Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: Blue Monkey
Showing posts with label Blue Monkey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blue Monkey. Show all posts

Thursday, 10 December 2015

A Beery Advent - Part 2

Continuing on our beery journey through December... We've tried to select beers that represent a good selection of our favourite breweries (those that bottle, at least), covering a range of styles, with many also having a little story behind them too.

6. Intrepid - Porter, 4.8%
We selected this beer as 2015 has truly been the year of Craft Beer Hour! We've followed this from the beginning and were able to properly get involved with a greatly enjoyable trip to the Intrepid brewery, followed by tea at the fantastic community owned Anglers Rest in Bamford. This beer is pleasantly smooth, with wafts of a delectable hop character that brings a delicate floral nature to the malty mouthfeel, whilst being altogether an easy drinker. A classic porter brought to the more modern palate.

7. Crew Republic - Foundation 11, 5.6%
Fickle reason for picking this initially - Laura cannot resist any beer with an owl included in the artwork. Having tried this on keg a few months ago, we were blown away by the powerfully fruity, refreshing nature of this American-style pale ale, produced by a Munich-based brewery. The bottled version has less hop pizazz, but is still a very tasty drink... Resinous and lightly floral in aroma. Grapefruity and bitter on the palate, with an almost savoury, herbal edge and a dry finish.

8. Northern Monk - Strannik, 9.0%
As soon as this hits the glass, you know you've got a BIG drink. Massively rich and creamy on the nose, with molasses and hints of tannins. On the palate it's thick, almost to the point of being syrupy, with full bodied flavours of black treacle and hot buttered toast. The finish is deeply roasted, with an almost burnt nature that lingers behind. We've been ageing this for about two years - definitely worth the wait.

9. Siren - Barrel Aged Broken Dream, 7.4%
Aged in Ardbeg barrels, this appealed to the whisky fans in us as much as the beer lover! There's a hint of sweet wood smoke from the cask but this doesn't overwhelm at all... in fact we'd have liked a little more! None the less this is a beautiful beer that feels luxurious in drinking - oily, rich and leaves a gentle peaty sweetness on the tongue.

10. Blue Monkey - Silverback in the USSR, 10.5%
There is absolutely no doubt that if this beer was a monkey, it'd have to be a gorilla. Aptly named indeed. We mentioned earlier on that Strannik was on the syrupy side, but nothing compared to this... it's like drinking a melted down liquorice stick, with a similar mouthfeel to a fortified wine. Roasted malt character, and aniseedy sweetness partnered by hop bitterness. Boozy as hell. (Honourable mention at this festive time to our favourite-ly named Christmas beer, King Kong Merrily On High, also brewed by our pals at Blue Monkey!)



Sunday, 15 February 2015

Nottingham Pub Crawl

In our most recent venture in search of good beer, we ended up in Nottingham. An hour's train ride away from our hometown, and with some great bottle shops and whisky retailers to boot, it's one of our favourite places for a day trip. Here's a selection of reasons why...

Hand & Heart

Located a ten minute's walk out of the city centre, this is a truly unique pub, with an ornate back bar consisting of a glorious Victorian cabinet that sits behind the eight hand pumps and six brass keg lines.

The beer available covers a good mix of local and not so local breweries - on our recent visit we sampled the house brew from Dancing Duck, Round Heart, a 4% copper ale, Horncastle's Sacrificed Soul (4.3%), and Scribblers Masher in the Rye, a well balanced 4.8% pale ale with a spicy edge.

Behind the bar, hidden in the rear of the pub, is a restaurant built in one of the old cellars - this original feature is a great atmospheric place to sit. Between the two set just inside the sandstone cave is a snug area featuring leather sofas that seem to absorb humans, and arm chairs set around small tables.

An extensive food menu of well sourced meals caters for all palates and dietary requirements - the oxtail served with parsnip chips and stilton mash sounded particularly appealing.

The Organ Grinder

This pub is the kind of place where you instantly feel at home, being welcomed by the smell of a proper log fire and cheery staff. The first thing to note when examining the bar is that it is riddled with wittily-named Blue Monkey beers... This is because this free house is one of three brewery taps of the Giltbrook based brewhouse (with other Organ Grinder pubs located in Newark and Loughborough). On this trip we went for Sanctuary - a 4.1% copper ale which was slightly reminiscent of Twiglets (in a good way), and the fresh and hoppy Right Turn Clyde, a 4.3% pale ale. Both were perfect for an afternoon pint. The pork pie selection looked great, too.

Keans Head

Set in a beautiful location, the front windows look out on St. Mary's church from a comfy open bar. There's a modern, somewhat continental feel to this place, with exposed brick walls and wooden floors providing a simple basis for the decor, which is largely breweriana from around the globe.

Six cask ales adorn the bar, backed up by a great selection of world whiskies and a gin selection unrivalled in the three pubs we saw on this visit to the city that adopted Robin Hood as their own.

This was the last pub we visited before it was time to get the train home, and there were some big drinks to finish off on. We tried Castle Rock's seasonal beer, Mistletoe, which was the perfect winter ale, dark and sweet at 5.2%. Hop Studio's Fire and Ice was an interesting drink, a 5% pale ale which tasted a bit like Kinder Bueno bars. Finally, the Heartless from Red Willow (one of our top breweries at the moment) was a complete chocolatey treat.



Sunday, 21 December 2014

A Karma Citra Christmas

For us, winter is definitely the best season for beers, as stouts, porters, and warming ales full of rich fruits and spice all come deliciously to the fore. Imagine our festive joy when our pals at Karma Citra decided that December's beery activities would be the perfect pairing of winter ales and Christmas fare (with compulsory Christmas jumpers of course).

The proceedings began with Sam Smith's Winter Welcome Ale. This brewery is often showcased at the start of Karma Citra's meet-ups, and it's clear to taste why - the beers are always well executed, prime examples of the style the tasting is themed around. Bottled at 6%, the Winter Welcome was easier to sup down than the ABV would suggest, with sweet clove and brown sugar flavours providing a lovely warm glow at the finish. A solid starter.

Next up was Blue Monkey's Bludolph (5%). Always fans of a pun, this Nottingham-based brewery is one that definitely appeals to us (their other festive offering is the excellently-named King Kong Merrily On High). This was a nice pale ale, but not particularly festive - a promising cranberry aroma didn't quite follow through to the taste, which was hoppy and light.

Laura's all time favourite beer, Titanic Plum Porter brought glad tidings of goodwill next. This 4.9% porter is just delicious, with a rich, warming and fruity flavour that reminded us of plum gingerbread and those little chocolate coated Lebkuchen biscuits.

Time to line our stomachs with a platter of Christmas treats... turkey, brie and cranberry sandwiches, proper stuffing, and pigs in blankets. A shot of homemade lemon vodka brought by some of our fellow beery friends was knocked back alongside this feast, which was a fiery yet sweet brilliant palate cleanser... Na zdrove!

Red Willow Baubleless followed, a 6% beer which blends their chocolate and imperial stouts, before being barrel aged for 6 months. Anyone that knows us will recognise that these are three components which all appeal to us immensely, and we were very pleased to have two of these safely stashed in the cupboard at home. The blend and ageing works really well in this producing a well balanced, tasty beverage which starts off sweet and ends on a drier note with a slight oilyness from the oak. Bloody lovely.

We finished on a seasonal Brewdog special, Mulled Dogma, which adds sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and Kraken rum to the already very tasty Scotch ale. Christmas isn't Christmas without a pan of something mulling on the stove and this was a really fitting end to a fantastically festive afternoon. Alongside this was served a hearty slab of Chocolate Orange cake and cream, which was a perfect accompaniment.

I think it's fair to say we headed home with a seasonal swing in our step, and we're really looking forward to seeing what the team come up with in 2015!