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!

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.

Fuller, Smith and Turner…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there has never been a better time to be a lover of good beer, certainly in my lifetime anyway. We are awash with new breweries from here and another great brew from there, so much so that it is often difficult to keep up. However, it is equally easy to lose sight of some of the absolutely stunning beers that have been around for quite a while, back even before the days when “craft” only referred to the likes of knitting, crochet and making replicas of Tower Bridge from matchsticks.

Without delving too deep into the history books, Fuller, Smith and Turner, or Fuller’s as they are more commonly known, joined forces in 1845. A year familiar with most as it features as the name of one of Fuller’s more prevalent beers, available in several supermarkets. But the history of brewing goes back around 350 years in around that particular area of London. In short, they have some serious brewing heritage…

Now as you know, here at Otter’s Tears our aim is to bring beers to you that are a little bit special, beers that you can’t bag on a 3 for £6 deal at Tesco, Morrison’s and the like. It is also important to me that I am proud to have them on the shelves, so that I can feel happy in recommending them to you, so I have put together this collection from Fuller’s that I am confident you will love. Read on..

Past Masters “Every single afternoon since 1845, the Fuller’s brewing team has diligently written out the ingredients of the day’s brews – and the Past Masters series is a great example of why we do it.

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Past Masters 1926 Oatmeal Porter: “1926 Oatmeal Porter is the seventh beer revived as part of our Past Masters collection. It’s been brewed to a 90-year old recipe from the Fuller’s archives, to celebrate the occasion of the Queen’s 90th birthday. Well worth revisiting, this is a rich, special Porter with Northumbrian oats added to the brew, giving a smooth mouthfeel and delicious notes of coffee and dark chocolate. Fans of the Porter style, or any strong, dark beer, won’t want to miss out.”

Better with age As a bottle conditioned beer, 1926 Oatmeal Porter contains sediment that allows the flavours to develop up until the moment the bottle is opened. This beer should therefore be stored upright in a dark room, and poured carefully when served for the best possible results.”

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I’ve personally not tried the 1926 as yet, but previous Past Masters beers have been really good, a world away from the Fuller’s pub favourites you may or may not love.

Fullers’s Imperial Stout: “Imperial Stout delivers roasted dark chocolate notes against a slightly fruity acidity. Sovereign and Centennial hops, meanwhile, bring floral flavour, enhanced by dried rose buds that hint at Turkish Delight. There’s a taste of liquorice there too, ahead of a lasting finish with fairly high bitterness.”

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This is a fantastic beer, bottle conditioned too so perfect for cellaring for a while if you can resist temptation, I currently have a few tucked away out of reach..

Vintage Ale: “Fuller’s has created a new recipe of Vintage Ale every year since 1997, picking the best ingredients at the time, to make a strong beer with a complex character. Every bottle of Vintage Ale is individually numbered, making our older Vintage Ales extremely rare and sought after.”

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Vintage Ale 2015: “A beautiful beer brewed celebrating the 50th anniversary of famous British malt variety Maris Otter and brewed using exclusively British ingredients. The floor-malted Maris Otter is combined with home-grown Target, Northdown, Challenger and Goldings hops to create a best-of-British beer with complex flavours, a fruitful aroma and a bitter finish.”

I’ve been buying, drinking and saving Fuller’s Vintage Ales for years and they never disappoint. The other thing to note here is these beers are absolutely perfect to hide away for a few years, knowing that they will only be getting better and better. Take a look at the Fuller’s website and you will see vintages still on sale dating back to 1997, their value rising massively in the process year on year. So whether you are buying for pleasure, an investment or maybe to celebrate a life event, these are a fantastic choice. Had a child born in 2015 for example, why not buy a couple and store away until he or she is 21, what a way to celebrate a milestone?

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There are a couple of good reads here, showing a couple of takes on how each beer develops over time, the first by Mark Dredge the other Des de Moor, both highly respected, published beer authors.

Fullers Vintage Ale: A 15-year vertical tasting – Mark Dredge

Fuller’s Vintage Ale – Des de Moor

Brewer’s Reserve

The “Brewer’s Reserve” range is now, as the name suggests in its 5th incarnation of oak barrel aged beers. No1 was a 30 year old Glenmorangie single malt whisky Cask, No2 – Courvoisier Cognac, No3 Auchentoshan whisky and No4 – Comte de Latvia Armagnac.

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Brewer’s Reserve No5: “Aged for 18 months in 30-year-old whiskey casks, Brewer’s Reserve No.5 is a full-bodied limited-edition beer, infused with the secrets of whiskey-soaked wood. Pouring a dark brown colour, it conjures a sherry-like aroma with notes of bourbon on the nose, while on the palate, it delivers sweet biscuit, fruitcake flavours and ripe notes of cherry – ending with a warm, smooth and satisfying finish. A truly special beer that every ale lover should experience. The launch of Brewer’s Reserve No.5 marks ten years since the start of the series. To celebrate, we’ve sourced whiskey casks from Glenmorangie, the same Scottish distillery we used a decade ago.”

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As you can see from both the images and the descriptions, these are some special beers we have right here. All but the Past Masters come in beautifully finished boxes, with bottles internally tape-sealed too. I really hope you guys buy, cherish and enjoy them as much as I do.

Cheers

Phil

There’s “Norway” of telling you how good these Lervig beers are…

Screen shot 2014-10-12 at 12.09.46 PM“Nor’way” of knowing how long they will last either….. 😉

Awful puns aside, take look at our current stock of beers from Norwegian brewmasters Lervig Aktiebryggeri. We hope you agree it’s a pretty epic selection including some very rare beasts, hitting the UK in VERY limited numbers. 

We have Lervig collaborations with some of the worlds finest breweries, Hoppin’ Frog, Arizona Wilderness, Magic Rock, Boxing Cat and Way Beer, the latter joining forces to brew the superb “3 Bean Stout”, up there with any stout I’ve ever had.

Lucky Jack Grapefruit: Our Flagship beer Lucky Jack gets a kick in the ass with more fruit, we simply added Grapefruit peels and Pink Grapefruit juice for the summer beer edition. Slight more pink, slightly more acidic, a lot more fruity and fresh! Unfiltered and limited for the summer!

Sour Suzy: A thirst quenching session beer, Sour Suzy mimics a classic German brewing technique (sour mashing) to impart a light, refreshing tartness. No hop bitterness & very low hop profile. Sour Suzy is not your typical session beer – rather it delivers something a bit more obscure and intriguing. It drinks as refreshingly as a glass of lemonade. The grain bill includes a healthy portion of wheat, while citrusy hops lend bright notes to the aroma which are accentuated by the addition of Makrut lime leaves.

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*Both of the above cans, chilled to perfection, they will not fail to please in this hot weather.

Galaxy IPA: A Single Hop IPA with a golden copper colour. It’s brewed with loads of Galaxy hops from Australia giving this IPA its characteristic tropical fruit flavour. Expect a big hoppy flavour with a heavy dose of up-front bitterness.

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Farmhouse IPA: This brew is the result of our unique collaboration with Magic Rock Brewing (UK). We have combined our love of hops and funky flavours to make this Farmhouse-style IPA. Belgian yeasts and Brettanomyces will make this beer more and more spicy with time.

Konrad’s Stout: A Scandinavian inspired Imperial Stout. Konrad’s is a smooth, supple stout with lots of chocolate and coffee flavour with a touch of liquorice. At 70IBU there is more than enough bitterness to balance out the sweetness.

Barley Wine Bourbon BA: This is our once a year brew of Bourbon Barrel aged Barley wine. It’s brewed with Munich, chocolate and caramel malts, and hopped delicately with Golding hops. It’s aged in Jack Daniels Barrels for a year to allow the beer to mellow out and mature. The oak provides a dimension of coconut, vanilla and even a touch of Bourbon. Dark red, low carbonation and great depth, this is one of our most special beers

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Lervig – Norwegian Mauler: An Earl grey tea infused breakfast stout. This is a beer with bags of flavour all designed to bring the best out of all the facets of the brew. Brew is the best word for this beer as the Earl grey tea really comes through and out to the fore as you drink giving a unique taste to this excellently rounded, slightly sweet stout.

Lervig – Passion Tang: A beer deliberately made not to taste like beer. Sounds fun right? This is a sour beer made with Passion fruit and ‘grains of paradise’ (This spice, commonly known as ossame, grains of paradise, Melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains, fom wisa, or Guinea pepper, is obtained from the ground seeds; it imparts a pungent, peppery flavour with hints of citrus, thanks wiki.) It is a brew with a soft malt base a lovely dry tang on the tongue and then a myriad of the different flavours from the spice and fruit that has been added. Definitely a beer that can be enjoyed by those who don’t like the norm but also for those looking to expand their tastebuds to new and exciting places. This beer is the Starship Enterprise of the beer world and you can be Captain Kirk or Spock or Uhura with just 1 sip.

Lervig – Sverd I Fjell: One of the newest of Lervig’s brewers reserve beers this is a triple IPA. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water Lervig come rolling in and blast those pithy ‘Double IPAs’ away. Like a warship firing hops this brew sits in the mouth and simply blasts at the tastebuds. It never gets too overpoweringly dry as there is enough of the malt character there to hold the beer just about down but this is a dank tropical experience to behold and enjoy.

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Lervig/ Arizona Wilderness – Lawless: This is a Norwegian farmhouse ale made in collaboration with Wilderness brewery from Arizona USA. They have taken a traditionally hoppy pale ale and added in juniper berries and extra oat to give this brew a distinctive taste that you won’t find elsewhere. A big rich body is helped by the added oat and then the juniper berries give a dry sweetness reminiscent of good gins.

Lervig/ Hoppin’ Frog – Sippin’ into Darkness: A sweet imperial stout straight from the creative minds of 2 of the world’s best head brewers right now. They’ve taken a rich malty imperial stout and added in Candi syrup, Lactose, Cocoa nibs and vanilla to give this quite dry stout a fresh lick of paint in a sweet facelift. The cocoa added to the roasted dark chocolate flavours and comes out on the body whilst the candi sugar and vanilla dominate the finish of this excellent bee.

*I REALLY love the 3 Bean stout, but I am being told by “reliable sources”, that the “Sippin’ Into Darkness” is a more than worthy challenger, further testing required methinks…

Lervig/ Way – 3 Bean Stout: A few Brazilian brewers came all the Way’ to Norway to brew a big giant of a stout. Keeping in line with giants, we tossed a few magic beans in the brew for good measure. Tonka, Vanilla and Cocoa beans all do their part in making this a truly complex and unique stout while delivering the dark quality you’ve come to expect from Lervig. Plant the magic beans!

Lervig – Iconoclast Quad: A classic monk’s brew reinterpreted by heathens. This big Quad was brewed with cascara cherries to give it a nice dried fruit, spice, and tobacco characteristic. It is pleasantly dry with a great, ever-developing Brettanomyces character, coupled with classic Belgian yeast profile. This is one to drink now, or place in the cellar. Label art by Error! Design from Barcelona.

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*The Iconoclast is extremely limited, please call for stock as it will go FAST

That’s all for now, but of course there are always more new beers hitting the shelves at Otter’s Tears than I have time to write about, so come see what we have for yourselves. Cheers!

Phil

 

Tears For Beers – July 8th #tearsforbeers

Welcome to another issue of “Tears For Beers”. First some news.

Last Saturdays sour beer presentation with Chorlton Brewery was a great success, with head brewer/owner Mike talking us through some of the beers that influenced his own path into brewing and formed the basis of many of Chorlton’s beers. We still have a few of those beers in stock, “Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Gueuze”, “Berliner Kindl Weisse” and “Bayerischer Banhof Gose”, a quite rare traditional Leipzig  gose. We also have all of the Chorlton beers featured and more in stock, including the new stunning Citra Sour, plus Mosaic and Olicana Lager in cans and if you are lucky, Kohatu Sour on keg.

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Thanks to everyone that attended, helped out and of course Mike Marcus. More event news coming soon.

Continuing on a sour note, we commence our new beer listings with two absolute classics from Cantillon and Tilquin. Both of these beers are hard to track down and an absolute must for any fans of gueuze and lambic beers.

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Gueuzerie Tilquin

“Located in Bierghes in the Senne valley, the Gueuzerie Tilquin is the only gueuze blendery in Wallonia. A gueuzerie, or Geuzestekerij in Dutch, is an enterprise where Gueuze à l’ancienne (or Oude Geuze) is blended.

Freshly brewed worts  are purchased from different producers in the region (Payottenland and Brussels), and pumped in oak barrels  for fermentation and ripening, during 1, 2 or 3 years. The lambics obtained are blended and bottled to give, after 6 months of refermentation, the Gueuze Tilquin à l’ancienne, which is 6.4% and is available in 37,5cl and 75cl bottles.” (We only have the 37.5cl in stock)

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Closer to home we have had a new stock of Thornbridge, with some old favourites returning and a few new gems arriving including the infamous Jaipur X and Eldon Bourbon Oak Imperial Stout.

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Jaipur X – “This imperial version of our most successful beer has been brewed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Thornbridge beers and the first brew of Jaipur in June 2005”

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Tart – “Our Bakewell Sour pours a golden yellow colour with a white head, the beer is refreshingly tart and dry with a combination of citrusy hops and flavours of grapefruit and bitter lemon”

Rhubarbe De Saison – “Typical of the Saison style, the beer is golden in colour with flavours from the rhubarb and a combination of Northern Brewer, Saaz and Kent Golding hops. Winner of the homebrew Challenge 2015 created by Will Alston”

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Eldon – “The name for this beer is inspired by one of the seven wonders of The Peak District, The Eldon Hole. It is a smooth, roasty stout with added complexity from the addition of Bourbon soaked oak.”

Cocoa Wonderland – “A full bodied, robust porter with natural mocha malt flavours from the complex malt grist, complementing the decadent additions of real chocolate to the maturation process”

Staying in the peaks, new kids on the block Torrside continue to treat us with an ever growing list of interesting beers. If you are ever in the High Peaks on a weekend give them a look up as they often host open brewery tap days.

Torrside Brewery

“Torrside Brewing is based in New Mills, in Derbyshire’s High Peak, on the north-west edge of the Peak District. Our name is taken from the Torrs, the 70-foot-deep gorge cut by the Rivers Goyt & Sett, that the town stands above and around.  New Mills is an old and sizeable town, but has somehow missed out on having its own brewery!

Torrside was set up by a team of 3 experienced local home brewers.  Each had been brewing for several years, and it proved to be something of an obsession. 

Beer is an amazingly varied drink, with flavours that are created by a huge number of factors  – from the mix of different malts and hops, and which yeasts we use for fermentation, to fine details of the brewing process such as timings, temperatures, and maturation. So we’ll be brewing across a wide range, from real ales and world beer styles, to historical recipes and a few more unconventional beers.”

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At the other end of the Peak Forest canal in Manchester we have Blackjack Brewery, who have taken their already beautiful Ace Of Spades impy stout, and red wine barrel aged it with morello cherries… Need I say more? #NomNom

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Bloody hell, it’s Beavertown Bloody ‘Ell, on steroids, and is Bloody Notoriously good, it is also bloody notoriously scarce, we have a few cans left at the time of writing this, if you want one be quick, seriously…

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Bloody Notorious – “The 4th wave of Bloody ‘Ell has come to an end. Taste buds of the IPA masses have been entrenched for the last few months in zest and juice of the mighty Sicilian citrus, there were no survivors. Now a new champion is sent to examine the desolation, flex his juicy supremes and take his seat as the new king. Welcome Bloody Notorious DIPA! Long may you reign.”

On to a few international breweries I’m excited to feature. First up Lervig from Norway. I was first alerted to these guys by my good friends over at Cotteridge Wines, who insisted I try the Konrad’s Stout which was awesome. All the beers from Lervig are pretty special, but their 3 Bean Stout is up there with the very best I have ever tasted from anywhere. It’s a full-on punch in the face flavour and aroma-fest!

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3 Bean Stout – “A few Brazilian brewers came all the Way’ to Norway to brew a big giant of a stout. Keeping in line with giants, we tossed a few magic beans in the brew for good measure. Tonka, Vanilla and Cocoa beans all do their part in making this a truly complex and unique stout while delivering the dark quality you’ve come to expect from Lervig. Plant the magic beans!”

Farmhouse IPA – “This brew is the result of our unique collaboration with Magic Rock Brewing (UK). We have combined our love of hops and funky flavours to make this Farmhouse-style IPA. Belgian yeasts and Brettanomyces will make this beer more and more spicy with time.”

Konrad’s Stout – “A Scandinavian inspired Imperial Stout. Konrad’s is a smooth, supple stout with lots of chocolate and coffee flavour with a touch of liquorice. At 70IBU there is more than enough bitterness to balance out the sweetness.”

Galaxy IPA – “A Single Hop IPA with a golden copper colour. It’s brewed with loads of Galaxy hops from Australia giving this IPA its characteristic tropical fruit flavour. Expect a big hoppy flavour with a heavy dose of up-front bitterness.”

You may also have seen Lucky Jack knocking about recently, bang on trend they now have a grapefruit edition, I think you’ll like it!
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Lucky Jack Grapefruit – “Our Flagship beer Lucky Jack gets a kick in the ass with more fruit, we simply added Grapefruit peels and Pink Grapefruit juice for the summer beer edition. Slight more pink, slightly more acidic, a lot more fruity and fresh! Unfiltered and limited for the summer!”

“Lervig Aktiebryggeri”

Lervig is an independently owned and operated craft brewery located in Stavanger Norway. We produce a wide range of beers from easy-drinking pilsners and pale ales, barrel-aged barley wines and sour beers.

We are constantly pushing the boundaries of brewing for both everyday people and craft beer lovers alike. Our goals are to brew the best beers in the world, we like to work outside our comfort zone as well as combine our creativity with the years of craft brewing experience that our brewers have.  Everyday we work harder to deliver the quality our customers expect from Lervig.

Today Lervig is focused on growth – we push the creative limits of brewing while making sure we have a healthy supply of refreshing beers to ship throughout Norway and beyond. Lervig’s people are what makes this brewery even more special; you’ll find an international team within its walls bringing a global perspective our brewing process, and working hard to make sure that Lervig keeps producing the quality craft beers you’ve come to expect.

Belgium – I’m also very excited to get beers in from The Musketeers Brouwerij with a couple of their Troubadour series brews, Magma, a big chewy Belgian Triple/IPA and Westkust (West Coast) Black IPA.IMG_8177

Magma – “Troubadour Magma is an amber beer with a spicy and bitter character of an American India Pale Ale, but softened with the flavour of a Belgian Tripel. Enjoy the explosion of fruity aromas coming from the dry-hopping.”

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Westkust – “West Coast troubadour is a dark, almost black beer with 9.2% abv with aroma of hops, roasted malt, coffee and light notes of chocolate and vanilla. The flavour is a balance between the flavour of roasted malt and coffee followed by a sharp but pleasant bitterness that slowly gets the upper hand and ensures a long hoppy finish.”

New to me, and relatively new historically speaking on the Belgian brewing front, we are trying out Brouwerij TOYE. Let me know what you think?

TOYE – Goedendag – “(Good Day), belongs to the type of heavy blond beers. It is a high fermentation beer with secondary fermentation in the bottle. The light blonde beer is a pretty solid foam during pouring. The aroma is fruity perceptible doing to think ripe banana with a floral hoppiness. In taste fruitiness and hoppiness is also reflected. This is nicely supported by a gentle, noble bitterness. The alcohol content of 8% by volume. further underlines the powerful character of the Good day.”

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Finally on the Belgian Front, due to popular demand for Belgian Blond beers, we are now stocking Brugse Zot and Slaapmutske.

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Lots more new beer in stock and arriving daily, come and see for yourself, tell with your friends and share the beery love. Until next time!

Cheers

Phil

Hawkshead Brewery and Key Lime Tau-rsday

KLT.jpg-largeHawkshead Brewery have well and truly entered the building here at Otter’s Tears and we have some absolute belters in stock for your beverage enjoyment.

For many years these guys have quietly been producing good, solid, tasty beers, in fact I can take a punt that most of you reading this have had more than your fair share of Windermere Pale and Brodies Prime over the years, as both have graced many a bar top nationwide.

But it also goes without saying that they have also been pushing boundaries for many a year too. They host one of the countries finest beer festivals over at their Staveley home, not once but twice a year, and were one of the first as far as I know to have a bar dedicated to keg. (I wrote briefly about that back in 2012 )

The beer range they put out is superb, whether you are a dyed in the wool cask traditionalist or as craft as Crafty McCraftface they have a beer for you. Take the absolutely sublime NZPA, with head brewer Matt Clarke clearly showing his Kiwi pedigree to the max. I remember the first time I ever tasted it well, with Matt beaming at me excitedly as he knew damn well how good it was and still is. An absolute classic.

So what have we got in store for you then, well, here goes..

NZPA (obviously) – Brewed with several varieties of New Zealand hops and created by a Kiwi, Head Brewer Matt Clarke. Passionfruit, mango and apricot aromas and a citrus bitterness are balanced by the sweetness of English Maris Otter barley to produce an extraordinary beer which showcases the unique hops of New Zealand.

Brodies Prime Export – Our original ruby brown premium beer, Brodie’s Prime, brewed to export strength to create a rich, complex, strong dark ale. English Maris Otter malted barley, dark malts and a medley of English and American hops produce aromas of dark chocolate, treacle sweet flavours, roasted bitterness, a surprising fruitiness and a long dry finish.

Northern Imperial Stout – A beer to be savoured and sipped to appreciate evolving layers of flavour. It is a deep, rich, complex, intense, strong black beer. Mouthfeel is full bodied. Chocolate, coffee and roasted flavours are at the forefront, dark stone fruit is in the background. The finish is bitter-sweet and warming.

IMG_7921No 5 Brodies Prime – Our 5th limited edition oak-aged release is a matured version of our Brodie’s Prime Export at 8.5% ABV, which is in turn a stronger version of the original Brodie’s Prime at 4.9% Brodie’s Prime Export has been aged for 9 months in oak casks last filled with red wine (Pinot Noir grape) from Burgundy, producing a deep, dark, rich, malty winter ale to savour now or allow to mature further.

Oat Wine Cask Aged – Brewed in collaboration with Wild Beer Co. Oat Wine is a take on the classic British beer style, Barley Wine…..but dominated by oats not barley. Brewed with 50% oats, rye, barley & wheat, double mashed and hopped with English varieties Admiral & First Gold. Matured in cask for 12 months. Deep golden in colour with a warm bitter-sweet compote of rich fruit; deep, full bodied, spicy with marmalade & vanilla flavours.

Oat Wine Cider Brandy – As above but matured in a cider brandy cask for 12 months. Deep golden in colour with notes of baked spiced apples, rich fruit, full bodied, deep warm flavours.

Tonka – A deep, dark, unfiltered, velvety ale, aged with a smattering of tonka beans & cacao nibs – luscious layers of flavour: chocolate, vanilla, coconut, almond, bitter cherry, rolling into the richness of dark malts – a sumptuous beer. Tonka beans are the fruit of the South American Cumaru tree, used by chefs for their complex scent and nut & fruit flavours.

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Key Lime “Tau-rsday”

OK it’s confession time, I made a mahoosive boo-boo. Several weeks ago, Matt at Hawkshead contacted me to ask if I would like to be part of this years International Key Lime Tau day, on Tau’sday 28th June. Having tasted Key Lime Tau at last years Rainbow project launch at Magic Rock and been absolutely blown away by it, of course, I jumped at the chance and said YES. Plans were set, beers were ordered and everything was well with the world until I saw the launch day poster and thought, “oh damn” (or words to that effect), we are closed that day. More on that later..

Anyway, apart from getting a stand in which wouldn’t have been fair, our only option was to put everything on when we get back, so our launch day will be Thursday 30th June.

On the day we’ll have on keg and in bottle..

 

IMG_7918Key Lime Tau – Hawkshead 2106 Edition – A kettle-soured, lactose infused Golden Ale brewed with fresh lime zest and lemon grass. Created by head brewers Matt of Hawkshead Brewery and Chad of Crooked Stave (USA) in answer to drawing green in the 2015 Rainbow Project. It is their take on a key lime pie – biscuity, spicy, sweet flavours with the sharp zestiness of lime.It is called Key Lime Tau because Tau is 2 x Pi (τ = 2π), it has now been made on both sides of the Atlantic and is brewed to 6.28% abv.

and in bottle only

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Key Lime Tau – Crooked Stave original release. – Chad at Crooked Stave was so impressed by the beer he brewed here in the UK, that he asked Matt if it would be OK for him to brew it again back home. This is the result, same recipe but this time coming out at 7.0% abv. These are very limited, but it is a perfect opportunity to try the two side by side.

Check out this video review of the original Hawkshead/Crooked Stave collaboration by Rob Derbyshire over at Hopzine.

News…

We still have a few tickets left for our Sour Beer Tasting with Mike from Chorlton Brewery on Saturday 2nd July, see here for details.

Finally, a heads up about our opening hours next week. We will be closed all day on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th June as we take a little break with some beery research thrown in. Also we will close early on Saturday 2nd July, with doors closing at 4:30pm to prepare for our event that evening.

Loads more new beer in stock as always, including new releases from Cloudwater, Mad Hatter and Chorlton. See you soon

Cheers

Phil