Hop Daemmon BLO Tony Hayes
Reported no changes from the brewery.
Boutilliers BLO Michael Hoey
Boutilliers are rebranding themselves a little with new bottle and clip designs. The new designs will be seen on the bottled versions of their new brews, which are a helles lager (Doki Doki), a forest fruits stout (The Way through the Woods) and a smoked stout with honey and chocolate (Not So Fast, Champ), the last of which is a collaboration with Seven Sisters Brewery. The bottles will be out soon but the beers are already available in cask or keg. They are also collaborating with Iron Pier Brewery at Gravesend (I don’t know the beer style) and with Tom’s Tap and Brewhouse at Crewe (a mango white IPA).
For those with more conservative tastes, they are also brewing a new ESB and an IPA (no fruit or tea In either) and are rebrewing their imperial stout collaboration with Emperor’s Brewery in Leicester, the first brew of which apparently sold out in hours,
Mad Cat BLO Michael Hoey
The new bottled beers are selling very well with a quarter of the batch already sold, which is very good news.
To celebrate their 400th brew, Mad Cat is brewing a 4% dark hoppy saison using 4 kinds of hop, called Catro (speakers of Spanish, Italian or Portuguese will spot the ‘4’ theme). This will be out by the 18th or 19th of the month in the Elephant and the Heritage, amongst other venues.
Shepherd Neame BLO Bob Thompson
Bob visited the brewery and spoke to Head Brewer Mike Unsworth. So please find below some information on current beers and those on the way.
Just reaching the end of its run in the pubs is Hop County Hopping Mad Pale Ale (4.8%), to give it its full title. I thought it was an excellent beer made with Crystal malt and Boadicea, Endeavour and UK Cascade hops that had a light bitter taste that belied its strength. It was the beer that kicked off the new Cask Club series. It can also be obtained at the Wetherspoon’s Spring Beer Festival where it represents Shepherd Neame’s contribution. It is on now and finishes on Sunday 7th April.
The Cask Club will feature a different cask beer at approximately monthly intervals. The next will be Samuel Adams’s Blonde Ambition (4.2%), brewed in conjunction with the Boston Beer Company of Massachusetts, USA. It combines both American and British hops. We tasted the first batch that had only been racked the day before. Obviously it had a lot of conditioning in it yet when that cleared there was a fantastic hoppy beer. For those who have tasted a beer of this name in the past I would advise that this version is not of the same recipe. It was possible to order it from Monday 1st April.
The May offering in the Cask Club will be New Dawn Citrus Ale (3.5%). This will be made with Citra hops for flavour and will also contain some real citrus fruit. The monthly beers to be brewed after that are not fully finalised yet. However, I have been told that they will include more foreign collaborations and some IPAs.
Another beer brewed by the company for the Wetherspoon’s Festival is Darling Gypsy Mask Red Ale (4.0%). This was one of the five beers brewed by overseas brewers in British breweries. The Darling brewery is from the Cape Town suburb of Woodstock in South Africa and its brewer Réné du Toit came to Faversham to brew it. We found it had a malty body yet was more bitter than a traditional red ale. We liked it a lot.
It was a good visit and I will make an appointment to see Mike again during the second half of May.