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

Stone Brewing Berlin

STONE BREWING SPECIAL

Stone Brewing have long been a go-to staple for any serious craft beer drinker interested in what good American brewing can offer, with beers like Ruination, Cali-Belgique and the oh-so subtly named Arrogant Bastard snapped up if found. In recent years though, they seemed to lose their edge slightly in a market with so many UK brewers bringing their own super fresh hoppy IPA’s in particular to the table. I’m not saying that Stone dropped their game at all, but when we have so much brewing talent here, it just made sense for lupulus-hungry beer geeks to snap up UK hop-bombs brewery fresh, than those that had potentially sat on a boat for several weeks.

Back in 2014 though, Stone announced it would be spending an estimated $25 million to open a brewery in the city of Berlin, Germany. In addition to the brewhouse, the two-acre location will include a packaging and distribution centre, a Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens restaurant and a Stone Company Store.

Of course, the upside of this is that beers brewed in Europe, now hit the UK shelves and fridges much faster and a whole lot fresher, so as soon as I heard we could get some I was there like a shot.

About Stone Brewing..

“Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, Stone Brewing has come a long way since opening up in San Diego, California, in 1996. We have been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 11 times, and have been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. Stone has also donated more than $3 million dollars to charity.

As the tenth-largest craft brewer in the U.S. and with our breweries in Richmond, Virginia & Berlin, Germany, we join artisanal brewers across the world in the quest to show the public that there are more…and better…choices beyond the world of industrial beer.”

Stone Berlin..

“After looking at more than 130 sites in nine different countries, we found the perfect site for Stone’s European expansion. Built in 1901, this former gasworks facility resides on an amazing property with industrial and historic elements.

Stone’s Berlin campus includes a main hall with a 3.200 square meter Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Berlin and a retail store selling Stone beers and merchandise. The main hall also includes a 100 hectolitre custom stainless steel brewhouse and a 10 hectolitre experimental system. In addition, our campus includes a 2.000 square meter packaging and distribution hall for filling, packing and storage as well as a 155 square meter event space in a historic train repair building situated among expansive gardens. The gardens welcome guests to unwind in corners, nooks and gathering spaces created using the natural elements of the space and repurposed building materials.”

What we stand for..

“Known for our bold, flavourful and largely hop-centric beers, we have earned a reputation for brewing outstanding, unique beers while maintaining an unwavering commitment to sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy and the art of brewing. 

We view fellow craft breweries as compatriots, not competitors, and embrace collaboration, integrity and quality as the hallmarks of our business.”

The name and the gargoyle..

“During a routine business meeting as Greg and Steve looked over a few succinct names they had scribbled down on a piece of paper, Greg saw the word “stone” and said, “How about Stone Brewing?” The name (and its connotations—a stone is strong, natural and small yet powerful) stuck.

The gargoyle came next. Besides being carved from stone, it represents the European inspiration behind some of our first beers and is a guardian symbol meant to ward off evil spirits. In our case…cheap ingredients, pasteurisation and chemical additives…the modern-day evil spirits of beer!”

THE BEERS

Go To IPA 4.7% 

“For Stone Go To IPA, we embrace our hop obsession by using hop bursting, a technique wherein an irrational amount of hops is added during the final brewing phase to bring out vibrantly hoppy flavours and aromas while also imparting a burst of desirably mellow bitterness. The result is a session IPA that delivers all the fruity, piney character of a much bigger beer.”

STONE IPA 6.9%

“This is the IPA that initiated our reputation for hops and exposed a budding world of craft beer enthusiasts to our unique brewing style. Distinguished by bright, hop-driven flavours, this is the IPA that launched generations of hop fanatics in the U.S. We now present our hoppy standard-bearer to those in Europe eager to worship at the altar of the almighty hop.”

Cali-Belgique IPA 6.9%

“Think of this beer as Stone IPA’s identical twin raised in a Belgian culture. Literally. A strain of Belgian yeast adds tropical fruit, bubblegum and spice notes, creating a complex and surprising combination of flavours in tandem with the beer’s citrusy hop character. The gentle sweetness from the yeast also lends new depth to the bright hoppiness of our flagship IPA.”

Ruination Double IPA 8.5%

“We craft this big, bold and hugely aromatic West Coast style double IPA to celebrate all characteristics of the hop — its beauty and poetry, its boldness and might. Using modern methods of dry hopping and hop bursting, we squeeze every last drop of piney, citrusy, tropical essence from the hops that give Stone Ruination Double IPA its incredible character.”

Arrogant Bastard Ale 7.2%

“This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It’s quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. Arrogant Bastard Ale has revelled in its unprecedented and uncompromising celebration of intensity since 1997 and will never pander to the lowest common denominator. There have been many nods to Arrogant Bastard Ale…even outright attempts to copy it…but only one can ever embody the true nature of Liquid Arrogance.”

On sale now at Otter’s Tears, so come get em, unless of course….

“YOU’RE NOT WORTHY!”

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

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