6˚ North Brewing Co. Vélo (5.5%)

This, dear reader, is the best Pale Ale that I’ve had in some time.
Oh, you want to know why?
I thought you’d just trust my judgement.
But OK, here we go.
Firstly the name reminds me of long days out on my beloved bicycle, exploring shady lanes and taking in the aromas of the countryside.
Some of those aromas are in the smell of this beer, with honeysuckle and hazel, bracken and green country road verges bringing a memory of damp early summer mornings riding into the middle of nowhere.
Then there’s the soft caramel, oat and granola of the malts and the light and clean waft of the salted cashew from the American yeast.
All this and a fresh clear swipe of Mandarina Bavaria, Huell Melon and German Cascade hops that make the finish of this beer sharp and fresh with juicy tangerines, lemon zest, spicy hazel leaves and fleshy apricots.
All in all, a super little beer.

Source: EeBria

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12XU: A Gang Of Four From Overtone Brewing Co.

Pale Enigma (6%)
Yes it’s a Pale Ale with a 6% ABV, and yes it rocks as much as you’d imagine it to.
Overtime have taken an Enigma packed dream of a beer, all lime zest and mandarins, herbal green foliage and sizzlingly sharp lemon sherbet, with a caramel wafer, honey doughnut, pancake laden malt kiss and added a Vermont yeast for extra earthy fruitiness, both in the sexy sweet shop aroma and the background spicy fug, and blown it up to massive proportions with the white rum hit that the higher ABV brings.
Pale Enigma is a thing of loveliness.

 

NEIPA Vic Secret (6.3%)
Rich and dank and juicy, this IPA brewed with Vermont Yeast and a shed load of Vic Secret hops does exactly what you want it to and does it well.
The beer smells of pears and apple cores and foam shrimp sweets and the beer pours a gloopy peach colour with a big fluffy head.
There’s a seriously gooey toffee muffin malt base and an endless flow of hops, giving you lime zest and lemon curd, passion fruit and melon, all of which is boosted by the rich round earthy stone fruit flavours of that Vermont yeast.
Very good.

IPA Comet/Waimea (6.3%)
There’s a lovely flash of mandarin and lime juice that jumpsuit in the very first swig, it’s a fresh and tropical, zesty kiss of fruitiness, and it lingers throughout the beer.
But let’s start a little bit earlier, because while pouring you’re met by a Starburst aroma of sweetshop goodies while the beer slinks a rich peach into your glass.
Underneath the aforementioned limey mandarin goodness you’ll find a soft and chewy caramel biscuit, bread crust and bran flake malt, all glued together by runny honey, while those hops build and build, with fizzy lemon sherbet and spicy woodruff, pithy bracken and dry black tea making for a finish that’s eye wateringly long and bitter, crisp and bright.

Overtone’s Milk Chocolate Stout (6.2%) does absolutely everything you could wish for in a beer of this style and does it with a cool sexy charm lacking in other beers.
Firstly the veer pours an inky black with a foaming cappuccino head and an aroma heavy with black cherries and freshly ground coffee.
Taking a swig you find a malt body that’s heavy with toffee coated pancakes, all sweet, sticky and sumptuous, along with honey and salted peanut brittle.
There’s also a decent crunchy red maple leaf pithiness from the hops, and a splash of much needed bright and zingy lemon zest that adds a a freshness to the thick and sumptuous ice cream dessert of the finish.

Source: Overtone Brewing Co.

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Sheffield Indie Beer Feast, or Do You Have An Inbuilt Homing Device?

I’d like to tell you a story.
A story that starts well, though I’ve no idea how it finishes.

You see, I was kindly invited to attend this year’s Sheffield Indie Beer Feast last Friday and after last year’s event I was really excited about going.
I organised a small gang of #CAMRGB drinking friends to go with me and we met up at The Sheffield Tap on a bright and fresh South Yorkshire morning.
There was myself and Chris (@titwillars) travelling from Leicester, David from Milton Keynes, Alan from Doncaster and Ian (BrewChap) from Leeds.
Pleasingly Ian was bringing some of his Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in a 750ml bottle for us to share later on.
We had a swift half at the Tap – mine was my first taste of Salt Brewing’s beer, an experience that I found only OK – and then jumped in a cab for the ten minute ride over to the beautiful Abbeydale Picture House that again was hosting the event.

The Abbeydale Picturehouse in all her glory.

I’ve talked at length in last year’s article about how beautiful the Picture House is, and it wasn’t until we were inside that I remembered just how cold it is, though the atmosphere soon warmed it up.
Our first visit was to Comrade Jimmy’s Lost Industry to catch up and have our first beer of the festival.
On Jimmy’s say so I went for his Bordeaux Barrel Aged Cherry Sour (6.5%) which warmed me up no end and had my lips puckering at the though of what was to come.
And what was to come was a day of fabulous beer and an accidental meeting that had me, for the first time in a very long time, awestruck and almost speechless.

 

 

Meet the gang ‘cos the boys are here…

Gavin, the last member of our crew, arrived as we wandered about the venue to get a feel of where everything was and we took an obligatory selfie before getting the next beer.
Mine was a very good little Pale Ale (4.5%) from Wild Card Brewery that I drank while having an interesting natter with one of their brewers (whose name escapes me I’m afraid).
Then I moved on to Abbeydale where they had a really super Pale Ale called Reverie (4.2%) for me to try, and this was swiftly followed, via a quick catch up with Andy of Elusive Brewing while downing a large glass of his Obi Wan Shinobi, an 11.2% smoked barley wine beast.
Next I visited Wander Beyond, whose beer I have been impressed with since I first tried it about eighteen months ago.
They’d got some terrific beer on offer, including a 9.3% Mild, a reworking of their Strawberry & Cream Pale Ale (5%) and a raft of other goodies.
This brought us to lunchtime and I caught up with the gang, via a third of Cloudwater’s Chubbles (10%), in the back room where the food stands were located, joining Ian in a rather fine bratwürst and chips meal from the amazing Get Wurst.

Beer, Beer, Beer.

Earlier in the day, while travelling up to Sheffield, I had been chatting with Adrian Tierney Jones (@ATJbeer) about meeting up so he could sample Ian’s beer with us and then, after a couple of tweets to the #CAMRGB massive, we were invited to a new bar called Jabberwocky as a venue for the tasting.
But before we left, and just after a catch up with the good folk of Orbit Beer, I was turned into a fawning fanboy when I noticed that a new Sheffield brewery called St. Mars Of The Desert were using Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project hand pulls.
Pretty Things are heroes to me, cuckoo brewers based in Somerville MA, who travelled the USA making the most astonishing beer, in fact theirs is the only beer I have ever given a five start Untappd rating to.
I walked over to their stand and mentioned the hand pull logos to be told that it was in fact Dann & Martha of Pretty Things, who have relocated to Sheffield and set up shop.
I gushed about my love for their beer, making them read my reviews and, quite possibly, being a little bit embarrassing in my excitement.
They talked me through the range that were offering and every beer was beautifully made, every one a pleasure to drink.
My favourite was their reworking of one of their classics, Jack D’Or (6.4%), which immediately became my beer of the day.

Beer tasting with Mr. Tierney Jones.

And so it was that with tears of joy in my eyes and a stupid drunken grin on my face we wandered over to Jabberwocky on Sheffield’s London Road, joined by old friend and fellow beer writer Steve Lamond (@BeersIveKnown).
The bar is a great addition to the city’s beer scene, offering a solid range of beer served by knowledgeable and friendly staff.
We’d been reserved a comfortable corner, all leather sofas and low tables, and settled in with a glass each of Buxton’s Axe X (6.8%) until Adrian arrived and we could open Ian’s beer.
He carefully poured his Imperial Stout so that everyone, including some of the other drinkers in the venue and its staff could get a taster and we all relaxed into this enormous chocolate and cherry pudding of a beer.
To my delight Adrian really liked it and the discussion opened up about home brewing and what could be done.
But then Ian opened another of his beers.
This time it was his Chocolate Milk Stout (8%) and we were all completely blown away.
After taking Mr. TJ away from beer and back into his old days as NME Sub-Editor (I just can’t help myself when I see him as it’s such a big part of my teenage years), he kindly bought a round and said his goodbyes as he headed to the Abbeydale Picture House with Steve in tow.

Lager! Lager! Lager!

By this point it was getting on a bit, David had gone to check in to his hotel, and I’d said I’d like to get a train somewhere around 6pm.
We headed in the direction of the station when Gavin decided he’d “treat us” to a place he knew close by, and as a result I spent the first time in many years in a Jamaican bar drinking a half of Red Stripe before he said goodbye and made his way home.

Now we were down to four and we headed in to The Sheffield Tap to grab one for the road.
It’s here that my story becomes a little bit murky.
I remember having a good laugh and lots of banter with my friends, and I remember that we drank an Orval, a Honeytrap by Alphabet Brewing and Raspberry & Vanilla version of Beavertown’s Heavy Water.

Is this the end?

But the next thing I remember is waking up in my favourite armchair in my house in my pyjamas and needing a wee.
I have a very vague recollection of Chris’ lovely and incredibly patient wife meeting us from the station and driving me home, though that could easily be a memory from any one of our other drunken outings.
Needless to say I woke up on Saturday morning feeling a little but fragile but as happy as a happy thing that I’d spent 2019’s Sheffield Indie Beer Festival in the company of some great friends, some brilliant brewers and some amazing beer.
Here you have it, a story with no real ending because I simply can’t remember it.
At least my internal homing device still works.

 

Thanks to Hop Hideout for inviting me and for Jabberwocky () for making us so welcome.

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Mad Dog Brewing Co. Dippy Kitty (8.3%)

This Double IPA has been brewed using the recipe of the 2018 Welsh National Homebrew Champion, Rhys Davies.
What’s more, it’s a damned fine beer, pouring a slightly cloudy peach with a fuzzy little head and an aroma full of booze dip kids’ jelly sweets.
The malting is big and round and chewy, with sticky caramel and runny honey, bran biscuits, shortcake and waffles creating a superb sweet base for the hops to do their loud and boisterous, sexy thing.
Melon and mango, lemon and lime, orange marmalade and hedgerow greenery, build into a sharp and zingy, fleshy and juicy fruit salad of a finish.
Excellent.

Source: Pop’n’Hops

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Yonder Brewing & Blending Dunstan’s Exile (5.5%)

This Pale Ale has a really deep and interesting flavour, lots of extra bits added to the basic Pale Ale malt and hop bill.
Mind you, it’s not quite your normal hop bill, as in this beer Yonder have used light struck noble hops, which bring a farmyard silage, bruised apple core and gala melon flavour while the malting is a gentle swish of shortcake and brioche, heather honey and maple syrup.
Then there’s the Grains Of Paradise, orange peel and juniper berries that bring a rich yet clear zesty, spiced booziness to the finish of this rather good Pale.

Source: Pop’n’Hops

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