Since my last post, we have had a brief respite in Covid restrictions and, while any venturing out of the house has been with immediate family, rather than friends, I did manage to sample some different beers before the latest round of lockdown slammed the doors of hospitality venues closed again. One of those trips out was a hastily arranged visit to Brew York with my wife, instead of a planned one with a friend, so that I could use up my free beer points before the then looming deadline to do so.
When I hit my 500th individual beer logged on Untappd, my wife asked how many I thought I’d get to by the end of the year. Considering myself to be a conservative (definitely small “c”) drinker and with three months of the year remaining, I estimated 530. I’ve already broken through that, and that doesn’t take into account the duplicates. When I started posting to this blog again, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it. To be honest, I’m still not. I certainly didn’t intend it to be a list of what beers I’d been drinking, so indulge me while I pick a few highlights.
The first few drinks I had post 500 were from my Flavourly subscription. The first was another from Lost And Grounded, and I rated their Bingo Night – Tell Your Friends, pine-y and bitter, slightly higher than the Keller Pils. There really wasn’t much else of note in that box except for Imagine, an IPA from Brehon Brewhouse, which had plenty of fruit flavour cutting through the hops.
My appreciation for Belgian beers was increased by a couple of bottles that my wife had bought me as an anniversary present, both of which I thought I’d had before, neither of which I actually had. The nicest of the two was Delirium Red, from Huyghe Brewery – red by name, berry by flavour and went down like a fruit cordial.
I few weeks earlier, I had placed an order with Siren Craft Brew, one of the breweries that had started popping up on my Facebook feed (because, y’know, it’s not like I’d been checking out sponsored advertising posts or anything). Their range had caught my eye, both for the unusual flavours and the distinctive branding of their cans ad I’d been looking forward to sampling since the delivery arrived. I wasn’t disappointed. The best of what I had was probably a three-way tie between Castilian Lemon & Honey Cheesecake, a sour IPA that tasted just as it said on the can, Pompelmocello, which had a sour punch that was just tempered enough not to make your eye twitch and Broken Dream, an oatmeal stout that I got more of a taste of coffee from than the advertised chocolate. Also nice was On The Bubble, an IPA that somehow reminded me of Lilt, but with added dryness. In fact, none of the ten beers I tried from Siren were bad, although Oats On Oats On Oats wasn’t particularly exciting – not that there was anything wrong with it, just that there was nothing stand-out except for its particularly vibrant colour.
In between the Sirens we visited an Indian restaurant where I was surprised to find something unusual on the drinks menu. Cobra Malabar Blond IPA may not have blown my socks off, but at least it was a change from lager. It was also around this time that we visited Brew York and I continue to be thankful that my hometown has such an excellent brewery/taproom/beer hall and it’s great news that, despite everything 2020 has thrown at all of us, they are expanding, with a new, much larger brewery and a pub in Leeds in the pipework. Apparently we only had four drinks during this visit, the best of which was Chocwerk Orange, a stout created to celebrate York’s chocolate heritage, in particular Terry’s Chocolate Orange (sadly no longer produced here). And yes, it was dark, chocolate-y and orange-y. A small piece of York in a glass. Life is Peachy was so fruity we could smell the peaches as it was being delivered to our table. Another of those beers where the taste hides the strength and probably means you drink it more quickly than you should. We ended the afternoon (at least the drinking portion) with Up In Smoke which may have changed my mind smoked to beers. Or maybe this one was just nicer than others I have tried… Then it was down to the shop to use up the rest of those points and add to the already groaning – by my standards anyway – beer shelf at home.
Since then, it’s been home-drinking and previously bought Brew York cans all the way, as I make my way down said shelf. Some have been favourites that I’ve had before – the likes of the luscious Hey Mango and the equally fruity, if not quite as sour as expected, Katy Berry – others are new-to-me. I forgot to take Espresso Patronum out of the fridge ahead of drinking it, so probably didn’t taste it at its best. Even so, this stout was lovely, with chocolate, coffee and vanilla coming together nicely. A surprise was Rhubarbra Streisand, primarily because I hate actual rhubarb. I’ve had a couple of rhubarb beers before, but this is by far the nicest. An even bigger, and not as nice, surprise came from Big Eagle 2020, which almost literally exploded out of the can. Once I’d mopped up the spillage from the carpet and table I got to enjoy this more traditional tasting of Brew York’s beers. Biggest disappointment for me, though, was Ripple Twister, from which I got very little taste of raspberry and less of ice cream.
As to the near future, it’s not all Brew York. There’s three Flavourly deliveries on the shelf (and another due soon), along with a further selection of Belgian beers. Oh, and I’ve already stumbled across one of my Christmas presents…