BeerCast #71 – Hidden Meanings

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 in BeerCasts | 2 Comments

It’s high time we recorded another BeerCast, so the team gathered to vent their collective spleens over four more beers for your listening pleasure. Following on from the hop-heavy MrB holiday special, this time we return to calmer waters with British beers that all have unusual reasons behind their names. Firstly, we sample Thornbridge’s Vienna lager Kill Your Darlings (5%), before moving on to York Brewery’s Micklegate (6.1%). Our strongest beer of the night is Stewart Brewing’s Radical Road, and we finish on another from here in Scotland – Unforgiven – Tempest’s 5.4% smoked rye and juniper beer. On the panel this time – Richard, Shovels and Grooben – who reveals his astonishing knowledge of Westerns at the Oscars.

1. Kill Your Darlings
Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire.
500ml glass bottle

We’re no strangers to Bakewell’s Thornbridge Brewery here on the BeerCast – their imperial Russian stout St Petersburg is our reigning beer of the year. They began in early 2005, and have launched the careers of several notable brewers – not to mention won many awards along the way. Kill Your Darlings is their Vienna Lager, a style rarely brewed in the UK – and takes its name from the William Faulker quote about removing the best thing about your work to remain truly objective. That’s why MrB isn’t on this podcast, for example.

What They Say
“Reddish brown in colour with a medium body and characterized by a malty aroma and slight malt sweetness. A twist on this style has been added by late hopping with Amarillo and Tettnanger hops. After a period of cold fermentation, the beer has been lagered for five weeks.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Sweet, hoppy and bready, I think it’s cracking 8
Shovels – Nice darker malts in there with the crispness of a lager 8
Grooben – It’s a type of beer I’ve not had before, it’s nice 7

2. York Micklegate
York Brewery, York.
500ml glass bottle

The current York brewery is the first working facility within the walled city for over forty years, having been established in an old motorbike showroom in 1996. Their very first brew was Yorkshire Terrier (which we covered on BeerCast #20). This year sees their fifteenth anniversary, so to celebrate they released a one-off strong beer, named after the nearby street and gateway into their home city – Micklegate. Taken from the Old Norse ‘mykla gata’ – it means, simply, ‘great street’.

What They Say
“A tawny red ale, fruity and floral with a distinctive hop aroma and flavour which is robust and very satisfying.” [Bottle label]

What We Say
Shovels – Nice balance of bitterness and a bit of fruit
Richard – Dark, roasty fruits and well-hidden alcohol
Grooben – I’m finding it difficult to get excited about it 6

3. Radical Road
Stewart Brewing, Loanhead, Edinburgh.
500ml glass bottle

Stewart Brewing have established a solid lineup of cask and bottle session beers in Edinburgh, chipping away at the dominance of the Caledonian Brewery in Slateford. But they have been rolling the dice a lot recently on stronger or more unusual offerings. Radical Road is the first triple-hopped beer they have produced, and was a labour of love of head brewer Iain Couper. We tried it on keg back in July at the release – this is the first time we’ve sampled the bottle. The beer is named after the walking path that circles Arthur’s Seat in the city, which was first paved by the unemployed following the ‘Radical War’ of 1820.

What They Say
“Three different hops are added to the kettle at five different stages during the boil, it is then hopped in the fermentation vessel and finally the beer is dry hopped in the conditioning tank before the beer is bottled. This makes for the highest hopped beer in the Stewart Brewing repertoire and of course some very hoppy beer!” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – I think this might be the best beer they do 8
Shovels – Was better on keg at the launch, I think
Grooben – I’d expect more hop character for a 6.4%er 6

4. Unforgiven
Tempest Brewing Co, Kelso, Scottish Borders.
500ml glass bottle

Tempest Brewing Company blasted onto the scene midway through 2010, and have already made several outstanding beers in that short time. Fond of keg dispense and interesting adjuncts, they are based just behind Kelso’s Cobbles Inn – the recently announced CAMRA pub of the year for SE Scotland (something for everyone there, clearly). All of their beers have imaginative names, so including one was a natural fit for our ‘hidden meanings’ podcast. I contacted Tempest to discover what the thinking was behind Unforgiven. It turns out, predictably, there is none – they just liked the name.

What They Say
“Unforgiven contains Tempest’s signature NZ hop backbone, but true to form also involves a whole lot more – in this case, oak chips and dried juniper berries.” [BeerCast review]

What We Say
Richard – Juniper in there is a great idea, fantastic balance
Grooben – It could have been nuts, but it’s not
Shovels – Smoke eases and becomes secondary to the juniper 7

– (clockwise from top left) Shovels, Grooben, Richard

BeerCast panel verdict
Thornbridge Kill Your Darlings 23/30
Tempest Unforgiven 22/30
Stewart Brewing Radical Road 21½/30
York Brewery Micklegate 20/30

  • Listen to the episode on Soundcloud here:

Please keep those comments and emails coming in, and check back next month for our next podcast – probably our mugh-hyped Black IPA special. Or we might find another load of beers to put out…stay tuned, and keep looking for those hidden meanings!


  1. Richard
    August 14, 2012

    As you’ll quickly realise, we recorded this a while ago – hence the topical references to rainy June and the Oscars. Apologies for the delay in posting! Fear not, podcast fans, we’re planning a rush of BeerCasts for the next few months – no two-month gap until the next one. Promise. 🙂

  2. Richard
    August 14, 2012

    We even mention the final of Euro2012 near the end! Stand by for our Olympic preview BeerCast, out in October

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