Nope, I'm not referring to that much stereotyped bunch of beer lovers CAMRA but the new London Brewery, Weird Beard, run by a couple of hirsute gentlemen, Gregg Irwin and Bryan Spooner.
I picked up a selection of their beers via Ales By Mail after hearing a lot of positives about them, plus I enjoyed some beers with fellow blogger Gregg at last year's Beer Bloggers Conference. Reviews after the pic.
In order of consumption then, I began the evening with Black Perle, a "coffee milk stout" or latte stout if you will. Truly sessionable at 3.7% I was most impressed with thisl ittle number which was at once both a coffee and a milk stout. with rich smoky fruit roast coffee aromas and full bodied lactose milk sweetness, finishing with the ashen roast of a good espresso coffee. This beer would be equally good as an after dinner treat or a breakfast beer pick me up.
Miss the Lights is a one off IPA, which reading between the lines of the blurb seems to have been a trial brew that didn't quite hit the mark (to be superseded by hit the lights). Its a more challenging beer with plenty of herbal noble hop notes and a meaty yeast flavour hanging around in the background.
Next up Fade to Black, in one of my favourite styles, Black IPA. This one hits the style bang on, with a delicious orangey (Simcoe?) nose and some slight chocolate notes. I should have drunk it fresher as the hop flavours are starting to fade from the flavour, though still scrumptious and at 6.3% at the higher end of the scale for BIPAs.
Following on from that was "a boring brown beer" a single hopped Chinook effort. Another that just wasn't quite as hop forward as I'd have liked at 7.2% the malt backbone was just a little overpowering, though never cloying. Look forward to trying the refinements in future single hop releases.
I finished up the evening's drinking with the 7.3% monster that is Five O'clock Shadow. The nose was promising, all pineapple esters but I wasn't keen on flavour at first, finding the malt obscured some of the delicate hop flavours, but after allowing it to breathe a little, the tropical hops, tangerine pith and mango were allowed to shine through to give a hybrid of US and UK style IPAs. Fairly bitter, almost quinine like finish.
For me the Black Perle stole the show, at once drinkable and complex and I look forward to trying a cask version of this sometime soon. Fade to Black was a close runner up, being an excellent example of a black IPA. The pale ales are well on the road to greatness but didn't quite hit the spot for me on this occasion. I've got a gaggle of saisons en route; so there could be a future post in the pipeline.