Beer Review(s): Buxton Madness Edition
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.
Pomperipossa – Sour Cherry Stout – 6.0% ABV
Out of the lot, this was probably the one I was most excited to try. I absolutely love cherries and I love all things sour. Combine them with the flavours of a nice stout and you’re surely on to a winner! The reality was that this beer met my expectations but didn’t exceed them. Flavours were on point; chocolate, some vanilla and definite black cherry, leading into a tartness that lingers nicely. It had a medium body, similar to something like Thornbridge’s Saint Petersburg but with a mild tartness which is pretty typical across all of Buxton’s sour beers. Unlike BrewDog’s Blitz range and Siren’s Limoncello IPA, Buxton don’t go totally crazy with acidity. Instead it’s more a suggestion of sour fruit to play along side the other flavours. This is particularly important in a stout where you have a lot of other big flavours wanting to take centre stage. All in all the beer is balanced well but it didn’t totally blow me away the way I’d hoped it might. Still, this would make a hell of a dessert beer!
Nth Cloud – Double IPA – 8.1% ABV
This is the third double IPA I’ve had from Buxton after their Wyoming Sheep Ranch (8.4%) and Double Axe (13.6%). It certainly had big shoes to fill. What I got was nothing short of spectacular! The aroma explodes out of the bottle. Ripe peaches, plums, melon, mango, apples and pineapple and the slightest earthiness is built on a sweet brioche and digestive biscuit malt presence. The flavour brings more of the same with luxurious, silky smoothness and a delicate and complex sweetness of mango and pineapple. I’ll be honest; of the three DIPAs I’ve had from Buxton, it’s near impossible to pick a favourite. Wyoming Sheep Ranch has a really nice citrus, ripe bloody orange thing going, Double Axe goes all out with massive hop character and warming alcohol and Nth Cloud brings the tropical vibe with tonnes of mango and pineapple. Absolutely top notch.
Rain Shadow – Imperial Stout – 11.8% ABV
The big boy. The king of the craft beer heavyweights. Imperial Stout can be both incredible and awful. Some are full of delicious coffee, chocolate, vanilla, toffee and smoke and others can be like nasty soy sauce reduced to a syrup. This one, thankfully is the former. Pouring absolutely black as night with a finger of deep brown chocolate-coloured head, this imperial stout sets a benchmark, against which all future imperial stouts I try will be measured. And it’s a high bar. This stout is easily the best I’ve ever tasted with probably the most perfect balance of flavour I’ve ever experienced from any beer. It has everything you could want; coffee, chocolate, vanilla, bonfire toffee, smoky roast malt, black treacle and some spice all in perfect balance. Beer of the weekend, hands down.
This weekend confirmed something for me which I had already suspected was the case; Buxton are simply the best brewery in the country (if not the world) right now. Colin and the team are turning out classic beer after classic beer and seem to show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Do yourself a favour and get to their online shop or your local bottle shop and pick up a Buxton haul.
P.S. I had the fourth beer, their New World Saison, earlier this week. I think that will get a review of its own… it’s a good un!