Monthly Archives: January 2013

Black Hen Brewery ‘Cascade Maple Stout’

Another bottle of home brew tonight, this time kindly donated by the talented Mr Fergus McIver! Black Hen Brewery‘s Cascade Maple Stout weighs in at a hearty 5.9% and 45 IBUs. The label tells us to expect a ‘soothing dark beer made with pale, amber, caramel, carafa and black malts. Hopped with Fuggles and Progress and dry-hopped with Cascade for aroma with real maple syrup too.’

It pours with a whole lot of condition, and, as promised, a hugely prominent sense of Cascade on the nose, followed by a firm whack of roasted, toasted goodness. Full of body, you can definitely taste the maple syrup in this beer, while the hops cut through it and prevent it from becoming cloying. You are left with a satisfyingly stout-y vibe, and a warm glow; wonderful for snowy evenings like this.

Cascade Maple Stout combines the characteristics of a good, thick, wintery dark beer, and a new wave, hoppy ale exciting enough to make the geeks sit up and take notice. Cheers, Ferg!

Annis & Mike’s ‘The Lightfoot-tastic’

Tonight’s beer comes from the kitchen of my dear friends Annis and Mike, who kindly chuck bottles of their various home brews at me relatively frequently.

A 7.1% IPA, the Lightfoot-tastic pours thick and promising, with a large, slightly tan head which dissipates quickly. This hot amber beer packs a punch, and is gloriously warming. The label tells me that the hops used are ‘lots of Calypso, some Columbus’, which give a fruity and slightly herbal vibe supported by a subtle yet confident malty backbone. The hops keep the taste clean, refreshing, and compelling; though the noticeable alcohol warmth warns against drinking this too fast, it’s worryingly quaffable.

High praise here: the Lightfoot-tastic smells like a Kernel beer. Well done, chaps, and thank you!

Ramblings, The Rake, and Craftiness

HELLO, chaps (a chap’s a chap, no matter what gender they are)! After a bit of a break, I’m back in the world of beery ramblings. The welcome I’ve received from Twitter folk has been absolutely gorgeous and heart warming. Thank you, fellow ale nerds!

Well, where to start? The summer brought lots of fun, as I introduced the new boyfriend to my favourite London pubs and bars, and got him drinking beer properly. He tends to be more of a port/gin/German lager person (not that I’m really complaining), but has now been firmly converted to Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus; if only we could afford to drink it all the time! GBBF was a giggle, as always, and I managed to get my friend Vic (who runs the new Roehampton University Cider Society) on to the sour beers, too; forever spreading the lambic love. We enjoyed wearing our ‘Age Verified’ wristbands, which I assume were introduced for ’12 – either that, or the Kernel-at-the-Cask-induced hangover of GBBF ’11 had aged me significantly on that day! The rest of the year has seen me doing a few shifts at Cobbett’s Real Ales where I have been selling excellent beer and cider (both bottled and draught) to the lovely people of Dorking, and occasionally venturing into the marvellous establishments around Brixton.

But now, to the beer. Yesterday, a far-flung friend was in London for an interview. On learning that she would be near London Bridge, there was simply no contest; our post-interview pint would have to be at the Rake. Now, we all know the Rake, of course, but three out of our band of five merry troubadours had never been there before, so it was a pleasure to be able to introduce them to the place. Glasses of Mikkeller, Lovibonds, Dark Star, Tap East, Left Hand, and Flying Dog were collectively drained, and all too soon it was time to leave – but not before another cheeky half of Lovibonds ’69′, undoubtedly my beer of the day. What can I say? I’m a fool for hops, and it was rather more quaffable than the strength should allow…

After we parted ways, I realised that I had rather longer than I had anticipated to wait for the other half to get back from work. Well, it would be rude not to have nipped into the Craft, Brixton, seeing as it is so very near to the station… Although I was hugely tempted by the Dark Star ‘Imperial Stout’, it seemed like a bit much for 6pm on top of the Lovibonds, so I played it safe and plumped for Ascot ‘Red IPA’. Definitely decent; I tend to enjoy a red here and there, and continued the theme with my next beer: Wild Beer Co ‘Scarlet Fever’. I hadn’t previously got around to trying any of Wild’s stuff, and, while the first taste of this beer wasn’t an instant “YES!”, it intrigued me, and I decided on a half. A good, solid red ale, which I would like to try bottled. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more from Wild Beer Co. It’s fantastic having the Craft in Brixton; they always have something interesting on, and I almost always end up spending far longer in there than I intended to! Of course, I absolutely adore the Crown and Anchor, further up the road, but if you’re hanging out in the Village or meeting someone at the station, you just can’t argue with the Craft.