July is here and so should be the sunshine. Fingers crossed it makes an appearance for the Oxted Beer Festival, more of which below. A busy month ahead for us but as always there will be plenty of new and exciting beers for you.
Last month I wrote about how our enjoyment of beer is affected by more factors than just what is in the glass. Where we are drinking, who we are drinking with, the weather and so on can all influence our perception of a beer. This got me thinking more about taste in drinking and the way we all taste beer differently. I see it often in the shop when giving beer samples, one customer will comment that for example a beer has a real fruity note and then the next customer to try it reckons it is malty rather than fruity. Same beer but two different thoughts on it. Ruth normally finds a given beer more bitter then I do, the bitterness in the beer is the same but the perceived bitterness we taste is much different. Another interesting factor is how what we are told affects our taste. Suggest to someone that a beer is citrusy and they tend to agree, we are primed for citrus notes so that is what we taste. I always think the main point when tasting a beer is to trust your instinct. Sure take guidance from people or bottle labels etc but in the end it is what you taste that counts and what you enjoy is up to you.
Thanks to the popularity of the samples we have offered in shop we now have available a trio of meads from Chalice Mead. An ancient drink, mead is the product of the fermentation of honey and water creating a smooth, sweet drink which suits a number of occasions. Of the three we have in stock my favourite is the chilli mead where the sweetness of the honey is off set by the heat and prickle of the chilli. If you are looking for a more gentle flavour than the traditional mead is the one to go for with the full flavour and sweetness of the honey shining through. Alternatively for a real decadent experience head for the chocolate mead, it is a little like chocolate dipped liquid honeycomb. Try them after dinner or perhaps the chocolate or traditional drizzled over some vanilla ice cream. Available in 350ml bottles they also make a unique gift.
Oxted Beer Festival
We have ordered all the ale and hopefully you have ordered your ticket as the Oxted Beer festival is now only a couple of weeks away! For us it is the calm before the storm of beer arrives in the days before the festival opens. With over two hundred barrels to be delivered, racked, tapped and then returned it is fair to say it will be a busy week! There is a great mix of beers available from legendary locals, London gulpers, South East Corkers and of course the Hop Stop Favourites. Make sure you check out www.oxtedbeerfestival.com/Beers for a full list of what is available. The shop will be open as per normal in case you aren’t going to the festival otherwise we will see you there!
Exclusive Oxted Beer Festival Tasting opportunity
If you fancy yourself as a beer taster and are looking to get your beer festival weekend started in the best possible style then you need to enter our exclusive beer festival tasting opportunity. In conjunction with the Oxted Beer Festival management we are offering two tickets to the tasting event on Thursday night. Only 14 people attend this evening where all 100 ales are sampled and assessed for taste and condition. This is not to be missed! To enter send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form next time you are in the shop.
New Bottles and Cans
Northern Monk Neapolitan Pale 6.2% can
Looking to serve something after your summertime BBQ? How about this clever and more importantly tasty beer from Northern Monk? An ice cream pale it brings the flavours of Neapolitan ice cream together with the refreshing bitterness of a pale ale. Brewed with chocolate, vanilla pods and strawberries all the flavours are there working harmoniously together. I will admit that before I tried it I was very sceptical, expecting a sickly sweet novelty beer but one sip and I was hooked. It has definitely become my dessert of choice, I think it even edges out Dark Star’s Crème Brulee beer. It is a limited release so best to be in quick with this one, once it is gone it is gone!
Speaking of cans the following have also arrived:
Wild Beer Pogo – a pale ale with added passionfruit, orange and guava.
Northern Monk Communion – this one went very quickly on keg and is tasting great from the can as well.
And bottle wise look out for:
Bear Republic’s Red Rocket, Grand AM and the incredible Racer 5 which you can read about below as Ruth’s pick of the month
More from Anchor, the San Francisco brewery who helped rejuvenate the American brewing scene.
Plus closer to home more beers from Marble, Moor, Bristol Beer Factory and Magic Rock.
What we are drinking?
Schneider Weiss Original 5.4%
When the sun makes an appearance I find it hard to go past a wheat beer from Schneider. Most likely the Original with its refreshing notes of clove and banana thanks to the yeast used. Straight from the fridge, poured into a tall glass with a large, rocky white head it is the perfect summer thirst quencher.
Bear Republic Racer 5 7.2%
This beer for me is basically America in a glass. It is a hoppy IPA designed to highlight the unique floral qualities of Columbus and Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest. Racer 5 is one of America’s most award winning IPAs so it is a top beer. Bear Republic is one of the breweries I visited when I toured the West Coast in search of the best American beer and this is a day that I will never forget – Bear Republic for lunch sitting in the sun supping Racer 5 then onto Russian River for dinner, it was an epic day!
Buxton Extra Porter 7.4%
After having spent a week in France watching some of the Euro champs Paul needed a decent beer on his return and headed straight to this rich, chocolaty stunner from Buxton. While the extra refers to the strength generally in this case it could just mean extra good!
That’s all for now, make sure you say hi if you see us at the Beer festival!
Mike & Ruth