New beer to start November

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I hope y’all will forgive me for not posting anything recently. It’s certainly not because there hasn’t been any new beer! In fact, some new things have already come and gone just in the past couple of weeks! But let’s not dwell on what you missed and focus instead on what is still here.

verdantOf course I have to start with the new beers from VerdantBloom and Lightbulb. In case you missed it, and that seems unlikely given how many people turned out, Verdant was in the shop on the 29th pouring samples and the feedback was incredibly positive for this up and coming Cornish brewery. Lightbulb is an extra pale ale that’s light color betrays the fact that it’s absolutely packed with citrus flavor. It’s also brewed with oats, which gives it a better body than you might expect in a 4.5% pale. Bloom is a big, juicy IPA rammed with hops that tastes oh so fresh. And that’s because it is – having just been canned two days before arriving in the shop!

nmNorthern Monk has been one of the busiest breweries of late and the latest round of beer from them is nothing short of delicious. Their double IPA, Double Heathen, is the juicy big brother of their popular Heathen IPA. It’s tropical upfront, but with enough of a bitter bite to round it out nicely. Also in are the first two beers in their new Trinity series – HOPS brewed with Epic Brewing in NZ and MALT brewed with Dutch brewer De Molen. HOPS is an imperial strength IPA at 9%, but it drinks much easier than that. It’s surprisingly light and crisp with a big citrusy bitterness as the focal point. MALT counters with a heavy 9% imperial porter that’s lusciously sweet and malty with just a touch of roasty bitterness. It’s the kind of beer to sip by a fire on a cold night.

sirenSiren has also been pumping out a number of beers lately and I was able to snag two of their newest offerings the same week they were released. V.I.P.A. was brewed especially for IndyMan and seeks to replicate the flavors of Vimto in a beer. I’m no fan of the soft drink myself, so I’ll let you be the judge of their accuracy. Ten Dollar Shake is a collaboration brewed with Brewdog Shepherd’s Bush. They’re calling it a fruit smoothie IPA and it certainly is fruity with its additions of mango, papaya and passionfruit. It also has lactose in it, which gives the beer a heavier mouthfeel and residual sweetness.

jjjIn from Moor comes the mythical JJJ, their take on a double IPA. People have been asking me about this beer since the first week I opened and after a drought of several years, it’s finally returned. This time it’s in cans and clocking in at 9% abv. It’s hoppy for sure, but it’s balanced off with a big malt presence. Of all the DIPA’s in the shop right now, this is probably the most traditional in its balance and that is not a knock on it at all. In a market that seems to favor the fruitiest, juiciest, least bitter iterations of the style, Moor nails the style with the same quality craftsmanship that you taste in all of their beers. So while it may not be the most trendy DIPA available, it’s certainly one of the better ones out there.

cloudwaterFrom Cloudwater comes their Brett spiked Berliner weisse, Cosweisse and their Nelson Sauvin IPA. I haven’t tried the Cosweisse, yet, but the IPA is very good. The Nelson Sauvin hops display their white wine characteristics, giving the beer an earthy, white grape flavor. It would be a great replacement for white wine with a meal.

omnipolloshockThe wizards behind Omnipollo teamed up with fellow Swedes to bring us Anagram this week. It’s a blueberry cheesecake imperial stout. Yes, you read that correctly. Big, sweet, thick and fruity, it’s a dessert in a glass. I also added Onda, their wonderful Mosaic pale and Polimango, a mango DIPA brewed in collaboration with Brazilian brewery Tupiniquim.

Also this week from the colder parts of the world is a triple IPA from To Øl. The newest in their SHOCK series, this one features Simcoe and Mosaic hops. If you like boozy, hoppy beer, you’ll love this one.

 

New beer for week of 24 October

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Last week’s deliveries were a few days ahead of schedule, but that just means y’all get the beer that much fresher. It was dominated by US stuff, some of which I’ve had in before, but all coming to us about as fresh as we can ever hope for.

US beer51/50, the big west coast IPA from Ironfire Brewing is back which should make a lot of you happy. This beer hasn’t stuck around for long the last two times it’s been in and this trend looks to be continuing. It’s a great example of the style with loads of resiny pine and bitter grapefruit riding over a generous malty base that gives body without sweetness. If you like Stone Brewing‘s beer, you’ll love this. Also back in is a fresh round of Hoppy Birthday from Alpine Brewing. Besides being the perfect birthday present, it’s also a great beer. It’s green and grassy with enough hop oils in suspension to make you think you’re chewing on the hop cake from the label. It’s intense, but if you like hops, its not one to miss. There’s also Aftermath and Rye IPA from Black Market. The Rye IPA is one of the more balanced IPAs I’ve had in the shop and that is probably why it took home a gold medal in the Great American Beer Fest’s rye beer category back in 2010. Aftermath is a whole different beast. It’s got a big passionfruit, pineapple nose and fruitiness to set it apart from other west coast IPAs. Last time it was in, it was an unknown beer – this time it’s not likely to get passed over too much.

belching beaverBelching Beaver’s Hop Highway is back and with it comes their Peanut Butter Milk Stout. Hop Highway is another great American IPA from California and the Peanut Butter Milk Stout is just that – a peanut buttery lactose infused stout. It’s rich and sweet, but lighter in body than you’d expect, which keeps it from becoming cloying. I’ve already sold 3/4 of the case in the first three days of it being here, so be quick if you want one. I can say from first hand experience that it pairs well with the Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter ice cream.

green flashAnd rounding out the Cali contingent is Green Flash with Soul Style IPA, Tangerine Soul Style IPA and Passionfruit Kicker. Soul style is a crisp, citrusy IPA on it’s own and the tangerine version is just that much more so and tastes a lot like drinking the juice of a nice, ripe easy-peeler! Interestingly, unlike the normal Soul Style, they brew the tangerine version without Simcoe hops which often give tangerine notes to beer. But who needs the essence of the fruit when you can use the fruit itself! Passionfruit kicker is an American style wheat beer infused with….wait for it…passionfruit. The result is a refreshingly tart, thirst quenching beer that will make you wish you had a warm sunny day to go with it.

northern monk cans

midsummer

The guys at Northern Monk have been busy with their special one-off brews lately and I’ve been lucky enough to add three more to the shelves this week. Slotting in alongside the previous two versions is Patrons Project 1.03. This edition of the rich coffee porter adds orange to the mix, too. I’ve also got Black Forest Strannik, their Russian imperial stout modelled after the famous black forest gateau and Dark Arches, their black IPA. I’ve not tried these yet, but given their recent successes, I’m sure these will be great. I’ve also got a small number of their Midsummer IPA in bombers, too. Sure the seasons have changed, but who doesn’t like a peach and apricot IPA?

stay puftAnd rounding out the ‘let’s take a traditional style and throw something else in it’ arrivals is Stay Puft from Tiny Rebel. It’s a marshmallow porter. I’ll just leave it at that and add that it is selling like hot cakes.

stingy jack latest seasonal is here in the form of Stingy Jack. It’s their annual pumpkin beer and one of the few beery homages to the orange gourd produced in the UK. If you haven’t had a pumpkin beer before, you should try it. It’s like the beer equivalent of the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte with lots of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.

bbnokernelAlso from London comes a new pale ale from Brew by Numbers. This one is 21|04 Motueka. It’s about as murky as you can get from all of the late hop additions and has a mild lime citrus character that helps it go down way too fast. Don’t let the appearance turn you off, this is a very nice beer. And Bermondsey neighbors The Kernel add Vic Secret Pale and London 1864 Export Stout to their line up. It feels like a waste of time to say any more about those because The Kernel is so consistent with their beer. Just buy them and you’ll enjoy them, it’s as simple as that.

tool hibernateAnd lastly, just in time for the seasonal shift comes Hibernate from To Øl. It’s an American style wheat, which in this case means hoppy. It seems like an odd time of year for a wheat beer, but when was the last time To Øl did something by the book?

 

Stay tuned later this week for the lowdown on Saturday’s one-year anniversary shindig!

 

One Year Anniversary Celebration

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Mark your calendars for 29 October and plan to come down to the shop for a day full of special offers, giveaways, cake and beer! After one year of selling the best beer in Exeter, I want to say thank you to all of the loyal customers who’ve made this first year a success, and what better way is there to do that than with beer and cake!

Starting at 10am, earlybird shoppers will be able to get their hands on some rare and limited beers. Quantities will be limited and it will strictly be first come first served. Up for grabs will be:

  • Cantillon Geuze (6)
  • Cantillon Fou Foune (5)
  • Buxton/Omnipollo Yellow Belly (6)
  • Buxton Single Barrel Rain Shadow (10)

Also, Gamma Ray only be £2.25 a can while supplies last!

Around midday, new Cornish brewer Verdant Brewing Co will arrive with their newly canned Bloom IPA and (hopefully) Lightbulb Extra Pale Ale. This will be the first place in the UK that you can buy these cans and a representative from Verdant will be on hand to tell you about the beer and best of all – pour you a free sample! They should be in until 4:00, but come early to avoid disappointment.

Also, beginning at noon I’ll be handing out some celebratory birthday cake from The Exploding Bakery! This won’t last long, but the first 50 people in should be able to get a piece.

To top if off, everyone who spends more than £10 will be have the chance to get up to 15% off their entire order and will be entered to win a Hops and Crafts t-shirt or gift voucher!

 

New Beer for the Week of 10 October

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Last week’s delivery wasn’t as spectacular as the prior one, but it did bring in some really great beer. Well, I’ve been told they’re great, at least. I’ve had a cold for the past week and my senses of smell and taste are pretty useless. Oh well, at least I’ve got something to look forward to!

For those of you who don’t already know about the Rainbow Project, let’s start there. Basically, it started a few years back as the colorful, collaborative brainchild of then head brewer of Siren, Ryan Witter-Merithew. (More from him later…) This year’s event saw seven UK breweries teamed up with seven New Zealand breweries and each pair produced a collaborative beer based on their assigned color of the rainbow. There’s not a lot of stock floating around outside of the breweries and the official boxes that hold one of each beer, so I’m feeling pretty lucky to have landed four of the seven for the shop – the yellow, green, blue and indigo. The folks at Magic Rock have put together a great page describing each beer in depth, so check that out if you’re curious. Due to limited stock, I’ve had to put a limit of one per person on The Upside Down, Kai-Moana Gose and Black & Blue for now. There’s plenty of the Blacklight Banana from Siren, though.

Speaking of Siren, the most exciting beer in this delivery for me is their Barrel Aged Caribbean Chocolate Cake stout. For those of you who had the standard, non-barrel aged version last year, this beer will need no introduction and you’ve probably already started making your way down here to get it. For those of you who haven’t tried the original, there’s no time like the present to make up for that. It’s a decadent chocolate stout whirled around with some Cyprus wood in Siren’s spinbot and now its been laid down in bourbon barrels for a year. I’ve got a pile of bottles saved for customers who came in over the weekend and after having the one they bought, decided they need more of this in their lives.

Remember that name I mentioned earlier – Ryan Witter-Merithew? He now works at the world renowned Hill Farmstead Brewery in Vermont. Yeah, THAT Hill Farmstead. Operating under the guise of Casita Cerveceria, he recently teamed up with his old coworkers at Siren and buddy Logan Plant of Beavertown to make Amigos Britanicos over in Vermont. The resulting beer is a farmhouse ale with lime, honey and Santa Fe Grande chiles. Siren has now recreated the beer over here and packaged in their own branding.

Stone cansI finally got my hands on some of the new cans being pumped out of Stone Brewing Co‘s new operation in Berlin. With their new brewery being so much closer than California, we’re sure to see lots of fresher beer from one of the stalwarts of American brewing. This week we’ve got the genre-defining IPA, Cali-Belgique IPA, Go To IPA, Ruination and Arrogant Bastard. Their closer proximity also means that prices on most of these are better than they were when they’ve been transported from the USA.

wild beer bottlesThere was also a fresh restocking of the Wild Beer range, which now comprises twelve varieties! Sleeping Lemons regular strength and Sleeping Lemons Export are both back, as is Millionaire, Modus Operandi, Ninkasi and Shnoodlepip. The latter is now housed in a big 750ml bottle with a wax-dipped top. The other new arrival is Gazillionaire in 750’s itself. Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t a bigger version of Millionaire. No, it’s a totally new beer – a white stout with vanilla and cardamom. Wild, huh?

tool totem paleThe gluten-free range doubled in size this week with the addition of ToØl’s Totem Pale, a low-strength pale ale. Yes, that does mean there are only two gluten-free beers in the shop, but that’s better than zero.

And coming back after a very long absence is Eldon, the imperial stout from Thornbridge.

Manchester and ‘The North’

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First off, let me start with a disclosure: I’m terrible with UK geography, so I tend to say anything that’s not from Devon or Cornwall is from the north. I apologize now if this leads to confusion. I also use Z’s instead of S’s in certain words and haven’t quite adapted to adding U’s in other words. There, disclosures done. Now, onto the beer!

 

CloudwaterCloudwater

Everyone’s favorite up and coming brewery that you either love or hate brings us the newest iteration in their Spring/Summer IPA lineup. This time it’s hopped with Vic Secret from Australia and comes bearing lots of passion fruit and other tropical overtones. I tried this one up at the Bristol Craft Beer Fest and figured I’d share it with y’all after talking to others there who thoroughly enjoyed it. So here you go!

Alphabet Brewing Co.

AlphabetSpeaking of my terrible geography – I almost lumped ABC in with the London beers in yesterday’s post. Whoops. They’ve been around for a while, but their canning operation is relatively new and they are certainly new to the shop. A to the K is an oatmeal pale ale with a crisp, sharp bitter bite. The oats don’t seem to add much to the body in terms of giving it a heavier mouthfeel and they certainly don’t give it the level of haze in Omnipollo’s Mazarin discussed earlier. Flat White is their take on a white stout. If you’ve not tried a beer like this before, this one’s worth trying if for no other reason than to make your brain work overtime to rectify the classic aroma, taste and body of a stout with a beer that appears to be a pale or amber ale. It’s weird, but somehow it works.

 

Northern MonkNorthern Monk

The first volume of their Patrons Project Coffee Porter was ridiculously good and they’ve not taken a step backwards with version 1.02. This one is rich, smooth and full of a robust coffee that comes through strong on the taste, but without the acrid bitterness some coffee beers can present. No, this one is top notch and if you’re a true coffee and/or beer geek, it’s probably worth doing a side by side tasting of v1.01 and 1.02. Like the first can, this one also features a peel back label that explains more about the project and the artwork.

Buxton

BuxtonTrolltunga ran out, so I replaced it with two sours from Buxton – Red Raspberry Rye and Berlinoise. Red Raspberry Rye has been around for several months, but this it’s first appearance in the shop. It’s a Berliner Weisse with a Buxton twist – the addition of rye. It’s fruity with a tart sourness that’ll either clean your palate or destroy it, depending on your tolerance for sour beers. Their Berlinoise is another atypical beer. It’s a Berliner Weisse again, but this time using a Belgian yeast. It’s part of their Belgian series and for good reason as it drinks a lot like a Flemish Red with an acidic sourness that you’ll either love or hate. If you’re a fan of Rodenbach or Duchesse de Bourgogne, this one’s worth a try.

Magic RockMagic Rock

There’s no need to make a big deal about this one except that the last time it was available it sold out pretty quick and was limited to one per person. Now, Inhaler is back in year round packaging and the limits are off. So if you missed out the first time or just need more of this juicy, but surprisingly bitter IPA in your life, then come on down.

 

Burning Sky

Burning SkyOkay, okay, Sussex is not the north, I get that. BUT the brewery is located at a latitude of 50.844762 N and Exeter is at 50.7244773, so there, it’s north of here! And there wasn’t really anywhere else to put this one… Saison a la Provision is making it’s H+C debut and if you like saisons or sours, then you should try this one. If you like both, you should stop reading and come buy it right now. It’s brewed as a traditional farmhouse style with saison yeast in the primary fermentation, but is then dosed with Lactobacillus & Brettanomyces for a secondary fermentation that produces a tart, dry and refreshing finished product. It’s not really sour, but it has a hint of sourness to it, much like you might expect from a slightly older bottle of Orval or other brett-spiked beer.

 

More new beer from London

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Continuing on in the unpacking of last week’s delivery, today we move to London. Given the plethora of breweries in London, it’s no surprise that the number of London-brewed beers in the shop seems to grow with each delivery. This week was no different, and not only were there new beers, there are also new breweries being represented now. But let’s start with the familiar faces:

Brew By NumbersBrew By Numbers

I like BBNo beers in general, but I think they really excel in the saison department. So when a saison brewed with lemon and hibiscus showed up on the list this week, I didn’t think twice about it. And surprise – it’s delicious! Saison 01|22 is very light and dry, with a citrus and herbal quality that leans a bit toward being an herbal tea, but with a surprising tartness. The saison yeast is noticeable, but it’s not the dominant force that it can be in most standard issue saisons. Also new in from the Bermondsey beer firm is the robust and roasty Porter 03|05 Willamette & Centennial and the low on strength, high on flavour Session IPA 11|19 Citra & Amarillo. Don’t be alarmed if your session IPA is cloudy, that’s by design and does not indicate a flaw in the beer. BBNo actually wrote a blog about their pale ale being hazy and after a customer questioned me about the murkiness of the session IPA, I called the brewery myself and was told that it’s cloudy for the same reasons. Read for yourself here.

 

Pressure DropPressure Drop

Speaking of cloudy beer, let’s talk about ENZ, the new New Zealand IPA from Pressure Drop. It’s loaded with NZ hops and the result is a fruity, citrusy IPA with a malt backbone more reminiscent of a West Coast IPA than one brewed in London. If you like Pale Fire and Bosko, then you should try this one.

 

The Kernel

KernelThe Kernel has built their reputation largely on their use of hops and how they showcase them through their pale ales and IPA. In this delivery, we get a new pale ale brewed with four of the ‘C’ hops – Citra, Centennial, Columbus and Chinook. With those hops, you can expect a big hit of pine and grapefruit citrus in this one. After their 5C IPA flew off the shelves earlier this year, I’m not expecting the 4C Pale to be around for long. I’ve also got a fresh version of their remarkably tasty Table Beer with Hallertau Blanc and Simcoe. At 3.7% it’s a getting close to a pale ale instead of a table beer, but who am I to judge…

 

London Beer Factory

London Beer FactoryLBF is a new arrival in the shop and before I tell you about the beer, I think I should tell you a bit about their labels. The eye-catching illustrations were actually created directly above the shop in the Studio 17 space upstairs by the talented Phil Harris. I discovered this by accident while up there at Broadside Screenprinting getting my last batch of shirts printed. Now, on to the beer! Their core range consists of five beers ranging from a lager to a stout. In the middle, they’ve got a blond, a pale and an IPA. It’s worth noting that they all come packaged in the new 360° cans.

 

Next up – Manchester and the North

New Beer for week of 19 September

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Not all deliveries are created equal. Last week’s was pretty exciting for both the sheer volume of new beers that arrived (39!) and the individual beers that made up that volume. In order to get through them all without writing a Tolkien-length synopsis, I’ll just introduce you to a few each day. Let’s start with the big guns, shall we?

Beavertown

Beavertown BeerBeavertown’s newest core beer, Lupuloid, was one of the most anticipated beers on the pallet and Bloody Notorious (big brother to the endlessly quaffable Bloody ‘Ell) wasn’t far behind. Lupuloid is an IPA of the juicy variety with aromas and flavours of ripe tropical fruits. Bloody Notorious is another breed of juice monster clocking in at 9.1% abv and drinking more like something in the 5-6% range. It’s good…it’s really, really good.

Deimos, Phobos and Sour Power also came in from their barrel-aged series dubbed the Tempus Project. Deimos and Phobos are collaborations with Oskar Blues in the States, while Sour Power is a three-way collab with Arizona Wilderness and Mikkeller. They’re a bit on the pricey side, but if you buy all three you’ll save some money and get a free Beavertown pint glass!

Omnipollo & Dugges

DuggesOmnipolloBoth of these breweries from the land of Ikea are making their debuts in the shop and they’re doing so with quite a splash. Omnipollo has been on my radar since I opened the shop, but they’re not the easiest (or cheapest) beer to get ahold of. But technical and financial reasons aside, the beer speaks for itself and is deserving of their reputation for boundary-pushing and delicious beer. So you’ll now find Mazarin, Zodiak, Nebuchadnezzar and the in-famous Noa on the shelves in the newly formed Swedish section.

Dugges is a relative new brewery to me. Having heard of them and seen their products listed, I was excited to get the chance to try their offerings at the Bristol Craft Beer Festival earlier this month. And in spite of my jet-lagged state, they were still very impressive and I thought it was as good a time as any to bring a few in. High Five, Orange Haze and Tropic Sunrise are now in stock and having just been delivered to the UK, pretty darn fresh to boot.

 

Marble

MarbleSomewhere in Manchester there’s an arch that houses the Marble Brewery. And it’s from that arch that these new arrivals come – some fresh out of the fermenter and some fresh out of some wine barrels. The Manchester Bitter doesn’t need much explanation, but the rest of the newbies are a bit more complicated.  Portent of Usher is an imperial stout that will serve as the base for some barrel aged versions in the future, but is just a straight up bottle of black goodness for now. Oh, and it apparently won gold at the International Beer Challenge 2016, so how’s that for street cred? Taking silver at the aforementioned Beer Challenge was their old ale aged in Oloroso sherry barrels, Verezzi. And to round things out, Valancourt is that same old ale, but aged in Fino sherry barrels this time. In other words, the beers inside the bottles are every bit as decadent and indulgent as their classy hanging labels.

Next time – The rest of the new London contingent

New beer from Devon & Cornwall

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Last week brought with it some cooler weather and a delivery of some regional (if not local) treats from Moonchild Brewing and Firebrand Brewing.

Moonchild dropped off every last drop of their new one-off beer, Couleur Cafe, a coffee stout. This replaces their previous stout, Threatening Skies, which was a big hit. It’s exclusive to the shop, so you won’t find it anywhere else and with only 27 bottles delivered, you can bet it won’t be around for long. Especially if the aforementioned cooler weather comes back.

And speaking of temperatures, Firebrand brought one to warm you up – Chocolate Chipotle Stout. It may not be spicy enough for the chili-heads amongst you, but the addition of chipotle and chocolate create a rich, almost savoury beer that pours as black as night.

They also dropped off a case of their off-the-wall beer with a name as out there as the ingredients list – The Dead Elvis. It’s billed
as a wheat beer that aims to take on the flavors of the late singers famed banana, peanut butter and bacon sandwich. Of those ingredients, peanut butter is the only one actually added to the brew. Smoked malts are added for the bacon essence and a Belgian yeast strain gives notes of banana. It’s an ambitious beer named for an ambitious artist.

Loads of new stuff is due in later this week, so be sure to check back!

Couleur CafeFirebrand beer

Introducing the Weekly Update

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The one year anniversary of the shop is just over a month away, but just cause we’re getting old, doesn’t mean we can’t do something new. So beginning this week, I’m introducing the weekly update. Content will vary from week to week, but the aim is to keep you up to date with new arrivals, specials and any other beery news I deem worthy to share.

Stay tuned!