HIYA! We're back with another round up of beer and wine recommendations to tease you all the way into the shop. First up is beer. Lovely cold beer. And here's Andrew with his latest favourites..
Andrew's Top Beer Picks
Wicked Weed/Trois Dames - Metatropics
Wicked Weed have been hitting the news lately but sadly for all the wrong reasons. The North Carolina brewery have just sold out to AB InBev (the company behind Budweiser). For some this feels like their favourite small town band has just sold out to a major label. For others, it’s a deal that will help the brewery stay competitive, in an ever crowding market.
Love it or loathe they still make some exceedingly good beers.
Metatropics is a beer they have collaborated on with Trois Dames from Switzerland. It’s based on a beer the Swiss brewery brew called Tropicale IPA. They wanted to take the tropical vibes of that beer and ramp it up to 11. Pineapple, grapefruit, passion fruit and mango are added to the fermentation. The classic Wicked Weed farmhouse character comes from the additions of wild yeast and brettanomyces.
Perfect sell out summer sipping! I Can’t wait for the light version to come out ;)
Deya Steady Rolling Man
Continuing on with the music theme comes Steady Rolling Man from Deya. This beer was born out of a love of American blues records and hops. One for the cloudy pale fans, this beer is packed with intense tropical fruit hop aromatics. It’s a really easy going pale to drink, with very low bitterness. Enjoy on a hazy summer's day on the porch while playing your favourite 12 bar blues on the harmonica. Brewer, Theo Freyne got his masters in brewing and distilling at Heriot Watt and later spent 3 months at Odell in Colorado. In 2016 he opened his own brewery in Cheltenham to focus on producing unfined, unfiltered, hop heavy beers that are naturally cloudy.. Deya have shown that the British craft beer scene still has plenty of room to expand and grow. Embrace
Lindemans Kriek Cuvée René
Sometimes you forget Lindemans actually make decent beer. Too much of their production these days involves fruit concentrates and a crazy amount of sweeteners. Unsweetened cherry juice in a kriek! Come on!
Historically this brewery made some damn good Lambics. Started in 1822 in a small farm by Frans Lindemans. Even to this day the brewery is family owned with two brothers having a 50% share. In 1985, Michael Jackson (not the moonwalking one with the monkey) named Kriek Lindemans as one of the 5 best beers in the world.
Kriek Cuvée René is the real deal. Whole cherries are added to a six months old lambic that’s been sitting in their 10,000-liter foudres. After six months the kriek is bottled where secondary fermentation takes place.
The cherry aroma is MASSIVE. It also has a yeasty, barnyard funk that tells you you're drinking something made in a traditional lambic style. On the palate the high level of acidity is balanced with the natural sweetness found in this beer. The finish is long and has a subtle almond note.
Please make more of this this kind of thing Lindemans. Do it for your family's legacy!
This one is meant to be for Lent but I won't tell the big man upstairs if you don't. This Rauchbier takes a malty style German lager and makes it interesting. Made from a combination of unsmoked malt and the smoked malts that this Bamberg brewery are known for. Think smokey bacon crisps or smoked ham or even hickory smoked pork. In fact this is a great beer to enjoy with some slow cooked meats or even a nice cheese board.
Just shows you that you can work within the Bavarian Purity Laws and produce something really exciting and full of flavour. Definitely not for everyone but if you enjoy smoking a 20 deck of Benson's or can eat your own body weight in smoked gammon then give it a go.
This is usually only available between Ash Wednesday and Easter but don’t worry we still have a few bottles on the shelf.
Mikkeller ‘Vanilla Shake’ Beer Geek
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I absolutely love this beer! This one is in my top 5 stouts I have ever tasted and I have tried a whole load of them. Massive 13% alcohol but you would never know (well until you try and stand up). It pours jet black in the glass with a huge head that ain't going anywhere soon. Lots of freshly brewed coffee on the nose, the dark roast kind, mixed with roasty toasty barley sugar. The vanilla is there and it’s very balanced, it’s amazing that it stands up to all the rich coffee and chocolate aromas. Palate-wise it fills the mouth with the most beautiful texture, it’s rich and creamy like a milkshake but this shake is not for the kids. I’m thinking about swimming in a bowl of tiramisu and then getting cramp in my leg and drowning in a cafetiere of boiling hot coffee. But then i’m saved by a panna cotta life boat that’s filled with hopes and dreams. I like this beer!
Beer Guy Does Wine
Ryan has been continuing on his quest for wine wisdom and his 'study' game is strong! Here's his latest findings..
Milton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2014
The first tasting note I got for this wine came the second I cracked the seal on the screwcap, before I even poured it into a glass, before I even got the cap all the way off. Oranges. The aroma of orange persisted throughout (and after) my time drinking this wine: sliced oranges, orange blossoms, orange nectar, orange zest, orange marmalade, all of this coupled with a touch of honey and peach. Straw-yellow in colour and pouring as thick as treacle with a slight sweetness, this is easily one of the best drinks -- nevermind one of the best wines -- I’ve ever had, and it was only £17.50.
Ventolera Syrah 2013
Almost as good to smell as it is to drink, this Chilean red is, to paraphrase one of my colleagues, ‘an absolute belter.’ The nose is full of strawberry jam, blood, whey protein, yogurt, and blackcurrants. Unsurprisingly it pours a deep crimson red, staining your teeth and anything it touches. Surprisingly though, it’s quite light to drink, a refreshing mix of cassis, spices, jam, and mint, with a relaxed, tapering finish. I’d imagine this would be nice with a spice-crusted rack of lamb.
Clos Combe Long Corbieres
Though I’ve only had this the one time, I could easily see it becoming one of my go to reds, especially at the price. A Carignan-Grenache Noir blend from Languedoc, the winemaker is keen to emphasise the history, especially the Cathar heresy (which I won’t get into here, but would love to talk about with anyone who pops by the shop), which suffuses the region and thus, the wine. While I couldn’t taste any Gnosticism, I certainly got dry cherry cheesecake, which may sound equally heretical to those of you with a sweet tooth. Boozy and juicy with a touch of cinnamon, this is surprisingly light with a tinge of tanninity to the finish. A customer who came back for a second bottle said it paired fantastically with Pecorino Moliterno al Tartufo, a type of cheese that’s been infused with truffles. Bibite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.
That's all for now. We hope you've enjoyed reading! And until next time, stay awesome :-)