Perfection in a glass

Its not just the water and the limestone that the small town of Buxton in the peak district can be proud of: they now have a brewery too! I'm a bit late to the party as there have been a plethora of other reviews on the blogosphere (Beer Ritz Blog , The Good Stuff , The Good Stuff again , The Reluctant Scooper , Pencil and Spoon , Beer Paradise , A Swift One Reluctant Scooper again , The Beer Boy , Beer Reviews (Meet the brewer) , Tandleman , Eating Isn't Cheating,Broadford Brewer), but ever since trying Axe Edge earlier this year (I'm glad Beer Ritz were out of Burton bridge IPA!) I've been itching to try some of the rest of the range. This weekend I had my chance to sup my way through the bottles sitting patiently in my parent's garage since I ordered them last month.Would Axe Edge be an indicator of great beer all round, or merely a lone stand-out in an otherwise drab range? Lets find out...

 As I tend to do when out and about I chose to drink the beers in order of ABV, but with so many to get through I enlisted the help of my dad in the tasting, though he was too busy drinking to pass comment on many.

Moor Top was up first, a pale golden ale of very sessionable ABVwith subtle aroma of pineapple and yeast. Initial fresh bitterness becomes lemon and Passion fruit in the finish. Thirst quenching and one I'd love to drink a few of from cask.

Buxton Spa was next up. This mid-gold little beauty is packed full of juicy tropical fruit, like a beery Rubicon. A slight scent of cats urine (don't worry you can't taste it!) suggested citra and a quick website check confirmed that's the hop used in this beer. Mango sorbet with a hint of lime. Delicious and better than other citra-hopped beers I've tried!

Buxton Best is a brown ale but not a boring one by any stretch of the imagination. English hops assert themselves on the nose Peppery  with faint blackcurrant Bitter taste up front with marmalade hops and gentle carbonation. It has good malt backbone to stand up to the bitterness.

Then on to one I had a chance to try on cask in Manchester. I wasn't keen on the massive head on cask (sparkler alert) as the beer tasted quite dull in comparison.A much better affair in bottle. None of the roasted notes present in some Black IPAs. Wear a blindfold with this one and you'd swear it was pale.

And then on to one I was salivating for: Axe Edge. At 6.8% this double IPA is certainly not one you can knock back at a pace or you'd soon know it! Fairly unassuming citrus nose on this amber beer. Gentle carbonation, high bitterness but well balanced by mango, resin and lemon and a strong malt backbone.Plentyof flavour from the UK, USA and NZ hops and in my top three beers of the year (so far?). I wasn't disappointed.

No brewery lineup is complete without an imperial stout in its range and Buxton is no exception,  with Tsar at 9.5% being theirinterpretation of the style. Thick and opaque with an orange tan head thebeer certainly looks the part. Legs show the presence of high alcohol but its well disguised. Cola and chocolate nose. Thick body with treacle and a coffee finish. Very bitter which although not unexpected certainly hit my palate after the much sweeter IPAs! 

A great selection of beers then from one of my favourite breweries for 2011. Hopefully I'll get to try others of their offerings, though asever being based nowhere near and with a sea in between its none too likely unless a passing blogger takes pity on me! (I did get to try Old Big 'ead which was hiding in a Spar in Hope, but didn't really take any notes)

You can follow the brewery on twitter here and head brewer here. The website is also worth a look for some info on how the beers were named


I found Wild Boar (5.7%) and High Tor (6.3%) at the Vineyard in Belfast! Very unexpected but welcome nonetheless! I thought I'd include them in this post rather than do a new one.

Wild Boar is an award winner (Champion bottled beer SIBA North) for the brewery and its easy to see why. An immediate fresh and pithy grapefruit aroma on the nose from those New Zealand hops I didn't need the label to tell me are there in abundance. It pours a lovely hazy blonde with thick off-white head which hangs around for ages. In the mouth its fresh mango and pineapple followed by plenty of grapefruit and then the tongue-smacking bitterness I so love in these new zealand hops. Lurking in the background is a bit of drier bitterness too from those European hops used. On the finish the malt peeks its head through the bitterness before descending again leaving with your tongue bathing in pine resin and demanding another glug of beer, which I duly provided it. Drinking this beer is akin to drinking a regular IPA through a straw with several hops jammed in it. This is up there with Axe Edge and Spa as my favourite Buxton brews. Bottle conditioning gives it just enough sparkle to accentuate the hops whereas I think force carbonation may just send the bitterness up my nose and kill the moment.

High Tor as my second beer this evening has a lot to live up to then. At 0.6% stronger it certainly ha sthe alcohol to act as a follow up.On first inspection its disappointing, pouring a murky red-brown with no head whatsoever. On the nose is passion fruit and caramel, the complexity lacking in comparison to Wild Boar. My first thought is that its very sweet. Certainly plenty of toffee and there's some stewed plums in there too with a balancing bitterness which isn't anywhere near as in your face. I'm thinking perhaps that I drunk these in the wrong order. The malt bill is certainly king with this beer and I get golden syrup and raisins with
a few more sips. I reckon this beer may be a candidate for keg as the carbonation is quite sprightly enough to keep it vital. After a bite to eat the hops are a bit more noticeable, likewise the alcohol but I find myself craving more wild boar. A nice drop then but not in the same league as that earlier beer.


  1. Steve

    Sounds like a great range; I will look out for them....wonder if Bitter Virtue stock them??

    Oh, also, my blog URL has changed to http://cuddlybadger.blogspot.com/ (this is why your link doesn't work!!)...was getting annoyed by wordpress.

  2. Sound great - more to add to my list of 'beers I ought to get round to trying.'

    The quest continues.

  3. I'm sure they'd try to get hold of them for you Paul if you requested them, otherwise do an online order to Beer Ritz!

    (i thought I'd already updated the link, sorted now!)

    Definitely Gareth, a great range

  4. Buxton make some great beers! I don't see them often but when I do I'll always order them.

  5. From top to bottom Buxton beers are bloody good, oddly one of my least favourites is Axe Edge, too harsh and heavy for me.

    Good to meet you properly this time on Twissup, am I right in thinking you were on the BSF bar at GBBF?

  6. Yeah, that was me Rob! Still didn't get much time to chat at Twissup but at least we know whos who for next one now!