I know I’m a little late to the party, but these are still worth talking about, and tracking down if there are any still out in the wild.
So, Northern Monk’s Northern Powerhouse Collaboration 2019 looks and tastes like this:
001 Track Brewing Small IPA (3.3%)
This is a fine place to start with the selection, a low alcohol IPA that manages to maintain a solid creamy body with honey and Rich Tea biscuits forming a sweet base.
And though the hopping is good it’s this robust malt body that raises this above so many other Session IPA’s whose bodies are so flimsy that they collapse away leaving a gaping hole in the centre of the drink.
So to the hops.
Citra, Ahtanum and Blanc bring lots of lemon curd and lime zest, Passion flowers, snappy hedgerow greenery and a slug of orange juice in the finish.
002 North Brewing Co. Triple Fruit Gose (4%)
I like this so very much that I really really want to just drink it rather than think about it.
Brewed with Prickly Pear, Guava, Raspberries, Milk Sugar and Salt, the balance here is just lovely.
A shortcake and toffee malt body made smooth and creamy by the kiss of wheat provides a superb launchpad for the agave clean freshness of the prickly pear, the zing of the guava and the tart fruitiness of the raspberries, while the milk sugar brings a rich vanilla sweetness to round off the dry saltiness of the finish.
003 Donzoko Bavarian Pilsner (4.7%)
Brewed with a simple bill of German Pilsner and Vienna malts, this beer is fresh and light, crisp, clean and smooth, with caramel and honey, freshly baked bread crusts and sugar glazed pancakes.
Over this the Loral and Hallertau Blanc hops bring the peppery snap of rocket, green herbal hedgerow pithiness, a light splash of lemon zest and a floral aroma as you drink.
This is a very well made Lager indeed.
004 Wylam Brewery Tropical Sour IPA (6%)
The weakest of the selection, this is still a pretty decent Soured IPA.
Kettle soured before having loads of puréed tropical fruit and vanilla added, this is bright and zingy and gently tart.
The problem is that it’s a a little bit one dimensional, with the fruit taking over the beer, pushed along by the kettled tartness, that pretty much kills off much of the malting – save for a hint of sugary biscuit – and leaves the hops with only a light swipe of greenery and lemon sherbet.
And that’s your lot.
005 Buxton Brewery West Coast IPA (7.4%)
Nothing extravagant here, nothing wild and wacky, just a superbly made beer that presses all the right buttons.
Simcoe, Mosaic, Amarillo, Centennial and Chinook hops create a pithy grassy aroma and slap you around the chops with lemongrass and lime leaves, fenugreek, garden herbs, rolling tobacco, apricot and thyme, while the malting is a round chewy pancake and honey, caramel and brioche affair.
It’s sweet and rich and adds a smoothness to the long bitter finish.
006 Cloudwater DDH Double IPA (8.2%)
As good as this is, and this is very good, this may be the least exciting of the Northern a powerhouse set, for no other reason than it is a Double Dry Hopped DIPA, a beer that we all know Cloudwater do so well.
And so it does exactly what you would expect, mixing a big round chewy brown sugar, brioche, honey and waffle malt body with a face full of garden greenery, pithy, steely and dry hops that load your face up with lemon sherbet and gooseberry skins, green grapes, peach flesh and mown lawns.
All of which is pushed along by a chest warming white rum heat.
Very good but unsurprising.
007 By The River Brew Co. Imperial Maple Brown (10%)
Take a well made Brown Ale with all its nutty, woody, treacle tart goodness and inject, not only a heavy hit of rum, but also a ladle full of maple syrup, and you are left with an absolutely brilliant boozy treat.
This is a beer for the autumn, warm and round and chewy, it’s a beer packed with cinder toffee, a lick of chocolate, brown bread, crunchy red autumnal leaves and freshly ground coffee.
There’s also sticky orange marmalade and creamy lemon curd before the finish comes on all dark and drunken, prunes and treacle tart heavy with brandysnaps.
This is a superb beer.