Regardless of the tardiness, we’re here now and hopefully some of what I tried last month will make you thirsty or show you the route to something enjoyable! Read on and enjoy!
The Parker Brewery - Viking Blonde
A pretty competent 4.7% straw coloured English pale ale with a light white head which delivers aromas of light citrus, some slightly metallic hints from the malts along with touches of orchard fruit and berries.
The flavours a rather simple and carry through from the aromas, giving a pretty summery feel to this beer which wouldn't be out of place as a chugger at a barbecue.
The finish is pretty quick, but acidic and rather dry but ultimately lets this viking deliver a pretty refreshing hit; it would work well with pizza seafood and the aforementioned barbecued light meats.
(Tap and Bottles, Cambridge Arcade, Southport)
The Yeastie Boys - Pot, Kettle, Black
A black coloured south pacific porter which has a poorly retained beige head and a strength of 6.0% bang on.
The aromas are pretty heady, with loads of coconut, milk chocolate, light acidic coffee and loads of creaminess alongside some bitter roasted malt character. The flavours are driven by the roasted malt, plenty of coconut, an off-sweet creaminess, milk chocolate and some touches of vanilla and spices which all give way to a pleasant dry, bitter and nutty finish.
All in all, this is quite fresh for a porter, with the lines being a bit blurred with a black IPA at some points during drinking.
(23 Club/The Clove Hitch, Hope Street, Liverpool)
Mad Hatter Brewing Company - Blueberry Pancake and Maple Syrup
Another unusual combination brew from the Mad Hatter guys; producing a purple coloured body along with a light halo of froth sitting on top of a 6.2% strength beer.
On the nose, there is an astounding array of fruit; blackcurrants, blueberries amongst others with a hint of liquorice and the acidic perfume of rhubarb. The flavours are of dry and under ripe fruit, blackcurrant and liquorice and touches of some cereal malts.
The mouthfeel is very rounded and pleasingly lively from the effervescence, but the use of oatmeal and lactose provides some gentle edges to the finish too. A lovely and interesting fruit beer, but it is a little one dimensional in experience; fruit, fruit and more fruit.
That's not to say about the way it is put together; the balance is absolutely perfect, just like Goldilocks's porridge the blueberry pancake is neither too acidic, too dry or too sweet, it is just right.
(Londis, Penny Lane, Liverpool)
Buxton Brewery - The Living End
The absolute monster of a barrel aged imperial stout, pouring as a viscous and forboding liquor with a heavy black body and tan coloured head above 10.1% full of evil intent.
The nose gives plenty from the bourbon barrel aging, whisky, nuts, raisins, milk chocolate, coffee and deep roasted malts.
The flavours come through with loads of chocolate, coffee, honey, whisky malt and touches of vanilla. The mouthfeel is incredibly thick, oily and coating with a finish that leads on from the flavours with a dry, chocolatey but heavily alcoholic finish.
This is complex, strong and definitely needs something equally full of character to stand up to it for a food match; some dark chocolate, cheese or even a heavy sweet pudding would possibly work, but it would be best to keep things as simple as possible.
(23 Club/Clove Hitch, Hope Street, Liverpool)
Wild Card Brewery - Jack of Clubs
This is a 4.5%, glisteningly clear ruby ale which pours with decent effervescence and carries a beige foam, which gradually recedes fairly quickly - please note it is best to serve this at around 10-12 degrees celsius before letting it warm up a little. The wheat character plays a significant part in the nose, flavour and body; the aromas are of orange, cereal biscuit and rye malts, some light florality and red berry fruit.
The flavours are assertively malt driven with a hint of bitter orange, hazelnuts and dry walnuts present which push on into a dry, balanced and lightly acidic finish which becomes dryer with length; remiscent of a rye beer.
The mouthfeel is pretty light and with plenty effervecence, quite lively. Would work well with stews, cassoulet and roasted red meat dishes.
(Bottle Tree, Church Road, Formby)
Hophurst Brewery - Flaxen Pale Ale
From Wigan brewery, Hophurst, this pale golden 3.7% ale carries a frothy white head, which doesn't seem to stick around for long.
The aromas are clouded by the big fug of beer jelly sweets which are reminiscent of penny sweets, generic bitter shandy although somewhat less fresh and much headier than a freshly poured bitter shandy. The flavours are not quite as sweet; there is plenty of bitterness, wood and the aromas are definitely stronger than the flavours but overall this is a bit middle of the road for a bitter, but no less drinkable for it.
The finish is crisp, dry, bitter and cereal driven, lingering on the middle to the sides of the tongue with a touch of residual character and a pretty light body. Fish and chips would work well here.
(Tap and Bottles, Cambridge Walks, Southport)
Salopian Brewery - Aphelion
Salopian says this is a 'black beer', seemingly reticent to label it as a black IPA, which is what it seems to be from the hop presence. The beige head is pretty short in longevity and at 5.5%, there is plenty going on with this ale.
The aromas are of coffee with lots of pine and berry fruit but the flavours are very fresh, with cut grass, citrus fruit which give way to the heavier toffee, caramel, coffee and woody elements. The chewy and heavy body feels pleasant in the mouth, leaving only a little bit of a residue. The finish is dry, bitter and lingering pleasingly (if you're into that sort of thing) similar to a cappuccino.
This would make a good dessert beer for sponge cakes and italian desserts which are not overly sweet.
(Holborn Cask Ales, Malthouse Business Centre, Ormskirk)
Northern Monk - Eternal Session IPA
A golden canned 4.1% strength session IPA which pours to deliver a tight white head. The nose is distinctively fresh, with lots of tropical content including lime, coconut, mango, peaches and other white stone fruit all backed up by a light and buzzing malt backbone.
The flavours are remarkably light and delicate, with a continuation of the tropical fruit coming through and with a peachy build to the finish. The light body and very drinkable nature of this session beer has a dry, fruit driven finish which is resinous and acidic setting off the puckering at the sides of the tongue.
A crisp, clean and very easy drinking pale ale, perfect for a hot day and a barbecue.
(Holborn Trade, Malthouse Business Centre, Ormskirk)
Until next time,