Westerham Brewery Wally Winker’s Death By Chocolate (4.5%)

When I heard that Westerham had started canning I just had to get hold of a couple to try.
And I’m really glad that I did.
This is a superb Chocolate Stout brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla and chocolate essence, along with layers and layers of dark sweet malts.
The body is an enormous chewy treacle tart and custard, brown bread, honey and Daim bar delight, and the hops – Progress, if you were wondering – lurk at the edges with a subtle snap of pithy green foliage.
But for me it’s the way that the malts and the adjuncts work together to create a lovely boozy bar of chocolate experience.

Source: Westerham Brewery

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Verdant Brewing Co. Don’t Tell Gus (8%)

For me the London Ale yeast is the star here.
Yes there’s a lovely chewy banana bread, brown sugar, toffee and waffle malt, and yes there’s a great big whack of hops in the shape of Citra, Mosaic and Enigma that slap you around with lemon curd, orange marmalade, lime leaves, hedgerow greenery and steely garden herbs.
There’s a warm and clean vodka heat from the alcohol as well, but it’s the density and depth, rich earthy stone fruit warmth of the yeast that makes this beer great.
From the strawberry bread dough of the aroma to the luscious peach Melba finish, it’s the yeast that makes everything alright.

Source: Honest Brew

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LOKA POLLY Spur (7.2%)

I’m running out of words for LOKA’s IPAs.
They’re all the same and yet all different.
They’re the same in that they’re all absolutely fabulous, some of the best IPAs that the UK has had to offer for more than a year, and different in that they have enough about them that you can feel and taste the changes to the hops, the malts, the yeast.
Spur is brewed with Azacca, Citra and Simcoe and it revels in its woody tobacco, redwood resin and sharp grapefruit, nectarine and satsuma fruity sharpness that sits astride a soft crusty white caramel bun of a malting, while the yeast brings a round earthy warmth to the finish.
Superb.

Source: Pop’n’Hops

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A LOKA POLLY Triple Header

Petal (7%) is an almost perfectly made IPA.
Brewed with Citra, Columbus and Ekuanot it reminds me of the joy I felt the first time I tried Magic Rock’s Human Cannonball.
It’s a sherbet fizz driven fun machine.
Lashings of lemon bonbons and flying saucer sweeties, fizzy pop, penny sweets on the shape of shrimps and a sharp hit of pithy bitter herbal leaves are underpinned by a soft and supple, chewy caramel and brioche malt body.
And even though the beer pours cloudy, as seems to be the way for IPA’s these days, it feels crisp and clean and super sharp in the finish.
Petal is terrific.

Rosa (8.%) is a Double IPA brewed with Citra, Ekuanot, Simcoe and Vic Secret.
It’s another of LOKA’s soupy beers, pouring thick and cloudy with a fresh pineapple and mango aroma and a little lace doily for a head.
The malting is sweet caramel and waffles, vanilla ice cream and honey and the yeast adds it’s stone fruit and earthy damp fungal sweetness to create a great big chewy body over which the hops bring rolling tobacco and lemon sherbet, lime leaves, avocado, melon and steely herbal leaves.
And with the bolshy push of warm botanical gin alcohol, the beer finishes in the most satisfyingly boozy way.

Cassie (10.4%), LOKA’s Espresso Stout is, to put it simply, sublime.
It’s thick and chewy and sumptuous, pouring an impenetrable only black with a little cappuccino head and a smell heavy with freshly brewed coffee and Demerara sugar.
The malting is deep and round, treacle tart, molasses, bread pudding and rum and raisin chocolate, and the hops bring a crisp and crunchy dry autumnal leaf litter hit of hazel leaves, nettle tea and orange marmalade.
And then, in the finish, there’s a wash of woody, cherry stone black coffee and a deep brandy alcohol haze that makes for a very rewarding, if slightly drunken, finish.
It’s a beer of hidden depths that needs time spending on it in order to discover all it has to offer.
I drank it listening to one of my favourite Go-Betweens albums, a record that has so many hidden depths that I’ve been discovering something new in it for the last thirty five years or so.

Source: Pop’n’Hops

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Arcadian Brewing Co. Slow Wave (5.5%)

Initially I wasn’t impressed with this, it didn’t seem big enough somehow, but as I settled into it Slow Wave began to grow on me.
It’s a Black IPA full of subtle delights.
Cola and Burdock aromas, round and juicy, drag you into a beer that is, unconventionally for this beer style, soft and subtle.
A treacle tart and caramel muffin malt body makes for a soft and subtle body while the hops bring pine cones and orange marmalade, bitter and sticky, resinous and fruity.
By the last mouthful I wished I was only just getting started.

Source: Pop’n’Hops

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