Beer O'Clock Show

Tag: Hop Stuff

Hopinions 62 “Are We Coping?”

This week we’re in Deptford, in the Hop Stuff Brewery’s Taproom talking to owner James Yeomans about mental health in the workplace. We also got to sample a few of Hop Stuff’s beers and enjoyed a cracking pizza.

Beers | Hop Stuff ‘Pilsner’, ‘Renegade’, ‘Freudian Slip’ & ‘Woody Barrelson’

Hopinions | Should the drinks industry do more to support the mental health & wellbeing of its workers?

Perkbox | Full report can be found here

Episodes | Previous interviews with Hop Stuff can be found on episode 45 & episode 54 of the Beer O’clock Show

 

Many thanks to James from Hop Stuff for giving up his time to chat to us. The beers & pizza that we tried were on James but this didn’t influence our thoughts.

Review of the month – February 2014

This is a new feature where I’ll be looking back over the last month beerwise. So where January was a dry month for me, February on the other hand has quite possibly been one of the wettest on record (and I’m not just talking about the rain here).

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Episode 54 – Hop Stuff Renegade IPA

And we’re back! And we are kicking off Season 4 with the first of what will be a few beers sourced from breweries in London (with a mix, throughout the season, of beers from other parts of the country, naturally!). This week it’s Hop Stuff brewery’s Renegade IPA!

Plus plenty of beery chat! It’s Beer O’Clock!

#12BeersofXmas – A look back

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So the #12BeersofXmas is over and what started off as one man’s challenge to take on 12 beers during the festive period turned into a gargantuan team effort of epic proportions. We lost people along the way, some stayed with us for the duration, but I raise a glass in a toast to you all – Cheers!

I was truly blown away by the response that this idea got and the way that you all got involved, and in an effort to recognize everyone’s efforts, I have summarised the roll of honour into four categories below.

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The 2nd Beer of Xmas

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For my 2nd beer of Xmas my true love sent to me…

So, #12BeersofXmas launched yesterday with more people getting involved in the spirit of things than I thought – check out our collection of most of them in our latest Storify post by clicking here.

Onto today…

Hop Stuff ‘Gunners Porter’ (7.4% ABV / 750ml)

This is a BIG bottle. With a cork and everything. A cork that doesn’t want to come out. A cork that REALLY doesn’t want to come out.

image (5)When I eventually got the cork out, I was greeted with a very winey aroma. On the pour there was very little carbonation, leaving almost no head but a thick black glassful of traditional English porter (so the bottle & Untappd tells me).

Initial taste is smooth with an instant hit of liquorice and aromas of roasted malts. The after taste is very bitter at first and then gives way to the bittersweetness of dark chocolate and treacle. As it warms (and there’s a lot in this bottle so it did warm) there’s the beginnings of smooth but sharp coffee. I’m picking up no hop profile at all, which could be a good thing as the hops have been used for flavour rather than as an assassin.

My one issue with this beer has been the lack of carbonation. It’s lifeless and has no body and I think that this, in the end, is it’s downfall. It’s a great winter warmer but 750ml of this on your own is hard work and I found it a real challenge getting to the bottom of the bottle.

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

Wallowing In A Vat of Ale – Golden Pints 2013

Golden Pints LogoThis is my first time with the Golden Pints – I thought it would be quite easy but when you start thinking, and I mean REALLY thinking about each of the categories, it becomes quite tough and a real challenge. So after much thought and deliberation  and more than one or two checks of Untappd, here are my entries for the Golden Pints 2013…

Best UK Cask Beer
The Stone / Adnams collaboration ‘Supremely Self-Conscious’ brewed for the Spoons Beer Festival was simply stunning. Closely followed by both Art Brew Monkey IPA and St Austell’s Big Job which were both consumed in one very beery afternoon at the GBBF.

Best UK Keg Beer
Am I allowed to say ALLTHEMAGICROCK? No? Ok then, maybe just one of the Magic Rock brews and for me it would have to be Salty Kiss (lime version). I travelled the width of London to find this beer and when I finally did proceeded to drink a couple of pints of this all-in-one beer flavoured tequila shot without too much trouble. An honourable mention also to Circus of Sour which tasted like alcoholic lemon Fanta but in a good way.

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
For my bottled entry, I was lucky enough to have recently sampled Harviestoun’s Ola Dubh 30 which was absolutely stunning. I’ve never had anything so smooth & rich that delivered a perfectly rounded finish.

There’s only one way my canned entry can go – it has to be Adnams Ghost Ship, a solid offering and just perfect every time.

Best Overseas Draught Beer
It would have to be Lagunitas IPA which seems to be becoming more widely available, and that can only be a good thing!

Best Collaboration Brew
I love collaboration beers, they really excite me. Only thing is it seems as though everyone is doing collaborations now so it’s really hard to keep track. An honourable mention her again for the Stone/Adnams brew, but that can’t win all of the awards. Therefore, for me, this had to be Brewdog / Ballast Point San Diego Scotch Ale. I know it wasn’t released this year but I drank it this year as my 500th beer on Untappd and it was bloody good, even though it did destroy my palate for the evening.

Best Overall Beer
I’m assuming that this has to come from the selections above? Is that how this works? Surely I can’t put another beer in here that didn’t feature in the above list? So that being the case, it can only be the Stone/Adnams Supremely Self-Conscious Black Ale – more next year please!

Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label AND Best UK Brewery
Both of these awards go to Magic Rock. I love their branding, the whole circus theme, it’s so much fun and matches the style of their beers perfectly. It’s a brand that when you walk into a bar and see a pump clip on, you know where your money is going to be (well) spent. It’s also transferred really well onto their annual release beers with the etched labels. When I see a Magic Rock beer I just HAVE to have it, no question. I’m hoping that there are even more exciting things to come from these guys and I would guess that things will skyrocket for them once they move into their new brewery.

Best Overseas Brewery
I’ve had a lot of Sierra Nevada beers this year and you always know that what you are going to get is of the highest quality. Their recent ‘beer camp’ beers only went to confirm my thinking that they were right for this category.

Best New Brewery Opening 2013
Hop Stuff Brewery, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. Expect big things from Hop Stuff in the next 12/18 months. Launching in October with a small range of staple beers designed to get their brand known I’m looking forward to trying everything that comes out of the Royal Arsenal.

Pub/Bar of The Year
Craft Beer Co, Islington. Always a solid range of beers, homely, welcoming with a buzzing but not too in-your-face atmosphere.

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2013
The Buxton Taphouse, Buxton. Had a great day at the brewery and then an even better night here with Doody drinking ALLTHEBUXTON. The bar staff were happy to entertain us for the evening but are also friendly and know their beer. Great ambience, even better food, and awesome beers.

Beer Festival of the Year
I only went to one – GBBF – probably not most people’s first choice but I only had one to choose from. I always enjoy myself there and always end up at home wondering how exactly I made it there.

Supermarket of the Year
Tough one this. I’m going to have to split the honours between Sainsbury’s for the GBBH (sad to hear they’re no longer doing this) and Waitrose simply for their selection. Honourable mentions again for Tesco & Morrison’s who have both recently started adding ‘craft’ beer sections providing even more choice.

Independent Retailer of the Year
The Beer Boutique in Putney. Took me until a week ago to finally get here but it was well worth the trip. Very well stocked with a wide range of bottled beers from all over the world plus knowledge and friendly staff.

Online Retailer of the Year
Local vote here, but without a doubt, Ales by Mail. Also a thank you for working with us to bring our listeners a ‘season 3 box’ with a nice little discount!

Best Beer Book or Magazine
I’ve just starting reading ‘A Man Walks Into A Pub’ by Pete Brown (yes, I’m SO last decade) and I’m really enjoying the lighted look into the history of beer and brewing.

Best Beer Blog or Website
Since coining him ‘some random bloke off Twitter’ it’s probably only fair to go with Justin Mason’s ‘Get Beer. Drink Beer’ blog. I’m fascinated by the palate range that Justin has and the flavours that he finds in beer. That and the photos. Oh the photos, it’s like the best beer porn ever.

Best Beer App
Untappd. I’d be lost without it.

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer
@totalcurtis BECAUSE I LOVE ALLTHECAPS

Best Brewery Website/Social Media
Tough call this as they all have a very different approach to it. The good ones are those who take the time to read, listen, watch and retweet your stuff – not many of them do it but those that do, do it well. In terms of website and social media combined I don’t think you can beat Adnams.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Largely thanks to Shaun Voss from Harviestoun, this would have to be ALLTHEOLADUBH and cheese.

And so ends my first Golden Pints nominations. I’ve deliberated, noted, written, re-rewritten, checked Untappd, written again and finally come up with my list. Cheers all & here’s to a beery 2014!

The #12BeersofXmas

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“On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me…” BEER. Hopefully. If they care for you that much.

Season 3 of the Beer O’Clock Show is coming to an end and now it’s all about those all-important Christmas beers that have been squirreled away throughout the year. I’ve got 12 ‘special’ (for one reason or another) ones put aside and from Friday 20 December I’m going to be reviewing one a day until Tuesday 31 as part of our #12DaysofXmas

My #12BeersofXmas are below – each day I’ll be releasing a new blog reviewing that day’s beer.

If you want to take part, you’ll need to select 12 beers and then leave a comment each day telling us what beer that you are drinking and giving a short review of what you thought of it. At the end of the #12BeersofXmas I’ll release a blog featuring all of the beers that have been drunk.

Why am I finishing on 31 December instead of doing the more ‘traditional’ 12 Days of Christmas? Simple. In January, I’m doing the Dryathlon for Cancer Research and I’m asking anyone who reads this blog to ‘Buy Me A Pint’ by clicking on this link to go to my Just Giving page.

So back to the beers – here they are and the reasons why they are featuring in my 12 Beers of Christmas…

Day 1 – Friday 20 December – Honest Brew ‘Riwaka Hop IPA’ (personalised label edition)
I won this beer in a competition earlier on in the year by supplying the photo that is on the label and that’s why it’s got the honoured position of being the opener for 12 Beers of Christmas.

What the brewer says… “Brewed with one of the finest rare hops from New Zealand and brought to the UK by a daring #HopMule. Expect sweet grapefruit and tropical fruit flavours.”

Day 2 – Saturday 21 December – Hop Stuff Gunners Porter
We’ve been following Hop Stuff from their crowd-sourced beginnings through to production at their new brewery at the Royal Arsenal. This mammoth 750ml corked porter is a real winter warmer that I just can’t wait to get stuck into.

What the brewer says… “Gunners Porter is Hop Stuff Brewery’s take on a traditional English Porter, and a nod to our home at the Royal Arsenal and its rich military heritage. Made with roasted and chocolate malts and blended with Pilgrim hops from the UK and a little Willamette from over the pond to add spicy notes – a perfect winter warmer”

Day 3 – Sunday 22 December – Truman’s London Keeper Double Export Stout
This was quite a late entry to the #12BeersofXmas and one that am I really looking forward to. The whole presentation around this bottle (wax sealed, hanging label, signed limited edition etc) is something really special and I’m just hoping the beer inside is equal to that.

What the brewer says… “After hours spent looking through Truman’s Gyle books at the London Metropolitan Archive, Truman’s London Keeper – based on the recipe for a Double Export Stout from 1880 – was born. Head Brewer, Benedikt Ott, explains: “An 8% ABV double export stout intriguingly brewed with American hops.” Despite their modern popularity, American hops were only used in the 19th century when the UK hop harvest failed. Although it was impossible to find out which hops were actually used at the time, Willamette and Sterling were selected due to their similarity to older hop varieties. The beer pours a gorgeous midnight black, with aromas of toasted nuts and dark chocolate. It then delivers an explosion of crunchy, malty flavours with background notes of liquorice and black treacle. The malty sweetness is balanced with a delicious lick of hop bitterness.”

Day 4 – Monday 23 December – Brewdog ‘ Mixtape 8’
I got very excited about this when it was released. It’s a blend of a Belgian Tripel and a Triple IPA – what could possibly go wrong?

What the brewer says… “Mix Tape 8 is a blend of two huge oak aged beers – half a hopped up Belgian Tripel, and half a Triple India Pale Ale. These beers have both been aged in single grain whisky barrels for close to two years and finally blended to create a beer that our head brewer Stewart Bowman can most helpfully describe as ‘fucking complex’. From the Tripel side we get earthy, phenolic, dry qualities; from the TIPA we get apricot jam sweetness and nectarine. All these flavours are beautifully rounded off thanks to the oak, which has imparted some incredible vanilla and coconut aspects to the beer.”

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Day 5 – Christmas Eve – Harviestoun ‘Ola Dubh 18’
If I could have got my hands on a bottle of the 30 I would have been drinking that tonight. Ola Dubh is a stunning beer and it seems the right beer to slowly enjoy on Christmas Eve.

What the brewer says… “The initial whisky hit on the nose gives way to more delicate aromas of chocolate, fruity coffee grounds and hints of woodland berries. The flavour is a very appetising blend of sweet malts, vanilla, oak and tobacco. It has undertones of raisins and other dark, dried fruits; a delicious testament to Highland Park’s bias toward sherry casks.”

Day 6 – Christmas Day – Magic Rock ‘Strongman’
There’s been some umming and erring around whether this was going to get drunk this year but I simply can’t hold back any longer. This is my ‘official’ Christmas Day beer and will be enjoyed with dinner and long after. It has also been a lesson in buying two special release beers in the future – one to age and one to enjoy now!

What the brewer says… “Our sumptuous golden Barley Wine ‘Strongman’ hails from the same brew as our annual release IIIPA ‘Un-Human Cannonball’ . Using just our house pale Golden Promise malt the beer is then judiciously hopped with Centennial, Citra and CTZ whole hops in our hop back. However instead of assaulting the beer with dry-hops we then carefully age it in freshly emptied Amontillado Sherry casks until its ready to take the stage. The resulting beer is golden in colour with a rich pungent aroma and full palate, which gives way to rich fruit and brisk nutty flavours. Best drunk slightly cold a dry yet balanced finish delights the taste buds while a warming finish brings the curtains down”

Day 7 – Boxing Day – Thornbridge Hall ‘Raspberry Stout’
A late acquisition to the 12 Beers of Christmas and one that instantly earned a place on a ‘named day’. The combination of dark roasted flavours with a sharp hit of raspberry? Very exciting.

What the brewer says… “Dark rich stout, fruity aromas, hints of liquorice and chocolate, generously infused with Scottish raspberries.”

Day 8 – Friday 27 December – Firestone ‘DBA Double Imperial Bitter’
This is the first of two of the 12 Beers of Christmas that I will be sharing and the only pure American beer of the set. Not just with anyone but with my best buddy none the less. Apparently, we could be in for a right treat.

What the brewer says… “Our flagship beer brewed to double strength. Immense toffee, vanilla, coconut and caramel malt married with American oak aromas emerge.  The first sip develops with sugary caramel, molasses and vanilla, finishing with English toffee and toasted coconut.  A beer to be reckoned with and perfect for sharing.”

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Day 9 – Saturday 28 December – M&S/Meantime ‘Bourbon Barrel Aged Greenwich Ale’
I’ve had this one stashed away since Father’s Day – it’s got a cork and is in a big round box and everything, so it MUST be special! This will once again be enjoyed with my buddy.

What the brewer says… “Brewed by the Meantime Brewery using 7 different malts to produce a very well balanced, traditional, London-style Porter, a style of ale which dates back to 1750. It’s then aged for 4 months in bourbon barrels, allowing sweet flavours of caramel and vanilla to infuse into the ale.”

Day 10 – Sunday 29 December – Ilkley ‘Speyside Siberia’
I tried the original version back at Urban Sessions in the summer and thought it tasted like rhubarb and custard sweets.  Apparently this is the same, although it’s like the sweets have been soaked in whiskey.

What the brewer says… “Originally brewed in collaboration with Melissa Cole, Siberia used world famous Yorkshire Rhubarb to add a hint of sourness, with earthy spice, and fresh vanilla in this Saison. 6 months in Scottish Oak Whisky barrels has added maturity to this unique beer. With the spirit on the nose, and a mellow marzipan on the palate. The finish is as soft as the natural carbonation, and it is refreshing on the palate, with a long, satisfying bittersweet finish. Only 700 bottles were hand-bottled, so act fast to try this limited special release.”

Day 11 – Monday 30 December – Wild Beer, Good George Beer & Burning Sky ‘Shnoodlepip’
There’s been a lot of chatter about this beer this year so I thought it was about time I took the plunge. Some interesting ingredients on the list here and I’m keen to see if they all work together.

What the brewer says… “Somerset Sharpham Park Spelt has been used for a full body. Pink peppercorns give a gentle sweet spiciness. Saison and Brettanomyces yeast strains lead to a dry spicy character that will continue to evolve. Wood-ageing in French red wine barrels for 4 months adds depth and oak. Passion-fruit brings a tart tropical fruit character. The 4 month ageing process has been finished off with amazingly tangy Hibiscus flowers.”

Day 12 – New Year’s Eve – Magic Rock ‘Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady’
For my last beer of the year, what better way to go out? I plan to do this over the course of the evening, to enjoy and savour and to lose myself in the magic.

What the brewer says… “10 Month Bourbon Barrel Aged Bearded Lady, our uncompromisingly big and beautiful Imperial Stout. Born from our Dark Arts recipe she uses masses of magical malts to deliver deep chocolate, rich coffee and vinous berry flavours all complemented by a balanced yet subtly spicy hop profile. Powerful, robust, intriguing; yet decadently smooth and sumptuous, the lady demands respect… The barrel ageing softens the beer adding rich bourbon, sweet vanilla and a hint of Oak”

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Feel free to share your full #12BeersOfXmas lists below (make sure to include your Twitter @name) or keep an eye out for the daily #12BeersofXmas blogs and use the comment box below each one to join in. You can also Tweet about your beers by using #12BeersofXmas (note the Xmas).

Looking forward to hearing all about it and sharing that first beer with you all on 20 December! Cheers!

Wallowing In A Vat of Ale at Hop Stuff Brewery

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Crowd sourcing. These days it seems to be being used to fund all sorts of ventures, and most recently is helping wannabe full time breweries realise their dreams.

James Yeomans, founder of new start up Hop Stuff is one such brewer. Based in Woolwich and with a nod to local history and a passion for brewing great new beers, Hop Stuff starting producing their first batches in September and had their official launch party last Friday.

We featured an interview with James back in episode 45 which was recorded shortly after he achieving his Crowdcube target and this week we grabbed another of the show’s recent guests, Mark Berry and we trundled off to Woolwich to visit James at the new brewery for a catch up and for a taste of what’s brewing…

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On arrival at the brewery it’s clear to see that Hop Stuff have only just moved in and clearly made it a priority to start brewing over anything else as the sign on the door still says that we are entering a printers – we are met by Barley the brew dog (yes we did just do that) who has only been with James for a matter of days but who already seems to be very at home at the brewery.

James tells us how it’s quite literally been non-stop brewing since moving into the premises and although he’s now working very long hours, its a life that he is more than pleased to have traded for his former life as a city boy. Hop Stuff are a fairly small set up (10 bbl system, 1630 litres) and are produced two staple beers as part of their range in ‘Fusilier’ (English bitter) and ‘Pale Ale’ (does what is says on the tin).

IMG_1222There is also ‘Renegade’ (IPA) and ‘Gunners’ (Porter), the latter of which was quietly fermenting away during our visit ready for a release in time for Christmas (look out for the take home variety which James has plans to put in champagne-sized bottles to encourage sharing). We gave the Gunner a try straight out of the FV and while it’s still got a way to go there’s already that malty, warming feel that you would expect from a good winter-warming porter.

There are big plans for the brewery – James has already identified a loft space that (license hearing allowing) will become a bar where he will be able to serve Hop Stuff beer as fresh as it comes and also hold events at the brewery. Currently occupying said loft space are two IMG_1221hop plants that presumably in the future will become the feature of a batch of beer. There was also some talk of adding a third FV and a smaller kit for experimentation, but for now James’ focus has been on getting his two staples to market and to build a customer base. His beers are already a feature of the local Dial Arch pub and there are plans to continue to supply the local scene in Woolwich, hopefully expanding to sales in what may become a rejuvenated Woolwich market.

Hop Stuff had their official launch last weekend which James recounts was a time when he can’t remember having ever drunk so much beer but all seems to be going well in Woolwich and there are exciting times ahead for the locals it would seem.

With that James grabs Barley and we head off to the Dial Arch to sample his wears. It’s obvious that James is still getting used to this lark as when the barmaid begins to tell him what his own beer tastes like, he rather coyly mentions that “yes, I know, it’s my beer”. So is the beer any good? Lets see…

IMG_1230 (2)Fusilier (4.3% ABV) – its a good old fashioned bitter, dark amber colour with a lovely malty and biscuty aroma. Subtle flavours throughout, very smooth and very, very easy to drink. This is truly a session beer and all three of us agree that ‘quaffable’ is the most apt term for this beer. Would happily give this 3/5.

Pale Ale (4.5% ABV) – not quite so pale in it’s colour, in fact a very similar colour as the Fusilier. It has a much sharper finish, with a lovely citrusy, sharp edge to it and a palate cleansing dry finish. Again, a really easy drinker and one that you could quite easily lose an afternoon with. Of the two, this was my preferred pint and easily a 3.5/5.

There are big things ahead for Hop Stuff, and we’re certainly looking forward to enjoying more of James’ beer in the future and to trying some of the specials that are planned to start coming out in bottles in the future.

Thanks to James (and Barley) for giving up some time to show us around, check www.hopstuffbrewery.wordpress.com for up to date information on what’s going on or follow them on Twitter (@hopstuffbrewery) or Facebook (@hopstufflondon).

Episode 45 – Snake Dog IPA

Steve and Mark venture across the pond yet again, this time for the Snake Dog IPA from the Flying Dog brewery.

Also in this episode, Steve’s interview with crowd-sourced brewery, Hop Stuff.

All this, and the usual beery chatter you’ve come to know and love (right?), it’s Beer O’Clock!

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