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Showing posts from February, 2015

Recap: Leeds (Parte Uno)

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Another trip that needs a quick recap was a little jaunt round Leeds. This peaceful little hamlet nestled in the West Riding of Yorkshire is another long-standing haunt of mine. I use to visit in its Tetley heyday when I had a relative living there and there were a few good drinks there later when a certain well-known blogger used to frequent the local taverns. In those days it was very traditional and had some cracking pubs: we’re talking when the likes of the Horse & Trumpet and the Duck & Drake were in their pomp. Of course craft beer and time wait for no man and it gradually began to lag behind its rivals. However there was a much needed boost when the Leeds Brewery started investing locally and North Bar came on the scene as a craft bar before “craft” was “craft”. Recent times have seen an even bigger groundswell of beer related growth and so it was time to update the Tyson files once more.
The big new venture in town is Tapped on Boar Lane. You could easily walk past it a…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Mikkeller Arh Hvad?!

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Now you’ll have to bear with me this morning. Concentrate. I know it’s early but you need to follow me. Those cheeky Danish chappies have done it again. This is called Årh Hvad?! Which is Danish for “say what?” but, apparently, when pronounced correctly it sounds like “Orval”. Yes, the famous Belgian Trappist beer. And it’s no coincidence, as this is Mikkeller’s take on that beer. It just so happens to be Mikkeller’s founder, Mikkel Bergsjot’s, favourite beer. It is hopped four times with Styrian Goldings and the fermentation is done with two yeast strains, one of which is brettanomyces. Ooh, sounds rather good, doesn’t it but it’s got a lot to live up to. It’s a 330ml bottle and boasts a respectable 6.8% which is actually stronger than Orval. It poured deep copper in colour with a very large three-finger off-white head. The pungent aroma gets you straight away. Breaded Belgian yeast tones with some grape and peppery undertones. Definitely fruity and classic farmhouse twang: no doubt a…

Recap: Liverpool

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Liverpool is a good pub city. Or rather it is a city that is good for pubs. You know what I mean. A city full of good pubs. Pubs full of character and full of characters. Its thriving pub culture could be considered a little old-school these days by some as the craft beer scene has been slower to emerge than in some of its rivals. That, though, would be to undersell its charms and being only a 30 minute train ride away from Manchester; it’s worth a day out in anyone’s money. It’s been a haunt of mine for many years now and its seven years this month since I first recapped a trip there on this blog. So any excuse for an update… The first stop was very memorable for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve never seen the Dispensary (Renshaw St) so quiet. Well I’ve never been in very early doors as it’s usually a sound bet for one before going home. Tackling it first certainly has its advantages, being able to get a seat for one and the chance for first timers to really get a look at it. The beer was a…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Beavertown Bloody Ell (Can)

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There really is no reason to have to introduce Beavertown. Their (well-deserved) reputation speaks for itself and their flagship ale, Gamma Ray, was recently voted the best craft beer in the UK. They were quick off the mark with canning (like garlic bread, it’s the future) and now the likes of Gamma Ray and Neck Oil catch the eye in craft beer fridges throughout the land. Their latest venture into the land of lightweight recyclables is their blood orange IPA: Bloody Ell. This was very well received in bottle, so the question was could the can improve on that? It’s a 330ml can and comes in the bright cartoon style artwork that one associates with Beavertown. Befitting an IPA of character it weighs in at 7.2%. It poured a hazy orange/amber with just over a finger’s worth of bright white topping. One potential problem with the bottle was yeast residue floaters but no sign of that here. The aroma defines the term “zesty”; big, bold overtures of mango, passion fruit, peach etc. overlaid wit…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Brixton Electric IPA

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When you’re running short on time and need a lift before heading out of the door, a little IPA hit seems just the ticket. Which leads nicely into this morning’s beer adventure: Electric IPA. This Brixton Brewery effort comes packaged in a nice, eye-catching design and is described as “Inspired by Electric Avenue, the beating heart of Brixton and made with New World hops, our full-bodied IPA is packed with energy and attitude. Electric perfectly balances malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness, with a floral, citrus and tropical fruit hit.” It’s a 330ml bottle and weighs in at 6.5%. It was very lively but eventually settled down to a cloudy orange colour with a large off-white head. The aroma was very promising; lovely hints of ripe orange peel, grapefruit, pineapple and a little pine sap. This profile continued into the easy drinking body of the beer but is supplemented by a strong presence of tangerine and some bitter lime tones. The finish is long with a cleansing and bitter citrus edge…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Stevens Point Black Ale

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TGIF and what better way to celebrate that fact than with a bottle of beer. Today it’s Steven’s Point Black Ale which describes itself thus: “Dark rich roasty and complex, Point Black Ale is hand-crafted with Pale, Munich, and Roasted Malts. Handcrafted with the finest Cluster, Saaz, and Cascade hops for a robust flavor and delicious finish.”  Sounds a decent beer but, as always, the proof is in the supping. It’s 330ml and is in the ballpark for what I’d expect from this style at 5.2%. It poured jet-black and proved very lively resulting in a 2-finger tan head. The aroma was more muted than I was expecting or indeed hoping for. A little trace of hops but more roast and forest fruit tones than anything else. The mouthfeel was very smooth with a pleasant fizz of flavour over the tongue. Gentle but definite dark-berried forest fruit overtures underpinned by a slight dark chocolate digestive malt base. This continued into the all too brief aftertaste.
Tyson says: Maybe the Munich and Saaz g…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: To Øl Total Hubris

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So today we start the day with a little number from those Danish wunderkinds To Øl. Now there is a very special reason for trying this particular beer this morning. Something very deep and meaningful no doubt, I hear you mutter. Absolutely. When I came home last night I had this in my pocket. Now I’m (fairly) certain I didn’t half-inch it, but what better way of disposing of the evidence if I did. Only joking, officer. First things first. This is actually a collaboration with Swedish brewers Ølrepubliken. No I’ve never heard of them either. Only kidding. What I don’t know about Swedish brewers doesn’t need knowing. Ølrepubliken is in fact a well-respected craft beer bar/bistro in Gothenburg. To Øl, of course, are gypsy brewers and this beer, like a lot of their output, is actually brewed at De Proefbrouwerij in Belgium.
So it’s a 330ml bottle and the first thing that strikes you is the label design. No name (that is on the back) but merely a collection of seemingly random artwork clips…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Thornbridge Jaipur X

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Well true believers, today’s breakfast tipple promises to be a rare treat and no mistake. For we have the much anticipated, the much-hyped Jaipur X, no less. What the soap-on-a-rope hell is that, you may ask? It’s simple. Cast your minds back to 2005. Yes those more innocent and halcyon days when Jamie Oliver was battling Turkey Twizzlers and Prince Harry was amusing us by dressing up as a Nazi. Oh how we laughed. Anyway that was also the year that a certain beer was launched. Can you guess what it is yet? That’s right: Jaipur. And to celebrate the anniversary of that now iconic brand Thornbridge are releasing Jaipur X. X=10, you see. And you thought it meant eXtra strong. But enough twaddle, let’s get to the beer. It’s 10% (doh) and comes in a surprisingly well endowed 500ml sized bottle. Take that you 330ml craft bottle wankers. It poured light-golden with good carbonation and a one finger white topping. The aroma is very rich and enticing. Lots of citrus: pineapple, lime, grapefruit…