The latest meet the brewer event at Port Street was with Newport’s very own Tiny Rebel Brewery. Yes, we were all thinking Gavin & Stacey. And so it proved in that it was a very fun and genial evening but, sadly, “what’s occurring” never cropped up once. Tiny Rebel is Gareth Williams and his brother-in-law Bradley Cummings, two sickeningly young guys who have actually gone out there and accomplished many a beer geek’s dream: open a brewery. Like many of their modern brethren, they were keen homebrewers and being mechanical and electrical engineers by trade, they had the perfect backstory for opening a brewery in 2012.
Gazza and Brad were very good hosts who took us through all we needed to know in a succinct, straightforward manner. Proof of their success was the lack of questions required as they comprehensively covered most things. Which meant more drinking time. Hooray. Certainly they came across as two down-to-earth lads who have, to my mind got one, if not two, feet firmly on the ground. They see Tiny Rebel as very much a cask brewery that produces ‘drinkable’ beers. That’s not to say that they don’t or won’t try something new because they do. Nor does it mean that they produce ‘dull’ beers because they certainly don’t.
But enough of this waffle. What about the beers?
One Inch Punch
This was a very tasty, golden 3.9% session ale hopped and dry hopped with Mosaic. An excellent start with some people declaring this their favourite beer of the evening. Plenty of crisp citrus flavours in a well-balanced body; lemon, tangerine and a floral hop bouquet that invites you to dive right in.
This was an Extra Light Pale Ale. So called because they used a prototype extra light pale ale malt that results in a, wait for it, extra light pale beer. This was another corker. 4.2% and full of wonderful dry, tart fruit hop tones. Perhaps not surprising when you look at the shedloads of Amarillo, Citra and Chinook that went into it.
Yet another winner. A 4.5% Black Session IPA, no less. This was a rich, full-bodied affair that had complex notes of roast, chocolate and a slight herbal twang. What really gave it some oomph, though, was the 70% Jester, 30% Citra, Cascade hop mix.
A 5% unfiltered Bohemian lager. Served on keg as befits the style. This showed off their technical prowess as they wanted a Bohemian style lager and not an overtly Germanic dry Pils type and it worked. Some dryness but a little grassiness as well and very refreshing. One of the best examples of this I’ve come across.
The first thing to say about this 6.8% Red IPA is that, technically, it was a success. I’ve tried many of these and this one did what it said on the tin. Sadly, this is simply not an attractive style for many people. And I had to concur with my fellow imbibers that it was simply too cloying and clammy for our palate.
We also tried two experimental beers. A dark 5% orange wheat beer that was older than is usual, thereby losing some of its zestiness. However, the orange and tart flavours worked really well for me. This was followed by the grand finale; a 10% Double Mash Imperial Stout which was as bold and fulsome as it sounds.
So, a top evening with two top gents. Thanks to all concerned.