Mad Hatter Brewing Company – Cold Dead Eyes

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Brewery: Mad Hatter – www.madhatterbrewing.co.uk / @MadHatBrew

Style: Saison / Farmhouse

ABV: 7.2%

Purchased From: Source Deli –  @SourceDeliPaul

Pouring and Look: A really frothy tanned head with a dense black body. You can actually see the the light being sucked into the darkness, it’s that thick.

Smell: Sour and funky, there’s yeast in there as well and a sickly sweet smell.

Taste: The first mouthful is everything you’d expect from a sasion, tart, sour and funky like grandad’s dirty underpants left on the radiator. The second taste however, is heaven, roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, red berries and underneath all that is the now mellow sourness. Wow, I never new grandad’s underpants tasted like heaven.

Thoughts: The only way I can make you experience the range of emotions I felt with this beer is by comparing it to dancing with David Bowie. There’s a masquerade ball scene in The Labyrinth and this is exactly what this beer did to me.

I pick up Cold Dead Eyes and think I’m buying an imperial stout

*Jareth the Goblin King (Bowie) takes my hand and we start to dance*

I open and pour Cold Dead Eyes…. ohh yeah baby this is an imperial stout

*Jareth is spinning me around the ballroom and staring into my eyes…intensely

I smell the beer I think is an imperial stout but it’s not! …. holy shit monkey what sour work of Lucifer is this?! My world breaks apart and I fall into the abyss. Reality has literally been broken.

*The clock at the ball strikes 12, the Jareth buggers off and leaves me, I fall into the local tip which is inhabited by a nutty horsey-women who looks like the old women who used to serve me beer at the student bar.

….but then I taste this bad boy and wow! It’s an impossible thing, these flavors shouldn’t work, it’s part saison part imperial stout. If there’s a centaur of the beer world then this beer is it. Two normal everyday things mashed together to create something unique and utterly mind blowing. This is what craft wanking is all about!

The Jester’s Craft Predictions: 2015

2014 was a busy year in the hop shaped world of Craft Beer, empire’s rose and fell and the oceans were finally Burtonised, but those things are now behind us and we stand staring into the abyss of 2015. What horrors will 2015 unleash, will any heroes rise to fight them, are we ready for the shocks, the trails, the tribulations and the glory to come? To ensure that we are all prepared for the 2015 hopocalypse I will stare into my crystal ball and share my divinations with you all.

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Dog of the Brew

2015 will be a busy year for Brewdog. In the spring of 2015 they will create their very own professional wrestling promotion Extreme BrewDog Wrestling (EBDW). The promotion will concentrate exclusively on shouty video interviews by men wearing only their underpants and beards telling us about how they’ll “bring the pain”, “lead us all to hoptopia”, “slay the giants with nothing but the power they gain from all the little Brewdogsters out there” and other such statements. Most of the interviews will be nonsensical ramblings but when they actually get round to putting on a wrestling match it will be spectacular, sometimes.

The slaying of giants will play a major role in 2015 for Brewdog. In an effort to push the “brewing envelope”  coupled with drunken night of watching Guardians of the Galaxy and reading Jack and the Bean Stalk the BrewDog boys will go on a mighty quest armed only with a handful of magic hops. Around summer 2015 the magic hops will be planted and, with the support of a massive trellis, a hop vine will grow to the clouds. Upon climbing the vine and slaying the clueless giant they find there the Bewdog boys will hollow out the giant’s skull, ferment the gooey interior and bottle it up. “Brewdog Giant Killer – Brewed in a giant, using a giant” will push the envelope so far into the crafttosphere that people will be talking about how innovative it is for all time. The taste, however, will not be great.

jack_and_the_beanstalk_by_hextupleyoodot-d4rjgri

Craft-Speak

By the end of 2015 anybody sporting a beard will only be able to communicate in “craft-speak”, it will take a little while longer for those who are deemed “uncraft” to fully adopt “craft-speak” but eventually it will be the only form of acceptable communication.

The purpose of Craft-Speak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the craft-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Craft but to also make all other modes of thought impossible.

Craft-Speak Diary 2nd Ed.

To ensure that you are prepared for the rise of craft-speak I will give you a heads up on the basics. For any descriptive word just add ey or y to the ending as it cuts down on the amount of actual words you need to use (and you don’t need to be specific).

Non Craft-Speak example:

“You can really taste the cascade hops, it has a floral flavour with the hint of grapefruit”.

Craft-Speak example:

“It tastes flowery, hoppy and citrusy” or “Hoppy goody”.

 

New suit, who suit, I suit, law-suit

The craft based trend of taking legal action against any company that bears any resemblance to your own will carry on throughout 2015. The top 10 reasons for lawsuits in 2015 will be, in no particular order;

  1. Having the same customers.
  2. Using the words beer or ale.
  3. Using colours on your label.
  4. Not using colours on your label.
  5. Using similar ingredients.
  6. Using letters from the alphabet to describe your ale.
  7. Being sold on the opposite pump.
  8. Being sold in the same pub.
  9. Contained in the same size can, bottle, cask or keg.
  10. Being of a wet consistency.

 

The Next BIG Taste

Pina Colada beer

 

Final Thoughts

It will be an interesting 2015 full of ups and downs with the biggest selling Christmas craft beer being Carling. This may come as a surprise but in Autumn 2015 there will be a repulsion against fresh ingredients and beer that tastes of something. All hail Carling our future craft overlords.

Wychwood – Hobgoblin Gold

 

 

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Brewery: Wychwood – www.wychwood.co.uk /@Hobgoblin_beer

Style: Golden Ale

ABV: 4.5%

Pouring and Look: Nice golden amber colour, white frothy head. Exactly what you’d expect.

Smell: Faint citrus fruits from the hops, hint of fresh grass, floral.

Taste: A kiss of citrus hop bitterness with undertone of a malty raisin and licorice taste reminiscent of the original Hobgoblin.

Thoughts: I have have to admit to having a softspot for Wychwood beers as it was bottles of Hobgoblin that got me into ale when I was in my teens. I did enjoy this beer, it didn’t blow my socks off but I didn’t expect it to, it’s refreshing and well balanced and I would happily drink it again. However, it cost £1.89 from Bargain Booze which is in no way expensive but for £1.79 I can buy a bottle of Oakham’s Citra which is exceptional for the price.

The Perfect Time to Drink it: For the past four hours you’ve been battling for your life. Standing shoulder to shoulder with your shield brothers you’ve repelled wave after wave of orcs, goblins and hobgoblin. Stab, hack, slash, it’s all become a blur but now your work is done, you gaze out over the eerily quiet battlefield as the first crows start to land to begin their feast. The silence is broken by the coarse shout of your sergeant;

“You’ve done well today lads! You’ve stood firm and looked fear in the eye. Well done. To show his appreciation Lord Breatherton has opened up his own cellar, so drink deep boys and sleep well!”.

 

Stringers – Delta V

 

 

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Brewery: Stringers – www.stringersbeer.co.uk  / @Stringersbeer

Style: Pale Ale

ABV: 6.5%

Pouring and Look: Light, clear copper, small white head, very little carbonation.

Smell: Light tang of citrus hops, oranges, malt base and sweetness.

Taste: Bitter grapefruit taste with a marmalade sweetness, the after-taste reminds me of the of malt-loaf.

Thoughts: A perfect BBQ beer, full of flavour and very tasty, it packs a punch at 6.5%. It could do with being a little more lively. There was a nice head at the start but as you can see that went totally in the time it took me to take the picture. Still a fantastic beer though.

The perfect time to drink it:

Once upon a time in a land far away there lived a very grumpy dragon. Everybody annoyed the dragon; the local knights harassed him as they tried to steal his treasure, his neighbour – the unicorn – was continually too happy and the way he pranced around wound the dragon up even further. One Sunday afternoon was particularly bad for the dragon, he’d met an overly chatty mermaid and magician who wanted to capture the dragon and ride him. He’d had enough, he was going to move! Looking out of his cave, at the foot of the valley, he spied a very large and tall mountain in the distance. “That’s it” he thought “I’m going to move up there away from all these cretins that live around me“. So in the space of two days the dragon had moved all his possessions – mainly treasure and a spare pair of underpants – from his valley cave to his new cave high up in the mountains. Now I think it’s safe to say that the dragon loved his new home high up in the mountains, he had a fantastic view and wasn’t interrupted by crazed magicians, prancing unicorns, thieving knights or overly chatty mermaids. Life was good – in the first week alone he’d already gone through the backlog of his books and his daily high altitude flights made him fitter than ever.

But as the weeks went by and the dragon had nothing left to be grumpy about he began to feel a little empty inside. You see the dragon kind of liked being angry at everyone as it gave him a little fire in his belly, of course it was nice being relaxed some of the time but he was made to blow fire and gobble cattle, not read books and lounge around. The dragon realised he needed the annoying cretins for him to be a dragon. With a set heart the dragon flew down from his mountain cave to the valley below. On the way he picked up – and roasted – a few sheep as he’d decided to host a BBQ. He invited the magician, wizard, mermaid and even the unicorn. Their idiocy annoyed the hell out of him and made him grumpier than ever. At the end of the BBQ once everybody had gone home the dragon felt grumpier than ever, to celebrate this he opened up a hidden bottle of Stringers Delta V and thought it’s good to be a dragon again.

Mad Hatter Brewing Company – Hare of Darkness

Hare of DarknessBrewery: Mad Hatter – www.madhatterbrewing.co.uk@MadHatBrew

Style: Black IPA

ABV: 8%

Purchased From: Source Deli Ormskirk – www.source-deli.co.uk / @sourcedelipaul

Pouring and Look: Dark 80% chocolate colour with a caramel head.

Smell: Faint hop aroma, rich dark fruits, liquorice, burnt malt, it smells gorgeous.

Taste: Dark bitter chocolate, burnt marmalade, dark treacle with undertones of liquorice. It’s a dark rich bouquet of flavours

Thoughts: This is a truly stunning Black IPA, it smells gorgeous, the taste is sublime and the bottle artwork is fantastic. Buy it, drink it, rinse and repeat.

The perfect time to drink it: (you might need to click the picture to get it extra large).

A drawing of @Judging_Jester drinking Hare of Darkness

A drawing of @Judging_Jester drinking Hare of Darkness

Buxton Brewery – Jaw Gate

Jaw Gate

Brewery: Buxton Brewery – www.buxtonbrewery.co.uk /@BuxtonBrewery

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5.6%

Purchased From: Holborn Cask Ales @Holborncaskales

Pouring and Look: Cloudy deep amber body with golden white head.

Smell: Fresh cut pine, dry bitter hops and crisp summer fruits with an undertone of biscuity malt.

Taste: Bitter grapefruit and pine start that opens with peach sweetness. You’ve also got some spices in there and a bedrock of malt biscuit.

Thoughts: A really nice beer full of flavour and very drinkable. It might have just been my bottle but the hops didn’t taste as fresh as I would have liked but that might be just down to my taste preference.

The Perfect Time to Drink It: “Is there anybody out there?” the energy finally cut out three days ago. You’re safe for the moment but the constant groaning from outside reminds you that you won’t be safe forever. You hear them sometimes shuffling past the door to your hiding place, luckily they never try the door as they only seem to react to sight and sound. You’re hidden and you’re silent.

You’re hiding place is the remains of a craft beer bar storeroom, unfortunately, there’s not a lot left of it. It must have been raided for supplies when the outbreak started. The only bottle that remains is a Buxton Jaw Gate. It’s been tempting you like a siren ever since you barricaded yourself in the storeroom. You want to drink it but the fear of attracting them through the sound the bottle opening is too great.

You sit, you wait, time passes.

What’s that noise?! TWEEP, TWEEP…. Your phone was on silent but you’d forgotten to turn off the direct message alert. It’s @Baron_Orm he’s arranging a ratings night with @Christopher_R , @villaBONE and @SourceDeliPaul do I want to come? Of course I want to come, I’ll even bring flowers…. Then you hear the sound you’ve been dreading, the door handle to your hideout creaks as it is turned and then the groans begin. They’ve found you. You know it’s over, you can’t escape, so you pick up your phone and tweet @Baron_Orm  “YOU BASTARD” is all you type. You then reach over and pick up the bottle of Jaw Gate and open it is as there’s never going to be a better time.

Oakham Ales – Bishops Farewell

Bishops Farewell

Brewery: Oakham Ales – www.oakhamales.com / @OakhamAles

Style: Golden Ale

ABV: 5.0%

Purchased from: B&M Bargins / @bmstores

Pouring and Look: Cloudy light golden colour with a small white head.

 

Smell: Very fruity, fresh peach and oranges with the bitter dry hop aroma lurking in the background.

Taste: Initially hit with the dry hop bitterness, this taste lingers throughout but there’s also a very earthy and malt taste to this beer. There’s the whisper of an orange and grapefuit taste but nothing last.

Thoughts: A great beer that has the distinct Oakham taste. It’s a more earthy and malty than Citra, the hop bitterness is similar but without the massive grapefuit and orange hit. If Citra is an honest hard-working office worker than Bishops Farewell is the honest hard-work farmer.

The Perfect Time to Drink It: 

Gorion: Listen carefully. If we should ever become separated, it is imperative that you make your way to the Friendly Arm Inn. There, you will meet Khalid and Jaheira. They have long been my friends, and you can trust them.

Gorion: Let’s hurry child! The night can only get worse so we must find shelter soon. Don’t worry, I will explain everything as soon as there is time. Wait! There is something wrong. We are in an ambush. Prepare yourself!

[A giant armoured figure and three others step out from the shadows]

Sarevok: You’re perceptive for an old man. You know why I’m here. Hand over your ward and no one will be hurt. If you resist it shall be a waste of your life.

Gorion: You’re a fool if you believe I would trust your benevolence. Step aside and you and your lackeys will be unhurt.

Sarevok: I’m sorry that you feel that way old man.

Gorion: Run, child, get out of here!

[You run into the forest and hide, after a time you fall into a restless slumber]

Jaheria: Do my eyes deceive me or is this Gorion’s ward stood before me?

Gorion’s Ward: Jaheria, Khalid, it is good to see friendly faces, for I have lost much on the road.

Khalid: What is it child? You seem crushed by a great weight.

Gorion’s ward: Gorion was slain on the road by an armoured figured. “Hand over your ward” he said, he was after me and me alone. Gorion died defending me. What would anyone want me?

Jaheria: Gorion protected you in life and he protected you with his death. He loved you like a son and protected you as a Father. As to why someone would harm you I do not know.

Khalid: Do not carry Gorion’s fate on your shoulders, he would not desire that burden for you. We must move quickly though, if Gorion was struck down in the shadow of the walls of his home then the walls of the Friendly Arm will provide little protection.

Jaheria: Before we leave let us drink to the memory of our friend and father, Gorion.

 

The adaptation and inspiration came from the classic Baldur’s Gate.