Tag Archives: hophead

What’s that noise? It’s the Yeastie Boys!

The Yeastie Boys of New Zealand have been around for a little while now with their multi-multi-multi award-winning Pot Kettle Black Black IPA, but have recently become a lot more prominent, due to a nice little agreement with Brewdog to brew three of their most popular beers for them up in Aberdeenshire (the rest are still coming out of New Zealand -it will say on the bottle). The Scottish beer-lords have previously done something a little similar with Mikkeller, but gained exclusive import and distribution rights rather than a brewing arrangement. While the demand of Mikkeller rose sharply, no doubt because of the massive publicity that any association with Brewdog brings, I can see this partnership being even more lucrative.

Prior to 2015, Yeastie Boys’ Digital IPA was a highly rated 7% beer. It’s now been taken down a notch or two to a more widely-palatable 5.7%. It’s probably a smart business move, and I could see it becoming the “new” Punk IPA. To have a commercially-viable beer is a good way to gain ground, especially if you’re putting it out there in somewhere like Brewdog -a place that you know will have decent beer, but also has something to cater for your Heineken-drinking mates. Yes, it’s a nice little IPA, but there isn’t really much else to say about it. Something of a decent quality to have a few of and not pay much attention to.

Stairdancer is their 4.4% Pacific Ale. I don’t want to be lazy, but it’s a little more of the above. The label describes it as a “lawnmower beer” and I think that’s pretty accurate. It’s got a good malty flavour to it, and is very refreshing, but it falls a little flat at anything more.

I always like a bit of an odd beer, and so I was looking forward to having Gunnamatta, their Earl Grey IPA. I’ve always been interested in teaspired beers since Fyne Ales did a limited edition green tea beer, which was lovely. I don’t recall ever having had Gunnamatta, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s got a lovely floral, fruity flavour, which develops into the tea notes at the end. I don’t think it’s one for everyone, but I like that. Not everyone has to like everything you brew.

A few years ago, around 2011, Dark Star ran their anti-Hophead campaign. It was to encourage people to not drink their own beer, because they had so many other fantastic, not-just-another-IPA beers. I can’t actually find anything pertaining to the exact logic behind it and I’m just relying on my own memory, because it seems to have been deleted from their archives. On one hand, I feel like something similar should be encouraged against the overload of 4-5.5% pales currently that are often indistinguishable from one another. On the other, the influx of DIPAs from the likes of Cloudwater v2 and the upcoming v3, the aforementioned Beavertown Double Chin and Skull King and BBNO 55/01 are more than making up for it. I guess I’ll settle.

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Beer in Brightontown.

img_7836All across the UK, the craft beer industry is blossoming: the number of breweries is currently at the highest it’s been since the 30s. I had been living in London since 2012, spoilt for choice with the incredible breweries and dedicated craft beer pubs. I remember a couple of years ago, dragging my friend up to North London to the Queen’s Head near King’s Cross (one of my absolute favourites in the city, do visit if you’re up that way) because I’d heard on the hopvine that they were selling Dark Star’s Hophead. They were, and the pint was beautiful. It is, of course, found all over the place now. The same friend was also my drinking buddy for the many nights I spent at Cask in Pimlico, the subsequent visits to all the other Craft Beer Co. pubs, and then to many other pubs we liked the look of. I wondered how Brighton was going to compare.

Brighton does, of course, have it’s own Craft Beer Co., and the fairly recently opened Brewdog, which I still haven’t paid a visit to. It also has the birthplace and home of Dark Star, and another of my all-time favourites, The Evening Star. Nearly every pub across the city has at least a few cask ales on, but I’ve found plenty of decent places to stock up on bottles. The long-established Trafalgar Wines down on Trafalgar Street has been selling bottles of the good (and hard-to-find) stuff for years. The unassuming exterior is home to a plethora of beers from all over the world, including a large selection of locally sourced brews. I’d recently been recommended to try out Bison Beer, a bottleshop (with four draught taps for in-house sampling and takeaways), who in less than a year since opening, have Crowdfunded to open the Bison Arms just across the road from the shop, beating Burger King in the process. I popped in today to restock my beer supplies, which I’ll talk about another time. Directly opposite, renovations are underway for the East Street Tap to open on Thursday 3rd March: a homage to NYC with mainly American breweries on the bar.

Brighton has always been a great place to go out, but it looks like it’s only going to get better, and I’ll drink to that.

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