I was sent this beer by Trev at Pop’n’Hops and this review has been written especially for him. So please excuse the Indie record geekery herein.
I really wanted this to be brilliant for no other reason than the lovely label reminded me of all the indie singles I used to buy as a teenager.
Records released by K and Creation, Pink and, oh I don’t know, any number of labels.
Two colour prints on white card that wrapped around the record and slipped into a clear plastic bag.
But just like some of those records that weren’t as brilliant as I wanted them to be, so too Beak’s Porter is good but not great.
There’s a little liquorice an treacle tart, some brown sugar, black coffee and some toasted wholemeal bread.
You also find a rolling tobacco and pine resin, marmalade and lemon zest from the hops.
All of that is fine, but the beer feels a little thin, a little wishy washy, just not enough body.
It’s more a Subway B Side than a Ron Johnson A Side, though that in itself can be enough.
Barely a Double IPA at 7.5%, but I guess this is twice the size of Gipsy Hill’s Session IPA, Hepcat.
More importantly this is a very nice IPA packed with fruity joy and malty goodness.
Pouring a peachy gold, the beer smells like a tropical fruit salad, and taking a swig you find a very good malt base, crunchy caramel biscuits and sticky spun sugar, while the hops come on bright and bold, with peach and mango, lemon zest and steely herbal leaves.
The finish is long and dry and bitter.
Brewed in collaboration with the lovely people at EeBria and featuring their founder, David, on the can, Pedlar is a Session NEIPA, and it’s pretty good.
It pours a light cloudy gold and smells of green herbs and peaches.
The malting, all chewy shortcake and honey, caramel brioche and crusty white bread is strengthened by the slightly musty earthy fruit of the yeast, and the hops – Chinook, Cascade and Centennial, with Magnum for bittering – hit you with lime jelly and lemon zest, oranges, garden foliage and rolling tobacco.
All this makes for a very easy drinking beer with lots of stuff to keep your interest right the way down your glass.
What makes this beer, a Double IPA brewed with honey, so very good isn’t the honey, it isn’t the warm booze or the deliciously sharp combined assault of Denali, Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra hops that slash at you with lime segments and mandarin skins, peach and mango, tobacco and green herbal leaves.
It isn’t the solid malt body that provides the stage for the aforementioned hops with its brown sugar syrup, brioche, caramel and Weetabix heart.
It isn’t even the sticky earthy sweetness of the heather honey, thick and rich, earthy and delicious.
No, what makes this beer, for me at least, is the use of Brett Trois WLP644 yeast.
It adds the most deliciously sharp and tart earthiness to the background of the beer, in itself amplifying and balancing the round sweetness of the malts and honey, and adding a damp undergrowth depth to the hops.
All in all, Botany Of Desire is Magic Rock at their very best.
There’s no lactose listed in the ingredients of this beer and yet it tastes and feels like something big and creamy is going on in the dark depths of this inky black beer with its coy little cappuccino head.
The aroma is, nothing more or less than the custard side of a rhubarb and custard sweet.
And that’s the vanilla custard flavour that runs throughout the beer.
It’s surrounded on all sides by deep fruity coffee, treacle tart and honey, burned wholemeal toast and pecan pie from the twelve (count them) malts, and the Chinook hops adds some rolling tobacco woodiness and a lick of lemon sherbet.
Then there’s the sugary rum booziness of the big alcohol hit that moves the beer along as you head towards the sticky toffee finish.
And all the while that childhood custard sweetie taste rumbles away making me want to try a version of this with added rhubarb for that playground flavour of my childhood.