Knee Deep Fall Over Juice Simtra, 11.25% abv Triple IPA
The sun is playing a particularly mischievous game of hide and seek with the help of a handful of cheeky clouds when I settled down to open this rather bland lookin’ bottle from a Californian brewery rarely seen on these shores. The name “Simtra” held a world of promise though. Simcoe and Citra. Hop elite (don’t tell the other hops I said that). The indicated figures then drew forth a crooked smile, the right side of 11% boozy bits by volume and 131 whole bitter points! If it really wanted to it could probl’y send off a coupon and claim a toaster or somethin’. 
I popped the cap and poured the gorgeous marshmallow topped rusty marmelade coloured liquid into my glass and took a great nose full. If you took a few oranges, a grapefruit, a whole pine bough, a carton of tropical fruit juice, and a splash of rum then blended it all together and snorted it through a straw (srsly good fun btw, y’all should try it) it may be similar to this. 
From the aroma (and the sometimes slightly confusing “Triple IPA” tag) I was expecting a bit of a hop bomb and it really didn’t disappoint. Imagine sticking your face over the business end of one of those comical gramophone barreled blunderbusses you see in old English period comedy flicks just as it goes off, thing is it’d been loaded with all kindsa lovely stuff instead of ball bearings and nails and fox poo. There’s orange flavoured toffee, peach and mango cobbler, candied citrus zest, and pine needles all blasting you in the face and it’s bloody marvelous! 
Some beers grouped as triple IPA’s come very close to American barley wine territory, but not this one, this is most definitely an IPA. The malt’s there don’t get me wrong, it’s caramel covered biscuit goodness offers support where it’s needed with depth and balance in the middle, but it’s those intense and oh so sexy hops that are the stars. They infuse a mouth coating, intensely fruity and resinous quality and leave their mark long after the beer’s gone down with a palate crushing bitterness. It’s full, chewy, and dry and dangerously easy to drink with that booze feeling far less than stated, at least ‘til you try to stand up after the first glass or attempt to post a pic of it to Instagram and realise your fingers have turned to rubber. I’m a big fan though I’ll readily admit it ain’t for everyone. If, however, you dream of hops and get all jittery without a regular lupulin fix, get some of this down your neck. Cheers!

Knee Deep Fall Over Juice Simtra, 11.25% abv Triple IPA

The sun is playing a particularly mischievous game of hide and seek with the help of a handful of cheeky clouds when I settled down to open this rather bland lookin’ bottle from a Californian brewery rarely seen on these shores. The name “Simtra” held a world of promise though. Simcoe and Citra. Hop elite (don’t tell the other hops I said that). The indicated figures then drew forth a crooked smile, the right side of 11% boozy bits by volume and 131 whole bitter points! If it really wanted to it could probl’y send off a coupon and claim a toaster or somethin’. 

I popped the cap and poured the gorgeous marshmallow topped rusty marmelade coloured liquid into my glass and took a great nose full. If you took a few oranges, a grapefruit, a whole pine bough, a carton of tropical fruit juice, and a splash of rum then blended it all together and snorted it through a straw (srsly good fun btw, y’all should try it) it may be similar to this. 

From the aroma (and the sometimes slightly confusing “Triple IPA” tag) I was expecting a bit of a hop bomb and it really didn’t disappoint. Imagine sticking your face over the business end of one of those comical gramophone barreled blunderbusses you see in old English period comedy flicks just as it goes off, thing is it’d been loaded with all kindsa lovely stuff instead of ball bearings and nails and fox poo. There’s orange flavoured toffee, peach and mango cobbler, candied citrus zest, and pine needles all blasting you in the face and it’s bloody marvelous! 

Some beers grouped as triple IPA’s come very close to American barley wine territory, but not this one, this is most definitely an IPA. The malt’s there don’t get me wrong, it’s caramel covered biscuit goodness offers support where it’s needed with depth and balance in the middle, but it’s those intense and oh so sexy hops that are the stars. They infuse a mouth coating, intensely fruity and resinous quality and leave their mark long after the beer’s gone down with a palate crushing bitterness. It’s full, chewy, and dry and dangerously easy to drink with that booze feeling far less than stated, at least ‘til you try to stand up after the first glass or attempt to post a pic of it to Instagram and realise your fingers have turned to rubber. I’m a big fan though I’ll readily admit it ain’t for everyone. If, however, you dream of hops and get all jittery without a regular lupulin fix, get some of this down your neck. Cheers!

Salopian IPA's

Salop. Ye olde name for the pretty county of Shropshire, home to rolling hills and meadows, quaint medieval market towns, and a key player in the Industrial Revolution with the innovative iron works on the river Severn. The straw chewing, wellie wearing yokels that inhabit this charming place also make some pretty damned good beer. Founded in 1995 at The Old Dairy on the outskirts of Shrewsbury (or Shrows-bree if you’re posh), which is a mere half hour drive from my humble abode, Salopian Brewery chuck out some 80 odd barrels a week. Most of this is ”real ale” or traditional English cask ale (and festooned with awards so it is!), but they also knock up a few US inspired craft beers from time to time with their white label range. And I’ve got some, woohoo!

First up is Automaton (7% abv IPA). Hopped with Saaz and Citra and brewed with a small percentage of wheat alongside the barley, this whipped cream topped murky orange brew is bursting with tropical fruit punch aromas which follow through wonderfully into the beer. Obscenely juicy and fruity, with mango, peach, passion fruit, and tangerine in the lead, followed by evergreen and a slight herbal quality. The malt offers up caramel covered biscuits, but it’s subdued. A long way from a typical English IPA. It’s dry and bitter at the end, and quite lovely. A new addition to my top tier of UK brewed US style craft IPA’s. 

Next up is a collaborative brew between Salopian and Celt Experience from across the border in Wales. Sentinel (8.4% abv Double IPA) pours a deep, dark amber and has the same epic marshmallowy head as it’s predecessor. The aroma’s a delight, marmelade, mango, spruce, and maybe a little strawberry. Maybe. The fields surrounding the village I live in are laden with strawberries at the moment and the very air smells of them when the wind picks up. A sip. Yeah, this is another good ‘un. Sweet and fruity up front with tropical fruits, orange marmalade, breezy pine, and yes, strawberries! There’s a decent whack of chewy toffee malt and a big, bold bitter end. Very nicely done. 

Lastly, Black Ops (7.4% abv Black IPA). Once again there’s wheat malt in the brew, and packed with an intriguing international blend of Sorachi Ace, Brewers Gold, and Amarillo hops, I’m hoping for something a little different. This stuff pours black, even with the sun shining to hold the glass against there’s barely any light getting through. The head is just as impressive as the others, big and fluffy and mocha coloured. There’s more mocha in the aroma, with bitter citrus fruits, hints of wildflowers, and a earthy, spiciness. Fantastic. Time to take a sip. Strong tangerine and lemon citrus lead, there’s dried flowers, blackberries, and a building wave of cocoa and espresso ( I didn’t wanna write mocha thrice in a paragraph. ‘Cept I just did. Damn.) from those dark roast malts. An earthy, spiciness creeps in towards the finish, like chewing on random undergrowth, bringing a long and lasting bitterness with it. Damn, this is good. 

And so I reach the end of my Salopian adventure. These three UK craft beers from a brewery better known for it’s more balanced, traditional brews are all fine example of their respective style. Automaton for the American IPA’s that are the face of the young but quickly growing UK craft beer scene (as they are everywhere I s’pose), Sentinel for the lesser seen Double IPA, And Black Ops represents Black IPA’s in a way too few do over here. This, and the stunning complexity offered not just by the hop / malt marriage but by the early hop assault alone, puts it firmly amongst the very best examples of the style I’ve had yet, irrespective to where it came from. It also means Black Ops makes the biggest impression on me of the three. Does that mean it’d be the one I’d recommend? Hell no, get ‘em all. Cheers!

Siren Odyssey 001, 12.4% abv

Long suffering followers of this blog (seriously, <3) will know I have something of a crush on a little craft brewery tucked away in the county of Berkshire, which is sorta “just over there a bit” from London. In their short history Siren have seriously impressed with their core range and dazzled with their limited releases. Odyssey is the second in their blended barrel aged series after their first anniversary barleywine, Maiden, and started life as an imperial stout brewed with liquorice and muscovado sugar which was then split between bourbon, brandy, and banyuls (a French fortified wine) barrels for aging before being blended together with some of their fresh Liquid Mistress red IPA. If that doesn’t soundunderwear creamingly good to you then I just dunno which way’s up anymore. 

That purple wax looks pretty damned sexy it has to be said, but it’s also a pain to open. Luckily my laser beam belt buckle is fully charged and a surreptitious fiddle soon has the beer free. The pour is as dark and smouldering as my gaze, the head as brown and quickly receding as my hairline. The delectable aroma has vanilla pods and plum jam, dark roast malts and red berries, there’s far more going on but I’m growing impatient so I raise the glass and take a sip.

I’m met with something rather special. A tsunami of intense flavours swamp my taste buds with merciless resolution. Sweet bourbon with stewed prunes and figs hit first and hit hard. I try to grab a breath only to be once again overwhelmed, this time it’s logs of liquorice driftwood battering my floundering form whilst dark roast coffee and cocoa wash over me. A brief respite is all I get before a long lasting wave of bitter dark chocolate, charred wood, faint spices, burned caramel, powerful cold brew coffee, and dizzying alcohol drag me under for the last time. I am hopelessly lost. And I’m loving it.

This beautifully crafted brew is, like it’s blended barrel aged predecessor, Maiden, complex to the point that my palate is found unworthy. It’s rich, full, boozy, utterly seductive and all consuming, for the hour or so I was under its spell nothing else seemed to matter. It seems my crush on Siren, which began with their fine core range, has developed into heart wrenching devotion with their barrel aged blends. If you’re lucky enough to find one of these, buy it. Then totally send it to me, ‘kay?

Flying Dog Kujo, 8.9% abv imperial coffee stout

Originally an experimental imperial stout, these days Kujo, from Maryland’s Flying Dog (and featuring coffee roasted by West Virginia’s Black Dog Coffee) is a winter seasonal release. Yeah I know it’s summer, but ‘twas a chill and blustery Sunday afternoon when I opened this, seemed fitting. Also, that growling visualisation of the spirit of the beer courtesy of the ever wonderful Ralph Steadman had been calling to me for far too long. 

It pours as dark as you’d expect with a toffee coloured head that fades to a thin whisper in no time. I close my eyes, take a whiff and I’m dunking a chocolate croissant into a cup of dark roast coffee. These aromas, while enticing, are rather subtle. I’m sure the flavour will be more assertive.

A sip. Yup. It’s like having breakfast with a psychopath. A dog faced psychopath. You’re at your favourite local café with your charming and be-tailed new friend, you reach for your coffee but the dog boy’s faster. The coffee hits you in the face, cup an’ all. “Whutthehell!” you sputter, before that chocolate filled croissant follows it. “Dude, quit!” The psycho dog boy’s now standing on the cafe’s bar top, he opens an old fashioned sweet jar full of licorice twists (in my perfect world all cafés and bars would sell licorice twists) and starts pelting you mercilessly. Using your world class dodgeball skillz you manage to avoid most of ‘em but one catches you right in the chops. Barking with laughter the psycho mutt jumps onto your table, grabs a slice of fig-jam smothered toast and rubs in in your face before emptying the remains of the cafetiere over your head. Dog face returns to his seat. Grins. You can’t help but grin back…

So yeah, you’ve probably guessed that I’m quite fond of this. It’s a full, smooth, and creamy impy stout with just a gentle warmth from the booze. It seems that rather subdued aroma was all part of the plan. It entices and seduces you into relaxing your guard before the aggressive flavours launch their blistering surprise attack on your taste buds, battering you with roasty, slightly charred malt, enough coffee to compliment the complex brew but not enough to overpower it, a good deal of sweet milk chocolate, and hints of licorice, vanilla, and dark fruits. Lesser people may be found cowering in a corner after a mouthful, but seasoned badasses like you and me will be eager for another round. “Bring it on, Dog!”

Arbor Breakfast Stout and Oyster Stout

Bristol’s Arbor are one of the wealth of new breweries that have sprung up around England in the last decade or so. Equally happy brewing traditional English styles as they are brewing American craft beer styles (or English styles with an American craft inspired twist), their output is mostly cask supported by kegs and bottles here and there. I have two of their brews to share with you awesome and sexyfull Tumblroo’s this fine, breezy, and sun dappled evening, and both are stouts. No need to thank me, I can feel the adoration radiation from my laptop screen. 

First up, Arbor Breakfast Stout, 7.4% abv. Based on an imperial stout, it’s loaded with oats, has a small amount of smoked malt and speciality German grains, and has locally roasted Brazilian Santos coffee beans and organic cacao nibs added to the boil. This particular beer also has a little drool added after the pour… *ahem

The burned caramel coloured head hides a hypnotising, void like darkness. Aromas of intense espresso and burned malts invade my nose holes and do terrible, unspeakable things to the roots of my braintree. I may have begun dancing. I brave the drool drizzled head and take a glug, it seems the nasal abuse was but the first stage in a pincer movement. Minions sculpted from dark roast coffee, cocoa, caramel, fig, and licorice are now swinging from my braintree’s branches, hootin’ an’ hollerin’ and waving burning torches. My dancing has now reached fever pitch, my feet whirligigging round the room full-on Northern Soul style. My surrender is unconditional to this full, rich, roasty, smooth as you like beer with a dry, bitter finish. Jeepers creepers, this is good.

Once I’ve recovered it’s time to attempt the next one, Arbor Oyster Stout, 4.6% abv. Back in the olden days of merry ol’ England, when vision worked in black and white and men dueled with their razor sharp waxed moustaches for the right to wear the tallest top hat, stout was consumed by the gallon in pubs across the land. Oysters were a favoured snack at these watering holes, and their briny goodness was a perfect pairing with the roasty black liquid. Some point later on a bonafide genius decided to put actual oysters in the brew itself, they were rewarded with a lovely new bright red bicycle (colour vision had been invented by now) by powers unknown and a sub-style was born. After falling out of favour in the latter part of the last century the oyster stout is back, and Arbour chuck loads of the delicious little things into the boil of their oatmeal stout. Just to watch them die. Or maybe ‘cause they they taste good. Nine different grains and Fuggles hops also feature, sounds good.

The pour is black, the head latte, and this time drool free. Masses of cocoa and heavily roasted malty aromas waft up from my weirdly jug like glass. A sip. Suddenly I’m a deep sea diver from times past sitting in my open bottom diving bell. Before a dive I like to relax with a nice stout, most of us daring divers do, dontcha know. The smooth, roasty ale’s chocolate and coffee flavours are there as you’d expect, but the lightless salt water below infuses the senses with a brininess that blends into the stouts initial taste. The roast soon begins to overpower this and is joined by slightly spicy, earthy notes before the moderately bitter finish brings the brine back. Damn good stuff.

I gotta say, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these West Country stouts. The Oyster Stout is a really good example of the style, slightly briny at the beginning and end, luscious, roasty stout goodness throughout. It is, however, the Breakfast Stout that’s won my heart. Intense, rich, decadent, bittersweet, and downright delicious. Now if you’ll excuse me, my dancin’ shoes are callin. Cheers!

Wild Beer Somerset Wild, 5% abv sour ale
Lurking amongst the cobwebs and pixie nests of an old moss covered barn in a dairy farm tucked away in the the ancient, troll infested Somerset countryside, an exiled Californian chef and a monocled, cane wielding Englishman are creating wondrous, unique beers. Somerset Wild is a sour ale fermented with a blend of dozens of yeast and bacteria strains gathered from the local pastures and orchards, and just a dash of fairy dust. Can&#8217;t wait to try it.
The ale pours a pale, hazy yellow, like homemade lemonade topped with whipped cream. Aromas of apple yogurt and lemon shortbread fill my nostrils as I take a deep breath. So far so promising, time to taste. A tart, acidic, and moderately sour hootenanny of lemon sherbert, farmhouse cider, white wine vinegar, clover flowers, and windswept wheat flavours tantalize my taste buds and demand another sip. And another. This stuff is insanely drinkable 
Before I know it my glass is empty. FIddlesticks. I could honestly drink this stuff all evening. &#8216;Tis light of body, effervescent, as bright and breezy as you could wish on a long summer night, and while the funk and sourness are restrained relative to certain well known Belgian styles, they&#8217;re still twitch inducing and help to deliver a substantial depth and complexity. If I had to recommend a sour beer to someone who&#8217;d never had a sour before, or had only tried full-on face inverting gueuze&#8217;s (I do like a good beer induced face inversion), this&#8217;d be it. Cheers!

Wild Beer Somerset Wild, 5% abv sour ale

Lurking amongst the cobwebs and pixie nests of an old moss covered barn in a dairy farm tucked away in the the ancient, troll infested Somerset countryside, an exiled Californian chef and a monocled, cane wielding Englishman are creating wondrous, unique beers. Somerset Wild is a sour ale fermented with a blend of dozens of yeast and bacteria strains gathered from the local pastures and orchards, and just a dash of fairy dust. Can’t wait to try it.

The ale pours a pale, hazy yellow, like homemade lemonade topped with whipped cream. Aromas of apple yogurt and lemon shortbread fill my nostrils as I take a deep breath. So far so promising, time to taste. A tart, acidic, and moderately sour hootenanny of lemon sherbert, farmhouse cider, white wine vinegar, clover flowers, and windswept wheat flavours tantalize my taste buds and demand another sip. And another. This stuff is insanely drinkable 

Before I know it my glass is empty. FIddlesticks. I could honestly drink this stuff all evening. ‘Tis light of body, effervescent, as bright and breezy as you could wish on a long summer night, and while the funk and sourness are restrained relative to certain well known Belgian styles, they’re still twitch inducing and help to deliver a substantial depth and complexity. If I had to recommend a sour beer to someone who’d never had a sour before, or had only tried full-on face inverting gueuze’s (I do like a good beer induced face inversion), this’d be it. Cheers!

Siren Shattered Dream, 9.8% abv imperial breakfast stout
Ahh, SIren Craft Brew. Of all the new wave of US inspired craft breweries in the UK these guys are one of my very favourites. Their small core range is rock solid, but it’s the specials, the collaborations and limited releases, that cause the involuntary intake of breath and quickening heartbeat. This is one of ‘em. To celebrate the 100th batch of their stunning core range breakfast stout, Broken Dream, Siren brewed a powered-up version loaded with even more coffee, cacao nibs, and vanilla, and packing the punch of an imperial stout. Don’t pretend you ain’t salivating.
And so to pour. The oatmeal head hides a lurking, fathomless darkness. Coffee, cocoa, and vanilla aromas ride the wave of charred malty goodness that rolls forth. A sip. ‘Tis soft and pillowy in the mouth, rich and full flavours of chocolate cake, dark roast coffee, and vanilla fudge lead with underlying notes of char, wood, black treacle, and stewed red fruits.
This really did live up my expectations. A sweet, roasty, malty treat of an imperial stout that hides its booze well and is as fine a liquid weekend breakfast as it is an evening dessert. As it turns out they brewed a double batch of this and have put aside some 800 litres to be aged in Banyuls, Bourbon, and Brandy barrels for later release. I swear I can hear choir music… For the time being though, however you can get it, on cask, keg, or bottle, just get it. Cheers!

Siren Shattered Dream, 9.8% abv imperial breakfast stout

Ahh, SIren Craft Brew. Of all the new wave of US inspired craft breweries in the UK these guys are one of my very favourites. Their small core range is rock solid, but it’s the specials, the collaborations and limited releases, that cause the involuntary intake of breath and quickening heartbeat. This is one of ‘em. To celebrate the 100th batch of their stunning core range breakfast stout, Broken Dream, Siren brewed a powered-up version loaded with even more coffee, cacao nibs, and vanilla, and packing the punch of an imperial stout. Don’t pretend you ain’t salivating.

And so to pour. The oatmeal head hides a lurking, fathomless darkness. Coffee, cocoa, and vanilla aromas ride the wave of charred malty goodness that rolls forth. A sip. ‘Tis soft and pillowy in the mouth, rich and full flavours of chocolate cake, dark roast coffee, and vanilla fudge lead with underlying notes of char, wood, black treacle, and stewed red fruits.

This really did live up my expectations. A sweet, roasty, malty treat of an imperial stout that hides its booze well and is as fine a liquid weekend breakfast as it is an evening dessert. As it turns out they brewed a double batch of this and have put aside some 800 litres to be aged in Banyuls, Bourbon, and Brandy barrels for later release. I swear I can hear choir music… For the time being though, however you can get it, on cask, keg, or bottle, just get it. Cheers!

The Kernel India Pale Ale Simcoe, 7% abv
So I had this dream. I was wandering through a meadow, tall grass and wildflowers swaying with the gentle breeze, distant songbirds gettin&#8217; their groove on, kitten sized bumblebees bumbling about and tipping a wing in a cheery &#8220;ey up&#8221;, when suddenly the ground rose. Or rather, sections of the ground rose, and under these clumps of turf were people. Naked but for the old time Hollywood stars tattoos that covered their scrawny bodies, they had grass and wildflowers growing out of their bizarrely flat topped heads. Before I could utter a single expletive I was knocked over by other grass-tops hiding behind me and pinned to the ground, flat on my back. &#8220;Whatthefudge!?!&#8221; I screeched, as a particularly gangly grass-top with a full chest Marilyn Monroe tattoo lifted a huge Danish long axe above his head and aimed it at mine. &#8220;Chill, dude. We jus&#8217; gotta take a few inches offa th&#8217; top o&#8217; your head so we can lay the turf. Then y&#8217; can be like us. Cool, eh?&#8221; he drawled. &#8220;No you total dick it&#8217;s not cool, this is my very favourite head&#8230;&#8221; As the axe dropped I lamented my poor negotiating skillz before jolting awake with a blood curdling wail and falling out of bed.
I don&#8217;t usually remember my dreams but this happened a couple of weeks ago and I&#8217;m still a little freaked out by it, so I decided to try a proven remedy, one of the diabolically delicious elixirs from old London town&#8217;s mystical hop whispers at The Kernel Brewery. The particular bottle of wonder is an American style IPA chock full of Simcoe hops, sounds good. 
The ale poured the colour of realised birthday wishes, the head enthusiastic and displaying remarkable stamina. Aromas of orange, papaya, wind tousled pines, and old things thought lost punch dance their little hearts out. The taste is nothing short of swoon inducing. Tangerines, peel an&#8217; all, lemon zest, dead flowers, woodland after rainfall. The bittersweet balance is evenly split, it&#8217;s soft, creamy and effortlessly easy drinking. 
The Kernel&#8217;s ever changing line of US inspired IPA&#8217;s are near legendary amongst the growing ranks of craft beer fans all across Europe, and this one can stand shoulder to shoulder with their other hoptastic triumphs. The fruity yet woodsy nature of the Simcoe hops used exclusively for this beer are masterfully wrangled, the malts are there but subdued, respectfully supporting the headliner without stealing any of the thunder. It&#8217;s a fruity, woody, dank, juicy, nightmare bashing triumph of a brew and the finest Simcoe single hop IPA I&#8217;ve yet tried. I just wanna drink it &#8216;til it seeps from my pores. Cheers!

The Kernel India Pale Ale Simcoe, 7% abv

So I had this dream. I was wandering through a meadow, tall grass and wildflowers swaying with the gentle breeze, distant songbirds gettin’ their groove on, kitten sized bumblebees bumbling about and tipping a wing in a cheery “ey up”, when suddenly the ground rose. Or rather, sections of the ground rose, and under these clumps of turf were people. Naked but for the old time Hollywood stars tattoos that covered their scrawny bodies, they had grass and wildflowers growing out of their bizarrely flat topped heads. Before I could utter a single expletive I was knocked over by other grass-tops hiding behind me and pinned to the ground, flat on my back. “Whatthefudge!?!” I screeched, as a particularly gangly grass-top with a full chest Marilyn Monroe tattoo lifted a huge Danish long axe above his head and aimed it at mine. “Chill, dude. We jus’ gotta take a few inches offa th’ top o’ your head so we can lay the turf. Then y’ can be like us. Cool, eh?” he drawled. “No you total dick it’s not cool, this is my very favourite head…” As the axe dropped I lamented my poor negotiating skillz before jolting awake with a blood curdling wail and falling out of bed.

I don’t usually remember my dreams but this happened a couple of weeks ago and I’m still a little freaked out by it, so I decided to try a proven remedy, one of the diabolically delicious elixirs from old London town’s mystical hop whispers at The Kernel Brewery. The particular bottle of wonder is an American style IPA chock full of Simcoe hops, sounds good. 

The ale poured the colour of realised birthday wishes, the head enthusiastic and displaying remarkable stamina. Aromas of orange, papaya, wind tousled pines, and old things thought lost punch dance their little hearts out. The taste is nothing short of swoon inducing. Tangerines, peel an’ all, lemon zest, dead flowers, woodland after rainfall. The bittersweet balance is evenly split, it’s soft, creamy and effortlessly easy drinking. 

The Kernel’s ever changing line of US inspired IPA’s are near legendary amongst the growing ranks of craft beer fans all across Europe, and this one can stand shoulder to shoulder with their other hoptastic triumphs. The fruity yet woodsy nature of the Simcoe hops used exclusively for this beer are masterfully wrangled, the malts are there but subdued, respectfully supporting the headliner without stealing any of the thunder. It’s a fruity, woody, dank, juicy, nightmare bashing triumph of a brew and the finest Simcoe single hop IPA I’ve yet tried. I just wanna drink it ‘til it seeps from my pores. Cheers!

allyouneed-isbeer

allyouneed-isbeer:

image

Last week I composed a sort of beer SOS, calling upon the good folk of Tumblr to recommend beer hotspots down the West Coast of America. I sent my plea forth into the Internet and wow, what an awesome response I got. Loads of people threw in their two pennies (cents from the Americans) and…

You lot are awesome!

BrewDog Hello My Name is Päivi, 8.2% abv

Well, whadda we have here? Only the latest in the ongoing series of limited release fruit infused double IPA’s from the delightfully irreverent Scottish craft brewery, that’s what! Turns out this stuff features the fruity charms of the sea buckthorn from Finland. And once again this series of beers has got me stumped, whassa sea buckthorn, eh? After a little Googling it seems it’s actually a sacred seaside shrub that only grows on soil that has seen the shadow of a passing dragon. The carnivorous plant feeds on small mammals and nesting sea birds and flowers a decade later. Only the most fearsome warriors brave the nightmarish plant for the chance to harvest the berries, orangy yellow in colour and said to enable those who feast on them to breath fire! Don’t bother checking any of this, I absolutely didn’t make it up. Promise.

And so to pour, a glorious marmalade orange with a head of like marshmallow fluff. Aromas of orange,pineapple, faint pine and caramel waft upwards. A sip, juicy tangerine, passion fruit, peach, lemon zest, and pineapple flavours lead the hop charge. The malt is there lurking in the background, adding a caramel sweetness to balance the tart, and the finish is long with bitter evergreen and a sharp tartness that’s unusual in this series, the sea buckthorn finally rearing it’s horned head. The booze is all but absent, the body medium to full and oh-so smooth.

So yeah, good stuff once again. The tart sea buckthorn adds another layer to the typically fruity, juicy hops and subdued caramel malt base. As usual with this series the flavours aren’t as full on as with BrewDogs sublime core-range double IPA, Hardcore, not to say it’s a pushover though, this thing packs a serious flavour punch and is an entirely worthy addition to the series. Grab it while it’s hot!

Victory Dirt Wolf, 8.7% abv double IPA

Once upon a time there lived a plant. She’d had a happy and carefree life alongside her sisters in a carefully attended garden until, on one sun kissed day the people came. She knew them of course, they had been the ones tending the garden all this time, but now they carried baskets. She looked on in horror as they began systematically stripping her sisters of their precious flowers. The soft, green, cone shaped petals were new to her, precious, and she wouldn’t let anyone take them. As the people moved closer her desperation grew, gnawing at her stem, shaking her leaves.

She remembered the wolf of early summer, and how the terror stricken people had set fires and made loud noises in a feeble attempt to keep the beast at bay. She remembered their screams as it leapt amongst them in a flurry of teeth, blood, and fur. And she wished. Her slender stem began to tremble, to move, winding itself in knots, breaking free of the poles and string, imitating that beast of death.

The people stared, eyes wide, as statues carved of fear and confusion. Before them, what had once been a hop plant was slowly inching forward on quickly steadying legs, her twisting, leaf covered, and unmistakably lupine form began to crouch as if to pounce. Chaos erupts as the villagers turn to flee, they are not nearly fast enough. 

She is upon them in but a heartbeat. Newly formed jaws crunch bones and rend flesh, a rain storm of salty, iron-rich blood drenches the hop garden, soaking the earth and feeding the dirt wolf’s sisters. She raises her head from a still twitching body as she hears a faint rustling and snarls in satisfaction. Her sisters begin to tremble, to move…”

Wait, whadda you mean the botanical name of the hop plant that Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Co. named this potent double IPA after isn’t based on actual made up events? Damn it. S’pose I better get on with it then.

The dirty marmalade coloured liquid comes with a deep, dense head of purest white. Zesty orange, sweet mango, and apple pie aromas erupt into my face. It’s a sweet tangerine and over-ripe passionfruit and mango fruit salad garnished with wild flower petals and drizzled in caramel sauce then finished with pine dust and bitter grapefruit segments kinda beer. It’s full, soft, and comforting, and while it’s potent it never feels boozy. 

This is a truly delicious double IPA that exceeded any expectations I had. Sweet, fruity, and juicy at first, the building malts flawlessly complementing the hops before a big, dry, and bitter evergreen finish. A deliriously smooth, sublimely complex, enthusiastically blood thirsty, beautifully balanced, unapologetically adjective laden bottle of pure awesome. Cheers!

allyouneed-isbeer

allyouneed-isbeer:

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Friends. Cousins. America, I need your help! Here’s the setup… My long suffering partner and I are getting hitched in less than a month and to celebrate our fondness of one another we shall be honeymooning down the entire West Coast of America for 3 weeks.

Throughout this trip we shall…

'Kay so I don't usually reblog but this is amazing and Cam is awesome so help please!