Published on April 6th, 2016 | by Alastair Gilmour


Brewing makes the world spin round

What’s up and coming in the beer world

A pint or a meringue?
Little Fluffy Clouds Lemon Meringue Pie (3.8% abv) is a craft keg collaboration between Wylam Brewery and Mad Hatter from Liverpool, who never make the same beer twice. The brief was to brew a beer that doesn’t taste like a beer – so it’s success all round. This cloudy, unfiltered one-off beer with an aroma of butterscotch and lemon-sucking flavour was served on its debut in the Bacchus, Newcastle, with a tiny cloud of lemon meringue. Do you eat that, discard it, munch it while sipping, or wait till the end and have it for pudding? Munched, it complements the beer and if they’re hitting it off under a cloud cover, that’s all the better. Catch it out in the trade in early April, as once it’s gone it’s gone.

He’s fine and dandy
Wylam Brewery Hickey The Rake Limonata Pale (4.2% abv): The first sniff is deceptive; a powerful hop aroma tricks the brain into thinking this is far stronger than its 4.2% abv. It’s one of those experimental beers that helps push the style envelope but could easily end up as a highly-regarded standard. Fresh, cool and lemon fruity, it’s a real palate-cleanser and definitely one for summer sessions.

Raise a glass, if not a pot
Stouts are now getting the attention they deserve with fresh innovation introduced to the style. A terrific example of this is Tontine Milk Stout (4.1% abv), brewed with milk sugars to complement its roasted malt aroma and flavour, leaving the beer with a satisfying sweet finish. Brewed by Camerons in Hartlepool with the subtitle Unconventional Darkness, it breaks free from the stout tradition of trying to be like the brand leaders. A tontine was a type of investment plan for raising money – a practice which is now illegal. A group would pay in a regular agreed amount and receive an annuity. Then when one of them died, the pot would devolve to the surviving members until the capital eventually passed to the last man standing. Unexplained deaths were not uncommon among participants – unconventional darkness indeed.

The Duvel’s in the detail
Duvel Moortgat has launched the latest in its tongue-tingling series of Tripel Hop beers first released in 2010. Every year a different third hop is added to its two regular varieties –earthy/herbal Saaz from the Czech Republic and the rich lime marmalade of Styrian Goldings from Slovenia – by Duvel’s master brewer Hedwig Neven, to give drinkers an insight into what hops contribute aroma and flavour.

This year’s Duvel Tripel Hop (9.5% abv) is brewed using a hop so new it doesn’t yet have
a name. It is known simply as Experimental
Hop 291.

Matthew Willson, Duvel’s UK general manager, says: “This year, our brewers have selected the Experimental HBC 291 from the Yakima Valley in the US as the third hop. It is unlike any other variety we’ve ever used, making this year’s brew a really fascinating beer – adding notes of fresh citrus, black pepper, lavender and roses to our traditional Duvel brew.”

Another bash at Rivet
Rivet Catcher (4.0% abv) has made a reappearance in the region’s pubs, but it’s not the former Jarrow Brewery ale. Following Jarrow’s sad demise last year, its trademarks and recipes were purchased by The Great North Eastern Brewing Company (GNEB) from the administrators

Baker Tilly and a new 20-barrel brewery set up
in Dunston, Gateshead, near the former
Federation Brewery site.

“The first batch of Rivet Catcher was brewed for us by Hadrian Border,” says GNEB director Paul Minnikin. “We were delighted with the outcome.

“Rivet Catcher has been very well received in the Bacchus, Crown Posada, Duke of Wellington and The Strawberry in Newcastle along with several Sunderland pubs.”

Cheers observation: “This version of Rivet Catcher looks terrific in the glass and it’s a very well constructed beer, but it seems to have a much fruitier, sweeter finish than its previous incarnation. A touch more bitterness would help if the intention is to reproduce the beer as closely as possible.”

Strawberry landlord Michael Hill confirmed Rivet Catcher’s success, saying it has been “flying out”, particularly on that Sunday in March when Newcastle United and Sunderland played out a draw that did neither club any favours.

“We went through four 18s of it – it was the busiest derby day I’ve known in 16 years,” he said.

Details: Facebook.com Great North Eastern Brewing Company. Tel: 0191 597 0151

And there gose Stewart…
Taking inspiration from the strength of the industrial north, Hawkshead’s head brewer Matt Clarke has created Northern Imperial Stout (9.5%) a beer to be savoured and sipped to appreciate its evolving deep, rich and complex flavour – chocolate, coffee and roasted notes beautifully balanced by dark stone fruit.

Matt has also collaborated with Edinburgh’s Stewart Brewing to create a single-hopped margarita-inspired, German-style gose exclusively for the Edinburgh Beer Festival on April 16.

After its hugely popular debut last September we celebrate the return of Hawkshead Chuckleberry Sour (3.5% abv), this time not only on keg but in bottle. This unique fruit beer is vibrant pink in colour, low in alcohol and
very refreshing.

Manuka (5.0% abv) is a triple collaboration beer (Hawkshead and Quantum at Blackjack) brewed originally for the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival and now in bottle. It’s a hoppy Belgian pale with manuka (tea tree) and kaffir lime leaves.

Pot Black for one-four-seven
Black Sheep Brewery has brewed its first beer exclusively for another brand. Ember Inns Pale Ale (4.0% abv) has been created by the North Yorkshire brewer for Mitchells & Butlers’ Ember Inns division to be served across its 147 pubs.

David Briggs, operations director for Ember Inns, said: “The partnership with Black Sheep was a natural step. Black Sheep really impressed us with its modern approach and commitment to quality and embraced the collaboration to create a consistent final product. Many of our competitors have rebadged ales, but to be able to have a beer brewed exclusively for us is testament to the credibility Ember Inns has with ale enthusiasts.”

Rob Theakston, Black Sheep managing director, said: “We were looking to create a pale, accessible ale and we’re delighted with the result which is well balanced and quaffable with a crisp bitter finish. We look forward to seeing how customers enjoy it.”


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Alastair Gilmour

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