US beers are here!

wantSouthern Tier, Founders, Alesmith, Port Brewing, Lost Abbey and some Three Floyds are available now!


Drink’n the Sun!

Drink’in the Sun is the new summer-beer from Mikkeller. It’s an American wheat-beer with lots of Amarillo hops. Enjoy it directly from the bottle on a hot and sunny summer day.  A real left field brew from Mikkeller, light, summery and refreshing! its so refreshing and is precisely what it says – a summer beer. It pours a light golden with a nice white top that has a foamy character. The nose is pretty hoppy with sweet undertones of citrus fruits. The taste is mild with a pretty sharp bitterness in the finish. The palate is medium with a creamy touch. Taste of hops, soaps, grapefruits and fresh (green) nuts. This brew is much different from most things ive had before… bring a box and some ice to the park… very drinkable...

Get it here

and, whilst we’re on the same subject….

This is a joint adventure between Three Floyds in Munster Indiana & Mikkeller in Copenhagen, Denmark an Oat Wine sold in 22 oz bottles only and brewed and bottled at Three Floyds

Pours a deep golden colour with a small white head. Has a malty hoppy grapefruit aroma. Fruity malty warming caramel and hoppy flavor with some hints of oat. Has a sweetish malty hoppy bitter finish with some hints of caramel.

get that beer, here!

Whisky Cask Aged beer

pic by Jesse

pic by Jesse - Drakes Imperial Stout

The fashion, taste, interest call it what you will has been progressing this way for some time now.

Started really by Todd Ashman of the Flossmoor brewery, in Flossmoor, Illinois, now of 50/50 brewery in Truckee, California – on a professional basis, having observed homebrewers fermenting their beers in bourbon barrels – a subject that I recently bridged with him when I was in his company.   His early adoption of this technique blazed a trail for a unique style of beer, centred around the region between Detroit and Chicago – noted brewers such as Kuhnenn, Three Floyds, and Bells are keen proponents of this technique.     Sometimes you will see the beer barrel aged for a limited release project – or in somecases blended back into beer to accent everyday releases.   This technique is also starting to emerge in the beer mecca that is Belgium – the Struise brouwers have taken their very impressive Black Albert, and aged it in a Four Roses Bourbon barrel- called Cuvee Delphine – a quick look at beer rating sites like  Ratebeer and their top 50 will give you an insight into just how influencial this has been on many breweries.

Breweries in the UK have been slowly adopting, where as the midwest in the US has the proximity to a source of very expensive barrels – the UK brewer has had to turn to Scotland for similar materials.    Typically the beers tend to be big dark, imperial stouts, those with enough body and strength to carry the concentrated flavour notes rather than swamping them.   To mind one of the early adopters were the now highly regarded Thornbridge Brewery,  others have brought barrel aged beers out – Lovibonds of Henley and Gadds or Ramsgate, and I am sure you’ll have heard of the Paradox beers from BrewDog.    There is a close sense of origin between the Thornbridge Brewery and BrewDog – one of the brewers of Brewdog is once of Thornbridge.

So, here we have a brewery well versed in brewing a good imperial stout, and then they have sourced three different cask flavours – Mortlach, Macallan, and Caol Ila.    The Speyside, Highland and Islay notes will shine through the intense blackness of their beers – a perfect beer for the beer and whisky lover.

This is not a barrel fermentation as the Burton Union system suggests, or what Firestone Walker have adopted  – this is “simply” ageing a beer in a cask from a distillery – capitalising on the residual oak, char, and spirit bound flavours.    Considering that a used bourbon cask can weigh something in the region of 30lb heavier when fresh from the distillery, there are clear indicators just how much the barrels can influence the beer!   When travelling – some brewers aged their beers for 50 days, right through to 300+  some stored ambient, some stored cool to cold.   Some had developed a nose for particular notes that said to the brewer “‘I’m ready”  – this is still a new art form, and some are doing it very well, some come out as tarry alcoholic messes.

This is a great deal of investment for many breweries, making said beer, finding shipping and purchasing said cask – then to top it off – not being able to sell a beer for nearly a year!   I thank you, dear brewer for taking this chance!

I have had the pleasure of sampling some of the greatest (highly sought after) barrel aged imperial stouts, listed on Ratebeer, and I as much as I am not a big whisky lover – I really enjoyed the Highland.    Some might say that the idea of going through this process is a waste of good beer, or good whisky – and these are for the “beergeeks” out there – certainly not, they are a fantastic after dinner drink, contemplative and decadent with it.

They will also age very well.

Thornbridge St.Petersburg Highland, Islay, and Speyside cask aged will be available on – along with anything else I can get my hands on.

Wot? New Beers!?


new brews from the bloke in the santas hat!

It’s Alight – “A clear, golden beer with a small, white head. Funky, fruity, dusty and citrus nose. The flavour continues in the same way with funkiness, citrus finish. A bit astringent in the mouth. Wheat-like finish with the flavours found initially. Pleasant and quaffable with a nice sourish and brett touch.” Ratebeer 76/100-

Is it?

Is it?

Tia Frai – “Huge thick brown head that really lasted. Excellent display of lacework. Pitch black colour. Aroma of nice roasted malty and dark fruity notes. Also vinous, coffee, chocolate. Over the palate came what could appear as a hint of smoke combined with sweet malty notes and solid roasted malt. Full bodied with an average carbonation and thick mild alcoholic texture. Heavy sweet flavour with good counter sweetness. Roasted malty sweet finish with a warming touch.” ’From To’ is the perfect Christmas gift for lazy dudes. Just fill in the From/To card on the front label and put it under the three. ’From To’ is an easy drinkable christmasporter with light malty sweetness and a slight touch of X-mas spices.



Kidz Beer –
Simcoe IPA – ” An almost clear beer of golden color. Wonderful citrusy nose with pineapple, pinecones and resin, as well as a good maltyness. In the mouth too, the hops dominates, but it has enough malty sweetness to give it some balance. Citrus, pinecones, pineapple and resin from the hops. Full-bodied, almost astringent bitter and teeth cleaning. Long hoppy finish. A really pleasant one, at least in smaller quantities.” Ratebeer – 97/100

Yummy Simcoe!

Yummy Simcoe!

Not Another Wit – “Not just another witbier. The style taken to another level. Strong and hoppy. The world’s first IPW? Cloudy oak brown with a puffy white head that settles leaving a lacy ring. Nose is wheat, lemon, orange peel and coriander. Medium light with faint biting carb. Taste is orange and grapefruit peel, wheat, coriander and lemon oil. Extra hoppy but still remains true to the style.” Ratebeer – 90/100 –

Wot another Wit?

Wot another Wit?

Stone/Alesmith/Mikkeller – “A Belgian Tripel style ale – pours a translucent golden with a bubbly white head. Aroma of fresh floral, citrus  notes, candy sugar, bready pilsner malt, light spicy notes, light alcohol, lemon grass. Flavor of Belgian candy sugar, lemon grass, lots of mixed citrus, spicy, sweet malty notes.” Ratebeer – 90/100 –

Alesmith as well... wow!

Alesmith as well... wow!

Three Floyds/Mikkeller = Hvegdgooooop – “Joint brew between Mikkeller of Copenhagen DK & 3Floyds Brewing, Munster U.S.A. Wheat wine – It’s a beautiful red copper colour and the head is creamy. The aroma is both sweet and hoppy with nice notes of citrus, pine and chewy caramel. The flavour has sweetness and the hops provides notes of pine, resin, citrus, but I also find candy sugar, malt and chewy caramel. The wheat is subdued, but I suppose it could be helping the smoothness in the overall impression.” – Ratebeer – 97/100 –

FFF/Mikkeller Yumminess...

FFF/Mikkeller Yumminess...

and, not to mention Lost Abbey and Port Brewing arriving Wednesday!


Best Beer in the UK?

It’s always up for debate what’s the best beer, in any category that you chose to select.  There is a chunk of latin that I like – in di gustibus non disputatum – even though I quit latin (and some might say English) when I left a fancy school in Canterbury – says that there is no accounting for taste, or taste is relative to your awareness?

All said, I was given an awesome bottle of beer recently, by none other than Garrett Oliver of the Brooklyn Brewery (thanks!!).    I had already had a sneak preview by Kelly, one of the brewers of said beer, so I was even more pleased to recieve this beer.

I took it to a recent tasting, amongst like-minded beer loving friends, because a Danish friend, and beer lover was in town.   We shared many a beer, my two entrants to the evening, well three if you include a schwartzbeer that I made, were the beer above, and the Jasmine IPA, Fantabulous Resplendance X from Three Floyds.

I hate to talk about leagues of beer, and the like – but this beer is up there with many many of the top beers around the world.   The UK beers, like the excellent Old Chimneys King Henrys Reserve, Durham Temptation/Bendiction, are close – but the the beer above, was the show stopper, an 11% barley wine aged in Pedro Xinmenez casks.  Bright floral orange blossom, and citrus notes.   Incredible stuff. so smooth.   Where as I have bumped into plenty of amazing sour ales, massive imperial stouts, incredible hop bombs – just this year – this beer was a more than a pleasant experience.

The beer,   Barrel Aged “Alliance” from Thornbridge Hall.     whether or not it’s the best beer in the UK,  but over many big Imperial Stouts that draw big plaudits – this had something of a newness/vibrancy – freshness of style that I found it change from what I had experience before with experiential beers!

English Beer

Buy English Ales here


What with – going through update issues.    I should just write it here.

I got to the Bay area from Utah late on Tuesday – and died straight away after getting to the house.

Wednesday:  I was up and at’em –  Down to Hayward – Buffalo Bills and Old Joe the Barber.   Buffalo Bills Brewer Joe C was there – and grabbed a small glass of their 20th Aniversary Lager.    Then a lot lighter, having a great mass of curls removed, Joe’s a mean barber – 57 years on the same chair!

Then mooched up the bay to Berkeley to catch up with Rodger, ex of Drakes, to his new tenure at Triple Rock.    It was a nice thing to peer through the glass to see such a familiar face – we last saw each other on their amazing trip around Belgium, 6am at the Cantillon Brewery, after meeting them both in the Bay Area before they left in February.   Claudia’s Kolsh, was a brew at 21Amendment – to mark their departure.

A pint of their Hop o the Rocks – a cask ale!  very pleasant 6.7% IPA – washed down a burger – few beers later, sampling a newer IPA from Rodger – rather than the one of his previous incumbants efforts – was a nice IPA, as yet unamed.   I was treated to a Glass of the coffee stout as well – very very nice stuff.   Think Beer Geek and Peche Mortel.

I then made my way to the San Rafael bridge – when my GPS died!  (in Richmond)  – $220 later I am back on the road to the Napa to meet Ratebeer owner and senior, Joe Tucker…   I eventually found Ratebeer Towers – and kidnapped him to wander around the great beer spots of the area.   First stop – Bear Republic – Second Stop – Russian River – third Flavor –

(detail to follow)

So, in one week I had been to Russian River and Three floyds – West Lakeview Liquors and Ledgers – Triple Rock and Squatters.   Crazy.

Fatique caught me last night – I fell asleep at 6pm – Time Zone hell finally catching up with me!

Part 3

Yesterday, wow………………………!

The day started, I met Walt, a hungover Walt. he with energy drink, and cigarette in hand, bemoaning his chances with some fat bird the previous night. Me, finally migrating to shorts and t-shirts – after tooo many hot days.

We headed of to Flosmoor, to meet Matt and Andrew. Very very cool place – great building, lovely spot. and the beers, really good. Their IPA, the Panama Red, and the Wilden Zuid Train – AWESOME! Washed a great Brat down with a slowly drunk sour. Elizabeth taking great care of us. Matt and Andrew, thanks! TOoooooo coooool!

Walt wandered off back to Chicago, leaving me to head to Munster, Indiana. After a minor detour to Highlands, I figured my way back to the industrial park where you all headed for Dark Lord Day… The heads up I got about the gardens, seeing Mr Floyd tending, when I arrived… an englishman he is! A warm welcome, and a great long chat about gardening was a great moment. We then went into the brewery – invited to stay for a brewers dinner…??? wow! I was blown away! their beers, what can I say – Dreadnaught on draft, XI, and yeah I finished the evening with a very nice glass of something dark. If you get a chance to get to their place, for a brewers dinner, or what ever – it’s a great place, so unusual, and just great fun! Barnaby, Steve, Mike, and Nick – THANKS FOR A GREAT EVENING!

So, off to Utah now, “no beer day” – phew….

Speak soon,

Beer Insanity Trip!

am just setting off to the US, I shall be everywhere.

I’ll be in West Lakeview Liquors, Maproom, Hopleaf, Peice etc, (chicago – friday sat sun – then to munster Indiana via Flosmoor – sunday/monday?) – if anyone wants to join me, please feel free to shout! I’ll be hiring a car and heading over.

I’ll be then heading to “home” to San Fran, I am just looking for flights now. Again, come say hi! I’ll be over in Berkeley/Walnut Creek, until 29/30th. I will be heading to Antioch to Schooners, and Valley. and 21A, RR, and Bear Rep – as one does on a simple vacation.

I’ll bring a bit of beer from IL/IN to CA but, I shall be bringing some junk from the UK, and Belgium.

I am planning this at 3.28am, I leave in 2 hours.


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