Something that I very much like within the beer world is how brewers share ideas, expertise and even ingredients amongst one another like one big family. Rather than trying to out-compete each other, many brewers are happy to help each other improve.

Sometimes the help is more basic, but nonetheless valuable like the sharing of yeast (Dark Star gave Saioson yeast to Bristol Beer Factory) or expertise, often done through Twitter, when homebrew enthusiasts can chip in too. In fact there have been home brew beers brewed in breweries, not to mention home brewers starting up full-scale.

One area that is becoming more popular is collaboration brewing. Over the last few years there have been a slew of beer writer brewery collaborations (Otley Thai-Bo, hedgerO and O'Roger; Brewdog Avery Brown Dredge to name but a few) and also brewery-brewery collaborations (not necessarily limited to just two!) with recent efforts from  Magic Rock+Dark Star & Brewdog+Lost Abbey springing to mind, not to mention the Wetherspoon organised trans-Atlantic collaborations for their beer festivals. 

I'm going to review a few of these here.

Looks and tastes good.
Bristol Beer Factory/ Arbor Ales/ Zero Degrees -Collaboration Tripel (6.8%)

This one has been sat in my parents garage for 6 months since I picked it up at Westcountry Ales before heading to Glastonbury Festival earlier this year. A very clear amber-brown with bubbly white head and gentle carbonation. Plenty of yeasty esters on the nose with noticable pineapple, but also some melon. In the mouth its a typical triple, without the cloying sweetness sometimes found in the style, there's a balance bitterness from the addition of new world hops, though their flavour has long since faded. A lovely beer, which I suspect would have been even tastier fresh.

A "quick one" in Sheffield Tap
Burton Ale in the middle
Thornbridge/ Kernel Burton Ale (7.2%)
There's a slew of these historical recreations coming up, with Fulelrs making their Past Masters and Kernel themselves brewing old London Recipes and this can only be a positive thing. This is a historic style of ale recreated from historical research. I was lucky enough to find it available in the Sheffield Tap. Ruby amber with thin white head. Ripe cranberries and washed rind cheese aroma. Initially sweet and Fruity with dry bitterness and long dried fruit finish. Would love to try this with a washed rind hceese such as Aardharan or Stinking Bishop.

Black Tokyo Horizon
Brewdog/ Mikkeller/ NogneO - Black Tokyo Horizon (17.2%)
I was prompted to open this for stout day, but never actually reviewed it. Have tried Mikkeller Black and loved it, wasn’t so keen on Brewdog Tokyo* but need to get hold of Horizon! Pours viscous and dark brown with an instantaneous cola coloured head that soon disappears. Slightly acetic rich chocolate and alcoholic nose. Initial burst of milk chocolate and shortbread. Very sweet and rich in flavour. Hint of alcohol and long finish. Probably the most expensive beer I've ever bought, but definitely worth it.
At 17.2% ABV I'd recommend sharing though!

Brewdog/ Three Floyds - Bitch Please (11.5%)
A lighter beer than I’d anticipated, chestnut brown with cream coloured head and a light level of carbonation. Fantastically complex nose, I can detect toffee, hops and smoked malt with some oak wood character. Smoky/peaty flavour certainly to the fore on the first taste with noticeable alcohol presence and a fruity sweetness that reminds me of toffos. Finishes with unmistakable sugar butteriness of shortcake an alcoholic warmth and the ghost of the wood. A good solid beer.

Brewdog/ Mikkeller- Divine Rebel (2010)(13.8%)
Ruby brown beer with fruitcake aroma, fairly sweet with plenty of noticable booze in aroma and in body. A sticky texture with robust malt and alcohol burn, though otherwise a bit disappointing. Very little hop character, the whisky takes the fore here. Much prefer Fulelrs Brewer's Reserve.

Actually much redder
The Kernel/ Redemption/ Dark Star/ Zero Degrees/ Brodies/ Brew Wharf- Big Brick Red Rye (8.9%)

The Kernel look set to challenge Brewdog for their collaboration supremacy, and with their prolific brew releases it may not be long for this 2011 BGBW Brewer of the Year. Pouring a hazy amber-red with fluffy cream head the noticable aroma is pine resin. Tasting fairly pithy up front the flavour becomes resinous and quite boozy but with a very smooth body and fruit flavours with a long bitter finish.

2011 has indeed been an excellent year for beer and long may it continue. I'd like to see more collaborations like this in 2012 because everybody benefits!

Addendum: Got a chance to try the Magic Rock/ Dark Star at the York Tap and it is a lovely beer.

No comments:

Post a Comment