bottled beer

Beer Wish-List, Q4, 2014

Detail from a 1953 advertisement for Ballantine Ale. (Not IPA...)

Though we try to enjoy what’s at hand — we drink a lot of St Austell in the pub — there are a few exotic out-of-town beers we can’t help daydreaming about.

1. Pabst’s take on Ballantine IPA. Since reading Mitch Steele’s excellent book on IPA, we’ve been dying to go back in time and try this highly influential beer. This, for now, looks as close as we’re going to get. Is anyone planning to import it into the UK?

2. The revised version of Fuller’s/Melissa Cole’s Imperial Stout. We enjoyed the first batch, with reservations (though some seem to have read it as a ‘slam’) and are pleased to hear it’s been tweaked. We might not go for a whole case on spec this time, though.

3. BrewDog’s collaboration with Weihenstephan. This sounds intriguing, not least because there’s something appealing about one of the world’s oldest and most conservative brewers working with one of the most determinedly and self-consciously experimental. It shouldn’t be too hard to find, but it might require some tactical mail ordering.

4. Elland 1872 Porter. It was suggested by multiple people for our porter taste-off but, as far as we can tell, is either not currently being bottled or has limited distribution. We’ll have to check out the handful of outposts of CAMRA-land in Cornwall in the coming months and keep our fingers crossed.

5. Conwy’s Version of Dobbin’s Yakima Grande Pale Ale. Having spent all that time talking to and researching Brendan Dobbin for Brew Britannia, it would be a shame if we missed this chance to taste an approximation of his ground-breaking beer. It’s currently cask only and not distributed all that widely, though we hear there are plans to bottle it. If you see it on sale in bottles anywhere, or on cask in Cornwall, please let us know!

What’s on your wish-list?

8 replies on “Beer Wish-List, Q4, 2014”

I’ve seen the 1872 Porter in a couple of Wetherspoons’ in Manchester – and it must go well, one of them actually had it as their ‘house beer’ the last time I was in. It probably wouldn’t get as far south as you, but it might be worth keeping an eye out.

As for the revived Yakima Grande, I’d rate it as very satisfying – a definite “this is the good stuff” four-star, but not a “how do they do this?” five-star. (Five-star beers I have known: Magic Rock Curious, Ticketybrew Pale Ale, BrewDog 5 a.m. Saint, Batham’s Bitter (all cask, natch).)

Number 4 has been on in the Star since Saturday! I can report that it is damn fine; deep coffee chocolate notes, rich fruitiness and a lovely colour, to boot. Silky smooth, too. It’s the porter Pete Elvin would make. Ah, the minute you go upcountry, you see what happens?

At the risk of sounding all I-think-you’ll-find, I don’t think it’s fair to describe Weihenstephan as “conservative”. They did a collab with Boston Brewing last year which wasn’t exactly brilliant (IMO) but was very much outside the mainstream in both recipe and presentation. There has also been a whole series of very daring beers produced in association with the Technische Universität München. Names like “Black Nude” and “White Hopsplosion” suggest that Weihenstephan are no strangers to awesome.

The 1872 in spoons was at one point brewed by micheal elsewhere (thwaites I think, it did say on clip, demand was v high after champion beer award ) . Will check with him on bottling situation next time I see him. I also did hear that there were issues month or so back on supply side restricting 1872 output.

I’d also like to try the Ballantine IPA, but bollocks am I handing over money for the Fuller’s IRS again.

At the moment I’m getting quite experimental with my home brews and it’s those I’m looking forward to drinking most.

Elland 1872 is being bottled, I had one from Bier Huis in Elland. I know they were struggling to keep up with demand after the award and I thought they had a contract with a supermarket. I keep thinking I’ve seen it in Waitrose but that’s the similarily dated Fuller’s porter.

The historian in me would like to be able to try local beers of the past: for me it would be Darley’s of Thorne, Stones or Wards of Sheffield (and I had a uncle who worked at the Stones brewery so that was probably my first taste of beer) or, further afield, Mansfield, Home, Shipstones and Kimberley, not through any sense of nostalgia but through finding if tastes were so different then by area.
As for a modern wish list, well, I suppose some of Magic Rock’s big boys are there, and certainly a couple of Red Willow’s but I tend to forget unless I see them on a bar.

I’ve been pestering Gwynne at Conwy to get Yakima into bottles ever since they announced they were brewing it as i’d love to have put it on the site. Despite repeated requests, he’s stood firm and tells me there’s “no plans” to do so 🙁

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