Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: Mad Hatter
Showing posts with label Mad Hatter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mad Hatter. Show all posts

Monday, 20 March 2017

Sheffield Beer Week 2017 - A Round-Up

Sheffield Beer Week is over for another year and we've flung ourselves in absolutely head first this time! Here's a quick overview of the events we attended...

A relatively quiet start to the week for us as we joined in a twitter hour with @catsontap. We've long been fans of beercats Rosie and Milly, and our Tosin is a regular on their page too! We kicked off with something pretty special brought back from our trip to Brussels last year - Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic Bio. Face-puckering, fruity and a glorious treat to kick off the week. We also imbibed Cloudwater's Seguin Biere Brut, reminiscent more of a wine than a beer and utterly delicious.

Every week, Sentinel Brew Co host a film night, wittily titled Brew-vie Tuesdays. We've not made it down to this before but in conjunction with Sheffield Beer Week they decided to show "Beertickers: Beyond the Ale". Filmed in 2008 in and around Sheffield, it was so entertaining for us to look back at the beer scene as it was around the time we both first properly got into real ale, with many a familiar face amongst the footage! Great pizzas and popcorn, too.

A Lervig tap takeover at the Rutland Arms kicked off our evening, with the highlight being Sippin' Into Darkness, a chocolate martini imperial stout at 12%. Bold, boozy and tasted like a Double Decker chocolate bar fondue.

We then headed up to Brewdog for the Mad Hatter meet the brewer event and bumped into the team from Weird Beard. Plenty of beery chat and a lot of laughs were had.

An even bigger night for us on the Thursday. First off we hit up the Beer Engine's North vs South beer and food pairing, featuring four beers each from London based Fourpure and Fierce from Aberdeen. The food at the Beer Engine is some of the best in Sheffield as far as we're concerned, and a new guest chef brought in to create the pairing menus for this event elevated the offering to an even higher level. The highlight for us was Fierce's Tropical Tart, a beautifully light and tangy passionfruit sour, served with spicy prawns and crab laksa.

A short walk back to Sentinel for a tap takeover hosted by Yellowbelly Brewery where we sampled their collaboration with bloggers Wayne and Janice from IrishBeerSnob, Juice Wayne - a Rock Shandy IPA, inspired by an Irish soft drink and bursting with oranges and lemons. It took Laura until Sunday to realise that Juice rhymes with Bruce...

Finally we headed up to the launch of Abbeydale Brewery's new Brewers Emporium range at the newly refurbished Devonshire Cat, which was buzzing with a vibrant atmosphere and presented a great range of progressive beers to choose from.

We started the day with a Beer Writers Breakfast hosted by the The Can Makers, giving us an insight into a truly up and coming portion of the market and with tasty pastries from Sheffield based Percy & Lily's. It was the first day of the Beer Now conference, ending with a trip to Beer Alive festival. It was the third time we've attended the festival and it's been scaled down pretty drastically this year. It's a shame that this resulted in a rather lacklustre beer selection - the lack of involvement from brewers directly, which was a great feature of last year's festival, was missed.

A full on and inspiring day at the Beer Now conference, kicking off with Bob Pease of the Brewer's Association, who gave us useful insights into the American beer scene. Our favourite part of the day was undoubtedly the Live Beer Blogging featuring beers from Abbeydale, Ilkley, Lost Industry, Sentinel, Sharps, Thornbridge and Twisted Barrel - a frenzied hour of tweeting, chatting, learning and drinking.

A raucous coach journey later and we were treated to BBQ and beers at Thornbridge Brewery, a brilliant evening where we also discovered that table football is never going to be our forte!

The Beer Now conference was wrapped up, with inspirational talks from Richard of Ferment magazine, Jules of Hop Hideout and of course Sheffield Beer Week fame, and Andy from the excellent Elusive Brewing.

FINALLY, we trekked up to the Greystones for a special edition of Karma Citra, pairing a selection of Tiny Rebel beers with some super spicy Caribbean food. Always a brilliant event and a fun and laid back end to a very hectic week.

To finish, it's worth mentioning that our festivities during the week didn't even scratch the surface in terms of the amount of events running. We really were spoilt for choice, and have been left feeling very lucky to live in a city with such a thriving, varied and exciting beer scene. A mighty round of applause to Jules Gray for co-ordinating everything... we're already looking forward to finding out what Sheffield Beer Week 2018 will bring! But first, a lie in and a green smoothie are most definitely in order.


Jim & Laura

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Our 2015 highlights

We've seen a lot of Golden Pints posts popping up recently, which got us thinking hard about what we wanted to do as a little overview of 2015. We've loosely followed the same format as the Golden Pints Awards as put forward by Andy at BeerReviews, but as we felt that some of the categories weren't as relevant as others for us (also we've missed the deadline!) we've cut some of them out and focused on what we've particularly loved this year.

Best UK Cask Beer

J - North Riding - Red Citra. In this brew North Riding have done much more with this popular hop than simply bunging a load in and expecting the hop to do all of the talking. It's rounded and well balanced with a well selected malt bill backing up the Citra to perfection.
L - Wylam - Remain In Light. A clean, hoppy pale ale that despite this fairly mundane description managed to be memorable enough to make it into this post. Just everything you could possibly want from a pale ale.

Best UK Keg Beer

J - Beavertown - BA Moose Fang, an imperial brown ale aged in Armagnac barrels. The description alone got my mouth watering, and it did not disappoint - rich and nutty with a massive, rounded malt backbone. Complex and absolutely delicious.
L - Hawkshead - Chocolate & Tonka Bean Imperial Porter, enjoyed at IndyManBeerCon in Manchester (a fantastic event!). Beautiful sweetly spiced rich aroma, that I can conjure up in my mind just from thinking about it, with a silky mouthfeel and an almost Mexican hot chocolate flavour, with cinnamon, vanilla and dark cocoa vying for attention. Sublime.

Best UK Bottle or Canned Beer

J - Buxton - Ace Edge. We love a bit of Sorachi Ace in this house and Ace Edge encompasses everything that's great about this hop. Buxton's Axe Edge is one of the best IPAs out there, and for me the addition of Sorachi just lifts it into that next dimension.
L - Weird Beard - Defacer. More Sorachi Ace in absolute spades (told you we liked it here!). Tropical, piney, oodles of that gherkin flavour that I always get from Sorachi hopped beers and which I simply love. We wrote more about this one here.

Best Overseas Draught

J - Omnipollo - Magic #90000, a blueberry/pecan/almond/vanilla smoothie IPA, enriched with lactose. Everything you'd expect from the name, a brilliantly crafted beer.
L - I've gone for Omnipollo too - Magic #3 Protein Shake IIPA. Never had a beer like this before, it just completely blew my mind... sort of like hopped up Ovaltine?! 
Both of these beers were part of the Omnipollo Buxton Tap House takeover - read more about it here.

Best Overseas Bottle or Canned Beer

J - Against the Grain - London Balling. Every sip of this wonderfully balanced and massively boozy English-style barley wine all the way from Kentucky was a delight. Barrel aged for 3 months in bourbon cask which gave a truly enormous flavour that took me two and half hours to drink. I enjoyed every second.
L - De Molen - Ball & Chain. Smoky yet sweet, sort of like a really good ham. What more could you possibly want from a beer?!

Best Collaboration Brew

J - Weird Beard/Brodies - Weird Brodmance. A big imperial stout enrichened with maple syrup and lactose. The balance between the dark malt, rich sugar and complex hop nature lifted this to being far more than just your "normal" impy stout.
L - Abbeydale/Hop Hideout - Marshmallow Meltdown Stout. My most "tapped" beer of the year! A really fun drink... boozy, chocolatey, gorgeous coffee notes in the backbone and sweet hints of marshmallow to finish. Excellent pump clip, too.

Best UK Brewery

J - Buxton - simply because I don't think I've ever had a bad beer from them. Their consistency and commitment to quality (including their arguments for ceasing making cask beer earlier this year) enables them to stay right at the pinnacle of British brewing and remain entirely relevant in a changing market.
L - Mad Hatter. I was drawn in to Mad Hatter's beers right from their start up simply because of the Alice in Wonderland-y link (it's my all time favourite book) and since then they've quickly become one of the most exciting breweries out there. Always imaginative and often outrageous, their concoctions never fail to deliver on flavour and to top it off they're bloody lovely chaps too. 

Best World Brewery

J - Crooked Stave. Some of the most interesting beers I've drunk this year - Nightmare on Brett springs immediately to mind. Progressive and exciting, it's great to see their stuff appearing on the shelves of bottle shops in the UK. We're lucky enough to be heading over to Colorado this year and a trip to their brewpub is sure to be one of the highlights of the trip.
L - Got to be Firestone Walker for me, quite simply because I've hugely enjoyed everything I've tried from them, with their Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA being a particular highlight of Matt Curtis's brilliant bottle club event at Hop Hideout earlier in the year. They seem to have a go-to beer for whatever mood I'm in, from their Easy Jack IPA perfect for a summer barbeque to the vintage series which demands thoughtful sipping.

Pub/bar of the year

Unanimous and instant decision on this one - Six° North Bar in Aberdeen played host to a phenomenally good afternoon for us, which ended in Laura singing along to Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights at 7.30pm (at which point we decided heading back to our hotel was probably a wise idea...). An absolute plethora of beers available on tap, with hundreds more featuring on a bottle menu, excellent food and a laid back atmosphere with friendly, enthusiastic staff. Enough said.



Tuesday, 15 December 2015

A Beery Advent - Part 3

This week sees the passing of the half way point of our very beery advent. Here's another round up!

11. Buxton - Ring Your Mother, 9.5%
This beer aims to bring an old recipe to the modern brewing age. Initially we were expecting a darker beer, but over the years the term mild has been used to mean a plethora of different things. This iteration has a light in colour malt base, which provided an interesting backbone to the beer, but with the flavour boosted by a great hop character more akin to our understanding of an IPA. Overall, light and quaffable which completely hides the ABV. Wonderfully surprising and interesting on so many levels.

12. Mad Hatter - Cranberry Rye, 5.9%
Our beers are starting to become a little festive with this one... we are almost half way through advent after all. A great nose of cranberries and a wild yeastiness, that probably comes from the character provided by the fruit. The inherent cranberry nature remains on the palate as the beer is drunk, but takes a little step back in place of a massive, bold rye character which invokes charred biscuits and leaves a dryness on the finish.

13. Doppelleu - Whisky Ale, 7.5%
This is a beer for the whisky lovers in us - intensely whisky-ey (definitely a word) from the opening of the bottle right through to the final sip. On the nose, lightly peated with sweet oaky tannins and sticky raisins. A slightly medicinal, almost briny quality comes through in the taste, which reminded us of a coastal aged island whisky. It was the perfect accompaniment to our pulled pork BBQ sliders.

14. Odd Side Ales - Mayan Mocha Stout, 6.0%
Odd Side are a brewery we have not often seen in bottle shops around the UK; this bottle was gifted to us by our bosses at work following a trip to Michigan. The beer pours dark and sticky with a deep coffee aroma - this continues on the palate with rich coffee and toasted malt on waves of velvety texture. A prickle of heat comes towards the end from the habanero chillies used in the brew. Delicious.

15. Mordue - Imperial Raspberry Porter, 7.3%
Another gift from a colleague, brought direct from the brewery! Sweet and syrupy on the nose with a fruity tang creeping in. The flavour is classic porter, with a delicious ripple of raspberry sauce and cocoa. The kind of beer that deepens as you drink, the flavour enriching and coating the palate. We had some of those posh M&S mini glittery chocolate and raspberry meringues in the cupboard, which were a total joy alongside this. Decadent and boozy.