The Best Beers I Drank In… JULY 2016

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Browsing this months shortlist you’d think I didn’t go out much in July.

That wasn’t the case though. There were big trips to Liverpool and London as well as plenty of nights in Manchester. It just so happens that I drank some amazing beers at home and at a bottle share with friends.

Omnipollo – Bianca Raspberry Lassi Gose (3.5% / Bottle)

I can’t get enough of Omnipollo at the moment and this is another stunner.

A milky gose brewed with tons of fresh raspberry, lactose sugar and rock salt.

It pours a gorgeous milky red colour and has a huge aroma of raspberries, citrus and floral hops.

The taste is predominantly raspberries with some floral and citrusy notes.

Omnipollo - Bianca Raspberry Lassi Gose
Omnipollo – Bianca Raspberry Lassi Gose

Harviestoun – Ola Dubh 18 Year Special Reserve (Bottle @ The Hinds Head, Bray. 8% / Bottle)

Although this is a very good beer it probably wouldn’t have made the list had I drank it at home. But for me it’s often about the place and the experience as much as the beer itself.

I’d just finished an amazing meal at The Hind’s Head, Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin starred pub. Accompanied by a couple of excellent bottles of wine.

I fancied a beer afterwards but wasn’t sold on any of the traditional cask stuff on offer. Not expecting much, I checked out the fridges and was pleasantly surprised to find this.

An amped up version of their stout ‘Old Engine Oil’. It’s then aged for 6 months in ‘Highland Park 18 Year Old’ single malt whisky casks.

The result is a very smooth, slightly sweet stout. With coffee, chocolate and fruit flavours before the whisky takes over.

It’s good but I think the barrel ageing in quality whisky casks deserves a stronger base beer. I felt a couple of % higher ABV would improve it even more.

Still an unexpected yet lovely nightcap.

Harviestoun - Ola Dubh 18 Year Special Reserve

Mikkeller – Spontanyuzu (7.7% / Bottle)

I’ve lost count of how many of Mikkeller’s Spontan range I’ve tried. But this is definitely one of my favourites.

I’m a big fan of Japanese citrus fruit yuzu but it doesn’t always work in beer. It certainly does here.

Sour but very drinkable. Citrusy, zesty, funky. Quite high carbonation, all in all a really classy drink.

I had it with a lemon drizzle cake which balanced the sourness perfectly.

Mikkeller - Spontanyuzu

Birra Toccalmatto – Dr. Caligari (6.1% / Bottle)

A gorgeous coloured imperial berlinerweisse from a very good Italian brewery.

Actually, it’s more like a lambic than berlinerweisse for me. But who cares when it tastes so good!

Fruity, funky and super tart. Like licking raspberry flavoured sherbet.

Toccalmatto - Dr Caligari

Almanac Beer Company – Saison De Brettaville (7.2% / Bottle)

I’d been on an all day crawl around the best bars and pubs in Liverpool. But by far the best beer I had was on the train home.

Of course it wasn’t bought on the train. Rather from the BrewDog with BottleDog attached and located conveinitely close to the station.

I’m loving pretty much everything Almanac lately, especially their ‘Farm To Barrel’ range.

This is a bretted saison aged in white wine barrels.

It’s light and refreshing but full of flavour. Funky and sour. Spicy and oaky with loads of zest and tropical fruit.

Almanac - Saison De Brettaville

 

The next 4 beers all came from a bottle share with a few friends.

Rather than drink the beers in any sort of logical order based on flavour or ABV we simply picked them out at random. It was good fun and worked surprisingly well actually.

Bottle Club

The Bruery – Oude Tart (2013) (7.5% / Bottle)

I wasn’t sure about this based purely on appearance. A sort of browny colour with a beige head. The aroma didn’t do much for me either but the taste, oh my god.

It was stunning.

Really sour but extremely well rounded. There’s loads going on – cherry, oak, apple, vinegar – but it feels perfectly balanced.

The Bruery - Oude Tart

Odell Brewing Co. – Piña Agria (7% / Bottle)

I’d been looking forward to this beer for a long time. Pretty much since I fell in love with Magic Rock’s quite similar ‘Pina Collision‘.

I’m not sure Odell’s is quite as good but I enjoyed it a lot.

The aroma is all pineapple. Flavor is more of the same. Sour with loads of pineapple and funky brett.

Odell - Pina Agria

Green Flash Brewing Company – Cosmic Ristretto (8.2% / Bottle)

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a ‘Baltic Porter’ before. Google tells me they’re a “high alcohol, sweet, robust porter that originated in the Baltic states” .

That pretty much sums up this beer.

It poured deep black with a creamy, mocha like head. And had a huge aroma of espresso and tasted of smooth, sweet espresso. If you love coffee as much as I do you can’t not love this beer.

There’s lactose and brown sugar in there giving fantastic body.

Green Flash - Cosmic Ristretto

Alaskan Brewing Co. – Smoked Porter (2012) (6.5% / Bottle)

When I first started getting into craft beer I saw this popping up in all sorts of ‘best of’ lists.

And for good reason.

It’s silky smooth with really good body for a porter.

Roasty and malty with a hint of coffee and vanilla and quite subtle smokiness.

If I was being overly critical I’d maybe like a touch more smoke. But it really was very good regardless.

Alaskan Brewing Co - Smoked Porter

BrewDog – #MashTag 2015 (10% / Bottle)

I drank this hoppy black barley wine so many times in 2015. Both whilst it was fresh and hoppy and then months later when the hops had started to fade.

I thought I’d seen the last of it but luckily stumbled upon a site in Germany selling them so I stocked up on a few more.

It’s a totally different beer to how it was a year ago but just as great in different ways. The hops have long gone but now it tastes like a big, rich imperial stout.

I’m going to leave the others for as long as possible.. I’m looking forward to seeing how they age.

BrewDog - MashTag '15

Amager Bryghus – The Lady of Cofitachequi (7% / Bottle)

As a member of Mikkeller’s ‘Beer Club’ I receive an exciting box once a month.

I’d been considering quitting for a while actually. As it unfortunately gets more and more expensive each month. Mainly thanks to the terrible post-Brexit vote exchange rate. I just can’t bring myself to do it though, because along with the best new Mikkeller beers it also contains a few interesting guest beers. Usually things I’d never be able to get from anywhere else.

Like this collaboration between Mikkeller’s Copenhagen neighbours Amager and Fonta Flora Brewery from North Carolina. It had been bottled just 8 days before I received it.

Heavily hopped with – for me – the holy trinity of Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra.

A West Coast style IPA. Ridiculously fresh and hoppy. Citrusy, piney and tropical with a refreshing bitter aftertaste.

Amager - The Lady of Cofitachequi

Northern Monk – 822 (8.7% / Can)

I’ve had a few beers lately that I prefer from can/bottle to draft and this is another of them.

I didn’t dislike the keg version but it certainly didn’t wow me.

This can, however, was brilliant.

A proper DIPA with a lovely resiny and piney aroma. With a sweet malt flavour combined with a strong resinous, piney bitterness.

Northern Monk - 822

Omnipollo – Chocolate Ice Cream Brown Ale (6.2% / Keg @ Port Street Beer House, Manchester)

I first had this beer at Copenhagen Beer Celebration. I was worried it couldn’t possibly be as good a second time as it was in the head.

Luckily, I was wrong.  It’s another great collab with Buxton.

The aroma is sugar, chocolate and vanilla. Flavour is much of the same but adds peanuts, coffee and roasted malts to the mix. Sadly it didn’t come topped with soft serve ice cream like it did in Copenhagen though.

Omnipollo - Chocolate Ice Cream Brown Ale
Omnipollo – Chocolate Ice Cream Brown Ale

De Dochter van de Korenaar – L’Ensemble Pure Oak Series (13% / Keg @ Café Beermoth)

Although I generally try to keep these posts to beers I haven’t covered in previous months. I drank some pretty special ‘repeat’ beers in July.

I couldn’t resist including these. As although they’re fast becoming regulars, they’re more than worthy of a place on this list.

Rich and complex with an aroma of toffee and dried fruit. It’s one of those that tastes all of its ABV, but in a good way. Sweet and malty with some vanilla and oak.

De Dochter van de Korenaar - L'Ensemble Pure Oak Series
De Dochter van de Korenaar – L’Ensemble Pure Oak Series

Although I generally try to keep these posts to beers I haven’t covered in previous months. I drank some pretty special ‘repeat’ beers in July.

I couldn’t resist mentioning these that although they’re fast becoming regulars are more than worthy of a place on this list.

Weird Beard Brew Co. – Double Perle
To ØL – Nelson Survin
Buxton Brewery – Bourbon Skyline (Twice, inc paying £9 at The 23 Club in Liverpool)
Buxton Brewery – Anglo Mania
Oskar Blues Brewery – Ten FIDY
Ballast Point – Grapefruit Sculpin

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