Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: March 2015

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

St Patrick's Day: Irish Whiskey Tasting

We're pretty much novices when it comes to Irish whiskey, so decided to use St Patrick's Day as an excuse to explore a little. Rather than go out to face the inevitable monstrosity of annual Guinness drinkers, we stayed in, and ordered a bundle of treats from the Emerald Isle from the folks at Flaviar. Among them was the "Whiskey in the Jar'ow" tasting set, comprising the following five drams...

Greenore 8 Year Old - 40%

Colour: Sunlit straw
Nose: Candied walnuts drift initially with a little spice that breaks from the glass after a moment. An interesting sweetcorny note acts as a base to the harmony of aromas.
Palate: Strawberry and cream boiled sweets, super smooth and drinkable.
Finish: A tart lemon meringue pie to close the flavours.

Redbreast 15 Year Old - 46%

Colour: Sun-kissed beach
Nose: Opening with a spicy dry rye character that is carried well with a treacley hum. A dry essence of hay provides contrast and balance.
Palate: Oily and rich sweetness of lavender honey, with a pecan pie and maple syrup stickiness.
Finish: The wonderful character is lifted with peppermint that freshens the mouth delightfully.

Bushmills 16 Year Old - 40%
Whiskey to shout about!

Colour: Burnished amber
Nose: Oddly savoury in the background with woody dried herbs. Autumn fruits and pruny sweetness come to the fore alongside a prominent oak characteristic.
Palate: Leathery ash, well spiced, with strong pine oil.
Finish: Berries and tree sap continue afterwards, filling the mouth with a continued resinous nature.

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve - 40%

Colour: Vibrant amber
Nose: Classically Irish... vanilla, smooth fruity caramel, and oak. A hint of white chocolate ripples under the surface.
Palate: Smooth and gentle, with a sweet and salty contrast.
Finish: A light rosewater tang develops on the aftertaste, with a long aromatic finish and continuing briny character.

Connemara Peated - 40%

Colour: Spun gold
Nose: Definite peat! Fresh seaweed, reminiscent of being on a beach as the tide goes out. A tiny floral note of freesias is just apparent in the background.
Palate: Creamy and smooth, with dark chocolate and rich coffee.
Finish: A slight wisp of smoke comes in right at the end. It's peaty alright, but not as we usually know it.

We absolutely loved the packaging of the tasting set, which included tasting notes and "instructions" for a tasting night in. The sample sizes were just right for either a little taste of all five between 3 people, or a larger drink to ponder over for 2. The speed and quality of service from Flaviar was also exceptional. We understand the website is still in development, with some features lacking at the moment (such as no option to view open orders) but our email queries were responded to speedily and helpfully. Definitely one we'd recommend.



Sunday, 15 March 2015

Sheffield Beer Week

Regular readers may have noticed that pretty much every week is beer week chez Mashtun. However, a new initiative has popped up this year to get the whole city (plus beer tourists) involved in celebrating this wonderful nectar. Between the 16th and the 22nd of March, every day will see a whole host of ale-ridden events taking place across Sheffield, from Meet the Brewer evenings to tasting competitions.

We're particularly excited to get to the Rutland Arms on Wednesday for the Siren Craft Brew MTB event, having been fans of the unique, adventurous beers created by Siren for quite some time. We're also hoping to get some scran while we're there, as chef Rico is putting together a special dish involving beer every day during Sheffield Beer Week. Having sampled their Siren Caribbean Chocolate Cake ice cream, there's no doubt that the menu will be epic. There's another Siren event held at Shakespeare's (who are hosting something every day!) on Tuesday 17th, with a showcase of their barrel aged beers... Experimental, ingenuitive and downright delicious.

We're also hoping to head to our top new pub of last year, the Tap and Tankard, who are hosting a Great Heck Meet the Brewer on Thursday 18th - another brewery producing consistently excellent products both on cask and in bottle.

The weekend brings SIBA's BeerX festival (preceded by a pub crawl round town, organised by Hop Hideout and CAMRGB - a prime opportunity for us to meet some new beery pals) and a closing party held by Stancill Brewery.

For more information and to see what else is going on, check out the Sheffield Beer Week website or join in the beer chat with co-ordinators Jules Gray and Clare Tollick on Twitter @Sheffbeerweek. We are so lucky to live in a city with such a vibrant, exciting scene for beer drinkers, and this is the perfect way to show it off.

See you at the bar!


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Buxton Brewery: Battle Horse

Buxton have fast become one of our go-to breweries, with every beer of theirs which we've sampled being creative, original and oh-so-tasty (here's looking at you, Wyoming Sheep Ranch). We thought that for our first blog post reviewing a single beer, they'd be a great place to turn, and we found something a bit special to shout about...

Buxton Brewery's 100th brew since moving to their current brew kit is Battle Horse: a bold Double Black IPA bottled at 10.5%. First things first, it looks ace - Buxton's branding is contemporary, clean and eye-catching, and the beer itself is a pure, deep black.

Battle Cat Horse
The nose sings of pine and oak, almost as if aged, but at the same time it is vibrant and fresh with oodles of dark berries.
The malt bill, containing prominent roasted malts, is bold and chocolatey, bringing a dry roasted coffee body. With tropical passion fruit lying in wait underneath all that richness, despite the high ABV it is beautifully soft and deceptively easy to drink. This shows how the imperial-style malty notes in the beer are balanced by the more classical IPA characteristics: the variety of hops in the brew give a great oiliness and body whilst also providing a very fresh, almost floral character throughout the drink. So complex, but it all comes together with absolute panache and completely fills the head with chewy, extravagant goodness.

This landmark brew from this wonderful Derbyshire brewery is truly something to behold - I highly recommend keeping an eye out for it.