cloudwater DIPAs that I've tried. But I couldn't tell you where the alcohol is hidden as there's not much of the 9% ABV evident from the first sip to the last.

Cloudwater have produced something very special with this Birthday DIPA. It actually isn't my favourite from them; V11 for me, with it's lack of bitterness, is close to perfection for this style of beer and is scarily easy drinking. But I am fully aware that this is simply personal preference. This Birthday DIPA is chock full of hops and has an incredible depth of flavours and aromas.

In this Birthday DIPA Cloudwater are again showing that the East Coast of the USA does not have the monopoly in fruity cloudy DIPA juice bombs. They have recently announced that they are going to be running this recipe again and this is great news for beer drinkers across the UK, Europe and (if they can get hold of it) even further afield. If you didn't get to try it this time around then do what you can to grab hold of can, you won't regret it.










Black House by Modern Times

Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Black House by Modern Times
Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Beer Name: Black House

Brewer: Modern Times Beer, San Diego, California, USA

Date Sampled:  21st February 2017

ABV: 5.8%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

I've had this in my stash for a while now but due to the number of fresh extra hoppy beers that I'd be picking up this one kept slipping down my 'to drink' list. When you consider how much I love Coffee Stouts along with how well I rated the other Modern Times beers (Oneida and Lomaland) I've gone into this with high hopes and I was not disappointed.

It pours a dark brown, almost black, with a mocha coloured head which fades quickly with little to no lacing.

The aroma is like sticking your head into a jar of cold brew coffee, with some subtle hints of vanilla adding an element of sweetness to the nose.

It is medium bodied, with just slightly more carbonation than expected.

The strong coffee aroma follows through into the taste; I'd go as far as saying it's one of the strongest coffee flavours I've experienced in a beer so far. The vanilla is still evident, along with dark chocolate bitterness, then as it warms up it opens up to reveal a dark caramel depth than wasn't obvious on first tasting.

Black House is neither as luxurious or as 'in your face' bonkers as some of the other coffee stouts that I've fallen in love with, but what Modern Times have done is pack a huge amount of flavour into a very easy and satisfying beer. I think it's great and now I'm even more desperate to get hold of the nitro version!




Double Stout by Time and Tide

Sunday, 19 February 2017
Double Stout by Time and Tide
Sunday, 19 February 2017

Beer Name: Double Stout

Brewer: Time and Tide Brewing, Deal, Kent, London, UK

Date Sampled: 12th February 2017

ABV: 9%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

Yep it's another Time and Tide review and this time I'm finally getting around to sharing my thoughts on their Double Stout.

In the looks department it has everything you'd want in a double stout. An almost jet black body and a light brown head that as it dissipates looks like the crema atop a freshly brewed espresso.

The nose has coffee, dark chocolate and a creamy sweetness that gives is a very luxurious aroma which is echoed in the smooth mouth feel.

On tasting the initial hit is the coffee following through from the nose, along with rich cocoa and dark malts, flavours that develop and mellow as the beer warms up.

Time and Tide's double stout doesn't have the big boozy finish that you find in a heavy dark beer from someone like Evil Twin, instead there's a very satisfying almost smoky bitter ending that leaves you wanting more.

It's another great beer from the Kentish brewer and with some of the new recipes they've got lined up I think it's safe to say that 2017 is going to be a good year for Time and Tide.

 



 

2016 GBG Beer Week IPA by Stigbergets

Saturday, 18 February 2017
2016 GBG Beer Week IPA by Stigbergets
Saturday, 18 February 2017

Beer Name: GBG Beer Week IPA

Brewer: Stigbergets Bryggeri, Gothenburg, Sweden

Date Sampled: 18th February 2017

ABV: 6.5%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

Whilst the craft beer scene is massive in the UK and USA, the impact that the rest of Europe is having cannot be overlooked. Brewers like Omnipollo, Mikkeller and Evil Twin (Guerrilla brewer originating in Denmark but now brewing all over) are championing the new beer revolution. Meanwhile traditional but world beating efforts from Delirium, Cantillon and others ensure that the rest of the globe cannot overlook the significance of European advancement in brewing techniques.

It should therefore come as no surprise that Europe is now the seat of further beervolution, with one of the newest brewers generating a lot of interest being Swedish brewers Stigbergets. Based in Gothenburg and only brewing since 2012, they shot into the consciousness of beer drinkers around the world when their special edition IPA, brewed for the 2016 Gothenburg Beer Week, was unleashed. After demand went through the roof it is now brewed regularly and has become part of their core line up, thankfully giving drinkers around the world the opportunity to try it. It featured in Rate Beers 2016 top 100 beers in the world and has won award and plaudits aplenty.

When a beer comes with this much hype there is always a fear that it will disappoint. Well Stigbergets' GBG IPA definitely does not.

It has a lovely appearance in the glass, with a hazy opaque finish and a crisp white head. It hasn't got the bright orange fruit juice appearance of something like a Cloudwater DIPA or Siren Ten Dollar Shake, but it's very appealing none the less.

It's aroma is like a glass full of summer, with pine, grapefruit and fresh cut grass filling your nostrils.

It has a medium body which, with it's lively carbonation, gives it a lovely mouth feel.

It tastes amazing. Whilst I've seen it lumped in with the New England style IPA's, it's a very different beast to the those absolute juice bombs that have you wondering whether you've actually drunk any alcohol. Instead, the combination of the pine coming through strongly from the nose, along with the pithy grapefruit bitterness, leaves you in no doubt that you're drinking a heavily hopped IPA. That's not to say that it's harsh; in fact the flavours are incredibly smooth, well rounded and the whole package is incredibly well rounded.

I am not surprised that this Stigbergets 2016 GBG Beer Week IPA has earned so much praise. It's an incredibly well put together beer and I can't wait to see what else they have to offer.





New England IPA by Brewdog and Cloudwater

Friday, 17 February 2017
New England IPA by Brewdog and Cloudwater
Friday, 17 February 2017

Beer Name: New England IPA

Brewer: Brewdog, Aberdeenshire, Scotland & Cloudwater Brew Co., Manchester, England

Date Sampled: 17th February 2017

ABV: 6.8%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

One thing I love about the craft beer scene is the unity and common purpose that seems to unite the many brewers. It's not uncommon to see breweries posting positive thoughts about competitor's beers, hosting tap takeovers by rivals and my personal favourite, beer collaborations.

Already in this relatively young blog I've reviewed collaborations between Weird Beard and Anspach & Hobday, Siren, Magic Rock & Beavertown, various between Buxton & Omnipollo including the amazing Yellow Belly, not to mention the seven ground breaking international pairings produced in the 2016 Rainbow Project.

This latest collaboration, which has gained a huge amount of buzz across social media, is between the brewing and marketing monster that is Brewdog and the current darlings of the UK craft scene, Cloudwater.

Brewdog have inadvertently, and probably unfairly, become a bit of dirty word to some hardcore craft beer aficionados. Lambasted for what some believe to be selling out by allowing their beers to be sold in supermarkets, it's not uncommon to hear grumbles about a down turn in quality and innovation. Whilst brewing on a huge scale clearly means each batch doesn't get the same close attention that a smaller brewer would be able to offer, I can't see any drawback to having beers as good as Punk IPA available so readily. When you also consider some of the small batch offerings that Brewdog still produce, as well as the string of bars that are opening around the country selling craft beer from brewers all over the world, as a driving force of great beer I think they are still doing a lot of good.

Manchester based Cloudwater Brew Co. are of course riding atop the crest of a juicy hazy DIPA wave. Recently crowned best brewery in England and the fifth best in the world at the Rate Beer awards, Cloudwater have built their reputation on top quality seasonal beers, not least the hugely fussworthy DIPA series. As you'll see from my recent review of version 11, Cloudwater have nailed the juicy east coast America style DIPAs and in my view deserve all of the plaudits that are coming their way.

So when you consider all of the above, this New England IPA by Brewdog and Cloudwater came with a lot of expectations riding on it's shoulders and I'm happy to say it deliver's everything you'd hope for.

Straight from pouring you know this beer is the business; hazy yellow with a lovely white head that laces beautifully, and an obviously thick unctuous body.

The aromas are full of fruit, with mango, grapefruit, pineapple and citrus combining with a hint of fresh cut grass sweetness to give you a nose that screams summer.

These fruits and more are all evident on tasting, with sweet apricot joining the mix before the grapefruit, more pithy now, finishes it all off.

This New England IPA packs a serious fruit punch and whilst it's not quite as 'full on fruit juice' as Cloudwater's recent V11 DIPA, that's no bad thing. This actually maintains more of a beer flavour and would offer a great alternative to those that felt that V11 was just too much fruit and not enough beer (I wasn't one of this by the way!).

I hope this collaboration between Brewdog and Cloudwater becomes a regular thing as this beer is an absolute beauty and I'd implore anyone to give it a try if they get a chance.






Guardian of Peace by Moor Beer Company

Friday, 10 February 2017
Guardian of Peace by Moor Beer Company
Friday, 10 February 2017

Beer Name: Guardian of Peace

Brewer: Moor Beer Company, Bristol, England

Date Sampled: 10th February 2017

ABV: 7%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

"For over a thousand generations, the Jedi were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic - before the dark times. Before the Empire." Obi Wan Kenobi.

When the brewer themselves say they've designed this beer to celebrate their love for Star Wars, there was no way I wasn't going to use one of my lego figures in these photographs. And thanks to the generosity of The Polish List I have the man himself, Obi Wan Kenobi, all ready to take his place defending the galaxy.

As someone who is old enough to remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the cinema on it's release, I have a huge amount of love for the original trilogy. Then as a student I remember the crushing disappointment of seeing The Phantom Menace on opening night. Aside from Darth Maul the movie for me was a huge let down; a mess of CGI, awful dialogue and lets not talk about Jar Jar Binks. Sadly episodes two and three didn't really do much to turn the tide either.

Thankfully JJ Abrams restored my faith with his superb entry into the Star Wars saga in 2015. The Force Awakens tiptoed very closely to the line of homage or fan fiction, but for me it actually struck a near perfect balance, honouring the original movies whilst still offering it's own ground breaking and breath taking sequences. Then Rogue One came along in Christmas 2016 and delivered something altogether very different; closer to a Western or classic WWII thriller than a Sci Fi but still delivering an amazing Star Wars experience.

It's finally a good time again to be a cinema loving fan of a galaxy far far away.

Anyway, onto the beer, which thankfully despite being inspired by Star Wars is a lot nicer than a Tupperware full of blue milk.

This IPA pours light and hazy in the glass, with a crisp Hoth coloured head that laces nicely.

The aroma is fruitier than I expected, with pineapple, grapefruit and pine all present.

It tastes great, with hints of the above fruits appearing briefly, before a pithy grapefruit and pine whisk you through to a bitter finish. It has a lovely tartness to it which, along with the smooth carbonated mouthfeel, leaves you wanting more.

Guardian of Peace by Moor is a great little IPA, very refreshing and far nicer than any of the muck you'd get served in the Mos Eisley Cantina.









Pasion Fruit Lassi IPA by Northern Monk

Thursday, 9 February 2017
Pasion Fruit Lassi IPA by Northern Monk
Thursday, 9 February 2017

Beer Name: Patrons Project 4.01 - Passion Fruit Lassi IPA

Brewer: Northern Monk Brew Co., Leeds, UK

Date Sampled:  7th February 2017

ABV: 7.4%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home
So only a few days after my first Northern Monk Patrons Project beer I've had my second! As soon as I saw Northern Monk sharing pictures of their Passion Fruit Lassi I knew I had to try it, so when The Leopold Tavern let me know they had some in stock I was there in a flash.
 
This is one of the most striking label designs I've seen with Drew Millward's colourful and stylish tiger looking ready to pounce out of the can right out at you.
 
In the glass it is a beautiful hazy orange and, like a lot of the IPA's on the market, you could be forgiven for thinking that you're looking at a tropical fruit juice.
 
Those tropical fruits fill your nose, along with a hint of acidity and just a slight suggestion of something spicy, possibly cardamom.
 
The mouthful is wonderfully smooth and luxurious.
 
The acidity does not follow through into the taste, but the tropical fruits definitely do. Passion fruit, pineapple and mango all zing across your tongue but thankfully there is no overpowering sweetness. Instead there is a marmalade tartness to the flavour before a slightly dry finish.
 
This Passion Fruit Lassi IPA is a cracking beer, fruity to the extreme but without being sickly and incredibly easy drinking despite the 7.4% ABV.
 
Northern Monk has done it again.
 






 
 
 

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