Snowed In…

IMG_5344From what I’ve read and seen today it seems that half of the country is at a standstill, flights and trains cancelled, roads gridlocked and supermarkets stripped of all fresh produce in the belief that we are all DOOMED!!

But did any of you foolish panic buyers stop and think about drink? After all man cannot live by bread alone, or so they say.

Picture the scene, you’ve just been paid it’s three o’clock on a Friday afternoon and work have sent you home early so you don’t freeze to death. You get in the car and are steadily slithering your way home in scene resembling Ice Road Truckers. Out of the corner of you eye you spot something, no it’s not a Polar bear its your favourite local beer shop and it’s still open, serving the nation, stiff upper lip and all that.

IMG-20130118-00025All your instincts tell you to keep driving as if you stop you may never get going again, but it’s beer, maybe your last beer before you go to an icy grave and end up looking like Ötzi the Iceman

Of course you stop, you have to, but what to buy, it may be your last beer ever and this damn snow may never ever stop..?

For me as it’s gonna be cold I want something warming so first on my list would be “Orkney Brewery” “Dark Island Reserve”, I’ve only had it once but it blew my socks off enough for me to rush out and buy two more. (looks out of the window and thinks, “why am I not drinking one now”).

Rich dark and full-bodied it’s a real winter warmer full of boozy fruits and chocolate toffee, there’s a proper full on almost port like thing going on that really stuck in my mind the last time I tasted it. That should keep Jack Frost from nipping at your nose.

IMG_5341Next up something Belgian methinks, my love of their beers just grows and grows so I must have at least one on what is perhaps my final shopping list. I’m going for a “Stille Nacht” by “De Dolle Brouwers“. It’s sweet in an altogether different way to it’s dark rich shopping basket mate above. Here we have caramelised apple, pears, shortbread biscuits and more, it’s a Christmas beer that avoids the stereotypical handfuls of winter spice, loaded instead with candy sugared fruits and bitter hops. A fine choice if I say so myself..

IMG_5350Last up I need something hoppy to cleanse those delicious but sweet indulgent beers off my palate and there is one beer that is currently rocking my world on that front, the wonderful “Hadouken” from “Tiny Rebel“. I tried a bottle a few weeks back and reviewed it here, there and then, I revisited it again last night and it was even better than I remembered, it’s a tropical fruit tsunami in a glass, just what you need to remind you of balmier summer days.

Just three beers I’ve chosen based on recent beers I’ve tasted, there are loads more of course but time is short.

The question remains though, what would you buy and why? 

(If the answer is good enough I may even send you a beer)

Rebel Rebel

IndyMan, you remember that right?

Even if you weren’t lucky enough to attend you must have been comatose not to have noticed the furore that followed what was for me at least the best beer festival ever, be that on blogs, twitter or word of mouth. Well that was where I had my first proper taste of Tiny Rebel

I walked in, massively excited at the prospect of an awesome day of beer and immediately faced a dilemma, what beer to try first?

I scanned the along the wide expanse of the cask bar and stopped, one pump clip leapt from the bar, a spinning, whirling mass of jaggedy edges, clip fixings, fire and lightning. It screamed HADOUKEN in a slightly stereotypically oriental voice, drop kicked me between the eyes and before I knew it was back on its hand pull, a slightly smug smile on its plastic, flat face.

OK, OK, there may have been an ever so slight air of exaggeration there, but for anyone who grew up playing Street Fighter, you’ll at least get where I’m coming from. Anyway, tonight, I’m back there again, memories flooding back as I tuck into a bottle of Hadouken magic.

First off lets look at the Tiny Rebel branding, modern, bold, clear, simple and instantly recognisable, I just love it. I love it so much in fact I’d better get this bottle open…

It smells incredible, there’s an immediate hit of fruit bubblegum balls, the type you used to get in jars. Stick your nose in and try to pick your favourite from the kaleidoscope of colours that bizarrely whirl around your nostrils. Then more, candied strawberry, melon and a slightly savoury twist, lets take a stab at salted caramel, it’s one of the best smelling beers I’ve had for a good old while..

The taste is much more contained, but nonetheless pleasingly good. There’s a sweetness there but its very much restrained, like Chun Li bound tightly with the bitterest of bitter hop shackles.

There’s a sort of softness underpinning the whole thing, a warm malted bready-ness that carries the whole thing along nicely, but again can’t override the resinous, grapefruit pith hop bitterness that coats the tongue with every mouthful and lingers long.

This is a seriously good beer, Amplified IPA it has scrawled graffiti style on the label and it certainly lives up to that. I can’t wait to get stuck into the rest.


*Massive thanks to Chris Dixon, who very kindly lugged these from the West Midlands for me, top bloke and worth a Twitter follow if you love good beer.