Friday, 3 January 2014

Golden Pints 2013

Each year Mark Dredge and Andy Mogg ask beer bloggers and geeks of the internet to vote for their favourite beers and beer related stuff of the year. After an extended break from blogging, here are my belated 2013 Golden Pints.

Best UK Cask Beer: Oakham Citra
For me, there really can be only one winner in this category: Oakham Citra. It's a beer that is well balanced, brilliantly hoppy and has me coing back for more every time I drink it. I'd go as far as saying that it's one of, if not the most drinkable beer I know. 

Best UK Keg Beer: Beavertown Gamma Ray
In 2013, there were definitely more contenders in this category than with the cask beers. I've recently been enjoying Bosko IPA from Pressure Drop, Weird Beard's Five O'Clock Shadow and Mariana Trench, but when it came down to it, it had to be the delicious Gamma Ray from Beavertown.

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer: The Kernel Table Beer 
The Kernel's Table Beer is possibly the best session beer I know. It's low in alcohol but packs a massive hoppy punch. After a long day at the office, I like nothing more than cracking open my first bottle. It's the botted beer I drank the most in 2013 and I can't imagine getting bored of it any time soon.

Best Overseas Draught Beer: Lagunitas IPA
From the first time I had Lagunitas IPA I was hooked. I've had it every time I've seen it since. Simply a brilliant IPA, nothing more to it!

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer: Oskar Blues Deviant Dale's IPA
I'd heard really good things about this beer before I tried it. I try not to let hype get to me too much as I have been disappointed by over-hyped beers in the past, but by god did this live up to expectations - and then some! I had a couple of cans on NYE as it seemed like the perfect brew to ring in the new year with. I can't wait to get some more!

Best Collaboration Brew: Fyne and Wild Cool as a Cucumber
I only had this a couple of times, whilst it was on at the Draft House in Fitzrovia but it blew me away. It's a delicate, flavoursome and down right intriguing beer!

Best Overall Beer:Oakham Citra
As I said above, Oakham Citra is probably my favourite beer right now. Thirst quenching, balanced and beautifully flavoursome.

 Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label: Siren Craft Brew
Siren have created a place for themselves in many people's hearts in 2013 with some damn fine brews. They also have an eye for design as their packaging is destinctive and just downright cool. 

Best UK Brewery: Adnams
This was a toss up between Thornbridge and Adnams as both are incredibally consistent and are probably more consistant across a wider range of styles than anyone else I can think of.

In the end Adnams won out because of their combination of tradition and innovation. I'm not a huge fan of bitters but Southwold Bitter is my favourite. Ghost Ship has thorughout 2013 been one of the beers I have come back to time and again and lets not forget their Dry Hopped Lager which was lively and full of peaches. Innovation and Clump Sagin also kept me happy!

Best Overseas Brewery: Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada have been a firm favourite as long as I have been drinking their beers. Their pale ale is of course brilliant as is Torpedo. This year, I have also been really impressed with Harvest and Bigfoot.

Best New Brewery Opening 2013: Weird Beard
There have been some excellent breweries open this year. Siren have rocked people's worlds, Bad Seed have given Yorkshire another fine brewery and Fourpure have added to London's ever growing list of purveyors of top quality beer. But there could only be one winner and it has to be Weird Beard. 

Their name is great and so are their pump clips but most importantly, they brew fantastic beers. The first I tried was Five O'Clock Shadow which I have come back to repeatedly. Their Amarillo Belgian IPA was exemplary and Hit the Lights and Camden Beard (still calling it that haha!) were great too. An excellent addition to the London brewing scene.

Pub/Bar of the Year: The Well and Bucket - Shoreditch
The Well and Bucket has become one of the places I go to the most to drink. Its decour is cool, the staff  are friendly and helpful and above all else the range of beer is superd.

I also love the Drafthouse Tower Bridge, The Black Heart and The Earl of Essex but The Well and Bucket pipped them to the post. 

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2013: Brewdog Shepherd's Bush
I've only been once so far but it blew me away. It's taken the feel of the existing Brewdog bars and amped it up. It's bigger, better and has more beers! A great addition to their growing bar chain.

 Beer Festival of the Year: Craft Beer Rising
In February, Craft beer Rising brought together an excellent selection of new and established breweries and threw some music into the mix for good measure. The setting of the Old Truman brewery was great and it had a really lively feel. Bring on CBR 2014!  

Supermarket of the Year: Waitrose
I'm not the biggest supermarket fan. I dislike their agressive business practices, lack of sustainability and the way they treat workers around the world, so I try to avoid them where I can.

However, if I do end up in one to by beer, I tend to go for Waitrose. Their selection is great. 

 Independent Retailer of the Year: House of the Trembling Madness - York
York's House of the Trembling madness has a bar upstairs serving an interesting selection of beers with a bias towards Belgian styles. Downstairs is a brilliant bottle shop. It takes in the best of British, American and global beers. It's definitely York's best beer stockist and one of the best I know of. I spent New Year in York this time around a and got a fine selection of beer from them.

Online Retailer of the Year: Ales  by Mail:
Simply, they are the one I use the most. I had a cheap bin ends case from them early in the year which had a few duds in it but also contained some great beers at bargain basment prices! Their selection is great and their customer service is good too.

Best Beer Book or Magazine: Craft Beer World by Mark Dredge
A top book. I got this for Christmas and have been dipping in and out of it on a daily basis since. It contains interesting facts and lots of stories behind the beers he talks about. It's also really nicely designed and presented. 

Best Beer Blog or Website: The Evening Brews
The Evening Brews is a website I have come back to a lot during 2013. Its well designed and features pieces from an interesting range of contributors. 

Best Beer App: Craft Beer London
I use Craft Beer London a lot and it's repeatedly introduced me to new bars and beery stuff happening in London.

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer: Nate Southwood
Nate is someone I've met up with a few times over a beer during 2013. He's passionate about beer, sometimes ranty, sometimes funny and always informed.

Best Brewery Website/Social media: Fourpure
Fourpure are still very new but they have launched with a fantastically simple but clear website. They are also engaging on Twitter and are using social media well to spread awareness of their brand. 

I popped down to try their beers on a Saturday a few weeks ago and was really impressed. Their whole core range is great and they have Pilsner on the way! Check them out on Twitter and try their beer!

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year: My home made veggie bean burgers and Kernel Table Beer
Simply a delicious combination and one I have gone for on a number of occasions.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Wadworth Brewer's Creations

Wadworth have set their brewers a challenge: to create a new and distinctive beer each month in 2013. They've called it the Brewer's Creations series and they are producing very limited batches of each beer.

There's already been a Stout and a Pale Ale amongst others. This month, I got my hands on a mini-cask of Brewer's Creations 8, which is a four grain bitter made with barley, wheat, oats and  rye. It's with Styrian Goldings and Cascade.

I was a little disappointed to see that given total freedom, a brewer decided to produce a bitter but that's just me as I'm not the biggest fan of bitters. However, second brewer Colin Oke has produced a bitter with an unusual edge.

It pours a hazy golden colour and has a slightly spicy nose to it. Oke was quoted in the Brewery Manual recently as saying that rather than being malty, that the beer has a spicy quality and a "peppery feel to the mouth." I would agree with this as the rye does give it a slightly different note to most bitters.

Maybe I was wrong to prejudge this beer as it is a bitter. There's a slight note of licorice and a touch of bitterness from the hops but this is only slight as the grain profile dominates this beer. It is a more interesting and unusual beer than I was expecting, but do I like it? Not entirely, no. It has a touch of fruitiness alongside the licorice, pepper and a hint of smoke which I don't think quite works. This is a personal thing as I am sure many would love this beer.

What is good to see is that Wadworth are innovating. They have a 90 year history which is something that the newer craft breweries certainly don't have! To remain relevant, I feel that regional breweries need to constantly innovate and work on new styles to sit alongside their core range of traditional ales.

Whilst Brewer's Creations 8 is not entirely my kind of beer, it has increased my respect for Wadworth as they are clearly giving their brewers space to try new things. I may well now see if I can try a couple of the other beers in the series when they are produced.

It would be interesting to know what their intention is after this year and whether they aim to produce one or more of the beers that they have tried on an ongoing basis.

Drinking this beer and writing this piece has got me thinking about regional brewers and innovation. Look out for a piece from me on that subject very soon!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Back to Beer Blogging

My first beer back in the UK was from The Kernel
This blog has been pretty dormant for a while. In fact, if you happen to have visited, there may well have been little more than tumble-weeds rolling by. For the past couple months, I have been extremely busy in my day job and I was also out of the country for the entirety of June.

So, the lack of posts has nothing to do with stopping blogging or heaven forbid, not liking beer any more! It was just a simple case of not having the time or energy. However, all that is set to change as I am back in the UK and my life has gradually returned back to normal.

I was away in Indonesia, which is a beautiful and amazing country but does have a dearth of good beer. In some of the bigger cities I visited, there probably was some good beer lurking in the shadows somewhere but I didn't often have time to look for it! 

Like a lot of countries, Indonesia has its national lager, in this case it is called Bintang. Whilst not being offensive to the palate, it is hardly exciting either. 

I loved my time away, but I did periodically (largely when I had an idle moment) start thinking about drinking a decent IPA or a Saison or another of the multiplicity of beers styles that wasn't available to me at that time.

On my first day back in Blighty, I needed to find good beer. I'd waited ages, so I wasn't going to find the first thing that had a bit of a kick of hops to it. This needed to be thought about. I headed to the Holborn Whippet to see what they had on and decided to plump for an IPA from The Kernel. An ever reliable and consistently brilliant choice.

The next day I dropped in on Utobeer in Borough Market and stocked up on a few treats from the likes of Weird Beard, Brewdog and Oakham. It was great to be back in a place with so much great beer, despite in many other ways missing being away.

In the coming days and weeks, I intend to write a lot more - which won't be difficult! There will be views, reviews, guest posts and collaborations - so please do stop by...

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Visiting London Fields Brewery

Brew-master Ben (C) London Fields Brewery
It feels like barely a week goes by at the moment without another brewery opening its doors in London. I sometimes find it hard to keep up. 

There is however, one London brewery that I've kept coming back to in the last year. A brewery that have positioned themselves right at the heart of Hackney's thriving beer scene: London Fields.

LF's brilliant Hackney Hopster has become a regular drink for me as I can always pick it up from Oddbins on my way home from work. I've also taken a shine to Black Frost Stout and to be honest, pretty much every other beer of theirs that I've tried.

It was only a matter of time before I'd have to see their brewery and learn a bit more about what they do. After briefly being introduced to Ben, their master brewer whilst I was in a bit of a drunken haze at Craft Beer Rising, I got in touch about swinging by their Hackney brewery.

I've visited a few breweries in my time, but not nearly as many as I would like to. London Fields really stood out to me. Going into the railway arches that they call home, you're immediately drawn into a bustling hive of activity with brewers and other staff working all around you. It's cramped an industrious with a slightly DIY feel to it. The place has a spark to it that many bigger breweries lack.

I stood with Ben and my mate who had joined me for the trip, in one of the few spaces where we weren't going to get under people's feet too much.

(C) London Fields Brewery
It was only a couple of minutes of being in the brewery before Ben poured us a pitcher of Shoreditch Triangle, their excellent IPA. He then gave us the back story to the beer, which is made with three American hops and three malts (hence the name!) and is supposedly inspired by the mystical ley-lines of Shoreditch! A huge grin crept across Ben's face as he added this last detail.

Whatever the influence for the IPA, it's damn good. It has a great big whack of citrus that is balanced by just right level of sweetness from the malt. It's exactly what I look for in an IPA. I can also confidently say that it tastes better being supped in the brewery - but this may of course just be a matter of perception.

In the space of just two years, the guys at London Fields have built a brewery which has quickly gained favour amongst London drinkers and further afield too. Ben joined them about eight months ago and is keen to ensure that their beers remain diverse and exciting.

Alongside Hopster and Triangle, their core range consists of Love Not War (Red Ale), Black Path London Porter, a wheat beer and an unfiltered lager. Alsongside these, they're producing LTD editions such as a black IPA and an Imperial Stout (that will be ready very soon).

It's great a see a small brewery like LF producing decent quality lager. It's obviously a bit tricky for smaller operations due to its need to condition for longer, but their unfiltered lager is to my mind one of their best beers.

Throughout this year and beyond, expect big things from the London Fields guys. Their brewery tap room currently opens just at weekends, but once their full licence is approved, it should be open throughout the week. It's a great place to have a brewery fresh beer and try out some of their LTD editions.
The Tap Room (C) London Fields Brewery

I asked Ben about what other styles he'd like to produce. His roots are in Germany, so expect to see some of that influence coming through in the future. He talked enthusiastically about brewing a Kölsch, the lager/ale hybrid that other UK brewers such as Thornbridge have started producing. We also had a chat about sour beers, which is something I would love to see them have a go out. 

As we walked around the brewery drinking Black Frost Stout, it became clear how passionate Ben is about the brewery and being part of such a vibrant beer scene in London. He clearly views his fellow London brewers more as contemporaries than competitors but is spurred on by the innovation that is happening at the moment. This of course is great for us; the drinkers!

After our tour of London Fields, we set off into the cold and snow of delightful March afternoon happily chatting about the amazing beer being produced throughout Hackney and beyond. The tour formed the start to a great day that later took us to Crate for pizza and more beer before ending up at the ever fantastic Camden Town brewery bar.

I can't end this post without doing a quick plug for an event they have coming up. On the the 4th and 5th of May, London Field's will play host to London's Brewing, which is beer festival organised by the London Brewers Alliance. Get on down there to sample fantastic beers from London Fields and many of London's other top breweries. It looks set to be a great little event!

A massive thank you to Ben and all the guys at London Fields for their hospitality.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Wild Card Brewery

The beautifully presented jack of Clubs
Wild Card are a new brewery founded by old friends William Harris and Andy Birkby. As soon as I saw bottles of their red ale called Jack of Clubs, I was intrigued. Its stark and enigmatic packaging instantly caught my eye. 

I met up with the guys at Craft Beer Co Islington to chat about Jack of Clubs, their future plans and opening a brewery at a pub in Walthamstow. 

One thing you get immediately from the Wild Card guys is their passion for their beer. They've taken a lot of risks to get one beer on sale and they have lots of plans that they're starting to put into action.

William works full time for the brewery whilst Andy holds down a day job at present and fulfills his role as co-director in his spare time. They started experimenting with extract brewing at home before developing their skills further and eventually moving towards founding Wild Card.

Jack of clubs is a bold yet approachable beer that takes its cues from American amber ales. It uses a combination of Maris Otter and Crystal malts and is hopped with Williamette, Mount Hood and Centennial. I had high hopes for the beer before trying it, but I had also wondered if it could just be a case of stylish marketing being used to dress up an ordinary beer. Luckily it proved to be a cracker of a brew. An initial maltiness and hint of sweetness gives way to a satisfying bitter hoppy finish. It's well balanced and has delicious notes of toffee and fruit.

Jack of Clubs on cask at the Warrant Officer
At present, the guys are brewing it at Brentwood Brewery, but in due course they will have their own setup in the Warrant Officer pub in Walthamstow. They should be operating from their new home in within a matter of months.

The name of the beer and the brewery came from their habit of making notes about their test brews on playing cards. The original note for the first beer was of course made on the jack of clubs. Expect their future beers to stick with this theme as it makes for such a striking brand.

I tried to press them on what we can expect from them next, but they weren't giving too much away. My money would be on something pale and hoppy. An IPA called Ace of Spades?

The Jack of Clubs is a striking beer. It definitely nods towards American craft styles whilst having a taste profile that will appeal to a wide range of drinkers. William and Andy told me about how they wanted to create something interesting and memorable that is also accessible. With Jack of Clubs they've achieved this brilliantly.

Currently Jack of Clubs is available in a number of bars, cafes and restaurants across London, particularly in the east end. Personally I'm intrigued to see what they do next. I'm also looking forward to popping along to taste their brews once they're ensconced at the Warrant Officer.

Have you tried Jack of Clubs? If so, what did you think?

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Focus on: Harbour Brewing

Rhys and Eddie from Harbour
In the space of just over a year, Cornwall's Harbour Brewing have established themselves with an instantly recognisable brand and more importantly, an excellent range of beers. 

I spoke to Eddie Lofthouse from the brewery about their inspiration, future plans and how he feels about being part of the UK's brewing resurgence. Here's how he answered...

When was Harbour founded and what was the inspiration behind the brewery being started?
I was first introduced to ‘craft beer’ years ago in the States, drinking Pete’s Wicked Ales and from that point on, I always wanted to drink interesting beers. I was running my family’s pub and all we could get locally was really traditional British beer. Rhys was working just up the road at Sharp's and we had talked about wanting to put a brewery into the pub for ages. Then one day we both just decided it was the right time. A few beers later and Harbour Brewing Company was conceived.

What are the beers in Harbour's core range?
Our core range is still developing but at the moment it consists of:
Light Ale 3.7% (hoppy golden ale),
Amber Ale 4% (malt driven ale),
IPA 5% (British style IPA).

We are also just about to release a 5.5% Pilsner, which will be a permanent fixture in our core range. We wanted to make a traditional style Pilsner - so we have used all the traditional malts and hops you would expect and special yeast that we had propagated just for the job. It’s been maturing for just over 3 months and we are really happy with it. It’s going into keg and bottle next week, so keep your eyes open for it very soon.

What LTD edition beers are Harbour brewing at the moment?
We have been brewing Porter No.1 over the winter and a couple of different pale ales, but with spring in the air we have our minds set on our summer releases. We have Pale Ale No.4 going into bottle very soon, and it is easily the best pale we have brewed to date. Dry hopped with Citra, Simcoe and Centennial it has the bases covered when it comes to hop aroma and flavour, but it is really well balanced.

We have IPA No.2 coming out in March. Our core range IPA is really a session IPA, not too bitter or hoppy but IPA No.2 is designed to be a different beast. Higher IBUs and double dry hopped with some of our favorite American hops. We also have the first of our barrel-aged beer being released at the moment. Chocolate and Vanilla Imperial Stout aged in Jack Daniels’ barrels is now kegged whilst Aji Limon Pale Ale from Jim Beam barrels is due to be bottled at the end of March.

We have plenty of other casks aging some really interesting stuff, but it is ready when it is ready and we won’t be rushing it. I think the ones I’m really excited about are the Bordeaux barrels, which are nurturing a Lambic number we have been working on for a while.

What do you feel is the style that most defines what Harbour is about? 
It’s hard to say really. Rhys is all about dark beers, while I’m a pale ale man. Both of us chat about what we want to achieve with each beer and then we brew it. I think more than a certain style of beer, we are better defined as brewing well-balanced beers whatever the style.

How does it feel to be part of the resurgence in British brewing? 

It makes me really proud to be part of such a fantastic industry. It’s the people that make it special. We are all in it because we are passionate about beer. If you weren't, you simply wouldn't put up with the early mornings, late nights, general hard graft involved in brewing. It’s not just a job, it has to be a lifestyle choice and that takes a certain kind of person. Pretty much everyone we meet from the ‘craft beer’ industry is really friendly, massively passionate and always willing to help.

I love it when I go to a ‘craft beer’ bar, and hear people talking with passion about what they are drinking. I truly believe British brewers are creating some fantastic beers to rival anything in the world.

Harbour Amber Ale and IPA
American IPAs and Pale Ales have come to define the craft beer scene. Where do you think brewing innovation is likely to go next and are there any styles that you feel are likely to catch on in the near future?
It’s difficult to say if there will be another beer style that will be as well received as pale ales have been over the past couple of years. I think there is so much variety within the pale ale style that it will always be really popular. Year on year hops are getting better and just as importantly British brewers are getting access to the best hop growths. So I think you’ll see pales at the forefront of the industry for a while yet.

That said, consumers are becoming more willing to try different styles, which gives us the option to try more of a variety. Sour beers seem to be becoming more popular as are darker beers. I had real doubts about the viability of a Porter but it has been our second best seller over the past 4 months. Our Imperial Chocolate stout has been sold weeks before it is actually released. So to be honest I have no idea where the market is going, but if I had to put a bet on I would say Saisons.

What do you feel has been the impact of American and new world hops on the micro-brewing boom in the UK?
The impact has been huge. They are giving us the flavours we want and more importantly the flavours our customers want. I would love to support the UK hop growers, but as yet I’m yet to be convinced by any of the new hop varieties I have seen coming through.

More and more UK breweries are beginning to brew European beer styles such as Hefeweizen, Saisons and Vienna style lagers etc. Are there any European styles of beer that you would like to have a crack at brewing at Harbour? 
We are about to release 2 different Pilsners, originally named No.1 (4.9%) and No.2 (5.5%). We also have some Lambic beer aging at the moment. We will be releasing a Berliner Weisse in the summer.

Our new brewer is from Sweden and she has been working on some interesting new ideas with Rhys. She has a different take on things than we are used to, which is great.

What are the plans for growing Harbour and getting your beers into more bars and shops?
We are pretty stretched at the moment so we are just trying to keep up with demand. Export is going crazy for us right now with beers heading here, there and everywhere…from Sweden to Australia

Can you tell us about one new and exciting thing happening at Harbour at the moment... 
Everything is exciting. We have only just celebrated our first birthday so the novelty is still there in everything we do, with the exception of racking! But, I imagine you mean something more like the fact we are putting in our own bottling line so we can bottle more of our small batch beers. Almost forgot, I’m really excited we have been asked to brew a new beer for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular. I’m just not sure what we are going to brew yet!

Harbour's branding and label designs are instantly recognisable. What do you think is importance of a strong brand to go along with your beers?
I think it is really important to have a brand that gives an impression of what the brewery is all about. Something people can immediately recognise is a must, as long as the recognition is a positive one. We tried to make our branding clean and clear, stripped back but with subtle detail. We are really happy with our brand, but like all things we are contantly trying to develop it and make it better.

What do you feel are the beer styles that define the craft beer scene at the moment? 
Pale ales, Saisons and smoked beers

Do you have plans to be at any beer festivals this year? If so, which ones? 
We’re taking our beer out to the Washington DC Craft Brewers Conference at the end of March. We’ll be at the GABS festival in Melbourne in May, and we have been talking about the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival in the autumn but we’ll have to see about that one.  Closer to home we’ll be heading to the Edinburgh Independent Beer Festival, and we have been talking to the IndyMan guys, so hopefully we’ll be able to get up there towards the end of the year. There are some really great festivals popping up all over the country, but time is precious these days. If we feel the festival is right for us, we’ll make every effort to get there. So who knows…

English hop production isn't doing so well at the moment. Do you feel that there is space for highly hopped beers to be produced using just British hops? 
Yes, we just haven’t found the right hop for it yet.

Lots of breweries seem to be doing collaborations at the moment, do you have any plans to make any collaborative beers in the near future?
We have done a couple so far (Bristol Beer Factory and Arbor). They were great fun and also being such a young brewery, we learned huge amounts from brewing with more experienced brewers. We have some good friends in the industry and I’m sure we’ll get together with some of them at some point. There has been talk of something really exciting, but at the moment it is just talk.

A big thank you goes out to Eddie from Harbour for taking the time to answer my questions.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Siren Craft Brew to Launch

The last couple of years have seen the launch of some excellent new breweries. Next to join the burgeoning UK craft beer scene are Berkshire based Siren Craft Brew and the prospect has got me excited!

Based in Finchampstead, Siren are launching with a core range of four beers that will be available on both keg and cask. On 9 March, their beers will be officially launched across Craft Beer Co's four venues from 12pm, with guys from the brewery being on hand at the Clerkenwell branch to chat to punters about their brews.

It sometimes feels like there are breweries popping up like toadstools on a daily basis, so it's taking more for them to grab the attention of beer heads. These guys however have come up with a core range that sounds delicious. Of course I'm properly reserving judgement until I taste them, but on paper they've certainly got me interested.

Their four beers are as follows:

Liquid Mistress
This is a 5.8% ABV west coast bright red ale. Siren promise us "a biscuit and burnt raisin malt base with peach and grapefruit spark."

Soundwave promises to be a punchy hop bomb of an IPA. It has an ABV of 5.6% and is hopped with Citra, Simcoe, Chinook and Columbus.

This may well be the first brew if theirs that I seek out. It will be interesting see if this has the balance that I look for in an IPA alongside the huge whack of hops.

This looks to be their session beer offering. It's a pale ale with an ABV of 4.5% and is packed full of Cascade and Palisade hops. It uses 'part pale, part oats and part caramel barley' for its malt base. This will hopefully give this brew a really interesting character.

Broken Dream
Alongside the pale ale, the IPA and the red ale, it's great to see Siren having a crack a dark beer too. Broken Dream is 6% breakfast stout that promises 'a gentle touch of smoke, coffee and chocolate.' As you may have seen me say before on this blog, I think the brewing resurgence is creating some great dark beers as well as the pales and IPAs that get more attention. I looking forward to trying this stout, to see what they've achieved with it.

As more and more new breweries come to the party, it's essential that quality is kept high and the new brews are innovative and exciting. As more launch throughout the rest of 2013, it will be interesting to see which make a real impression. It's a positive early sign for Siren that Craft Beer Co are on board for their launch and that their local Camra branch have been getting excited about their cask offerings.

I'm sadly away on their launch day but I'll be tracking their brews down as soon as I can!

If you want to try any of Siren's beers on their launch day, they will be available at the Craft Beer Co venues in Brixton, Clerkenwell, Islington and Brighton from 12pm. Pop into Clerkenwell if you want to meet the brewers.