My “Holy Grail” beer…

I posted a link yesterday to a blog I wrote several years ago about my search and trip to try Wesvleteren 12. A beer held in such high reverence among beer lovers the world over, that it remains rightly or wrongly, firmly pinned either on, or near the best beer in the world rank on Ratebeer.

If you took the time to read it, you’ll perhaps have got a little feel of the excitement level I reached as my goal was reached. One or two of you may have thought perhaps I’d got some Westy’s in, sadly not, and if you thought that I apologise. There was though some actual forethought into doing so, as sort of a link into this.

You see, there was another beer. One that despite searching year after year after year, always eluded me.  I suppose you could call it my holy grail in beer form, Firestone Walker Parabola..

For six or seven years I’ve been trying to get hold of a bottle, I’d ask friends working at the Great British Beer Festival to scour the American beer bars, search websites, speciality beer shops home and abroad, I’d even looked at beer trading with folks in the USA, all with no luck. Then, in January 2017 I got my first opportunity. I was in Barcelona at the world famous Beercab, when I was told there was a bottle next door in their shop. I was round there like a shot, seeing it immediately behind the counter. I asked the price, “Eighty Euros” the reply, and despite my eagerness, I decided I just couldn’t justify that whilst on holiday and so walked away. It may have been an older vintage, I don’t know, in my haste I forgot to ask, but it didn’t matter anyway as it was sold five minutes later.

But my friends, there is a happy ending as today I have some. Yes, that’s correct, some. Tomorrow (Thursday 25/5/17), a small amount of this legendary beer will grace the shelves of Otter’s Tears, and of all the fantastic beers that I have brought into the shop, none have excited me quite as much as this.

( In fact, I really don’t know why I’m even letting some of “my precious” go.. 😉 )

The really strange thing is, I don’t know how good it is either. As despite having it scream drink me for five days I have so far resisted temptation. You’re going to have to just take a punt on my judgement, that and it’s 100/100 score and world Top 50 Ratebeer status..

Parabola – Russian Imperial Stout

March 25, 2017 Release

“Parabola is a beer of darkness and immensity, a barrel-­aged beast that is routinely ranked as one of the top beers in the world.  This Russian imperial oatmeal stout is aged for a full year in  Heaven Hill barrels, developing flavours of rich, chewy roasted malts, charred oak and bourbony vanilla. Parabola bares its teeth with its impenetrable black hue and soaring alcohol, yet its bite remains refined with a silky, balanced finish.”

It goes without saying that this will be in extremely short supply and if you are lucky enough to get it, strictly one bottle per customer..

For me the wait is nearly over, on this search at least. Next on the hit list, Cuvee de Tomme from The Lost Abbey, once never exported, more recently seen here in the UK. So here’s hoping I don’t have to wait quite as long for that one.

What’s on your hit list, maybe we can help? Let me know….

Cheers

Phil

Otter’s Tears online shop.

Today we officially start an exciting new chapter in the life of Otter’s Tears, the ability for you to order online for home delivery.

Yes, we know that an online store is not particularly groundbreaking these days, there are lots and lots of online beer retailers to choose from. But we hope that we have a decent enough selection of special beers to make a case or two now and then a worthwhile purchase from us, some of which are not readily available elsewhere.

It is very much a work in progress as we have such a lot of products to list, some of which may never make it online because of low numbers. However, if you see something on our social media feeds of interest you can always drop us a note to enquire about web sale potential. Get in touch here.

If there is something you’d like to see adding, please shout up and we’d love your feedback on the site generally too. We’ve worked hard together with our friends at Lemon Top Creative to get where we are right now, but I’m sure there will be the odd glitch or missing piece of information here and there.

There are one or two little gems that we have deliberately saved for launch day on the site already to encourage you to have a good mooch, they are in short supply though so don’t delay, get mooching!

Keep checking back regularly too as we intend to keep adding stuff daily. The link to the shop is below, but can also be found on our web front page.

BUY ONLINE

Happy shopping!  🙂

*Big thanks and much love to my Mrs, Rach. Who worked her socks off all weekend (on her days off) to make sure we were ready to launch today. 

Chillin’ Monks and Black Hole Suns

So yesterday was a bit of a manic one. Up with the larks, heading north to Leeds and Northern Monk Brewing Co. I was a bit early I was looking for a bit of breakfast, so after consulting the local baconista (Brian), I darted around to St David’s Street Cafe, just around the corner from the NMBC Refectory. I can confirm this as being an excellent choice for a bloody good bacon and egg butty.

Not my finest hour in photography class…

I was also really pleased to find my old mate Brian brewing a collaboration beer on the old brewery kit for Manchester Beer Week, with non other than JK from Marble Brewing (who I’d not seen for absolutely yonks). The beer, a New England Mandarin Black IPA called “Black Hole Sun”. Which I have no doubt will be a fitting tribute to Chris Cornell. ” Definitely one to look out for.

Anyway, after remotely breaking the sparge arm from 20 feet away (I’m innocent honest Guv), I was off to the new brewery site to collect this amazing set of beers, including four new Patron’s Project collaborations with some of the worlds finest and most current brewers. The place was a hive of activity with everyone pitching in to get these cans labelled and packed. Those labels though, wow, some of the most beautiful can art you’re ever likely to see. The good thing being of course, that they are peel off too, so you get to adorn your fridge, walls, cases, etc. *insert blank surfaces here..

Northern Monk, Deya and Verdant – Patrons Project 6.01 – Hazemaker

Northern Monk – Patrons Projects 4.02 – Pineapple and Grapefruit Juice IPA

Northern Monk and Alefarm – Patrons Project 7.01 – DDH Saison

Northern Monk and Other Half – Patrons Project 1.04 – Morello Cherry & Peruvian Coffee Imperial Porter

Northern Monk and Fieldwork – Travel Notes – A mango and acai IPA.

Follow this link to Lonely Planet, to see the video story of how and why the Travel Notes was brewed.

All these fabulous beers are on sale at Otter’s Tears from today, you’ll find all but the Impy Porter in the fridge. Some of these beers will be limited to one per customer as I suspect demand to be high.

I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America..

We always like to keep our eye on “the special stuff” here at Otter’s Tears, and this week has brought a few very highly rated beers in from some of the USA’s top rated breweries. All of these beers are rated at 97% and above on Ratebeer, with many sitting at the big 100%.

Here’s a quick run down with notes and information from the brewers websites.

Hoppin’ Frog – Boris The Crusher Reserve: “After brewing B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher successfully for many years, our creative minds wander. We imagine a B.O.R.I.S. brewed with even better dark grain – the finest imported dark grain – for a smoother and mellower deep-roasted flavor. When we finally made our dreams become reality, it was a symphony of beautiful flavors, a higher level of B.O.R.I.S. born from our creativity, that deserves the name B.O.R.I.S. Reserve!” – Ratebeer Score: 99%

About Hoppin’ Frog: Hoppin’ Frog Brewery is a small, hands-on brewery in Akron, making very flavorful beers in the most flavorful styles. We brew the highest quality beer with an uncompromising focus on detail, from the ingredient selection to the brewing process.  Our highly rated Tasting Room is on-site, offering fun, adventurous dishes that change with the seasons, and a vast array of the highest quality beers. 

Prairie Artisan Ales & Evil Twin collaboration – Barrel Aged Bible Belt: “Let’s face it – we love big, flavorful stouts. As luck would have it, our friend Jeppe at Evil Twin Brewing feels the same way. We decided to brew a beer together that took elements from our favorite stouts we each produce to come together as one beer. Bible Belt takes elements we love from Prairie Bomb! and combines them with Evil Twin Brewing’s world famous stout, Even More Jesus. The end result is a smoky, spicy stout that is sure to please the palate.” Ratebeer Score: 100% 

Lost Abbey – Serpents Stout 11% : The history of the bible and religion is indeed the struggle of good vs. evil. Our Serpent’s Stout recognizes the evil of the dark side that we all struggle with. This is a massively thick and opaque beer that begs the saints to join the sinners in their path to a black existence. Ratebeer Score 100%

Lost Abbey – Deliverance 12.5% : A blend of bourbon barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy barrel-aged Angels Share, Deliverance is the epic battle being waged between heaven and hell for the souls of mortal men… and your enjoyment in a glass.  Ratebeer Score: 100%

Lost Abbey – My Black Parade 12.5% : A blended Bourbon barrel-aged Strong Ale with cocoa nibs, vanilla bean and spices. My Black Parade begins with a deep bouquet of rich chocolate and layered hints of cinnamon and oak. Huge flavors of cocoa on the palate with notes of vanilla, bourbon, and tobacco, finishing with crisp bite from the smoked chili’s and cardamom. Ratebeer 99%

Westbrook – Siberian Black Magic Panther 12% : This beer is as hairy as a Siberian… or as a panther. And you better believe it because it gets the black magic from mountains of roasted malts and dark candi syrup. During the long weeks in the fermentor it gathers its rage… a rage this mythical beast of imperial stout wants to unleash on your taste buds…  Ratebeer Score 97%

 

Jolly Pumpkin – Anchorage No Ka Oi 6.3% : No Ka Oi is a wild ale with an ABV of 6.3 percent. It was brewed with all Michigan hops, raspberries, and lime peel. No Ka Oi was brewed for Gabe Fletcher, founder and brewer of Anchorage Brewing Co. Ratebeer Score 97%

Jolly Pumpkin – Sobrehumano Palena ’Ole 6% : Sour, barrel-aged version of the beer by the same name. Brewed in collaboration with Maui brewing.

Yes, Michigan and Hawaii are connected. It should be obvious to you now, as you hold this beer, and read this label. John and I designed this beer with two noble fruits from two noble states, Michigan & Hawaii. Cherries and liliko’i. Starting to see the connection? I feel it. So does John. 4391 miles may separate our breweries, but no our thirst for the exquisite. Hipa! – Ron

Working with Ron is something I’ve always want to do since I had my first Jolly Pumpkin beer. Years later, it’s a reality. Being involved on this project was an honor and a privilege. Mahalo to my MBC crew and to you, fans of craft beer! – John Ratebeer Score 98%

Almanac Farm to Barrel series

Our Farm to Barrel beers focus on the eons-old tradition of aging beers in oak barrels. This American wild ale was aged in used wine casks with our house “Dogpatch” sour culture, a cocktail of wild Belgian and American yeasts, including San Francisco sourdough starter. The yeasts slowly morph the beer from a traditional ale into something wild, creating a mild acidic bite as well as pulling oak and vanilla flavors from the barrel. After maturing, the barrels are blended together—creating a vinous, delicate beer that captures the essence of a particular harvest. Farm to Barrel Beers are alive in the bottle, and will continue to mature gracefully for several year

Farmer’s Reserve Nectarine 7% : Is there any pairing more perfect than sour beer and stone fruit? We start with the very best fruit: yellow nectarines grown in the bright Central California sun at Blossom Bluff Orchards, along the banks of the King’s River.

Picked at peak ripeness, we add the nectarines to a sour base beer, combining the funky flavors of brett with a bright acidity to highlight the fruit. The result is something special: golden hued beer with fruit aromatics jumping off the glass, the last of summer captured in a bottle. Pair with stone fruit crisp, roast chicken and Prosciutto ham. Ratebeer Score 98%

Farmer’s Reserve Pluot 7% : Pluots are some of our favorite fruits. Created by cross-breeding apricots and plums, there are dozens of varieties with an amazing range of color and flavor. All through the summer, Blossom Bluff Orchards picks each variety at its peak: Dapple Dandy, Honey Punch, Flavor Queen, Black Kat & Dapple Jack were all added to a sour blonde ale and aged in wine barrels to create this funky oak-aged brew. Ratebeer Score 99%

Farmer’s Reserve Blackberry 7% : We love blackberries. Tart, sweet and complex but guarded by thorny branches, these alluring fruit have been a favorite of ours since we added them to our very first beer. This sour blonde ale is infused with loads of coastal Blackberries from California’s Santa Cruz Mountains and aged in wine barrels until our wild yeasts worked their magic. Pair with duck dishes and summer salads. Ratebeer Score 97%

Valley Of The Hearts Delight 7% : This sour beer is inspired by the Santa Clara Valley’s agricultural roots, before it was known as Silicon Valley, it was called “The Valley of the Heart’s Delight.” It was a fertile basin filled with fruit orchards, especially apricots. Inspired by this lost agrarian past, we combined local apricots and strawberries with our barrel sour blonde ale to create this fruit-forward sour. Pair with grilled pork chops, prosciutto or summer salads. Ratebeer Score 99%

Almanac & Stillwater Artisanal 7% : Blueberry Jack is a psychedelic trip to flavor town. A hazy collaboration with our friends at Stillwater Artisanal Ales, it’s also the latest entry in their “Strains from Mother Nature” series. We blended together a blonde Brettanomyces-fermented ale aged in both oak barrels and foedres, then added California-grown blueberries and blackberries. After maturing, we dry-hopped the beer with reckless amounts of Citra, Mosaic, El Dorado, Simcoe, Galaxy, Nugget, and Sterling hops for a trippy, tropical-dank aroma. Pair this with freshly-picked herb salads, smoked meats and 2AM Al Pastor tacos. Ratebeer 97%

We have more stock arriving every week, with some real crackers due any day if none of this takes your fancy. Plus a huge range of world class beers right now, in fact I’d go as far as saying our finest to date. Come and see us soon and see for yourself.

Cheers