Category Archives: BeerCasts

Blog posts relating to our podcasts

BeerCast #72 – Norfolk Charms


Six months since we drew a line under the BeerCast’s podcasting days, our London crew got together and recorded a special edition for us. Following a recent trip to deepest East Anglia, four local beers from Norfolk were their inspiration. Firstly, the panel get to grips with Fox’s Drop of Real Norfolk (3.8%), before sampling the Norfolk Square Brewery’s Stiletto (4.5%). The third beer on the lineup was Wagtail’s 4.5% Ale-next-the-sea, before, fittingly perhaps, the podcast ends on Beeston’s Worth the Wait (4.2%). On the panel this time, London regulars Andy and Jess, Andrew, Nick and Francis, and debutante Fei – who becomes our 23rd BeerCaster. Cheers!

NB – Special honours go to Andy, as when he announces (in dulcet Midlothian tones), his score for Fox’s Drop of Real Norfolk, he gains the distinction of giving the 1,000th score in BeerCast history. Unfortunately, it’s not the regular 7 – but, anyway, who’d have thought we’d have made it to that milestone?




1. Drop of Real Norfolk (3.8%)
Fox Brewery, Heacham, Norfolk.
500ml glass bottle

The Fox Brewery of Heacham began in 2002, brewing in the outbuildings of the Fox and Hounds pub. We’ve featured them before on the BeerCast – their Nelson’s Blood Bitter (dedicated to local son Lord Nelson) made it to our Norfolk roadtrip podcast of BeerCast #31. Clearly, they are proud to be associated with their home county – will our London-based panel pick this up, as they try a drop of real Norfolk?

What they say –
“Light bitter hoppy zingy and refreshing” (Tasting Notes – Real Ale Shop, Norfolk)

What we say –
Andrew – It’s flat in a good way, it’s designed for knocking back pints of – 8
Jess – Perfectly nice but not amazing – 7
Nick – It’s got a bit of a perfumey way about it, it’s quite fragrant –
Fei – It’s quite bitter, not keen on the aftertaste – 6
Andy – Quite drinkable, quite smooth, but no real personality – 6
Francis – They’ve used comic sans on the label, I can’t drink this – 6



2. Stiletto (4.5%)
Norfolk Square Brewery, Stokesby, Norfolk.
500ml glass bottle

“Within our mind, deep in the recesses of our psyche there is an urge, a desire to brew the ultimate beer. That is what we strive for here at N²B.” So says the website of Stokesby’s Norfolk Square Brewery, or N²B. Located a few miles inland from Great Yarmouth, they arrived in their present location in 2011, having re-located from the coastal town. Brewing began in 2008, with the owners also operating a bottle shop, and contract brewing for the Norwich Bear Brewery.

What they say –
“Refreshing golden ale with a honey twist, a rich full bodied smooth flavour, a single shop brew with a citrus character” (Tasting Notes – Real Ale Shop, Norfolk)

What we say –
Andrew – Quite sharp on the sides of the tongue, quite refreshing – 7
Fei – I like the sharpness, the aftertaste is less bitter than Drop of Norfolk – 7
Francis – Drop of Norfolk was more exotic, but i could drink more of this one – 7
Andy – More drinkable because it’s less interesting – 5
Nick – I could drink more of this one – 5
Jess – I could drink less of this one – 5



3. Ale-next-the-sea (4.5%)
Wagtail Brewery, Old Buckenham, Norfolk.
500ml glass bottle

Wagtail opened in March 2006 and only produce bottle conditioned beers made with Norfolk malts. In fact, they seem to concentrate almost fully on bottled beer, distributed throughout East Anglia. As with the Fox Brewery, Wagtail have also graced our podcasts past – King Tut Golden Ale was reviewed in BeerCast #19, all the way back in the summer of 2008. How will Ale-next-the-sea get on, all these years later?

What they say –
“Clean and crisp and bitter” (Tasting Notes – Real Ale Shop, Norfolk)

What we say –
Francis – Has real character, smoky character- 8
Jess – I like that smokiness – 8
Andrew – Smells like it’s been in a burning warehouse – 8
Nick – It tastes of smoke and caramel –
Fei – Usually I don’t like smoky alcohol but this is nice – 7
Andy – That’s a very smoky affair, like smoked cheese – 7




4. Worth the wait (4.2%)
Beeston Brewery, Beeston, Norfolk.
500ml glass bottle

Beeston Brewery appeared on the Norfolk brewing scene in 2006, brewing in a renovated farm building. Their website describes an idyllic setting – “we overlook Beeston church and the tranquil valley beyond.” Environmental themes run strongly within Beeston’s operation – their water comes from nearby chalk beds, their barley is grown locally at Branthill Farm on the Holkham Estate. Everything that comes in is purchased through a local co-operative. Highly admirable – but will their commendable ethos come over in the beer?

What they say –
“A taste packed golden beer with a balance of hops to give a refreshing citrus hint” (Tasting Notes – Real Ale Shop, Norfolk)

What we say –
Andrew – Feels like it won’t give me a headache like Drop of Norfolk – 8
Fei – I like this one the best, better aftertaste, not as heavy –
Jess – Increasingly I don’t like this at all, it’s too sweet – 6
Nick – I can taste the bitterness but not the sweetness – 6
Francis – Most similar to Drop of Norfolk, I think Drop of Norfolk edges this one though – 6
Andy – Smells more hoppy, more flashy than Drop of Norfolk but not as much substance – 5


BeerCast panel verdict:
Wagtail Ale-next-the-sea 45½/60
Fox Brewery Drop of Real Norfolk 39½/60
Beeston Brewery Worth the wait 38½/60
Norfolk Square Stiletto 36/60


  • Listen to the episode on Soundcloud here:


BeerCast #71 – Hidden Meanings

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!

BeerCast #70 – MrB in NE

It’s podcast time again here at the BeerCast – and we take a slight diversion from our ‘Best of British’ theme for 2012. MrB was dispatched to work in New England for several weeks around Easter, so as we’re never off duty he loaded up the ol’ suitcase for the trip home. We sample four US beers from small microbreweries – beginning with New England Brewing Co’s Sea Hag IPA (6.2%). Next up is Sixpoint’s Bengali Tiger (6.4%), before we move onto the bottles for Cambridge Brewing Co’s The Audacity of Hops (8.5%). As ever, we finish on a big note – this time courtesy of New Hampshire’s Smuttynose S’muttonator (9.6%). Thankful that MrB had a hefty luggage allowance are Shovels, Richard and Grooben.

1. Sea Hag IPA
New England Brewing Co, Woodbridge, Connecticut.
355ml can

MrB’s base for most of his trip was the leafy college town of New Haven, Connecticut. One of the local brews he chugged (knowing him, at a raucous frat party) was a canned IPA from local Woodbridge producer New England Brewing. Started by an avid homebrewer who took the plunge – as with almost every American brewery, it seems – Rob Leonard worked his way up from the very bottom to end up owning the company. Their flagship is a steam beer called Atlantic Amber – but, as ever, MrB gravitated towards the hops. And pizza (New Haven having the best in the US, apparently).

What They Say
“A rich and full bodied India Pale Ale with complex malt character blended with cascade and noble hops. The end result is a beer that satisfies the “hop head” out there and won’t chase away the newcomer.” [Official Website]

What We Say
MrB – I drank this all the time there, it’s even better on keg 8
Richard – Vinous, a bit of grapefruit, sweetness arrives 8
Shovels – Has a hoppy character I can’t put my finger on
Grooben – Lemon juice bitterness, and it builds up as you go

2. Bengali Tiger
Sixpoint Brewing Co, Brooklyn, New York.
455ml can

Offices in New York were the prefect opportunity for MrB to indulge in a bit of sight-seeing – so after shinning up and down the Empire State Building (over-rated, apparently) he headed to Brooklyn and sought out some decent beer. After discovering the brilliant Barcade – craft beer and classic arcade machines – the second best thing he found was Sixpoint’s range of canned beers. Located in Red Hook, they were draught only until last year, when the large silvery cans first appeared. Bengali Tiger is their old-style English IPA.

What They Say
“Bengali Tiger has a hoppy snap upfront, but strides at a steady pace, and finishes balanced. The signature characteristic of the Tiger is the aroma… we use massive quantities of whole East Kent Goldings hops to dry hop in our conditioning tanks. The result? The essential oils from the hops are an enticing treat before every sip.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Bitter orange balanced by a nice caramel sweetness
Shovels – Disagree with the balance – it’s too bitter and lingering 6
Grooben – Citrus and resinous hops don’t meld well with the malt 6
MrB – It’s OK but tastes almost like a seasonal winter warmer 6

3. The Audacity of Hops
Cambridge Brewing Co, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
22fl oz glass bottle

Students the world over are a thirsty lot – and in Cambridge, Massachusetts there are plenty of them. Just across the Charles River from Boston, the town is world-famous for being the site of Harvard, MIT and many more seats of learning. All that brainpower requires refreshment – and at Kendall Square a brewpub delivers just that. The oldest brewery restaurant in Boston (founded in 1989), the Cambridge Brewing Co produce a range of beers, all meant to pair with food. The one selected by MrB is their Belgian IPA, said to be similar to his (and my) favourite beer in the world – Staminee de Garre’s House Tripel. Praise indeed!

What They Say
“Liberally hopped to an audacious degree, our Belgian IPA reaches across the aisle to bridge the seemingly contradictory brewing philosophies of the old world and new. Brewed with pale and Vienna malts, dry hop additions of Amarillo, Simcoe, Palisades, and Spalter put aside those differences to form a delicious coalition. All of these characteristics come together in the spirit of cooperation to form a beer that is righteously flavorful and drinkable.” [Official Website]

What We Say
MrB – I get Belgian tripel – such a perfect balance of flavours 9
Richard – Peppery like a rye beer, everything balances brilliantly 9
Grooben – That’s a complex beer, there’s so much going on 9
Shovels – A little bit of Belgian goes a long way 8

4. S’muttonator
Smuttynose Brewing Co, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
22fl oz glass bottle

Taking their name from a nearby island – rumoured to be the place where Blackbeard spent his honeymoon (of all things) – Smuttynose are one of the foremost craft breweries in New Hampshire. Sporting their famously eager ‘Make mine a Smutty’ harbour seal, their beers usually pack a punch – and their double bock S’muttonator is no exception. Started by Peter Egelston, the brewery are currently trying to build larger premises in the town of Hampton, but are struggling with red tape. A few of their beers in the right hands should do the trick…

What They Say
” S’muttonator is a tasty mixture of German ingredients and good ol’ fashioned New England tenaciousness. Our brewers take 30 hours to brew a single batch of this traditional Double Bock. Take your time and enjoy its rich, malty, and deceptively smooth flavor.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Sweet hot chocolate, it hides the alcohol really well
MrB – Sweet is the anti-MrB – but this pulls it all back
Shovels – Could be really bad but is actually really great 8
Grooben – One of the sweetest I’ve had, but really nice 8

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

BeerCast panel verdict
Cambridge The Audacity of Hops 35/40
Smuttynose S’muttonator 33/40
New England Brewing Sea Hag IPA 31/40
Sixpoint Bengali Tiger 25½/40

  • Listen to the episode on Soundcloud here:

Please keep those comments and emails coming in, and check back in a couple of weeks for our next podcast. We have four beers from one of Scotland’s newest micro-breweries to review, plus there’s the Black IPA BeerCast waiting to be recorded. Or we might find another load of beers to put out…stay tuned! Many thanks, of course, to MrB for bringing these beers home. Incidentally, he’s now in Germany for four weeks…

BeerCast #69 – Spa IPA

We’re back with another BeerCast heralding the majesty of British beer (as we’ll be doing throughout all of our podcasts in 2012). This time, we turn our attention to four highly promising IPA’s. The style we gave to the world has developed in every possible way since it soothed the palates of thirsty ex-pats – but today we concentrate on the ‘modern British IPA’. These days more than a few brewers are piling in the hops, which is something we tend to agree with. On the podcast today – Ilkley Lotus IPA (5.7%), Bristol Beer Factory Southville Hop (6.5%), Roosters Serlo de Burgh (6.0%) and Buxton Axe Edge Double IPA (6.8%). Three of these originate in famous English spa towns, conveniently giving us a podcast title. On the panel this time – Richard, Shovels, Grooben and Stu.

1. Lotus IPA
Ilkley Brewery, Ilkley, West Yorkshire.
500ml glass bottle

The first working production facility in the town for almost a hundred years, the Ilkley Brewery began in 2009 on an industrial estate in the Yorkshire spa town. It’s precursor had become one of the largest in the county, supplying their trademark ‘Olicana’ brand beer (named after the old Roman name for Ilkley). It was taken over by Hammond’s in 1923 – but the modern-day version has restored a beery presence to the town, which is famed for the folk song “On Ikla Moor Baht ‘at”. Native Yorkshireman Shovels conveniently has forgotten how this song goes.

What They Say
“A gold coloured genuine India Pale Ale with hoppy, lemon and citrus aromas. This ale is complex, but well balanced and full of flavour.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Lemon and lots of apricot, biscuit at the end 8
Shovels – Peachy on the nose, it’s an absolute cracker 8
Grooben – Not as bitterly hopped as some but none the worse for it
Stu – A nice fruity session IPA

2. Southville Hop
Bristol Beer Factory, Bristol.
500ml glass bottle

Another historic tradition revived, the Bristol Beer Factory operate inside the city’s Ashton Gate Brewery – which had closed in 1933 following nearly two hundred years of production. The labour of love of George Ferguson, the BBF emerged in 2005 and were getting their beer onto local markets within six month of opening (trading then as the Bristol Brewing Co). With a ten-barrel plant, they own an old grain barge in Bristol dock which has been converted to a brewery tap (we paid it a visit back in 2009). Bristol may not be a spa town, but is a short train journey from arguably the UK’s most famous example – Bath.

What They Say
“Inspired by the amazing hoppy beers being brewed by American craft brewers this beer is heavily hopped, packing it with tropical fruit flavours and aromas.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Smells like a Kernel beer, classic grapefruit bitterness 7
Shovels – The citrusy hops really come though 7
Grooben – Aggressive bitterness, needs sweetness to balance it 7
Stu – It’s a good beer but a bit too harsh for my liking 7

3. Serlo de Burgh
Roosters Brewery, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.
500ml glass bottle

There can’t be too many breweries named after characters from Westerns. Sean Franklin once said he named his new Knaresborough business (in part) after Rooster Cogburn from True Grit. Sean – who has since retired – was one of the vanguards of Yorkshire brewing, having established Franklin’s Brewery in the 1960’s – delivering the beer himself in a taxi he drove as a second job. In April 2011 he sold up to Knaresborough businessman Ian Fozard – and Rooster’s is currently run by Ian’s sons Oliver and Tom. Serlo de Burgh was the first Lord (or ‘Honour’) of Knaresborough, and commissioned the building of the [spa] town’s castle. The beer brewed in his name is amazingly rare, as only 57 bottles were ever produced (would that I had known that when I placed my order).

What They Say
“A big presence with a cornucopia of fruit flavoursharnessed from a blend of American, Australian, New Zealand and Slovenian hops. Serlo de Burgh is sure to conquer your tastebuds and leave a long lasting impression.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – Awesomely balanced, light hoppy beer. I think it’s amazing
Richard – We talk about balance – this has it, it’s lovely 9
Stu – That’s a grand cup
Grooben – Classic tropical fruit smell and flavour 8

4. Axe Edge Double IPA
Buxton Brewery, Buxton, Derbyshire.
500ml glass bottle

Our final spa town is Buxton in Derbyshire – which boasts a geothermal spring bubbling up at a constant 28°C. In the summer of 2009, Buxton brewery began, using the equipment of Derby’s Wild Walker. They then moved the equipment to their new home, and began putting out their own range of Buxton beer. Their head brewer is former Thornbridge man James Kemp (Bakewell being only a dozen miles away) – and recently their beers have become much more prominent, with (and this must only be a co-incidence) a series of strong hoppy numbers and a mighty 9.5% imperial stout – the very highly rated Buxton Tsar. Today we taste their double IPA Axe Edge

What They Say
“Hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Nelson Sauvin, this beer has a pale straw-amber body, and pours with a full creamy head. Its complex flavours include mandarin orange, schnapps, pineapple, and juicy tropical fruits. It is warmingly alcoholic with a dry finish.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Passion fruit, mango and orange – a great DIPA
Shovels – It would maybe sit on you a bit after a while 8
Grooben – Very nice, although the flavour doesn’t back up the smell 8
Stu – Again, I like it but it’s maybe a bit sweet and a tad heavy

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

BeerCast panel verdict
Roosters Serlo de Burgh 35/40
Buxton Axe Edge Double IPA 32/40
Ilkley Lotus IPA 31/40
Bristol Beer Factory Southville Hop 28/40

  • Listen to the episode on Soundcloud here:

Please keep those comments and emails coming in, and check back in a couple of weeks for our next podcast. BeerCaster MrB returns from several weeks working in New England, and if he manages to bring something back we may stray – just slightly – from our British theme for the next episode. Otherwise, I’ve got a cupboard brimming with homegrown Black IPA’s to get through…

BeerCast #68 – Summer Wine Showcase

For 2012 we’re plunging into an Olympics-frenzied maelstrom of patriotism, and for the whole year only featuring British brewers in our podcasts (well, until we get to Christmas – you can’t have a Christmas BeerCast without the Anchors). First up in our year of best of British is a showcase of one of the most promising producers in the whole United Kingdom – Yorkshire’s Summer Wine Brewery. Having started a handful of years ago, the two guys behind the project (James and Andy) have come incredibly far, and are putting out a range of styles in a variety of different methods of dispense. That is surely something to celebrate. On the panel today – Richard, Shovels, and a BeerCast debut for our 22nd panelist – Calum.

1. Covenant (5.2%abv)
Summer Wine Brewery, Honley, Holmfirth, Yorkshire.
330ml glass bottle

What They Say
“Continental speciality malts provide the slightly sweet backdrop. A rich, reddish amber hue is the canvas for the best US hops to paint their picture; one of citrus, tropical and piney hop impressionism. An easy drinking, lowly bittered, high aroma delight of a beer.”

What We Say
Calum – Brewed for a wedding, I can see why – everyone would like it 7
Shovels – Nice peachy smell, nothing wrong with it at all 7
Richard – Doesn’t taste too strong, nice hoppy profile to it

2. Teleporter (5.0%abv)
Summer Wine Brewery, Honley, Holmfirth, Yorkshire.
330ml glass bottle

What They Say
“A Rich dark porter brewed with 10 different malts giving a sweet roast richness that is balanced with just enough fruity hop character. Smooth fruity notes lead you into a dreamy malt body, where notes of cocoa, caramel and vanilla melt into a moreish finish.”

What We Say
Richard – I could smell that all day, rich, creamy chocolate 9
Calum – Strong mouthfeel and a lovely milky sweetness
Shovels – Fruity at the end, it’s very nice 8

3. Barista (4.8%abv)
Summer Wine Brewery, Honley, Holmfirth, Yorkshire.
330ml glass bottle

What They Say
“Dark malt bitterness leads to roast coffee set against a sumptuous creamy mouthfeel. Ground Arabica coffee is added to this beer at the end of the boil and allowed to steep, giving you a real coffee hit throughout. The beer finishes with a touch of forgiving sweetness.”

What We Say
Shovels – Initial disappointment, but I actually quite like it 7
Richard – Lower abv coffee beers have more drinkability but you have to trade off some of the body 7
Calum – Roasty coffee aroma – the Teleporter is more rounded

4. Lime & Coriander Saison (6.0%abv)
Summer Wine Brewery, Honley, Holmfirth, Yorkshire.
330ml glass bottle

What They Say
“A light & fresh fruity Saison, the fresh zesty estery yeast plays beautifully with the slightly peppery coriander followed by a refreshing blast of zesty citrus lime. A light fruity & hugely drinkable farmhouse ale that conjures thoughts of spring & summer.”

What We Say
Richard – The herbal edge wraps into the wheaty part, limey aftertaste 8
Shovels – Get both coriander and lime, sparkly and refreshing
Calum – Not a style I’m fond of but it’s floral and easy going 7

5. Cohort (7.5%abv)
Summer Wine Brewery, Honley, Holmfirth, Yorkshire.
330ml glass bottle

What They Say
“You may have had Black IPA, but you’ve never had a Double Black Rye PA.
Cohort is a double IPA brewed with Pale, Rye, Carafa and other speciality malts that marry together with a plethora of New World hops and a Belgian Yeast to create something entirely unique.”

What We Say
Calum – Perfectly balanced, really smooth, this has got everything
Richard – I like the malty flavour and the rye spiciness 8
Shovels – Rye adds great body, it’s the best beer of the night 8

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

BeerCast panel verdict
Summer Wine Cohort (25½/30)
Summer Wine Teleporter (25½/30)
Summer Wine Lime & Coriander Saison (22½/30)
Summer Wine Barista (20½/30)
Summer Wine Covenant (20½/30)

  • Listen to the episode on Soundcloud here:

Stay tuned for our next BeerCast, as we get to grips with another podcast brimming full of British beers for your listening pleasure…

BeerCast #67 – Beer of the Year 2011

The first podcast of any year is always one to look forward to – as tradition dictates it’s our BeerCast Beer of the Year show. As highlighted in our recent preview, the four highest scoring beers we could find from the podcasts recorded in 2011 are re-sampled, and a winner picked. Previous winners are Anchor Christmas Ale 2006 (2007), Hop Back Summer Lightning (2008), Stone Ruination IPA (2009) and Odell Isolation Ale (last year), so whichever beer came out on top this time, it would be in good company. The four beers in our BOTY show were Rogue St Rogue Red Ale (5.2%), Kernel IPA Citra (7.2%), Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest (6.7%), and Thornbridge St Petersburg (7.7%). It’s always interesting to re-taste beers, as they can be very different a second time around…and so it was to prove. Our Beer of the Year panel consists of Shovels, MrB, Richard and Grooben…

1. Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale
(5.2%abv) 22oz glass bottle
Rogue Ales, Newport, Oregon.
BeerCast#58 scored 34/40 (85%) 15th February 2011
Originally tasted by Richard ; Grooben ; Shovels ; MrB

What They Say“Reddish copper in color, a roasty malt flavor with a hoppy sprucy finish.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Grooben – Really very malty, more than I remember
MrB – Mine’s got floaters in it, did I like this?
Richard – As close to an American session beer as you can get
Shovels – Still like it, and I still love the aroma

2. Kernel IPA Citra (7.2%abv) 330ml glass bottle
The Kernel Brewery, Bermondsey, London.
BeerCast#59 scored 36½/40 (91%) 29th March 2011
Originally tasted by Richard 10; Stu ; Shovels ; Grooben

What We Say
MrB – These bottles are six months old, it’s lost some aroma
Grooben – Lost some of it’s Citra-yness impact on the shelf
Richard – Back then it was absolutely great, though
Shovels – Thin, with a hoppy aftertaste, then a musty yeastiness

3. Southern Hemisphere Harvest
(6.7%abv) 22oz glass bottle
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Chico, California.
BeerCast#58 scored 34/40 (85%) 15th February 2011
Originally tasted by Richard 9; Shovels ; MrB ; Grooben 8;

What They Say” Robust hop character presents an intriguing floral-citrus aroma leading to layers of fresh-hop spiciness. Enjoy!” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – Nice bit of malt backbone to it, I really like this
Grooben – Difficult to distinguish from their standard beers
MrB – I like it, but it’s no more tasty than other SN beers
Richard – Maltier and more body than the Kernel, it’s a bit soapy

4. St Petersburg (7.7%abv) 500ml glass bottle
Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire.
BeerCast#64 scored 26/30 (87%) 20th October 2011
Originally tasted by Richard 9; Shovels ; Grooben

What They Say” Rich and dark with smoke, subtle peatiness and the power of the dark malts. Molasses and liquorice and chocolate goodness all wrapped up in a smooth, warming liquid.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Grooben – Wonderful balance to it, with no harshness
MrB – I’m not used to drinking stouts, it’s still very tasty
Richard – Absolutely cracking beer
Shovels – Lovely flavours, just a great beer

So those were the thoughts – or re-thoughts – of the panel during the tasting of the four beers that had made it through to the final. The next thing to do was go round the table and give our rankings from 1-4 on the night, plus a beer each that we enjoyed over 2011 and felt deserved a special mention…

“1. Thornbridge… 2. Kernel… 3. Sierra Nevada… 4. Rogue… My favourite beer I’ve had this year is St Petersburg, it’s fantastically smooth and brilliantly made.”

“First for me is the Rogue – I still liked it even though it had bits in, it had a great balance. Second – it’s a tough one, I’m going with the Kernel on memory, then St Petersburg, then Sierra Nevada. I can’t think of anything that’s really stood out for me this year – I’ve been too busy homebrewing.”

“My first on the night and in general is St Petersburg – it’s just a fantastic beer, second is Kernel IPA Citra, which is my favourite beer I’ve had this year. That for me was the Kernel beer that really pulled everything together. Third is Rogue because I really like it still, and fourth is Sierra Nevada.”

“Number 1 is St Petersburg, No 2 Sierra Nevada Harvest. I think I’ll have to go Kernel and then Rogue. But it’s not like any of them are bad. My favourite beer this year – 1000IBU from Mikkeller – which these days is where you have to go to make me go Mmmm. I spent 2-3hrs drinking a bottle in Ghent, and I loved it.”

So in the end there was a unanimous winner – Thornbridge St Petersburg becomes our fifth BeerCast Beer of the Year – and the first stout to take the Golden Mouthchart. Congratulations to all in Bakewell – yet another accolade to add to the pile! Second place – for the second year in a row – Kernel with IPA Citra. The two Americans were next, with Rogue’s St Rogue Red Ale picking up third, ahead of Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere Harvest. Four worthy beers, but one worthy winner.

But at this point we were only half-finished – our panel then tasted four more beers – the traditional ‘end of BOTY surprise’ involved four unusual adjunct-enhanced beers from Bières Bourganel in the south of France. Listen to our tasting after the BOTY voting, and check back to the website in a few days for a full review post on four very different beers. Many thanks to everyone who downloaded or subscribed to our podcasts in 2011 – we’ll be recording many more in 2012 – stay tuned..!

  • Listen to the episode on Soundcloud here: