April was always only going to be about one thing – Magic Rock’s ‘Un-Human Cannonball 2014’ release. But more about that later.
It’s the end of part 1 of Season 4, and what better way to mark the midpoint of a London-themed season than talk to the brewery that leads the London ale scene: Fuller’s of Chiswick.
The boys were lucky enough to get time with Fullers’ Director of Brewing, John Keeling, for a super-long interview and beer tasting. John covered everything from how he started, tips for home brewers, and the long history of the Fuller’s line.
This week is Season 4 Part 1’s penultimate show, and the boys tuck into a big bottle of Thornbridge Sequoia, an American Amber Ale. What did they think? Was it a hop bomb, or was it too… amber-y? Or something else?
This with the usual beery news and chatter – it’s Beer O’Clock!
Thursday 10 April 2014, will be known in the future as Un-Human Cannonball Day. Children will be taught about this day at school, grandparents will share stories with their future generations and hundreds of people will look back and say “I was there…. but I don’t remember too much about it”.
This week we have a cheeky entry to the season’s beer list, following a last minute schedule change, and a cheeky guest – in order, The Kernel’s London Sour, and London beer blogger Chris Hall!
Plenty of beer chat, and beer news – it’s Beer O’Clock!
I suppose this post was a given. Since Magic Rock announced the release date for this year’s Un-Human Cannonball, I have been somewhat giddy about the appoaching launch date. To the point where for the last few days I have been counting down the sleeps in Christmas-style anticipation. in fact, you can see exactly how long is left right here.
In anticipation of this year’s release, I thought I would give last year’s show a listen where we reviewed Un-Human Cannonball. What really stood out for me (other than the copious giggling) was how we managed to say very little about the beer. We talked about it’s colour (cloudy), aroma (hoppy) and taste (again, hoppy). Now while the episode itself is a lot of fun and was a lot of fun to record it failed to give me the point of reference that I was looking for in anticipation of this week’s release.
In the last year, both Mark and I have developed our palates and can now appreciate flavours of hops rather than just “it tastes hoppy”. In that time I’ve also become a massive Magic Rock fanboy, eagerly chasing all of their new releases like a fully fledged craft wanker and even taking in a visit to their brewery last October. I’m very excited about Thursday and I plan to write another blog with a review of the evening (and hopefully the beer) in due course.
In the meantime check out last year’s Un-Human Cannonball review for yourself here.
The lovely people at Adnams recently sent us two of their latest mini-casks cask to try. Lovely people at Adnams they are, lovely, and they produce some of my favourite beers, so I was looking forward to tucking into the approximate 16 pints of beer that filled the two mini-casks. Did I mention how lovely they are?
This week the boys sample Black Mountain, a black IPA from Brains Craft Brewery – and have a special guest, from YouTube sensations* The Craft Beer Channel (co-creators of this week’s brew), Jonny! With thanks to Jonny and Brains Craft Brewery for supplying the beer.
Listen to them chat about the inspiration and aims for the beer, and plenty of other beery news and chatter!
It’s Beer O’Clock!
So March started off with me clearing out my beer stocks. It’s beginning to feel a lot like spring and I’m no longer fancying those dark beers, winter warmers, porters and stouts so it was time to clear them out. A couple of stand outs in here in the Partizan FES Stout which was WAAAAY too drinkable for 8.6% and the Beavertown barrel-aged Heavy Water which was hard going but finished off the winter beers wonderfully.
The first show of the month featured Dominion’s Hop Mountain and you can check out what we thought here.
I had my first visit to the new BrewDog bar in Shepherd’s Bush and although the bar was very relaxed, I was a little disappointed in the beer selection, as although there was plenty of choice across the 40 taps, I had seen many pictures where there was a much better offering available. Highlights were the new Magic Rock beer ‘Slapstick’ which has been brewed exclusively for BrewDog and Texas Joe’s food offering of which the skin-on fries covered in pulled pork and cheese was a real winner for me. I left with more homebrew offerings from Crema Brewery and Andrew Drinkswater, both of which were awesome.
Around 5 March there was a breakout of Spoonssixpoint Fever where it seemed the whole of the Twittersphere was in their local Wetherspoons sampling the new Sixpoint canned offerings that were available (me included). As luck would have it I was able to catch up with Shane Welch from Sixpoint as he was on his whistle-stop tour of London ‘spoons to grab a quick interview. We also made some changes to our schedule, so in an episode that was different from the previously advertised one, we featured Sixpoint Bengali Tiger and the interview with Shane.
But don’t just take our word for it – check out reviews by Zak Avery at Are You Taking the Pith, Simon at CAMRGB, Nate at Booze Beats Bites, #SomeRandomBlokeOffTwitter at Get Beer Drink Beer and Craig Heap – the latter in particular is a great view of ‘the day craft beer went mainstream’
There should have been a bit here about some beery adventures in Birmingham. But following an incident with my son’s scooter, my trip was cancelled and I’ve ended up with a cast on my arm until early April!
In the middle of the month, there was the launch of the Adnams & Camden Town collaboration ‘South Town’. A 4.9% red ale with a malty base and lovely spiced hop finish. Camden had to install a special cask bar to be able to serve the beer and on a lovely spring day, many visited the brewery to enjoy the 700 or so pints that were on offer. We caught up with both Fergus from Adnams and Alex from Camden Town and you can check out the interview that we did with them here.
Following our exploits at the South Town launch we recorded what can only be described as our ‘mega-show’. Featuring not only the aforementioned interview, it also featured Andy Parker revealing exclusive news from Elusive Brewing reviewing Weird Beard’s ‘Fade to Black’ with us and an interview with Weird Beard’s co-founder Gregg Irwin. If you’ve got an hour or so to spare, check it out here.
There was a point this month where I had a moment of realisation that we might have created something special with the Beer O’Clock Show. I know podcasts aren’t for everyone, but we do have a core following and a growing number of people that we interact with on Twitter, a lot of who I now consider to be friends. The night after we recorded the mega-show we spent the evening with John Keeling, Fuller’s Director of Brewing. I don’t want to say too much more but there is a Fuller’s special coming at the end of April as part of the breweries of London series. If Mark works his magic on it and makes it sound anywhere near as good as it felt, then you’re in for a treat. It was this moment that made me realise we had something special – the fact that Fuller’s Director of Brewing was willing to give up 2 hours of his time to spend chatting with two blokes who started reviewing beers for a bit of fun. Mind blown.
At this point in the month a little magic happened. Now, regular listeners, readers and followers will know what a massive fanboy I am of Magic Rock Brewing. In my mind they can do very little wrong (I will always hold the fact that they aren’t on my doorstep against them) and for most of the month I had been searching for ‘The Stooge’, their American Brown Ale. Cue #SomeRandomBlokeOffTwitter mentioning that he was at the Craft Beer Co in Clerkenwell with a line of various Magic Rock cask offerings in front of him, including The Stooge. Twenty seconds or so later (slight exaggeration) I arrived at the Craft Beer Co to be presented with not only The Stooge, but also Dark Arts, Chipolte Punchline, Rapture and Ringmaster. All on cask – the first time I would have tried the magic on cask. I was not disappointed by any of it, the flavours of old favourites seeming more pronounced and fuller. The Stooge was exactly as I had hoped it would be – all biscuit and malts up front, followed by a big citrus hit and fading to a hint of a roasted finish with enough bitterness to tickle the tongue and make you go back for more. Had I not had a gig to get to – I could have very easily been lost to a very magical evening.
The last show of the month for us featured Pistonhead Kustom Lager in a bottle vs can drink off. You can check that out here.
March’s beer of the month is another tough call but I think the one that edged it for me has to be the Adnams / Camden Town collaboration ‘South Town’. A very moreish red ale, with lots of hops and a bitter spicy finish that is easily sessionable but at 4.9% will sneak up on you. Honourable mentions to the Sixpoint ‘Bengali Tiger’ for creating a wave of euphoria at the beginning of the month and to Magic Rock’s ‘The Stooge’ well, just because it’s Magic Rock!
Check out my video collection of March beers below, and if you like the music, check out Heaven’s Basement.