On Wednesday last week we held one of our Bring a Bottle Shares (we alternate monthly between Bring a Bottle Share and Drink The Cellar, so our next one on Wednesday 13th March is Drink The Cellar, where we provide all the bottles). We admirably managed to get through 12 bottles between 10 of us which probably explains why Poppy could only write 2 sentences of this blog post the day after and then had to take a (long) break. We had a great selection of bottles though so thought it might be interesting to share them with everyone on the blog too, drunk tasting notes included.
Starting sour, obviously, we had Crooked Stave Origins, a Burgundy sour ale aged in oak. Lovely and tart, with some savouriness like Marmite on the nose then vinous in the mouth.
Speciation The Great Filter, a foeder-aged golden ale with honey, was really lovely. It had great texture and a tiny bit of sweetness and florality from honey but just at the end, with just the right amount of tartness to balance it out. One of my top beers of the night.
Next up was Mills Saison Cider Cask, a saison fermented in oak cider casks from Tom Oliver of Olivers Cider fame. Quite Bretty on the nose but not overly so, with the cider contribution definitely noticeable in aroma and taste. It was saline, very dry, and very, very drinkable for 7%. Another of my top beers (a strong start, yes).
Burning Sky Blended Stock Ale is a blend of Burning Sky’s stock ale and their Burgundy barrel-aged Flanders Red. This was even more Bretty on the nose than the Mills but it faded to marmalade after some vigorous swirling. It tasted very caramelly, but not too sweet, and a creeping sourness as it warmed up in the glass.
Yazoo's Deux Rouges Cranberry & Cinnamon Flanders red was really a standout beer of the night in terms of being totally surprising to everyone. It was fascinating, like 2 different beers from the nose to palate. From smelling it, it seemed thick, sweet and chocolatey then when you tasted it it was so lovely and tart, with fruity balsamic-y flavours, although still satisfyingly rich and warming from the cinnamon.
South Hams Corryvreckan - a brown ale aged in Jura whisky casks, this took a bit of time to open up but then gave way to a smoky palate but not overly so, with a super soft mouthfeel.
Then it was time to get serious with stouts. We started with Ca Brasse Pour Moi Desir Noir, from a tiny Belgian brewery. This was very dry, again a bit smoky, and more peaty this time with a little hint of coffee. It felt stronger than 5%!
Garage Project Mutiny on the Bounty was a special treat brought back from New Zealand by Phill and Steph. A South Pacific export stout, it has breadfruit, plantain, coconut sugar, toasted coconut and Tahitian vanilla. Phew. You can smell the plantain instantly, and it continues as the dominant flavour too. I didn't get a huge amount of coconut (not a bad thing, I'm not generally a fan) but there was a lovely toastiness that cut through the sweetness. This was big, rich and bloody great.
Hammerton Black Humour was another absolute treat. Hammerton's first ever barrel-aged beer released for their 5th birthday in super limited quantities (just 233 bottles!). It was super sweet on the nose, a bit of raspberry jam and raisin, but then had lovely burnt toffee notes in the mouth with a thick, syrupy mouthfeel without being at all cloying.
My tastings notes really started getting shorter here. I can't imagine why...
Mikkeller Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer Geek Brunch again was sweet and rich on the nose, with flavours of vanilla and chocolate and a great creaminess, although I didn't get a lot of coffee. It felt like it should be too sweet, but just wasn't.
Cloudwater Islay BA Russian Imperial Stout was really smooth and creamy but I didn't get too much of the whisky, which is a shame when it's a fancy one. There were murmurs round the table from people who'd had it before that maybe it had faded a bit?
We finished off with a sour again to refresh our palates and boy did it do that. We had the very first Wild Beer Squashed Grape, which was slightly vinegary on the nose but not on the palate at all, just super duper tart. I found it very drinkable but some people would definitely think it was too sour. My one tasting note at the time was "yum". A great beer to end on.
Think you can contribute something even better? Come join us in April (date t.b.c.) and bring along something special!