Apr 5 2016
When on my home patch – to the bafflement of many – I drink, almost exclusively, Northern beers.
Sometimes I get (what I can only describe as) looks of pity at the delights that I am missing. But gradually, ever so slowly, I think that people are starting to get my point.
That beer from these here Northern parts is – mostly – bloody excellent! And currently under appreciated.
Most people in my home city – Manchester – know how good the beer from this fine locale is. And they drink it in the pubs and bars. In fact, it would be really easy (I’m surprised no-one has tried it already!) to blog about exclusively Mancunian beers and breweries, but with some of the stuff that is flying out of Yorkshire, it would be madness.
But in March – finally – something happened that (for me) was a bit special.
We got some beers into Manchester from Five Towns of Wakefield and North Riding of East Ayton, nr Scarborough. Two of my very favourite breweries.
I’ll keep to (what has been described – appreciatively – as) my “fiercely local focus”. And the more we get some of these beers in this neck of the woods, you’ll see – for a change – that I’m not talking total bollocks about the bottled and canned beers that I drink.
“Nice to meet you, where you been? I could show you incredible things
Magic, madness, heaven, sin.
Saw you there and I thought, oh my God, look at that face
You look like my next mistake”
(“Blank Space” – Taylor Swift/Ryan Adams)
My current music crush track. Ryan Adams holds a special place in my heart, always will. You see, I was introduced to his music by my dear friend (no longer with us) Phil. One of the most inspirational people it has been my privilege to know. And I’m in his debt for this as well as so many other things
Anyhow. Ryan Adams has developed a habit of covering great songs and owning them. Check his version of Wonderwall. For me, WAY better than Oasis. But I’m biased.
And, for Mark, to counter Mr Adams, here’s Taylor.
Burnished gold. A proper colour for an IPA this. Well carbonated, the head was abundant and white, giving off treefuls of Orange peel and zest, marmaladey in its intensity. I like Amarillo. My favourite aroma hop.
Then, along comes a decent whack of fruity bitterness to combat all that juicy orange running around my mouth, getting the saliva glands racing. This is right. up. my. street.
That orangey bitterness leads on to a juicy bitter finish and a gorgeous resinous aftertaste, sticky, and just…….
Another deeply golden beer with a lasting soft white head chucking out a simply bonkers amount of citrus! Mango, grapefruit and gooseberry. Bloody delicious aromas. Mouthwatering.
Oh. By. The. Gods.
It finishes fruity and dry with a crackling dry resinous sticky aftertaste. Yum.
He can brew, can that Mr Neilson. That’s for sure. I’ve been banging on about his beers for long enough. Now we can get them here in both cask and bottle. And I’m grinning.
For a brewery that is barely a year old, Richard Conway at Thirst Class hasn’t put a foot wrong in either bottle or cask. And that goes across a range of styles. But this is the first I’ve seen of his Black IPA.
Very dark, with a light cream coloured pumping out a bit citrus led aroma, but with a darker coffeeish counterpoint, hinting at something more earthy. More appetising.
Yup. Oh yes indeed. This. Is. Gorgeous.
Initial sips of this full bodied dark beauty instantly flash up that citrus hop promise with a fruity burst. Sharp and tropical. Grapefruit initially, then a little sharp lemon, followed by more than a hint of mango.
Then, comes the roasted darker side in this most schizophrenic of beer styles. And boy is there a darker “Hyde” side to this beery “Jekyll”!
Dave Harrison-Ward is (or was) a very talented “home brewer” (a term that doesn’t do justice to the skills displayed.
Then I walked into Heaton Hops….
Man has skills.
Feels increasingly creamy in the mouth in the second mouthful, the flavours just work so well together, managing the trick to be simultaneously refreshing, but finishing dry on the swallow. Leaving you wanting another mouthful.
As said, this finishes dry and with that spicy yeasty note leading to a pronounced herbal hop note alongside the lingering flavours in the aftertaste.
If ever a smell could make me swoon, it’s this. It’s a Mosaic Festival! Deep copper red and with a light white head, this is just a riot of tropical fruit aromas! Grapefruit zest, pineapple and bitter orange getting my juices raging……
Medium bodied with a decent light wholemeal bready malt dance floor base and a tropical hop Mosaic limbo party dancing all over it! Peach, grapefruit, mango all donning the grass skirts and getting under that pole. This is SO juicy, light and refreshing. It’s an absolute joy of a thing to drink.
Deep amber. A proper colour for a big IPA. That light persistent white head simply oozing deep orangey goodness. There must be at least 3 of my 5 a day in this glass! There’s something more tropical in aroma in here too, a bit of mango maybe?
Those hops and the bitter fruit more than balance the slight malty and fruity sweetness and bring a nice medium bitterness to this smooth and FAR too easy to drink beer. At 7.8% this is dangerous stuff.
I’m chuffed to bits that some local shops have his beers on THIS side of the Pennines. I’ve banged on for long enough!