September must try….lupuloids 

So with technical gremlins aside it’s time to catch up with the must try posts basically a beer that is causing a stir that I review briefly on its own as a one off.

Except as I’m playing catch up I have a double header as I was lucky enough to be in Cardiff at the tiny rebel urban tap last week and got to try a great tiny rebel beer that’s hard to come by unless you hunt online and a beavertown beer that is everywhere right now. 

Lupuloids ipa by beavertown is the brewery knowen for its fresh craft beers first core range ipa the work of a year of one of ipas and a whole lot of tinkering to try and create perfection.

The hop alien monster on the can tells you straight away what you are getting a 6.7abv can of hops. Light yellow with a light carbonation it’s smells of all kinds of tropical fruit I’ve heard everything from the juice from tinned pineapple to lemon meringue pie but I really got sweetness and berries myself. 

Really light no malt backbone it delivers big tropical fruit flavours if a tad muddled with just a hint of dryness on the back of the mouth. 

I have seen 330ml from 2.50 so would recommend picking it up. 

The next beer is more of an acquired taste a raspberry sour called frambuzzi by tiny rebel it has a beautiful red tint and wild fresh raspberry flavour and scent giving way to a lighter sourness than most of its type. But it lives and dies on its fruit flavour and it was all there. 

Neither of these beers are breaking the mold I’ve had many fruit sours and 6% ipas however they are both good examples of the craft beer style done well and at a reasonable price 


Octoberfest the budget way

It seems that octoberfest has landed on our shores in recent years with varying degrees of authenticity from supermarket specials pubs having guest beers to full fledged bars giving you that “octoberfest experience”,  I myself spent part of my stag do in one such place and I must admit unsurprisingly loved every second. 

One place jumping on the octoberfest bandwagon (or dreyhorse if you prefer) is aldi and they are German based so it should be a good offering right?  

Well on previous years your options at the discount supermarket were limited somewhat so I was quite happy to see a expanded range of six beers from Germany alongside the various salamis on sale. 

The six beers are all from Germany not brewed under licence and whilst sticking to the octoberfest ethos of light session beers they do have a few variances including a dark beer this year. 

The first of the two I picked was Das Naturtrube a unfiltered pilsner brewed in southern Germany it was a very clean beer with little residual mouthfeel or after taste but cam with a light but pleasant mingle of hop flavours that most super premium lagers would have a hard time matching 

The second beer was Volksfestbier also from the south of Germany a seasonal beer is bright golden coloured and a lot less bitter than usual pilsners it’s brewed and named for the festival in stutgart and left a clean pallet again not quite as hoppy as the first but still far from the watery beers I’ve been served by barmaids in laiderhosen. 

Both beers came in 500ml swing top bottles at under £2.00 I still question how authentic experience you really could have drinking aldi beer in you warm home instead of being soaked in the fields of Munich but as a sub £2 beer goes grab them whilst you can 


North by north yeast 

Taste of Malta – Lord chambray 

Lord chambray is a small craft brewery set up on gozo the small island north of Malta. This fledgling brewery is quite new and taking on the cisk brewery that produces the holiday lager and license brewing on the holiday island. 

Whilst I have spent many summers on both Malta and gozo I managed to get a hold of two bottles from this small start up through there appearance at the great British beer festival (couriered back to Newcastle by a friend no less). 

The first beer is Blue Lagoon a Belgian style witbeer named after the local landmark with beautiful blue waters. Straw coloured with deep fruit flavours giving way to delegate spice generally associated with the style. 

The second beer Sans Blas is named after a local beach and is billed as a English ipa with energy and attitude. The fruit flavours on this are supurb more what you would expect from a West coast or new Zealand ipa but with a great malt background and light bitter finish that leaves you ready for the next mouthfull. 

The brewery has a great range for a small team beyond the two I got to try are a golden ale called golden bay,  a dry stout called fungus rock,  special bitter gozo interpretation of a special bitter and a gose using gozitian caper flowers called flinders rose that I would love to get ahold of. 

Overall my impression of Lord chambray are they could have been another brewery making light larger for tourists and probably made money but they have gone beyond and produced a very interesting range using a great balance of hops to create a new world fruit character and if you happen to be holidaying in that part of the world you owe it to yourself to hunt them out however based on the quality of the beers they shouldn’t take much hunting. 

Next time I shall be setting my eyes on octoberfest via aldi but can the range of imported beers at discount prices deliver? 


North by north yeast 

Quest for (Al)e quality 

Firstly let me apologise for my absence I shan’t make excuses but that said here’s my excuses I have had a bit of a technology fail that lost me a post I was about to send (always back up your data people) and then my blog on the beers of the North East became suddenly popular with the people of south America that led to a possible deal I was in talks about falling through as my site traffic numbers are no longer reliable. 

So I wanted to make it up to you all with a big new post about the amazing beers coming out just now and the great things happening in the Newcastle beer scene but unfortunately whilst there has been some great positives I feel I have to write a different and difficult article that I would much rather not be writing. 

There has been a explosion of craft and real ale in my geordie homeland and throughout the UK it’s been amazing seeing small beloved brewers grow and gain recognition, new brewers enter the scene with new ideas and general access to good beer becoming so easy (did you know tyneside cinema has 4 handpulls and 2 exclusive beers brewed for them by Wylam,  yup at a cinema). 

However as good as things are I feel a growing problem the standards at the top are getting higher but the standards at the bottom of the pyramid ain’t improving at the same speed and as far as I can speak from my experiences the gulf is growing. 

I was lucky enough to visit two beer festivals over the past week one is a large festival with many interesting beers from local and around the country,  however the beers came out looking like they had a head of fairy liquid that within the walk back to my seat was along with most of the flavour evaporated. 

Don’t get me wrong the fact we can attend such great festivals is brilliant and some of the reasons behind the problems have been explained but if you can’t showcase the beer at its best and it’s not making much money then it’s a bit of a head scratcher as to what is achieved overall. 

The second beer festival I attended was a much smaller event in a local pub with the usual 6 handpulls and another six extra, the beers were local brewers nothing you wouldn’t find in a decent bar year round but they had I’m happy to say been looked after and timed to be at perfection during the two days. 

So is the answer that we need more pubs selling the beer in smaller amounts but fresher?  Well unfortunately no as I have been finding the same in our regions pubs there are those that truly care for beer quality,  pubs that rarely if ever put a foot wrong but with the growth in availability of real and craft alike there are pubs that are now charging upwards of £5 for beers with no flavour left in them as a increasingly regular occupancy. 

This month seen a local brewer release a summer fruity beer that shall remain nameless I sampled this beer in four different places throughout town only finding it to taste fruity and fresh once. 

The problem is not limited to dispense and the old cask vs keg argument as in a very respected pub that stocks some interesting bottled beer I paid almost £5 for a 330ml bottle of beer that was past its printed best before date. When I pointed this out to the barman I got a shrug and a mumbled apology. 

I don’t know where our problem lies is it in training of staff or are the brewers pushing beer near the end of its life to help fund expansions or under pressure from increased competition or is it distribution in between not up to the job? I don’t have that answer but I feel if it continues as it almost certainly will then in a few years the bubble will burst as less people covert to over priced under loved beer and the best survive and the rest disappear. A great opportunity lost like so many others due to suspected penny pinching. 

Is this beautiful growth industry just a bandwagon that’s about to burst under the weight of so many jumpers or can anything be done. 

I don’t believe anyone goes to work each morning aiming to pour a poor pint and I don’t believe anyone plans to brew a dud however taste and quality are hard to define and who are you or I to take a pub or brewery to task on this in the end the only way we can express displeasure is with our wallets and don’t we have enough pubs closing already? 
Sorry to bring you all down next post in a week or so shall be about a interesting beer so look out for that and thank you to surprising amount of people reading this 

Cheers as always

North by north yeast