They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Friday, 20 February 2015

Beer "Hype"

We've been having discussions in the shop recently about a phenomenon which I'm going to call Dark Lord-itis. We feel that some breweries are making one off beers and creating such a hype about them on social media that by the time they're put on the shelves they're already sold out! And some of the time these beers in question aren't even very good! (but that's another blog all together..)

A current example I can call on is Beavertown's Bloody Ell Orange IPA. We had people asking us for this beer over twitter weeks before we got any in.. It's a beer we got in yesterday (Thursday) and in under 20 hours we sold out of all three cases we received. More are coming, but they won't last long. That's 72 cans, if you look at our five best selling products (not just beers) for those twenty hours it seems pretty ridiculous;

1- Beavertown Bloody Ell cans - 72
2- Beavertown Gamma Ray cans - 22
3- Carlsberg Lager cans - 16
4- Roosters Fort Smith cans - 15
5- Beavertown Neck Oil cans - 14

These are our five best sellers for the past twenty hours in a shop that has around 1000 items. Just let that sink in....

Another few breweries that have had a similar beers pull at people's heart strings only just recently are as follows;

Magic Rock Un-Human Cannonball
Buxton Double Axe
Roosters Baby Faced Assassin
The Rainbow Project Beers

I'm sure there are plenty more but don't even get me started on Thornbridge X which will be hitting our shelves next week. People have been asking after that for over a month!

The thing is I've not really come to a conclusion if Dark Lord-itis is a good thing or not.. I guess time will tell. If there is one thing I know for absolute certainty though, it's this - If you're going to make a limited edition beer, there will always, always, be some people left disappointed.

I think a future blog post will be focussing on when exactly did the hype created by twitter outweigh the quality of a beer...

Monday, 9 February 2015

Foreign Export Orval

After dabbling back in blending beers again recently, it seems I'm not the only one.. I've been inspired by Boak & Bailey's Orval blending over the last few weeks and thought it time to try one of my own, so here goes!

One bottle of Orval, one bottle of Partizan Foreign Export Stout, all in one glass!

You'd think a big punchy 8+% Stout would dominate the meager comparison of Orval's 6.2%, but it seemed to do the opposite! The sweet hay like Bretty flavours were really at the forefront of the drink, and the big roasted Stout flavours came in the finish.

You get all the flavours of Orval, and they are complimented by a big boozy, roasted punch in the finish. This could be because of the heavier nature of the Stout and it sinking a little beneath the Orval.. We'll have to see at the end of the glass!

For now though, I'm thoroughly enjoying this mix and am thinking of others I could do! After all I do work in a place full of possibilities....

Monday, 2 February 2015

Black n Tan Business

It's been a while since I did any beer blending so I thought it about time I put down some ideas. If there's anyone out there who says blending beers together is heathenistic well I can only note that it's been common practice in this country for a few centuries now, so get off your high horse...  

Mad Hatter brewery have been around on our shelves for a while now, and it's good to see them still churning out the good and interesting stuff. This black n tan was a creation of immense proportions. Rye IPA supercharged with Columbus hops meets the eight robust and complex malts of one hell of a porter! These two just work so well in a glass together it's actually rather amusing to me! It has it all, it starts off with the clean citrus, grassy style hops which are so dominant in US beers. It then moves to a big caramel malts and burnt sugar sweetness which is perfectly balanced against the yang of rye spice which creeps in the background. The roasted porter flavours are present all the way through, but they don't linger. They just melt away in the finish and you're brought back to  the clean citrus bite which makes you want more.

You need to try this.

My next mix of the night was from Buxton. These two beers just seemed so damn obvious to blend I was mad at myself for not doing this months ago! Axe Edge with it's hoppy glory, and Tsar Imperial Stout, famous for tearing up rule books of how to make beer. This was another blend that was just too good! I mean really so good I can't put it down. That being said....

Enough words, time for beer.

(that could be the 4 strong beers in quick succession talking..)

Thursday, 29 January 2015

That Type of Weather!

It seems winter is on the war path at the moment, with Leeds seeing it's fair share of blizzard conditions today. Let's just say it made our regular beer delivery rather interesting...! That being said, one of the advantages of January is snow, and that means beer snow cones!

I'm steering clear of the Belgian fruit beers this year, as they just weren't sweet enough for me. I'm sticking to the tried and trusted: The Imperial Stout. And one with a lot of flavour too! A 13% Imperial Oatmeal Stout brewed with copious amounts of vanilla and coffee :)

This was a good choice. The high alcohol wasn't fazed by a little bit of an ice addition. Massive flavours of icy vanilla dominated the palate just like the first big gulp of iced coffee smothered in a chocolate and vanilla frosting. While I enjoyed the cone, I couldn't help but feel that this one (like last years) just didn't match up to the original Bourbon County Stout snow cone I made.

I shall have to keep trying I guess. Till the thaw occurs I'm going to try enjoy this brief flurry of powder. I probably only say that now as I'm typing this in front of the fire eating Guylian chocolates with the rest of this 13% beer... What a match!!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Great Craft Beer Swindle

Reading Boak & Bailey's post this morning got me thinking about something I heard about the other day..

Big takeovers by multinationals of breweries is one thing, but the other side of the coin is big breweries taking over distribution rights for other breweries. This is something that's happening in the UK right now. A lot was said when Brewdog became the sole distributor for Mikkeller beer in the UK, and it now seems that they're now the sole distributors for Stone beer too.

The thing I heard though was that James Clay have given up the selling of Goose Island and the distribution of such beers has gone to Green King. This will no doubt have it's good and bad points..

On the one hand it's good that Green king are going to be able to use their money and influence to get Goose Island beers into the hands of consumers who have probably never tried them. And probably for much cheaper too.

The downside of this though is that distribution will be on the big scale, i.e. if you want to buy Goose Island beer for your shop you're probably going to have to buy a pallet of it. That means that about 99.9% of small independent beer shops will no longer be able to buy Goose Island beer.

The thing I'm most sad about personally is they've cut down the range of beers to Honkers, 312 wheat and the IPA. This means no more Matilda, no Pepe Nero, no more specials, and probably most damning of all - NO MORE BOURBON COUNTY STOUT!

If this means that I'll have to go the supermarket to get some Goose Island I guess it's not that big a deal. At the end of the day, we won't be able to stock it at Beer Ritz, but that does free up space for a new brewery!