Tag Archives: porter

Beer-vent Day 8 -Literal Christmas Beer.

Welp. I knew this was going to turn up at some point. I have to be in a particular mood to really enjoy a spiced beer and wondered if that would affect my opinion.

So Day 8 is the day of reckoning for Northern Monk’s Xmas Mocha Porter. I really, really hate the abbreviation to “xmas” anyway, so went ahead and ignored that to focus on the task at hand: drinking the beer.

I’ve had their regular Mocha Porter, which is a great, creamy coffee porter and easy to drink at 5.9%. This is essentially that, but with added cinnamon and nutmeg. And it works. It’s an attractive beer: black as they come with a tan head that dissipated a little too quickly. A rich aroma of, well, Christmas (even with my blocked nose): cinnamon and nutmeg spiciness like a mulled wine, but with coffee sweetness. There’s very little carbonation and without it being overly rich makes it easy to gulp down (I wasn’t trying to, I was thirsty). The flavours don’t immediately hit you, but rather builds after, leaving a coffee bitterness and lingering spice.

Overall, it’s nice and I would recommend it if you were specifically looking for a spiced porter/”Christmas beer”. It doesn’t feel like it’s been rushed out as a marketing ploy, and I appreciate that greatly.

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Crafted Crate Part 1: Franklins Brewing Co.

Crafted Crate is an awesome new beer subscription service from Brighton. They’re promoting beers from some of the best breweries in the UK, although the just-released first ever Crate just has those from the South. What sets them apart from the pack is that 50% of profits go back to the breweries: better beer all round for everybody.

You can find my reviews for each of the 12 beers from this months Crate in the accompanying magazine if you’re a subscriber, but I thought I’d chuck them up here for the whole world to see.

Following last nights #CraftBeerHour hosted by Franklins Brewing Co., I thought I might as well kick it off with my little write-ups of their two beers from this month’s Crate: Mama Knows Best and Ahumado.

Franklins Brewing Co.’s Mama Knows Best is a 4.1% British Best Bitter. Admittedly, bitters are not my favourite beer style, although this is about as quintessential as it gets. It’s one for pub-garden, summer drinking. Heavy on the malt, with not overwhelming sweet toffee notes.

In total contrast is Franklins’ rebranded Old Smokey: Ahumado, a 5% chipotle porter. This is a smooth brew, with roasted notes and a warming chipotle chilli finish. “Ahumado” means smoked in Spanish, and this is a lovely foray into smoked porters. It’s very well-balanced, and nicely done.

Franklins aren’t reinventing the wheel, but I’m okay with that. Not everyone has to do something weird and wonderful, and these guys are keeping it traditional. More importantly, the wealth of Sussex breweries is only growing, and this can only be a good thing.

 

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When The Kernel took over Brighton.

On Thursday April 14th, the beerilliant The Kernel took over the Craft Beer Co. in Brighton with 15 taps of deliciousness. It’s pretty well established that Kernel are one of the very best breweries in the UK right now, which is saying something considering the strength of competition. Excellent beer is turned out, one after another. And, of course, no two batches are the same. Different hops are used, and different brewers produce each set. I’ve had countless Kernel pale ales over the years, from a tiny village in Wales to one of the top restaurants in London. The consistent fantastic quality of them all are what sets them apart from the rest.

There are certain beer trends around at the moment -everyone seems to be dabbling in the beer du jour: the double or even triple IPA. I have no complaints whatsoever about this, naturally, but Kernel haven’t seemed to announce a similar brew. I got talking to one of the brewers about what to expect next, and I was amused to hear that no, they will continue to tread their own path as to what they brew and not base it on current trends. So, sadly, don’t expect a mindblowing Kernel DIPA coming any time soon. However, with the likes of Cloudwater and Kernel neighbours Brew By Numbers coming out with some of the best beers I’ve ever had in the form of their DIPAs, I’ll settle. Instead, Kernel will apparently be focusing on saisons, and judging what was on offer at the takeover, I have no problem with this whatsoever. Of course. We spoke briefly about their famous Table Beer, and how flavoursome it is for a beer with such a low ABV. I’m pretty sure I haven’t come across a beer like it that is so unanimously liked by everyone who tries it, and that in itself is something special.

Sadly, the beer that I first asked for, the Pale Ale Galaxy/Mosaic/Simcoe/Centennial had just gone. As anyone I’ve ever had a remote conversation about hops knows, I ❤ Mosaic. It’s just got a beautiful tropical fruit quality to it. No such luck, so I went for the IPA Citra/Nelson Sauvin/Galaxy instead. I wasn’t intending to go headfirst into a 7% beer before I’d had anything to eat, but this seems to be an unintentional trend of mine. Anyhow. Super hoppy, with a beautiful citrus flavour, obviously, from the Citra. It went down very easily.

That lead quickly onto the Biere de Saison Barrel #30. I was too busy talking while drinking it to note down much, but this was a lovely saison: lemony without being too tart. More of this from The Kernel is nothing to complain about.

They’re not only experts in producing beautiful pales, as proven by their Export India Porter. It’s a lovely beer: dark and rich with roasted coffee notes, but not heavy like a lot of dark beers. Exactly what you’d want from a porter.

I finished on an India Pale Ale Simcoe. It was outstanding, and I wish I didn’t have to down half of it to run down the road to make the bus home. 7.1% of hoppy, tropical fruit deliciousness.

To conclude? Kernel produce amazing beers. No surprises there. They will continue making pale ales that really set the standard for others, in my opinion. Everything about The Kernel is simplistic: the name itself -a kernel is a piece of barley, in a very simple sense; the label did just used to be a stamped piece of brown paper and now still looks the same; the pump clips were and I believe still are pieces of cork; and the head brewer/founder Evin O’Riordain doesn’t like the term “craft beer”, which is somewhat amusing for someone widely regarded as a purveyor/leader/guru (rightly, I’ll add) in the industry. But when you’re making beers this good, you don’t need to be anything else.

 

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