Saturday, 31 December 2016

New year post 2016-2017

And behold, the end of the year is nigh. It hasn't been a popular year for many, but politics and celebrity deaths aside for me it's been fairly vanilla.

Blog posts have been sparse. A little territory was gained here, yet lost elsewhere. Say when family life is good, it doesn't matter that you didn't win a single SIBA award (and on some occasions weren't even nominated) right? Yet 2017 at Mordue brewery looks all the more interesting. We have better equipment in development and a better team of dedicated individuals running the place than I have ever witnessed in my time at the place. We continue to venture out against a vast array of competitors and constantly evolving market.



As for back in the crib/home not a great lot has changed. I recall the eldest bairn saying she no longer wants to be a hairdresser when she grows up and now wants to be "king of the world". Good luck Susie with that one. Harvey now has lots more teeth, can walk, almost talk and chuck things around he disapproves of. He too can now say "Beer" (proud moment). So yes, aside from April's 'Battle of the Beers' 2016 hasn't been much of a roller coaster. I'm finishing this year with a variety of beers including this big gun acquired from an Amsterdam trip.



Evil Twin Freudian Slip is a US style barley wine. It's got that signature boozy cognac soaked almond like depth all over it. It's a big, juicy 10.3% monster. I'm getting Columbus hops and clean fermenting yeast. Splendid stuff. So all in all 2016 has been a good year. Not a favourite year by any means, they would be;

2001 (goodbye school)
2009 (Wedding, Daleside and all things glorious)
2013 (awards, Panda Frog, a blaze of glory)

Notable mentions/also very good years;

1996
2003
2012

But on reflection most years are nether entirely bad nor good balancing success and discovery against failure all dependant upon circumstance  So traditionally every new years Eve I normally listen to this song, ideally whilst drinking some whisky.  Happy new year everyone from Rob's beer quest.






Sunday, 11 December 2016

Pandafrogs; class of 2016/17


The year comes to close here at Mordue breweries side arm, the Panda Frog Project. It opened with Allelic Drift not quite getting that SIBA award then the summer was quiet. During the latter half of the year some anticipated projects were put to rest. A 6.3% Belgian stout Pandadora and Hibanator Bock 6.3%  for the winter season.



But things are changing here at Panda Frog. Some lovely new kit will facilitate more kegging, bottling and for the first time canning. To increase availability we are also adopting a core range of select Panda Frogs including Pils and Allelic Drift  opposed to having them all as seasonals.



Next year will also involve the brewing of five new Panda Frogs including a 5th Anniversary IPA (yes it's been that long) and a raspberry-chocolate porter. I won't give too much away.








Thursday, 20 October 2016

Beers of Autumn

This post title should maybe read Alnwick beers of autumn as these were locally sourced. Well locally as in some were from supermarkets but hey, they were all purchased in the local vicinity. Autumn is the best season even if seemingly the shortest it's best accompanied by beer.

Heatherwood
The Purple Panther


From the shelves of Lidl. A slick and slightly light bodied porter with a dollop of sweet toffee and chocolate. A kind of chocolate digestive aftertaste.

Firebrick
Toon Broon



The first beer I have came across actually paying homage to Newcastle Brown Ale. I personally don't think it needs to be done but find this better than the original. An old school feel is dominant. It's 4.7% and closer to deep russet than brown. Caramel malt and almond aroma, palate brings licorice and caramel, charred grain and a flinty bitterness. Very much traditional through and through.

Theakstons
Distiller's cask range



A new one from Theakstons obtained at Morrisons. A 6.5% ale 'acquainted with the flavours of Speyside malt whisky'. I was expecting an Innis and Gunn like experience and its vaguely similar but nowhere near as sweet. The thing that isn't clear form the label is whether this is genially oak aged in speyside whisky barrels or blended with speyside whisky. None the less is aint half bad. Candied almond meets woody vanilla, an American oak influence for sure.

Wynchwood
 Hobgoblin


Familiar to most Hobgoblin is clearly an autumn beer. Dominated by sweet nutty malts, chocolate and a hint of fruity English hops. For supermarket beers it isn't half bad although my preference is for the cask version.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Rochefort 10

Delving into its boozy, figgy depths at the John Bull

There are times in one's journey of beer when a throwback to the old is revisited. A chance to re-live the experience that once changed one's very perspective of beer. It so happens that Alnwick's The John Bull has recently restocked its Belgian beers and after a long time Abbey St Remy Rochefort 10 is now back in stock (after a long time).

Rochefort 10 for me was a world-changing beer of its time. Like the Judas Priests Painkiller Album, a classic masterpiece of metal that still sounds awesome today. The Metallica/Slayer era came along, so did Nirvana and the dark days of 'Nu-metal'. German power metal cheese and new wave American metalcore came in and out of trends but Judas Priest, like Rochefort 10 still evokes great memories. Amongst the various passing beer trends it never really got lost in the crowd and always remained one of the bench mark Belgian strong ales. Rochefort 10!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

North East Brewers Market

Matt and Josh man the Mordue/Panda Frog bar

The North East craft brewers market was was a craft beer showcase held at the Palace of arts in Exhibition Park near Newcastle University. The basic back story is Wylam Brewery have moved site. Their new 'brew' palace is equipped with a big fancy brew kit (which I forgot to photograph) bar area, some kind of barrel aging program and nice interior design.

Wylam keg fonts

The event featured seven breweries of the region on the Friday night session; Wylam, Tyne Bank, Errant, Trufitt, Mordue, Credance and Out There, alongside guests Cloudwater brewery from Manchester. Some quality scran was also on offer.



I got a tour of the new brew kit yet the event was mostly about good beer, good people, good food and camaraderie. Sorachi Dollar from Tyne Bank was an early choice for me, a variant from the much respected Silver Dollar. Pine mouthfeel and not overly lemony compared to some sorachi ace hopped beers. Overall impression was quality premium strength pale ale.

Moving on Trufitt from down Middlesbrough way had a very smooth almost creamy Vanilla Porter. I also got to meet the folks at Errant Brewery, relative newcomers to Newcastle's collection of breweries. The Waimea-cascade hopped Blonde ale  Clever Girl brought pleasant mild orange and pine. Credence brewing also had a nice Red ale, a development of their very straight forward core range.



There were familiar sights like Wylam Jakehead and Hexan as well as the Panda Frog/Mordue bar serving our new Sterling-Hersbrucker hopped Pilsner alongside Northumbrian Blonde IPA and Panda Frog Allelic Drift. I also tried a rather nice Cloudwater Centennial IPL. Overall a rather splendid evening.