Summer Wine Brewery at Port Street Beer House

First off apologies to the guys at Summer Wine Brewery and Port Street Beer House for the delay in posting this, I’d normally hope to have a post ready the day after the event, but work commitments and a dodgy Apple iMac scuppered any chance of that…

The day started poorly on an otherwise gorgeous sunny hot afternoon, I caught an extremely slow train and then got lost in Manchester, but it was soon improved with a couple of halves of Marble Breweries “Dobber IPA”, at their very own 57 Thomas Street bar. It’s a lovely little modern bar with a few tables set outside on the pavements where I soaked up the sun and the IPA’s thirstily with @6TownsMart & @jamesbwxm before heading off to Port Street for the main event.

On arrival were met at the door with a set of five raffle tickets which were to be exchanged for the beer samples, one for a free SWB from the established range, the other four for the new beers that were form the rest of the tasting. It was here that I solved my extra ticket dilemma, (a friend of mine had dropped out at late notice so I had two). Two lots of samples it is then I thought, (VERY) happy days! ūüôā

As the crowds gathered we had the choice of either the Valencia Pale Ale or Teleporter, the latter was the better choice from the two in my opinion, with a rich dark roasty complexity from the 10 malt varieties used, followed by the lovely hoppy finish expected from SWB. As we drank James and Andy from the brewery were mingling and chatting to the assembling crowd, taking a brief photo call with the rather impressive (and tasty) Summer Wine Brewery branded pork pie before taking to the “stage”.

The guys then held an informal tasting where we got to try four new brews Rouge Hop, a revamped version of 7 C’s of Rye, one of their new range of keg Saisons, Nettle and Ginger and the fresh to keg Diablo IPA.

Now having being left in the unfortunate position of being forced to drink double samples, I’m sure you can forgive the lack of any meaningful tasting notes, (I was a little “sleepy” when I got home, but I did try to share, honestly). That said, from memory I can confirm that each one was bloody delicious. ¬†The Rouge Hop as the name suggests was a red hoppy beer, definitely one that I’d drink regularly, I also loved the Diablo. I personally am a big advocate of beers having options on how they are served, I love cask beers but sometimes especially in the warmer months I think with keg you just get that extra zing required to refresh. I just hope they make it to Stoke sometime very soon.

On the night though the beers I found most interesting were the 7 C’s and the Saison. The 7 C’s of Rye I had tried before, the night before as it happens at my local The Bulls Head in Burslem. Although both versions were delicious, the new incarnation just tastes slightly more balanced, both are true hopfests but the bitterness is now a little less “in your face”.

I really liked the Saison, it’s just the perfect summer beer for me and this was surprisingly subtle despite the two strong sounding flavours in the title. I’d never tasted nettle anything before and was expecting a real herbal taste reminiscent of the smell you get from them when out walking, I was reliably informed though that it isn’t which rang true in the beer, very much like a mild hop in taste. With the ginger element too, at first taste you think it’s not there, but there it is, gingery goodness quietly¬†buzzing away in the background, a slow warming gingerness in the finish long after your last gulp. I can’t wait for these to develop and will look forward eagerly to tasting the other flavours planned including Lime and Coriander.

Overall a great night was had by all and here’s a big hello and thanks to friends old, new, but too numerous to mention, great company and conversation to match the beers, great to meet you all.

Port Street Beer House is a cracking place, bright, modern and uber friendly. They have some really exciting beers available and more superb events coming up, including another meet the brewer event on 3rd August where Matt Brophy from Flying Dog Brewery will be talking lucky punters though a selection of samples, if you get the chance it’s not one to miss.


Flying Dog Days

American beers are my new guilty pleasure.¬†No not the bland, mass produced American beers which shall remain discretely unmentioned, I’m talking about the fantastic array of products coming out of the USA craft beer scene.

Flying Dog are a classic example of this with their brilliantly diverse range of full flavoured craft beer. I managed to get hold of a few recently to try and have dropped brief tasting notes below. For the official brewery notes and food pairing ideas, visit them on their website here.

Tire Bite Golden Ale – 5.1%

Light refreshing lager type beer. There’s not much going here on the aroma front, maybe traces of the German hops. The beer itself has biscuity taste with dry finish. It poured a little flat with almost no head at all, not sure if that was the bottle, glass or if that’s just the way it is?¬†Verdict: A good hot day thirst quencher, chill it for when you finally get to light the BBQ..

Snake Dog IPA – 7.1%

This one is amber in colour, with a really pleasant grapefruit & pine resinous aroma. There’s a full mouth filling flavour of grapefruit & citrus peel, with burnt biscuity tasting malt, with a lovely refreshing dry bitterness on the finish. Verdict: Every fridge should have one, it’s fabulous.

Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale – 5.5%

This pours a copper to amber colour with a decent size white frothy head. Slight fruity hop aroma but not as much as the Snake Dog. The flavour is faint tangerine citrus, cascade hop bitter finish. Verdict: Good Pale Ale, for the less adventurous with ABV.

Raging Bitch Belgian Style India Pale Ale – 8.3%

As the title suggests this is an American slant on a Belgian Style IPA. It smells like a good Belgian tripel would, with aromas of yeast & biscuits. On tasting though the flavour is much more IPA, is has lemon, grapefruit, citrus peel and lightly roasted malt, all topped off with a nice bitter finish. Verdict: Just beautiful beer and definitely one you should try.

Check this one out on YouTube or direct on the BeerRitz website, where award winning¬†Zak Avery, one of the UK’s most respected beer writers does a video review of Raging Bitch after it’s UK debut.

Gonzo Imperial Porter – 9.2%

Gonzo is a dense black beer pouring with thick creamy brown head. The smell from the glass is of creamy malts it’s like dunking Malted Milk biscuits into a steaming mug of Ovaltine. The taste is still of that rich malt but here it turns to bitter dark chocolate (see the comment on aroma and add high quality chocolate to that biscuit), there is underlying taste grapefruit citrus which works really well. It’s big and ¬†full on in both flavour and texture, like a big fat alcoholic bedtime drink. Verdict: Snuggle up to one soon, warm and comforting…

A brief extract from the Flying Dog story:

“From a brewpub in Aspen, Colorado to a full-fledged Denver brewery, and then to a state-of-the-art brewing facility in Frederick, Maryland, Flying Dog stands for not only extraordinary beer, but also for standing tall, doing great things, and not letting anyone make you eat shit.”

Finally no Flying Dog blog post would be complete without mentioning the brilliantly designed label art, illustrated by Ralph Steadman.¬†¬†The labels are impressive enough, but to see more of his work check out Ralph’s website here:

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