Up Front Brewing Citra, Mosaic & Strata Nectar IPA (8%)

I’m rather enjoying this IPA, though unless I was told that it had been brewed with wild nectar yeast I’d never have guessed.
Maybe it’s the use of Verdant’s yeast strain as well, it’s big and slightly earthy peach stone and apricot is so bold, so up front (excuse me for that), that whatever the Metschnikowia Reukaufii yeast strain is supposed to impart has been bullied away into insignificance.
The thing is, there is a light honey sweetness here, alongside the malting’s biscuits, caramel and brioche, but it’s no more than you would expect from a beer of this type.
The hopping – Citra, Mosaic and Strata – bring lots of lemon curd, lime leaves, peach and mango, green herbs and gooseberries, making the beer feel super fresh, bitter and crisp, and this is made bigger by the clean gin heat of the alcohol.
So as I say, this is a very nice IPA, but it’s not really much different considering what could have been a really interesting addition.

Source: Pop’n’Hops

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Mortalis Brewing Co. Hydra (7%)

This version of Hydra is brewed with blackberries, pineapple and raspberries and it is absolutely lovely.
Mind you, some people may argue that you shouldn’t find heaps of fruit pulp in your beer can when you pour, but I for one love it.
Pouring a paint thick purple, the beer smells more of vanilla and honeyed almonds than it does of fruit, but as soon as you take a swig you find yourself in jammy heaven.
And yes, this beer is like a boozy forest fruit jam, the pineapple lurking way back in the mix and adding just a hint of bright juiciness while the berries bring heaps of sweet and tart fruity pulp.
And the pulp clings to the side of your glass as you drink, you can lift it off with your finger.
That’s how thick this beer is.
I was going to photograph it as proof but it just looks like a dirty glass.
The alcohol swishes about with a dry and clean gin warmth, and the finish has a light tartness that cuts across all fresh fruit goodness.
I’m pretty sure this could provide one of your five a day.

Source: The Sour Beer Club

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Treat Your Tastebuds: The Sour Beer Club

Some time ago I got involved with The Imperial Beer Club, and for a while helped to curate its monthly subscription boxes.
Mark, who owns and runs the club goes to immense lengths to find interesting and often obscure beer for his club members to try.
He has now started a second club for lovers of Sour Beer.
It runs on the same model as The Imperial Beer Club, with members paying a small annual subscription fee that then allows them to buy the monthly boxes as they become available, and sometimes the monthly boxes are incredibly limited ensuring members are getting something really special.
I thought I’d give the box a try and got hold of their Vault City Tasting Box.
It was absolutely packed with good things to discover, and now I’m looking forward to finding what comes in the next few boxes.
To find out more and to sign up you can follow this lovely link.

Here are some highlights of the box I received:

Vault City Brewing Watermelon Session Sour (4.2%)
Managing to maintain the soft juicy subtleties of fresh watermelon in a beer is pretty good going, I think.
And with this little beer that’s exactly what Vault City have done.
You wouldn’t guess fork the aroma what fruit is in here as the smell is mainly meadow flowers and the tang of farmyards.
The malting is soft and round, with caramel and biscuits creating a creamy body, while the melon sits just under the steely tartness of the hops and yeast.
Peaking out as you drink and adding a lovely juicy bite to the finish.

Vault City Brewing Raspberry Violet (7.1%)
The blend of raspberries and candied violets here is simply lovely.
The raspberries give you lots of deep rich fruit, all pink and fresh and with that particular tang that raspberries have, while the violets add a sensuous floral aroma and a little bit of Parma Violet perfumed sweetness to the end of the beer.
All of this is held up with a honey and brown bread malt body and the earthy bite of Vault City’s yeast.



Vault City Brewing Blackcurrant Lemon Verbena (7.5%)
For me, this is the weakest of the range I’ve been drinking, though that said it is still very good indeed.
Again the malting hides in the background, giving the beer a soft and subtle brown sugar and biscuit sweetness, and that house yeast blend makes the beer feel warm and earthy, with its light;y spiced farmyard flavours.
The blackcurrants are juicy and bitter, tasting like freshly picked hedgerow berries, but to my taste the lemon verbena doesn’t add anything more than a slap of acidity that really isn’t needed here, creating a slightly astringent finish that I’m not a fan off.

Vault City Brewing Pies In The Skies (8.5%)
Now this, boys and girls, this is really clever.
It’s a blend of Vault City’s Double Crust Raspberry Pie and Strawberry Skies beers, and it just works.
Imagine a beautifully baked raspberry and strawberry crumble, add a slosh of booze and decant it into your favourite glass.
This is what you get.
Not so much sour as fresh and tart, the malting tastes and feels like beautifully baked vanilla rich, crumbly shortcrust pastry, with brown sugar, honey and just a dash of salt.
And the vanilla pops up again amongst the fruit, adding a creaminess to the blend of raspberry and strawberry, and balancing the lip puckering acidity of the raspberries with the sweet succulent meaty flesh of the strawberries.
This couple with a warm boozy heart makes for a superb bottle of beer.

Vault City Brewing Mango Inferno (7.2%)
Mixing copious amounts of mango and habanero chilli, this is one of the beers that put Vault City firmly on the modern beer map.
It’s a thick and juicy beer, with a fruit salad aroma that pulls you in.
The malting is light and subtle, a little brown sugar here, a little shortbread biscuit there, and the farmhouse yeast brings a warm earthiness that rounds the beer out.
But boy oh boy, the mango and the chilli together is a thing of beauty.
There’s an almost endless sweet and meaty mango pulp and with each sip, the prickle of chillies popping and exploding on your tongue.
A triumph.

Vault City Brewing  Guava Kiwi Melon Mango (10%)
I cannot begin to tell you how fresh and fruity this is.
I can only hint at the sheer weight of fruit salad goodness going on in here.
Let’s whizz quickly through the malting, as it plays an important if very subtle part, loitering in the background with a light biscuity sweetness, the addition of wheat and oats bringing a smooth creaminess to the beer and stopping the mix of fruit and yeast getting too sour.
In fact, this beer is barely sour at all, tart yes, but sour no.
You’ll find a little damp yeasty underbelly providing some warmth alongside the crisp and clean booziness of Dry Gin, but above all else you’ll love the fruit.
The blend is just right, beautifully balanced so that each component plays of the next while creating a fresh fruit sorbet of a finish.

Acid Brewing Cartel Industrial Farmhouse (6.9%)
Brewed in Glasgow and using a yeast obtained from a traditional Norwegian Farmhouse Brewer, this is so tart it feels electrically charged.
The silage and metalwork aroma sets your teeth on edge as the beer pours a cloudy peach and lounges in your glass looking equally sexy and dangerous, its fuzzy head fizzing with life.
The malting is spun sugar sweet, and thickened by runny honey and digestive biscuits, and there’s a bright sharp slap from the Citra and Mandarina hops.
You get lemon and lime zest, tangerines and satsuma flesh just before the stinging metallic, wire wool sharpness hits you right across the face, twisting your tongue and puckering your cheeks.
This is a supercharged Farmhouse beer that’s not for the feint hearted.


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Play Brew Co. Choca Bloca (7%)

Fancy a Curly Wurly?
You do?
How about a Curly Wurly that’s been liquidised with a glug of rum?
Sound OK, right?
That’s what this beer is.
You can feel the chewiness of the toffee in here, it’s sweet with brown sugar and has a light bran maltiness, and then there’s milky chocolate goodness in every corner.
The hopping is rightfully subtle, adding the lightest crunch of autumnal leaf litter and a hint of orange marmalade that just adds to the stickiness of this beer, which is made even creamier by the addition of lactose.
In the finish you find that the additions of toffee and chocolate essence are ramped up by a warm booziness that makes this beer really great fun.

Source: Pop’n’Hops

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Play Brew Co. Flower Power (7.4%)

Brewed with El Dorado, Bru 1, Citra and Mosaic this is a big bright and fruity NEIPA.
And it does everything you want from this style, with a malt body that’s soft and squidgy, all honey and caramel, biscuits and doughnuts, and the earthy sweet bruised fruit of the yeast.
The aroma is full of peach, mango and pineapple, and the beer holds a nice little frothy head.
As for the hops, well they’re bold and sharp, snappy with nettle greenery, soft with melon and tangerine, and zingy with lemon zest and lime leaves.
And with a long and lingering bitter finish, this is a lovely introduction to this Middlesbrough brewery.

Source: Pop’n’Hops

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