- minute forty four -

Movies, Craft Beer and Geek Stuff

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co. (USA) / Magic Rock Brewing (England) / BrewDog (Scotland)
Style: Saison – Pale Ale Hybrid
ABV: 5%
Serving: Pint – Keg

I’ve had some fantastic collab beers during the course of my craft beer journey so far. I’ve also had some rubbish ones. More often than not though, I find them to be simply mediocre. Often these mediocre brews are simply two beers from different breweries mixed together and, more often than not they aren’t as good as either of the component beers on their own. Prefect example is the BrewDog/Mikkeller collab I Hardcore You which is a mixture of BrewDog’s Hardcore IPA and Mikkeller’s I Beat yoU. Both of those beers are better on their own. When breweries come together and brew something unique, however, that’s when things get interesting. One of the best beers I’ve ever had is the BrewDog/8Wired collab DogWired which is a hoppy imperial pilsner that just rocked! When I heard about Magic Stone Dog; a menage a trois of awesome between three of my all time favourite breweries, I had to get some of that action so on Saturday I stopped in my local BrewDog bar and had a pint.

Magic Stone Dog

The beer pours a light orange, golden colour with plenty of carbonation and a solid one finger of pure white head. It is nearly perfectly clear with just the smallest amount of hop haze visible in the glass. It would be interesting to see how this compares to the bottled version which I suspect will be bottle conditioned, though I could be wrong.

Aroma screams freshness with notes of grassy citrus hops and a faint but unmistakable Belgian yeast bringing the spicy notes of lemongrass cardamom and basil. Just how fresh this is comes through in the aroma. it is super clean with well-defined profile of hops, yeast and malts all present.

The flavour very much mirrors the aroma. very clean, mild citrus notes with fruity, herbal, spicy notes from that Belgian yeast. I also picked up a slight lemon thyme note that was enhanced by the prickly carbonation. The beer ended on a mild bitterness that was pleasant but didn’t hang around for too long. Often with Saisons you get such a spicy note that the beer almost has the warming quality of something like a mulled wine and as such lends itself more to winter drinking. The pale ale elements of Magic Stone Dog, however make it an absolutely delicious summer beer. It would be absolutely fantastic at a BBQ and is low enough in alcohol for you to have a good few in a session.

My one criticism here is that I could have hoped for something a little more adventurous from breweries of this calibre. Stone are big time hop wranglers and there wasn’t much in the way of powerful hops, BrewDog experiment with wacky ingredients but there was no crazy twist and Magic Rock bring unapologetic American swagger to classic ale styles but there was nothing like this either. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very, very well executed beer and I would definitely recommend it but it just seems a little out of character and a little too safe considering it’s parentage.

Verdict: 4/5

I should start this by saying I don’t normally review restaurants. In fact, this will be my first attempt so sorry if it’s not great, I’m just trying something new. Since opening a few weeks back, there have been mixed reviews of Derby’s new gourmet burger restaurant The Forge. Opened by seasoned (pun intended) restaurateur Brad Worley, The Forge promises great artisan burgers made from locally sourced, top quality ingredients served in a non-formal, relaxed atmosphere. Well that sounded just my cup of tea so I had to check it out.

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Brewery: 8 Wired
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.3%
Serving: 500ml Bottle

I got myself a little bit of something special to drink on International IPA Day in the form of a bottle of revered New Zealand brewery 8Wired’s Hopwired IPA. I’ve only ever had one 8Wired beer before – mainly because they can be pretty expensive due to having to be shipped half way around the world – which was their India Red Ale, Tall Poppy. That was a phenomenal red ale, possibly the best I’ve ever had, so needless to say I was psyched to try Hopwired.

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Brewery: Stone
Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 9.4%
Serving: 650ml Bottle

A few times a year legendary California brewery Stone produce a beer with one specific purpose; to make it into peoples’ hands and into their glasses in as brief a window as possible. They take this so seriously that, as well as only giving the beer a 35 day shelf life, they emblazoned this shelf life on the label in the form of the beer’s name “Enjoy By..”

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Brewery: Mikkeller
Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 8.9%
Serving: 330ml Bottle

I bought this bottle at my local BrewDog bar after having the outstanding Nelson Sauvin version of it. I also recently discovered how good a single hop Simcoe beer can bee when I tried the Kernel Simcoe IPA a few weeks back. With both of those things in mind, I had high hopes for this beer. Not only that, I’ve held Mikkeller in very high regard ever since first trying their I Beat yoU imerial IPA last year.

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Brewery: FourPure
Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.5%
Serving: 330ml Bottle

A pub quite local to me has recently started making a big push into the territory of new style craft beer. They have four craft keg lines which often feature the likes of the mighty Magic Rock and Kernel breweries. In addition to this they have a formidable fridge full of bottled craft beers to choose from. On top of all that, they’re very reasonably priced – a half of Magic Rock Cannonball is only £2.20. A recent addition to their fridge was FourPure’s IPA. On a recent beer run I picked up a bottle.

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Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel
Directed By: James Gunn

Marvel takes us outside the mainstream with the first proper “space” comic adaptation, Guardians of the Galaxy. Chris Pratt plays Starlord, an outlaw seeking a mysterious orb for a buyer on the Nova planet Xandar but things go sideways when it turns out powerful baddies (Ronan and Thanos) are also seeking the orb, for a much more sinister purpose.

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Brewery: Beavertown
Style: Session IPA
ABV: 4.3%
Serving: 330ml Can

On Friday I took a trip to Sheffield and visited one of my favourite beer shops, Beer Central to pick up a few bottles for a friend. While I was there I couldn’t help but pick up a little something for myself as well. I’ve seen a few fellow craft beer Instagrammers post this beer recently and reviews seemed pretty positive so I grabbed a can.

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In recent years supermarkets have got increasingly better at stocking craft beer. You can now go into pretty much any of them and get a good bottle or two, even though the selection may not bee exactly huge. But what if you want something a little different? Maybe you don’t feel like drinking Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Brooklyn Lager for the 900th time. Well, until recently your only choices were to order online from a specialist beer seller or pop into a bar and buy some to carry out (if they allow it). Both of these add big expenses; ordering online incurs a £6-10 postage charge and buying from a bar means you paying their mark-up.

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Brewery: Buxton Brewery
Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 8.4%
Serving: 330ml Bottle

The biggest beer of my Buxton order is their much-praised Wyoming Sheep Ranch. This double IPA boasts intense fruit and pine flavours and a “bitterness that will slap you in the chops”. Sounds just like my kind of thing.

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