Happily I write this week having had no problems with the Hophead Loral cask promoted last week. It was in great condition and went down a storm. In fact it went down so well that a few of you missed out unfortunately but we will be having another cask of it in February. We will let you know when it will be available. The week has started well with plenty of new beer arriving including the much anticipated Yellow Belly. Read on for more on this Peanut and Biscuit Imperial Stout.
Buxton / Omnipollo Yellow Belly
Those of you who tried it last year will have already emailed us to reserve a bottle, those of you who missed out last year now is your chance to try what will be one of the best beers of the year. Yes that is a big call to make considering it is only January but Yellow Belly is one of those beers that lingers in the memory long after it has been drunk. It boggles our mind how Buxton and Omnipollo get the flavours they do into the beer. No peanut or biscuits are used yet there is this flavour of liquid peanut cookies with a touch of coffee and chocolate that combine in an incredible way. Trying to describe it though is like trying to describe the Mona Lisa in words instead of showing a copy. Just drink it yourself and you will understand.
By the way what is with the name and packaging you ask? Yellow Belly, in the words of Omnipollo, “Is brewed to celebrate all things new, open minded and progressive” while raising awareness of cowardly, usually anonymous actions which lead to institutionalised racism.
When is a Barrel not a Barrel?
After a lie down in a dark room to calm my Yellow Belly excitement onto something just as exciting: Cask Sizes! yes cask sizes. Did you know that a cask is a container from which cask ale is stored and dispensed, not a specific size. People often refer specifically to the size we use in the shop as a ‘cask’, we do it ourselves, but to be accurate we should be calling it a Firkin. Here are the official terms:
Pin 4.5 gallons / 36 pints
Useful for small venues or slower moving selling beers
Firkin 9 gallons / 72 pints
By far the most common size that cask ale is packaged in.
Kilderkin 18 gallons / 144 pints
A size often used by pubs who sell a large volume of a single beer, The John Harvey Pub in Lewes is a good example with Kilderkins set up behind the bar. They are also used at the Great British Beer Festival.
Barrel 36 gallons / 288 pints
This is the term often used to describe the size of a brewery, “Oh it is a four barrel brewery” meaning one brew makes enough beer to fill 16 firkins.
Hogshead 54 gallons / 432 pints
Not often seen now, good luck lifting one.
So if you ever catch me saying ‘Oh yeah, we get 72 pints from a cask’ feel free to correct me!
A trio of bottles last week, a trio of cans this week.
Verdant Gardens of Narrative IPA 6.6%
Ruth tried it the day it arrived and describes it in the following terms: “Lovely floral aroma hits you as soon as you crack open the can. Full of ripe apricot, pineapple, melon and pine. The taste is more of the same with a soft, oaty and creamy mouthfeel. Very easy drinking for 6.6%. Recommend this for anyone who loves a hazy super hoppy IPA”
I think it is safe to say she liked it.
Harvey’s Tin Lizzie 7.5%
The latest canned release from Harvey’s, Tin Lizzie is a strong barley wine, the first we have had in a can since a bad experience with Gold Label. Happily our experience with Tin Lizzie was much better, there is no hiding the strength but it is not harsh, the full and slightly sweet malt keeps the alcohol in check while the bitterness stops the beer being cloying. I would highly recommend this if you enjoy Harvey’s Christmas Ale or other strong ales.
8 Wired Cucumber Hippy 4%
Cucumber in a beer? whatever next? Well it might sound strange but it works. A sour base and a cucumber hit mount a two pronged refreshment attack on your tastebuds.
Mike and Ruth