Hoppin’ Frog’s

We’ve had some rather special beers in from Akron, Ohio from Hoppin’ Frog. Real “beer porn” as the saying goes, frog’s porn.

Twelve beers, including some of the best imperial stouts in the world, plus some epic collaborations featuring breweries you know and love. Real rarities, Boris, Doris and Toris, seductive chocolate and coffee delights, chilli and sour stouts and more. There’s even one for the Industrial Metal fans out there with “Du Hast Mich Gefrogt”, one of my favourite beer names ever!!

Copenhagen Crisp (Dry and Bitter collaboration): Copenhagen Crisp was made with the Dry & Bitter Brewing Co. in Denmark. “This beer is clean and crisp, tasteful and fun, just like the style throughout Copenhagen,” owner and brewer Fred Karm said in an email. “And just like a majority of the Danish, its blonde!! Brewed with a touch of caramel and biscuit malt, plus grains of paradise for a subtle complexity and extra depth of flavour.”

Du Hast Mich GeFrogt (Freigeist Bierkultur collaboration): Fermented with ale yeast, lager yeast and other things, a wild mix of uber-good flavors is created in this ancient German-style Sour Dark Adambier from centuries ago. Working in collaboration with our friend, historian, and brewmaster Sebastian Sauer from Freigeist Bierkultur in Cologne, Germany we made this old-style beer with a wide array of German malts for a rich and authentic taste. Prost – Cheers

5-Alarm Chilli (Siren Craft Beer collaboration):  5-Alarm Chili Beer (American style) is a uniquely balanced hot and spicy alarm-red ale made in collaboration with Siren Craft Brew in England! We made the “English-style” at their brewery, and then came back to Hoppin’ Frog and brewed our “American-style” batch. We brewed ours with lots of chipotle and Morita peppers for a solid hot pepper taste, and just the right amounts of black pepper, cayenne, habanero, and Thai chili peppers to create complex, assertive, and satisfying flavors of a good bowl of 5-alarm chili! Using an over-abundance of red caramelized malts to nicely balance out the spicy heat, this beer gives the chili and hot pepper lovers something to truly enjoy, and share with their like-minded fiery friends.

SS Stout (TOØL COLLABORATION): SS Stout is a Scandinavian-inspired sour Imperial Stout with a complex and inviting combination of rich, roasty, sweet & sour flavours.  Brewed in collaboration with our friend and To Øl brewmaster Tobias from Copenhagen, Denmark with 9 of the absolute highest-quality malts, and Belgian dark candi sugar for a more refined, worldly taste.  Together we chose Patagonia’s uber-flavorful Dark Caramel Malt from Chile, plus 8 of the best English malts including Crisp’s finest floor-malted Maris-Otter Ale Malt

Double Chocolate Cherry Stout: Rich, smooth, complex chocolate flavours in this oatmeal stout are created from high-grade baker’s cocoa and Belgian chocolate malt. These great flavours are complimented with a substantial amount of memorable, sweet cherry character, making this one great beer!

Infusion A Coffee Porter: Swirls of heavenly chocolate and peanut butter flavours surround your senses, as you enjoy this wonderful maze of complexity that is “Infusion A”. The first of our Tower Tuesdays Series, this robust coffee porter is a great example of the eye-opening flavours we have developed with our Tuesday infusions. Taste the results of our research, we truly are developing better beer through knowledge.

Re-Pete 2x: In the beginning, there was an innovative West Coast brewer by the name of Pete, who developed a wicked-good and ground-breaking American ale. This super-tasty beer boasted Brewer’s Gold hops used for dry-hopping and an abundance of specialty malt, which gave it a great character unlike any other beer available. It quickly gained a loyal following among beer lovers, and became known the world-over as the defacto-standard American Brown Ale. Pete is no stranger to the Akron area, having made his Cocoa-Pete’s Chocolates in North Canton and where we first connected. So now, Hoppin’ Frog along with this creative brewing icon have developed Re-Pete 2X as a double version of the original, to pay homage to the innovative energy of American brewers, and deliver a great beer to TRUE BEER LOVERS!

B.O.R.I.S 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 flavour. When we finally made our dreams become reality, it was a symphony of beautiful flavours, a higher level of B.O.R.I.S. born from our creativity, that deserves the name B.O.R.I.S. Reserve!

D.O.R.I.S The Destroyer: This extreme Double Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout will overwhelm, satisfy, and destroy your taste buds like no other!! D.O.R.I.S. is even darker, hoppier, and stronger than our gold medal winning B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Stout. Dry-hopped and first wort hopped with the finest American hops for a great Imperial Stout experience! Enjoy the darkness!

Sippin’ Into Darkness (Lervig Aktiebryggeri collaboration): Collaborating with Lervig (Norway), we designed this Chocolate Martini Imperial Stout, to be rich and tasty, with the inviting flavours of a chocolate martini. Using layers of caramel malt and Belgian chocolate malt along with cocao and other spices, Hoppin’ Frog brewmaster Fred Kam along with Mike Murphy of Lervig, created Sippin’Into Darkness. A recipe that will stand the test of tme and can be enjoyed for years to come.

T.O.R.I.S The Tyrant: Freedom from alcohol limitations has finally been granted in 2016 allowing us to brew T.O.R.I.S. This super-tasty Triple Oatmeal Imperial-Stout is rich, dark, and flavourful – the way we like it – this beer is intense. It has been long awaited by our brewery as well as our fans. There comes a day when you break out of your shell, and strech your wings. Now is the time – time for T.O.R.I.S

B.O.R.I.S The Crusher Whiskey Barrel Aged Reserve: Made from our B.O.R.I.S. Imperial Stout, that was rated one of the World’s 50 Best Beers, and won the Gold Medal at the GABF in 2008. BARREL-AGED B.O.R.I.S. has picked up rich characters of vanilla, dark fruit, oak, and spice. It’s unbelievably complex and savoury.

These will move fast, so hop on down to Otter’s Tears pad… #ribbit

“Du Du hast Du hast mich Du hast mich Du hast mich gefrogt Du hast mich gefrogt Du hast mich gefrogt und ich hab nichts gesagt”

 

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

 

Weird Beard arrivals and special releases.

We are big fans and good friends with the guys from Weird Beard, so it’s always exciting when the “special stuff” arrives. Here’s a quick rundown of what we have added fresh to the shelves right now and news of a couple of new releases in the next week.

Master of Nuggets – 7.0% Mutant Brown Ale 

Brown ales often taste “brown”. We made sure this one doesn’t! Spicy characteristics of the Nugget single hops mingles with spiciness from rye malt and raisin from Special B malt. Some more currant-like flavours and sweet dark fruit notes come from Nottingham yeast and plays well with the pepperiness of American Nugget. Combined, you get a semi-sweet, rich and complex ale with layers of flavour.

Holy Hoppin’ Hell – 9.5%, Double IPA (Citra, Cascade, Columbus)

Part of a series where the grain bill is the same but the hops differ in each batch. We’re always going big on hops for this beer for aroma, flavour and bitterness, which complements the slightly chewier malt-bill of this style of beer.

Safe Stout – 7.7% Chokeberry Stout

First there was Safe Word…then comes our Safe Stout. We packed our 7.7% Stout full of Chokeberries which creates a complex mouthfeel of bitter-sweet sensation.  The aroma comes off with hints of dark chocolate and playful tart fruit notes that create an interwoven full flavoured stout.

Don’t Worry Bee Heavy – 7.8% Wee Heavy Style 

In-house collab with Brussels Beer Project and an innovative take on the Scotch ale style. 13 different grains add layers of complexity with combinations of caramel, toast and tobacco-like notes from peated malt. The roasted and subtle smoked flavours are balanced with honey. Scottish Ale yeast used gives rise to raisin, Dundee cake-like and stone-fruit flavours that works in harmony with the honey to give this beer it’s sweetness and warmth.

Bearded Nurse (Tequila Barrel Aged) – 10.2%, A Barley Wine

Originally a collab with our friends at Electric Nurse, this is a deliciously sticky, fruity and bold beer. that drinks easy for its strength. It boasts chewy toffee and date-notes with a spicy edge that is subtly reminiscent of Swedish gingerbread. *These are the tasting notes for the standard Bearded Nurse, the tequila barrel ageing adds another dimension, slightly boozier with the spirit definitely coming through to enhance those flavours.

Pig Smasher – 6.8% American Red

Brewed in collaboration with Against the Grain out of Louisville KY, here’s our take of a classic American Red. Chock full of lovely, citrus & piney hops in the shape of Bravo, Chinook, Simcoe and Summit along with ample honey in the boil for a long lasting sweet finish. This beer drinks mega-easy!

Bourbon Barrel Aged Boring Brown Beer – 9.6%

So Pale and one “crystal” malt, a single hop and English Ale yeast. This is our homage to the great British pint, or “Boring Brown Beer” as we like to put it. I mean to say how plain is Belgian Special C crystal malt, or the American C-hop Chinook? How boring can an 8+% beer be with 100+ IBU really be? Interested? Grab one and find out, in fact go one better and grab one that has been barrel aged on Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels…

Peat Rock a Peated India Brown Porter – 7%

For this beer Weird Beard went back to the old school, taking inspiration from the original brown porter style. But they couldn’t just stop there – they had to bring a little Weird Beard flavour to the jam.

They took the best elements of a brown porter, dialled up the ABV, added generous amounts of El Dorado and Summit hops, and dropped some big heavy peat notes in the mix. The result is a beer like no other. Complex, bursting with hop character and full of peat, this beer is as innovative and unique as its namesake.

Sadako – 9.5%, Imperial Stout

Brewed with 10 different malts including oats with additions of honey, molasses and fresh coffee beans. This is a deliciously rich, complex and intense dark beer that has been held back in the brewery for 6 months to ensure it’s ready for release.

Launching at Berries, Beans & Beer:

Mesca Ulad, A Barrel Aged Veda Bread Porter 8.4%

Resting in our cellar is this collaboration beer brewed by The Ulster Exile Brewers at Weird Beard. As it was embargoed for launch until this weekend gone, we decided it would be a great beer to treat beer lovers at the Berries, Beans and Beers Festival we are part of next weekend 28th – 30th April. We’ll hold a few bottles back so you won’t miss out. *pump-clip for illustration purposes only

 

On sale at Otter’s Tears from Saturday  29th April 2017

Opulence Vanilla Imperial Stout – 10.9%

“Opulence is our 400th brew, an amped up Decadence – double Decadence was the theme – which we’ve dosed with Madagascan Vanilla. It’s a superb brew and we’ve made sure it looks as exquisite as it tastes. We’ve even given it the wax treatment reserved for Sadako, our Impy stout.”

This luxurious beast is being launched by Weird Beard on Friday 28th April, we will have ours on sale from Saturday 29th, with a few bottles no doubt making their way over to BBB too.

More news and brews coming soon. Cheers!

Mikkeller..

Kicking off April in fine style, we’ve had a bit of a Mikkeller thing happen, with some absolutely cracking beers hitting Otter’s Tears shelves. Big beastly stouts feature heavily, as do barrel aged beers, with a smidgen of sour, and a big juicy helping of Double IPA.

Beers with brewery tasting notes where available below, read on..

MBCC SpontanYuzu – This years MBCC official festival beer, SpontanYuzu, is brewed with zesty and delicious yuzu & aged in Oak Barrels. A cloudy yellow sour with a fresh citrusy character that holds 7,7% ABV. Ten cans have been marked Lucky Bastard. Should you be so fortunate to find one of these (look at the bottom), it means you are going to MBCC with a Pink (all session) wristband – free of charge.

18th Street Grapefruit Dead DIPA – 18th Street Brewery and Mikkeller collaborated and went all in on this big juicy DIPA, big on Amarillo Hops, with Grapefruit Juice and Grapefruit Zest additions.

Nelson Sauvin Brut Chardonnay Barrel Aged 9% – “This stunning Biére Brut has been one of our proudest creations. It’s a glorious combination of champagne yeast, brettanomyces and finished in Austrian white wine barrels. The nelson is dry, sweet, vinous and pure decadence.”

Nelson Sauvin Chardonnay Barrel Aged (750 bottle) 9% – A remarkable beer brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops, fermented with Champagne yeast and aged in white wine casks on Brettanomyces and enzymes creating a super dry beer with a strong white wine character and complex notes of grapes, gooseberry and oak.

Nelson Sauvin Champagne Barrel Aged 9% (750 bottle) – No tasting notes available at the time of writing this, but basically see above for the base beer, only with Champagne barrel characteristics..

Black Imperial Stout 16.1% – ‘Brewed as the strongest beer in Scandinavia’. This imperial stout was introduced  a couple of years ago as the craziest, wildest, and strongest beer from Mikkeller. Eventually, Black Fist Ran over its little brother and easily took the title. A very strong imperial stout brewed for Mikkeller at De Proef in Belgium. Made with roasted barley, dark brown sugar and Champagne yeast.

San Diego Beer Geek Brunch Weasel (can) 10.9% – *Formerly brewed by Mikkeller at Nøgne Ø, Norway, now at Lervig, Norway.
This imperial Oatmeal stout is brewed with one of the world’s most expensive coffees, made from droppings of weasel-like civetcats. The fussy Southeast Asian animals only eat the best and ripest coffee berries.Enzymes in their digestive system help to break down the bean. Workers collect the bean-containing droppings for Civet or Weasel Coffee. The exceedingly rare Civet Coffee has a strong taste and an even stronger aroma.

Brunch Weasel was originally brewed with and named for the coffee beans culled from civet droppings, but this take was made using coffee roasted at home by Mikkeller San Diego head brewer Bill Batten and his wife. Other versions used beans provided by East Village roaster Dark Horse Coffee.

San Diego Beer Geek Breakfast 7.5% – Oatmeal Stout with Dark Horse Coffee. A variation on the version below, canned and clearly brewed in San Diego

Beer Geek Breakfast 7.5% – An oatmeal stout with 25.0% oat-based ingredients and a nice touch of gourmet coffee. A beer that goes extremely well with breakfast. Brewed for Mikkeller by the amazing guys at Lervig.

Beer Geek Desert 11% – “From the beer geek breakfast series, the beer that really put Mikkeller on the map. We added cocoa and vanilla to the french press coffee trick, creating a whole new dimension to the beer that are loved by freaks and geeks worldwide. It’s dark, dangerous, sweet and incredibly tasty as you would expect, but most of all; it’s ready to conquer your breakfast table routines.

 

Some serious stuff right there I think you’ll agree. If you check each beers respective score out on Ratebeer, they all rank at between 97/100 to 100/100, so definitely no duffers.

But don’t take Ratebeerians word for it, come try them for yourself.

Cheers

Circumstances…

*“Plus ca change
Plus c’est la meme chose”

Like how to word the content, I’ve struggled to come up with a title for this post for weeks. It was last night that Chris, my good friend and partner in crime, inadvertently gave me inspiration to use the name of a track by the Canadian rock trio Rush, from which the words above are taken..

I suspect it will come as little surprise to the good people that use the shop regularly that I have decided, for the foreseeable future at least, and events aside, to stop the on-site drink in part of the business at Otter’s Tears.

This will take effect from today, right now, immediately, fin.

As you can imagine, it is not a decision lightly taken. It has been raging a constant battle within me for the last six months. I know I need to make the call, but I also know that it will sadden customers that pop in for a quick one while they choose beer now and then.

But if there is one thing that I have learned from life in recent months, it is that you only have one go it. There is no point pursuing something “just because”.

Reasons for doing so are many and not really for further discussion here, but one that is particularly important is consistency. For months now, some days I allowed drinking in, some days I’ve had to make the call not to. This means that customers now arrive feeling they have to ask and possibly be disappointed, which has happened too often. That just isn’t a good way to run a business. As customers you deserve clear consistent information on how I intend to operate full time.

I realise that some people will be saddened by this news, whilst others I suspect won’t even notice. Regardless of whichever camp you sit, there are some upsides to doing this.

The change will allow me to expand the range still further, as I will be able to move all storage down to the cellar. This creating more shelf space to showcase a wider choice of products.

I will still be hosting regular events, so all is not lost there. I will announce the next one shortly.

Draught beer will still be available. I am really keen to push the growler filling options, either by using Otter’s Tears branded growlers, or if you want to bring your own. As long as it is clean, has good seals and is suitable for a quality keg dispensed product, I’m happy to fill it with beery delights. There are some really interesting kegs lined up for you too, watch this space for news on those.

On that front, I need to get more regular news out on here. That will happen. More beer information, stock arriving, reviews, pieces of general interest. Generally material that I think beer lovers will want to read, more regularly. There are a lot more plans for Otter’s Tears in the pipeline, those updates will feature here first.

Importantly though, for now Otter’s Tears continues to grow in the right direction. I can now fully focus on my primary objective: to run a truly speciality bottle shop the way I want it to be.

Thank you for your support, long may it continue.

*“The more that things change
The more they stay the same”

Cheers

Phil & all at Otter’s Tears

Super Stanley February Fundraiser #SuperStanley

“Weʼre raising £20,000 to use #SuperStanley’s story to raise money for the Children’s Heart Ultrasound Scanner Appeal at Royal Stoke University Hospital”

Stanley Scarrat, was an exceptional little dude, loving, funny, cheerful and inspirationally brave.

Rachel and I were two of his proud Godparents and he was a regular visitor to Otter’s Tears during his short but very happy life. He loved to sit right there on the counter, playing with the till (and adding things onto our bills), messing with the mats and being a cheeky monkey, we’ll miss him terribly. Stanley was born with a complex congenital heart defect which in short, meant that ultimately he required an urgent heart transplant. This sadly never came in time and he passed away on Tuesday 10th January 2017.

In an effort to leave a lasting legacy to his memory, an appeal was launched with two main aims.

To raise awareness of the importance of registering for organ donation.

To try and raise £20,000 for the Children’s Heart Ultrasound Scanner Appeal at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

You can read the full story here on the Super Stanley website and directly on the Just Giving Page (where you can also make direct donations).

We want to do our bit to support this great cause too, and so today we launch our “Super Stanley February Fundraiser“.

Throughout February, we will be posting the details of special offers available in Otter’s Tears (or elsewhere). We have lots of ideas, but in-store these will mainly consist of varying amounts of the purchase price of specific beers being donated directly to the appeal, the first of which will be announced tomorrow.

We also have posters around the shop promoting the option to make a small donation for our carrier bags, something that we don’t normally charge for, again to the #SuperStanley appeal. This only started a few hours ago, but already people have been incredibly generous.

We hope you can find time to help us help the charity to reach it’s aims and more. If you want to get involved, get in touch, be that by your own personal fundraising event/pledge, or from fellow beer shops, brewery or bar owners and such, we’d love to hear from you.

Just use the contact us option on the website or via the Twitter or Facebook channels.

I’ll leave you with a few useful links below.

Thanks for reading.

Register for Organ Donation: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk

Super Stanley JustGiving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/superstanleyscarratt

Super Stanley website: http://www.superstanley.co.uk Follow this for news, updates and more.

Class in a glass!

csm_craft_beer_glasses_reddot_idea_370ce12e69I’ve always been a glassware nut, I think it stems from my many visits to Belgium. Where you walk into a bar with a beer menu more akin to a karaoke song list with page after page of wonders. A beer is chosen and the barkeep still manages to find the correct, usually branded glass, pours most of the beer and places both bottle and glass brand forward on separate bar-mats in front of you. For me it brings a degree of theatre, enhancing the drink if only in the mind.

There is definitely more to it than that though, beers like big aromatically hoppy IPA’s for example, really benefit from a glass that focusses those wonderful tropical notes floating toward your nose long before you touch a drop.

I remember a demonstration several years ago at a beer bloggers convention in Leeds, where the guys from Spiegelau set out a range of glasses with beers to suit and a standard glass, for a side by side comparison. The difference was amazing.

I still have my set from back then, and despite having cupboards full of branded glassware, day to day I use Spiegelau.

spiegelau-craft-beer-glasses-tasting-kit-set-of-4-4991697Since then the range has evolved to meet the needs of the modern craft beer drinker, with Spiegelau working with brewers and beer professionals of real pedigree to perfect a range of glasses to pretty much cover most bases.

I am really pleased to tell you that we have acquired sets of these at Otter’s Tears which are on sale right now. Put them on your Christmas list or hey, why wait, come grab a pack now and take your next beer to another level.

From this point on, the information is from Spiegelau, as there is no point me re-writing their own story, but read on as you’ll get a feel for who has designed what and what they hoped to achieve.

 

TASTING APPROVED: Focusing on beer enjoyment, members of the tasting workshop tested multiple glass shapes to find the best glass for India Pale Ale, American Wheat Beer and Stout. In the experts’ opinion, the custom-shaped glasses successfully deliver the complexity of aromas on the nose while demonstrating the optimum beer texture, balance and flavour intensity on the palate. Staying faithful to the spirit of Bavarian artisan craftsmanship, we have created these unique, functional glasses to bring out the best in complex craft beers.

4991782_beer_classics_wei_smallIPA – The Spiegelau IPA glass has a new and unique design, created to support the complex and volatile aromas in IPA style beers.

The glass has been developed in collaboration with two of the leading IPA brewers in the United States, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada. Achieved through a series of design and tasting workshops in which hundreds of possible designs were considered, the brewers ultimately and unanimously chose, by secret vote, one glass – “number 6“ – from a final lineup of eight custom-made prototypes.

Designed to showcase the complex and alluring aromatic profiles of American “hop-forward” IPA beers, preserve a frothy head, enhance taste and mouth feel, and present a comfortably wide opening for the drinker to savour each beer, Spiegelau’s latest design is the go-to vessel for enjoying IPA.

Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada champion U.S. hop farming. The breweries are donating their portion of the proceeds from this collaboration to benefit advances in hop research.

stoutSTOUT – Following in the footsteps of their hugely successful IPA glass project, Spiegelau has partnered with two of the leading Stout brewers in the United States, Left Hand Brewing Company from Colorado and Rogue Ales from Oregon to create the ultimate tool for enjoying Stout beer.

After months of design and tasting workshops, during which hundreds of glass shapes were considered, the brewers ultimately and unanimously chose as their favourite, ‘Prototype C’, from a final lineup of eight custom-made Spiegelau shapes.

Expertly crafted, tested and approved, the Spiegelau Stout glass accentuates the roasted malt, rich coffee and chocolate notes that define the Stout beer style, while maintaining the functional design characteristics for which Spiegelau beer glassware has become known.

0019194_spiegelau-craft-beer-american-wheat-beer-glasses-set-of-4WHEAT BEER – In collaboration with the award winning Michigan-based Bell’s Brewery, Spiegelau has developed a specific drinking vessel for one the world’s most popular beer varieties – WHEAT. Ever focused on perfecting beer-specific glassware, Spiegelau’s latest innovation is poised to become the new standard for enjoying premium wheat beers. As with previous tasting-workshops, Spiegelau has challenged conventional thinking and presumption of what a wheat beer glass should look like. The new glass ultimately offers the best wheat beer drinking experience, enhancing the style’s delicate floral and fruit-scented aromatic profile.  It delivers the optimal taste, aroma and mouth feel to enhance American and Belgian wheat beers.

pr_craftbeerglasses_barrelagedbeer_01_s_frei_01BARREL AGED BEER, OLD ALES, BARLEY WINES – Barrel Aged Beer represents the height of a brew masters talent and passion. The impartation of long-term wood aging on fine beer makes for the most complex expression possible with regards to the aroma, taste, mouth feel and finish of these special beers. Barrel Aged Beers are truly a connoisseur’s choice.

The Spiegelau Barrel Aged Glass is the result of two years of development in partnership with the brew masters of four of the world’s great producers of Barrel Aged Beer: Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver, Colorado; Green Flash Brewing Company of San Diego, California; Uinta Brewing Company of Salt Lake City, Utah and Cigar City Brewing of Tampa Bay, Florida.

BENEFITS OF SHAPE, DESIGN AND PREMIUM MATERIALS.

img_0341LASER CUT RIM: Crisp, clean delivery in every sip

MOUTH OPENING: Wide mouth allows drinker to „nose“ the beer comfortably for heightened aroma and delivers beer evenly across palate to enhance mouthfeel and harmony of sweetness and acidity

BOWL: Slender, bowed shape amplifies hops aroma

THIN WALLS: Maintains proper beer temperature longer

REFRESHER: Wave-like ridges aerate beer into and out of the glass to balance flavours as you drink