Hello and welcome to April where the days are getting longer and thoughts drift away from heavy winter warmers and towards lighter, more summery styles. Here at Hop Stop we are busy with a few projects such as the Oxted Beer Festival beer list (more below) and giving our website a little love with which will result in a more informative and user friendly site. This month we take a little look at canning, feature To-Ol brewery and have some information on festivals that any beer lover would want to know about.
The relentless march of the can army is showing no signs of slowing down. Cloudwater cans have now been available for a few weeks, Tiny Rebel have recently released three of their beers into cans including former (well the cask version at least) Champion Beer of Britain Cwtch. While historically canned beer has had a terrible image thanks to warm, metallic tasting beer if you haven’t tried a modern can I would urge you to. Cans are great as they stop light from affecting the beer, when filled correctly they have very little oxygen to oxidise the beer and they are much lighter to transport and carry than bottles. Modern lining technology means that there are no more worries about metallic tasting beer either.
Currently most British breweries we stock use 330ml size cans but a sub trend appearing is a move to larger can sizes. Cloudwater cans are currently 440ml, Northern Monk use both 440ml and 330ml and Magic Rock have been bringing out some 500ml cans. Interestingly enough they aren’t keeping the small cans for the stronger beers and larger ones for the more sessionable, Magic Rock’s special releases Wayniac 6.4% and Hypnotist 6.8% are both in the larger format and they are keeping the smaller cans for their core range.
While some breweries are going down the can and draught beer only path others such as To Ol package their beers in both bottles and cans. One of a number of gypsy brewers that originate from Scandinavia To-Ol are known internationally for the diverse range and quality of their beers. The brewery was formed by two school friends who practised brewing in the school kitchen with assistance from a keen teacher called Mikkel Borg Bjergsø who went on himself to create a little brewery called Mikkeller…… The first commercial brew was produced in 2010 and since then To Ol have gained a huge following for their boundary pushing beers which range from sours to pilsners, IPA’s to Imperial Stouts and a few beers that create their own style, pale ale with pine needles anyone? They are constantly creating new recipes and releasing new beers so best to check our shelves for what is new. Currently we have Sur Mosaic and Sur Citra, two dry hopped sour pales, Raid beer, a lager that will blow away any thoughts of fizzy yellow water and Blossom, a wheat ale brewed with real flowers which is perfect for Spring.
It might only be April but now is the time for any beer lover to be putting these dates in their diary and securing tickets and time off.
Great British Beer Festival
The big one for lovers of cask ale is the Great British Beer Festival from the 8th-12th of August. Hundreds of different cask beer plus international bars adds up to one big beer festival. Having attended for the first time last year I can say it definitely lived up to expectations with a real highlight being trying some American brewers take on cask beer with Sierra Nevada being a particular standout. While the full website has not been launched yet tickets are already available at http://www.gbbf.org.uk.
New for this year is the Beavertown Extravaganza where they are going large with over 60 of the world’s best breweries participating in what is going to be two days of beer lovers heaven in September. A one off ticket price gets you all the beer you can taste from international stars such as Trillium, To Ol, Omnipollo, Mikkeller and Modern Times while representing the UK there is Cloudwater, Wild Beer, Burning Sky and of course Beavertown themselves to name just a few. Just writing about it I feel like I need a beer to calm my excitement a little. This is one not to miss so get your ticket now. Head to www.beavertownbrewery.co.uk/extravaganza/ for the full brewery list and ticketing information.
Oxted Beer and Music Festival
A little bit closer to home the Oxted Beer and Music Festival is being held on the weekend of 14th-16th July. We are once again organising all the beer and are currently in the midst of creating a beer list ranging from local breweries through to beers from London, Bristol, Manchester and beyond. Tickets are on sale now or perhaps sponsor a barrel and enjoy two hours of free drinking before the gates are open to the general public on the Friday night.
Forget chocolate eggs and get yourself a chocolate beer instead, all the lovely chocolate taste but without that sugar and fat overdose. A good chocolate beer is smooth and rich, with a real chocolate taste rather than just a hit of sweetness. In stock we have Chocolate Marble, Dark Revolution Velveteen, Thornbridge Cocoa Wonderland and Redwillow Heartless Chocolate Stout just to get you started.
Please note over Easter we will be closed Good Friday 14th April, open Saturday the 15th and then closed again bank holiday Monday 17th. Normal hours resuming on Tuesday 18th of April.
Look out for Beers from Tunbridge Wells based Pig and Porter up on the stillages over the next month, we have a range of them for you to enjoy starting with Ashburnham pale, a 3.8% session beer made for sinking a few pints. More is coming from 360 brewing in both cask and keg due to how popular it was and of course there will be some old favourites from the likes of Surrey Hills, Pilgrim and Marble making an appearance.
You might have noticed some changes to our website over the last couple of weeks as we have been working on it with assistance from the team at WATB Nutfield to make it more user friendly. Coming soon there will be some more exciting website developments, check May’s blog for all the details.
That’s all for now, if monthly news from Hop Stop isn’t enough for you click on this link to sign up to our soon to launch weekly newsletter https://www.hopstopbeers.co.uk/