- minute forty four -

Movies, Craft Beer and Geek Stuff

Brewery: Founders Brewing Co.
Style: Impreial/Double IPA
ABV: 9.4%
Serving: 355ml Bottle
Price: Around £4 Bottle Shop / £6 Bar

I had a goal at the beginning of the weekend; to try a beer that I’d never had before. On Saturday night on the way home from a friend’s house, I stopped in at a pub near me, The Alexandra Hotel, to pick up a couple of bottles. My intention was to get a bottle of Sierra Nevada Narwahl imperial stout but they had unsurprisingly sold out of that. So I leafed through their impressible bottle menu for something I’d never had. When I spotted Founders Double Trouble I knew I had to go for it. Nothing I’ve had from Founders has been bad and as I’m a sucker for Imperial IPA, this was a no-brainer.

Double Trouble

I’ll come right out and say this before I start; This bottle was a fair few months old so I knew the hop flavour and aroma would have taken a hit. Still, going in with that in mind, I found there was a nice balanced sweet, dank aroma of ripe grapefruit, peach, orange and melon. There was some pine there as well. There was definitely a sweet brioche malt presence like you’d expect from an East Coast IPA. None of these aromas blew my socks off but I was under no illusions that this was a result of the age of the bottle. There was a tiny amount of booze on the nose but nothing to write home about.

Flavour wise, I was pretty surprised at how much hop character remained. It was sweet from the heavier malt backbone but those hops still punched through with dank, resinous pine, mango, grapefruit, pineapple. orange and melon. There was a good crisp, dry bitterness in the finish that was really nice after the sweetness up front. The 9.4% was almost undetectable. I’ve had 4% beers that have tasted more boozy but it somehow still hung on to a medium to big body and sticky mouthfeel. I get the feeling that this beer has aged the way you’d want a barley wine to age. The hops have dropped off and lost a bit of the aggressive edge and have left the sweet malts to come through and deliver wintery, ripe fruit and sweet bread flavours.

I can imagine what this would have been like fresh and, honestly I don’t feel cheated by the hop dial being turned down here. I can only speculate but I imagine the flavour would have been a little too astringent and dry early on. I would like to have hung onto the punchy aroma though.

Verdict: 4/5

Directors: Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco

Sound the controversy klaxon! Wait, should that be the ballsy marketing campaign klaxon? The cynic in me thinks the latter. At the very least Sony have employed an extremely opportunistic marketing team to take advantage of the publicity surrounding their security hack and recent cyber-attack. (Who says cyber anything these days? It reminds me of chat rooms off of the 90’s and MSN messenger. ASL?) Anyway, after a pulled mainstream cinema release, Sony decided to do a limited Indy theatre release in conjunction with a more widespread on demand release through YouTube, Google Play and Amazon Prime. Personally I think this is the way it should always be because, well frankly I hate big multiplex cinemas. Again, I digress. Last night I checked out the long awaited follow up to This Is The End, The Interview.

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Brewery: BrewDog
Style: Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
ABV: 15%
Serving: 330ml Bottle
Price: Around £16

About a month ago I started thinking about my Christmas Day beer selection and what I decided was that I definitely wanted a really special imperial stout to finish out the evening. At first I had the choice of three BrewDog beers; Tokyo*, Dog C or the mighty Paradox Heaven Hill. But when my local bottle shop, Hopology tweeted that they had some of the increasingly hard to come by 2012 release of BrewDog’s Christmas Paradox in stock, I just had to go for it!

Christmas Paradox 2012

The beer pours absolutely black as night with a mocha coloured film of fine bubbles that disappear in seconds. You get definite legs running down the side of the glass from that very high ABV. Just as with Heaven Hill, the beer is almost oily and stains the glass as you swirl it.

The aroma is insanely complex! You get liquorice, bonfire toffee, banana, rum-soaked raisins and burnt honeycomb. Interestingly, I got almost no alcohol on the nose which considering it is 15% was a mystery. I could sit and sniff this beer all day.

Flavour wise this beer is a slam dunk. So massively intense yet still complex with a hundred different flavour notes to pick up on. The ageing process has almost certainly mellowed out the alcohol burn and instead you get intensely sweet rum and raisin ice cream, vanilla, dark toffee, honeycomb, and liquorice. Again, as with Heaven Hill, there is no coffee here but you do get a similar Riesen caramel flavour instead. The use of rum casks rather than bourbon casks brings a whole different dimension. Instead of banana, grassy, wood notes you get rich dark brown sugar and buttery fudge. As the beer came up to room temperature the chocolate toffee flavours gave way to boozy dark fruit like blackberries and cherries. Again there was a sense of those boozy fruit chocolates you get around Christmas time.

Mouthfeel was just super luxurious. Just as with Heaven Hill I took about two hours drinking it letting the syrupy feeling coat my palette and the flavours evolve as the beer warmed. This is definitely another “treat yo self” beer but boy, what a treat! I might have to track down another bottle in a couple of years to see how it tastes then.

Verdict: 5/5

BrewDog are known for pushing boundaries with their brewing. From brewing beer under the sea, or ice distilling IPA to make the strongest beer in the world they put a lot of stock in the value of experimentation. Each year they produce a range of prototype beers, each with their own little (or perhaps not so little) twist and let the customers decide which one is best and should be turned into a permanent fixture.

Some amazing beers have come of this process, including probably the best IPA BrewDog make, the mighty Jackhammer! So this being the first time I’d been able to try all four entries I was pretty excited to see what the team had produced. On Saturday I popped over to the Nottingham bar and racked up a flight board of the four offerings and got stuck in. Here’s what I thought…

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Brewery: Buxton Brewery
Style: Saison
ABV: 6.3%
Serving: 330ml Bottle
Price: Around £3

My first venture away from mass produced shitty lager was into the world of Belgian beer. Duvel, Chimay and the like were regulars for me and I was always up for trying new ones when they appeared at my local. As such, I’ve always had a lot of love for Saison as a style. The spicy yeast and lively carbonation are always winners for me. Trouble is, I’ve had a few average-to-poor examples from otherwise great non-Belgian craft brewers. Since Buxton always kick ass I just had to give their dry hopped, New World Saison a shot.

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Brewery: BrewDog
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 15%
Serving: 330ml Bottle
Price: Around £10

It’s that time of year. Winter coats are on, central heating goes on timer and Ant and Dec start selling Christmas stuff on every channel. That’s right, it’s Stout Season! I’ll admit, this is the first year I’ve really been fussed about switching to stout as the weather gets colder, mainly because I love hops so much I tend to drink IPA all year round. This year, though I’m finding myself drawn to the toasty, smooth, sweet, warming characteristics of a great imperial stout. The last couple of times I’ve visited my local BrewDog bar I’ve had RipTide, or even the legendary RipCore (Black and Tan made with RipTide and Hardcore IPA). I’ve also had a couple of stouts from the likes of Thornbridge and Buxton that have really hit the spot in the colder weather.

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Brewery: Knee Deep Brewing Co.
Style: Triple India Pale Ale
ABV: 11.25%
Serving: 650ml Bottle
Price: Around £12

Every so often I like to treat myself to a beer that’s a little more expensive than I would normally go for. In August, for my birthday I treated myself to a couple of these; 8 Wired’s Hopwired IPA and Stone’s Enjoy By 08.16.14. Both were in the £10-15 price bracket. This month my treat beer was one that Rob from HopZine raved about during his recent trip to America, Knee Deep Brewing’s Simtra. This triple IPA weighing in at 11.25% ABV certainly has a lot going for it on paper, not least the inclusion of one of my top three hop varieties; Citra. When I saw a local bottle shop had this, I didn’t hesitate, even with the £12 price tag.

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Hey guys! I hope you all had a good weekend filled with amazing brews! This weekend I payed a visit to the always-reliable Beer Central in Sheffield to pick up a bit of a haul of craft beer awesomeness. The main feature in this haul is my absolute favourite brewery of the moment; Buxton Brewery. I picked up FOUR of their beers, none of which I had tried before. I drank three of them over the weekend so here’s a mini-review of each.

Buxton Madness

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Decided to give that bitch a list. Bitches love lists. Here are my five month-end beer recommendations from September.

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In the minds of the uninitiated public, modern craft beer tends to be synonymous with lofty ABVs. I’m sure this is probably to do with all the press generated by beers like BrewDog’s Tokyo*, an 18.2% stout or even their End of History coming in at 55% (at one time the world’s strongest beer). While it’s true that the craft beer world features some really boozy delights, and indeed some of the best ones are 7% and up, there’s a lot to be said about low-ABV “session” ales that are becoming more and more popular. It seems like pretty much every craft brewery is now releasing at least one beer in the 3-5% range to fit this purpose.

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