Buxton Brewery Gold - 5.2%, £2.25
Buxton Brewery has been going from strength to strength of late, its success partly evinced by a much-needed rebranding and the installation of a new brewkit.
It has been putting out a range of flavourful, expertly crafted ales for a good while now.
Exciting collaborative and limited edition beers made with specialist techniques (as in the Tsar Bomba and Sky Mountain Sour ales) have kept things exciting in that time, but recently an old favourite returned to the fold: Buxton Gold has resurfaced, always a disastrously drinkable beer, and one that I’m more than happy to see on the shelf once again.
Pouring golden orange, with a delicate white head, the aroma is reminiscent of fresh grapes, juicy plums, and fragrant straw.
Binding it all together is an overarching sharp citrus note suggesting the beer that follows is going to be aromatic and refreshing, and certainly hop-forward like much of Buxton’s portfolio.
The flavour takes a slightly different turn however; there is throughout a gentle hop aroma that fills the mouth with the first sip, but this soon subsides, allowing a rich caramel maltiness to develop.
A light bitterness provides a considered counterpoint to the sweet finish, which ensures that every draught taken is satisfying yet refreshing.
A versatile beer indeed, that drinks dangerously like a session ale without skimping on the good stuff.
As recommended by Michael Bates of Trembling Madness, Stonegate, York
Duvel Moortgat, Tripel Hop 2013 - 9.5%, £3.90
Duvel Moortgat have, perhaps wisely, been keeping an eye on the rise of American craft beer’s influence throughout the beer world.
This is necessary to ensure that their flagship brand remains vital and interesting for those beer-geeks who like to seek out every last permutation and special edition of a beer (I confess to sometimes being guilty of that).
This year’s vintage acts as a showcase for the lemongrass love-or-loathe hop Sorachi Ace in the context of a Belgian ale – it might well convert a few people, who knows?
Duvel Tripel Hop pours a delightful, hazy lemon-yellow with a voluminous white head oozing out of the glass. The aroma has a distinctive mango/catty savour, like many highly-hopped American IPAs, but without the abrasive pine or lemony sharpness that can be a little much at times. The pepper and spice lent by Duvel’s yeast and noble hop content add a delicate contrast and provide some welcome complexity.
The body is light with a zesty carbonation, complemented wonderfully by the lemon and honey combination of malted barley and Sorachi Ace’s signature flavour.
A touch of nutmeg and clove from the yeast adds creaminess, preventing Tripel Hop running bone-dry on the palate. Instead it remains refreshing, with a lovely mango-sorbet finish punctuated by a tingle of cut grass and black pepper in the finish.
Not the most direct showcase for Sorachi Ace, but proof positive of its versatility and its delicacy when handled with care – even Sorachi-haters will find it hard to find fault here.
By Michael Bates, Trembling Madness in Stonegate, York
A great mention for Yorkshire and the House in the New York Times this January. See the article here
22. Yorkshire, England
A photogenic (and historic) ale trail.
The sprawling northern county of Yorkshire is becoming a big destination for beer lovers, thanks to a recently published guidebook called “Great Yorkshire Beer” and a renewed interest in historic breweries like Samuel Smith (founded in 1758) and Timothy Taylor (from 1858). Spend an evening crawling through the Fat Cat, the Kelham Island Tavern and other award-winning pubs in Sheffield — recently called Britain’s best beer city by the connoisseur Adrian Tierney-Jones — then travel to Leeds, whose compact center is home to the Victoria Hotel, the Cross Keys and other public houses that pull pints on traditional hand pumps. A final stay in the photogenic city of York offers a Tudor-style pub at the end of every cobbled lane, as well as modern beer temples like York Tap, Pivni and the House of Trembling Madness.— EVAN RAIL
Also related -
BBC Feature on the story here , Yorkshire Evening Post here , The Star here
Redchurch Brewery, Hackney Gold - 5.5%, £2.40
SNEAKING in just before Christmas, among all the novelty beers, came a few crates from the Redchurch Brewery – yet another one of those new breweries in London that seem to crop up every month or two with a range of delicious new beers.
And since we’re all a little ‘over’ drinking after New Year’s Eve demolished our desire to indulge, we’ll aim for something a little lighter.
Hackney Gold is, well for one, far from gold in colour – a deep brooding amber with flashes of red at the edges and a thick oatmeal head. The aroma it gives off is simply delightful: a dry bed of walnuts, pecans, and cereal grains are punched throughout with flashes of vibrant citrus hops.
The taste makes good on the aroma’s promise – an even, medium-bodied ale with a tendency toward the sweet. There’s a distinctive pepper and nut flavour, perhaps rye, that takes charge of proceedings, before what might be a small amount of chocolate malt smooths things over with a velvety pass over the palate.
The hops wait for the finish to make themselves known; dry herbaceous cascade (or some relative) provides an even, somewhat-intense bitterness, that dries the palate out.
So it might not be a golden ale, lying closer to the hoppy amber ale region, but Redchurch have made an excellent first impression with this – for something lighter and hoppier, the Bethnal pale is also fantastic. Bravo Redchurch.
• As recommended by Michael Bates of Trembling Madness, Stonegate, York
Brewfist, Italy Heimdall 7.6%, £3.15 per bottle
BREWFIST are one of an increasing number of contemporary ale producers that are making their way on to our shelves (and glasses, of course) from Italy.
As well as producing some fine pale ales, porters, and India pale ales, this producer from Codogno recently sent over some Heimdall: a weirdly Norse-themed beer brewed in the style of a Belgian saison. Not only that, for aroma, it is hopped liberally with Australian galaxy hops while maintaining a very modest bitterness.
The name and Viking on the label aside, it’s all very promising stuff.
It pours a bright straw colour with golden highlights and a very fluffy head; the aroma is of clementines and peaches and some characteristic saison spice: a promising start. Sweet for a saison, though not excessively so, peach is the leading flavour: soft and fruity, with a touch of apricot and almonds leading towards a dry, lightly bitter finish.
Overall, the body is moderate to light, with a lively carbonation that perfectly offsets the initial sweetness and drives the aroma home.
Definitely best served chilled and drunk fresh; I’d suggest getting your hands on this one sooner rather than later.
What exactly this beer has to do with Scandinavians, however, remains a mystery.
As recommended by Michael Bates of Trembling Madness, Stonegate, York
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