What can I say about this Citra & Mosaic NIEPA?
Well, first off it’s brilliant, doing all the things you could possibly
There’s zingy lime zest and thick sweet lemon curd, melon and guava and a great big caramel wafer, honey and salted peanut toffee brittle malt heart.
And there’s that foggy waft of cloudy earthy yeast as well, that adds a round chewiness to the zippy sherbet finish.
But most importantly to me, this is a beer that makes me want to grab a record off the shelf and play it loud.
Something I know that Cameron and the Turning Point gang would heartily approve of.
It’s not often that I open a beer, pour it, take a sip and say, “oh wow,” out loud, but with this little can of Imperial Stout I found myself doing just that.
Brewed as Eight Arch’s 300th Gyle, this is an inky black beer with a little fuzzy cappuccino head and a smell packed with coffee and honey roast peanuts.
The malting is fathoms deep, sticky and round, warm and chewy, it’s heavy with molasses and honey, brown bread, bagels and bitter dry dark chocolate.
There’s a hit of hazel leaf and nettle tea hops, a swish of lemon rind and a dab of garden herbs before the coffee drenched brandy booze weighs in and makes everything fuzzy and fun, leading you to a finish that’s all brandy snap sweetness with a clean vodka kick.
It made me swoon.
A month or two ago I was chatting with Ian BrewChap and he asked if I’d like to invent a beer for him to brew.
I’ve never been particularly interested in the practical side of brewing beer, but coming up with a recipe and letting someone else do the dirty work seemed like a bit of fun and so I got my thinking cap on.
I decided that a Rye DIPA brewed with red peppers might work, though I had no idea how to make it happen.
And then I spent an evening with a couple of friends in the Two Tailed Lion.
Over the course of some serious drinking Alan and Chris (@titwillars) got involved and we decided that not only should this be a Rye DIPA with red peppers, t it should be brewed using seven hop varieties that begin with the letter ‘C’ if for no other reason than we could call it the Seven Seas Of Rye.
I sent Ian a message telling him of our plan and, instead of deleting me from his phone like a normal person would, he said OK.
And I’m so pleased he did, because what he has created is something really rather super.
Pouring the beer you find a round fruity piquant aroma, sweet and warm and something I’ve never smelled in a beer before.
It verges on a chilli beer but stays soft and sweet and juicy.
Taking a swig there’s that earthy pumpernickel chewiness that I love from a Rye based beer, all bagel and honey, Miso soup and bran flakes, and then a big ways of lime and lemonade, honeysuckle, nettles, redwood and tobacco leaves from the hops.
And alongside all this the red bell peppers add the most remarkably sweet and succulent, lightly spicy fresh red fruitiness.
Far more than I could possibly have imagined they would when I dreamed it up for a laugh.
So I wish I’d had no part in this beer as I love it and don’t want to sound biased towards it, but it really is a tribute to Ian’s skill as a brewer that he used our crazy ideas and made something really very good out of it.
And for those of you who may be interested, the beer is named not after the Queen song, but after a song by the great Medway Dadaist poet Sexton Ming, whose donkey I half inched for the label, because the idea of rye and peppers seemed as mental as some of his remarkable art.
A collaboration with DEYA, this is a Sabro Orange Wit Beer.
What’s more, it’s absolutely lovely.
The pale golden beer pours ever so slightly cloudy and sits in my glass with a great big cloud for a head.
The aroma is lightly floral and doused in orange juice, fresh and inviting.
Taking a big gulp you find a sexily fresh and tangy orange juice and zingy zest with a little prickle of warm coriander bringing up the rear.
The malts are chewy and sweet, all honey and white bread crusts and the hops give you a fresh slap of garden greenery, pithy lawns and border flowers.
All this goodness and a fresh as a daisy clean bitter finish makes this a beer I could drink every summer afternoon for the rest of my days.
Brewed in collaboration with To Øl and Brus, this Session IPA is really rather splendid.
It’s hazy and peachy in colour, its foamy white heading popping and fizzing with life, giving off a big fresh fruit salad bouquet as you pour.
The malting is round and chewy, all runny caramel and soft sweet brioche, and the hops are sharp as a tack, with lemon zest and melon flesh, apricots and lime leaves that make for a long and crisp, dry and bitter finish.