Fundamentals #33 — Wylam Child in Time Cryo Hop IPA

One of the most remarkable feats I’ve witnessed in U.K. craft beer over the past couple years is the transformation of Newcastle’s Wylam Brewery from regional stalwart into one of the nation’s most respected modern breweries.

What’s perhaps most impressive about this is that Wylam has maintained its presence and reputation regionally throughout this transition. Take its Jakehead IPA as an example of this - a beer that’s perfect on cask or keg, and will appease traditionalists and fans of modern beer alike. And by making the former Palace of Arts in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park the home of its brewery and taproom, it has cemented itself as both one of the north-eastern city’s cultural, as well as culinary, institutions.

The Wylam beer I am reviewing today does not play on any of those traditional sensibilities, however. Child In Time is a modern IPA that is - like so many others - in the tradition of the New England style. As in: it’s hazy and juicy as all hell. What’s interesting about this beer in particular though, is its utilisation of cryo hops. The term “cryo” immediately makes me think of its references within science fiction, such as with characters like Futurama’s Philip J Fry or Sylvester Stallone pulling one of his best ever performances in the seminal classic, Demolition Man, as they find themselves unfrozen in an uncertain future. At a stretch it also makes me recall Sly’s good friend Arnold Schwarzenegger in his unfortunate turn as Mr. Freeze in 1997s Batman and Robin… but let’s not get crazy here.

Unlike these examples, however, there is nothing fictional about cryo hops. These are very real indeed, making use of the latest in hop processing technology to produce an intensely aromatic hop powder which, in turn, allows brewers to produce intensely flavoured and aromatic beers. Perfect for contemporary styles such as NEIPA.

Child In Time makes use of Centennial, Amarillo and Citra cryo hops - varieties that, for me at least, predominantly invoke notes of lemon zest, navel orange and pink grapefruit respectively. This is very much the case in this beer. It’s an intense melange of pithy, yet juicy citrus flavours, with just enough dryness and bitterness to keep your palate ticking over, so that it begins to demand your next sip shortly after your last. When I drink this style of beer I don’t want it to be claggy or cloying, which this beer is not. Instead it’s intense, yet clean, and very delicious.

I’m very glad Wylam decided to pursue these modern styles, and that they do it with such finesse.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up one of the very last cans of Wylam’s hugely popular Child In Time in store or online.

The Beer Lover's Table - the book

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We have big news! We're delighted to finally reveal the forthcoming publication of our first book, The Beer Lover's Table: Seasonal Recipes & Modern Beer Pairings, written by our wonderful food writer Claire Bullen and HB&B co-founder Jen Ferguson.

This book has been more than three years in the making - Claire first started writing her monthly food and beer column, The Beer Lover's Table, for us back in 2015 and we instantly knew it had the potential to be an incredible book. Over the past year, we've been working together to make this happen - a labour of love fuelled by the world's best beers and Claire's truly exquisite recipes.

The Beer Lover's Table features 65 recipes and perfectly paired beer suggestions, along with insights into iconic beer styles, fantastic beer people and the wonderful craft beer scene, plus vibrant photography from our HB&B beer writer Matthew Curtis and others. It will be published by Dog n Bone in March 2019. We look forward to sharing more closer to publication.

Fundamentals #32 — Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Wheat Beer Mix

You’ve probably been reminded by your parents a few times this summer that it’s been the hottest since ‘76. And yes Mum, it has been quite a summer. Not only because of the seemingly unyielding heatwave, but due to an astonishing England World Cup run along with what I like to call “the redemption of Gareth Southgate”, it’s been a very pleasant season indeed. Perfect beer drinking weather, in fact.

So, as fate would dictate, the moment a can of shandy lands on my desk to review, it starts tipping it down with rain. Typical. Well, technically the beer isn’t quite a shandy, but
a radler.

Coming from the German word for cyclist, the radler is typically a German-style wheat beer blended with fruit juice as opposed to lemonade. In the case of this effort from Frankfurt’s Schöfferhofer, this beverage is a 50/50 blend of its classic Hefeweizen with grapefruit juice. And it’s delicious.

It feels a little silly reviewing this beer, considering some of the other absolute corkers we’ve had on over the past few months. But it’s no less deserving of the same praise, purely because it so effortlessly fills a low-ABV gap when so many similar efforts often leave me feeling a little hollow. It’s the perfect beer for when you don’t need a beer, but you absolutely want a beer. Whether you’re basking in the hot sun or fancy swapping out your mimosa for something beer related over brunch, the radler is there for you.

In Germany the radler is celebrated for its isotonic properties (hence the name being derived from the word for cyclist), so it found its place in my life after a particularly strenuous run (OK, I won’t lie, they’re all strenuous). The one advantage of the rain bringing some cooler temperatures was the chance to enjoy some light exercise without fear of sweating out my own pelvis. And what better restorative than to crush a beverage such as this to celebrate crushing a few kms — straight from the can of course.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a can of The Schoff in store or online any time of the year.

The Beer Lover’s Table: Falafel Pita Sandwiches & Abbeydale Brewery Huckster NEIPA

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Late last year, while sheltering from a Philadelphia snowstorm, I ate the best falafel of my life. Incongruous, but true.

The setting was Goldie — a restaurant which is owned by the Michelin-starred chef Michael Solomonov, but which itself is humble and small, easy enough to walk by without noticing. At Goldie, the falafel were only $7 and came tucked inside a still-warm pita, complete with all the fixings. They weren’t the dried hockey pucks that lurk in so many sorry wraps — instead, these falafel were light, airy, vividly green on the inside and shatteringly crisp of skin. I’ve never been to Tel Aviv, but I bet even there, Goldie’s falafel could compete.

The good news is that trekking to Philadelphia (or Tel Aviv) isn’t necessary for procuring good falafel. I wasn’t initially convinced, but J. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe on Serious Eats, which I adapted here, changed my mind. Bright with fresh herbs, his falafel achieve that just-so consistency (unlike many recipes, he skips adding flour or any other binding agents, which prevents them from becoming claggy and dense).

While the falafel I ate at Goldie were washed down with one of the restaurant’s equally irresistible tehina shakes, I’ve opted to pair mine with Abbeydale Brewery’s Huckster New England IPA. The Sheffield-based brewery has attracted a good deal of hype for this hazy, aromatic IPA. And deservedly so: it’s sweet, lightly creamy in the mouth, redolent of stone fruit and has an appealing snap of bitterness in the finish.

The bright, fresh herbs in this dish — basil, parsley, mint, coriander — are lovely alongside this peach of a beer. Up the ante with an extra dose of herbaceousness, courtesy a green tahini sauce and a salad of equal parts diced tomato, cucumber and aromatic nectarine. Altogether, you have a pairing tailor-made for the abundance and sun of late summer.

Falafel Pita Sandwiches
Adapted from Serious Eats and Epicurious
Serves 4

For the falafel:
1 cup (250g) dried chickpeas
2 cups (approximately 55g) cilantro, mint, and parsley leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
3 spring onions, white and light green parts only
830ml vegetable oil (or other neutral frying oil)

For the green tahini sauce
Large handful parsley
½ cup (125ml) high-quality, pourable tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
1 large pinch flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
½ cup (125ml) ice water

For the salad
1 large, just-ripe tomato
1 ripe nectarine
1 small cucumber
Large pinch flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons sumac

To serve
4 pitas
Large handful basil leaves

1. The night before you plan to cook the falafel, add the chickpeas to a large bowl and fill all the way to the top with water. Leave to soak overnight.

2. The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas. Spread out across several paper towels and place more paper towels on top. Gently roll the chickpeas and pat to thoroughly dry.

3. As the chickpeas dry, make the green tahini sauce. Add the parsley, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt, and blend on low to combine. Turn the motor to high and pour in the ice water in a slow but steady stream. Blend for an additional minute; the sauce should be uniformly green and just thin enough to be pourable. Transfer to a bowl and clean out your food processor.

4. Next, make the falafel. To the cleaned food processor, add the chickpeas alongside the fresh herbs, garlic, salt, spices, and spring onions. Blend on low for 2-3 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides with a spatula if necessary. The falafel mixture is ready when the ingredients are very finely minced, and when a small spoonful just holds together in a ball. If the falafel mixture isn’t sticking together, blend for an additional 20 seconds at a time until it has the right consistency. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill for 20-30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, start preparing the salad. Core the tomato and finely dice. Halve the nectarine, remove the pit and finely dice. Peel and seed the cucumber and finely dice. Add all three ingredients to a sieve. Top with the sea salt and pepper and toss lightly. Leave to drain over a bowl.

6. Once the falafel mixture has chilled, remove from the fridge. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop a golf-ball-sized mound and gently compact it (you can do this while the mixture is still in the spoon, to help shape it). Gently transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining mixture; you should have approximately 18 falafel balls.

7. When you’re ready to fry the falafel, fill a cast-iron skillet with the vegetable oil; it should come to approximately ¾-inch up the pan (if not, add additional). Place over high heat. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels and place a wire rack on top.

8. Check the temperature of the oil with a deep-fat frying thermometer. Once it reaches 165° Celsius, carefully add half the falafel with a fork, ensuring they’re evenly spaced out; the oil will start bubbling rapidly, so take care. Cook for approximately 3-3 ½ minutes, using tongs to flip and rotate the falafel, until they’re evenly golden-brown on the outside, but the crust is still thin enough to be crisp. Transfer to the cooling rack. Check the temperature of the oil; once it is at the right temperature, repeat with the second batch of falafel. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool before cleaning.

9. While the falafel cooks, lightly toast the pita in a toaster or using your oven’s broiler (grill) setting. Lightly press the salad mixture with the back of a spoon to squeeze out any excess liquid, transfer to a bowl, add the sumac and mix to combine. 10. When ready to serve, slice off the top ¼ of each pita and gently separate the bread layers so the pita forms a pocket. Line each pita with basil leaves and add 4 falafel and several tablespoons of the salad mixture. Drizzle over the green tahini sauce and serve immediately.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and an all-around lover of tasty things. Follow her on Twitter at @clairembullen.

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Fundamentals #31 — Half Acre Beer Co Tuna Extra Pale Ale

Turns out there are two kinds of Tuna available in a can. The first is an always-handy sandwich meat — perfect whipped up with an over-zealously lobbed ball of mayo, a crack of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon, before being liberally applied to thickly hewn white bread. All hail the tuna mayo sando. (OK, I admit I should probably leave the food writing to my colleague Claire Bullen.)

The other is, as you’ve probably suspected, a beer. Tuna Extra Pale Ale happens to be from one of my favourite Chicago-based breweries — Half Acre. If you haven’t heard of these folks, where’ve you been hiding? This Midwestern US brewery has been cooking up sublime beers since its inception in 2008. It’s perhaps best known for its Daisy Cutter Pale Ale — a beer that’s become a true staple amongst fine beverage appreciators in the Windy City. Half Acre’s mastery is one of creating clean, hop-forward beers just like you used to love, and Tuna is no exception to this rule.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the US, and Chicago has to be one of my favourite cities. It takes the culinary arts very seriously — this could be at a top restaurant, a local burger joint, or a brewery — whatever it makes, if you can eat or drink it, it’s gotta be world class. What I admire most about Chicago however, is how it’s able to apply to much effort to the creation of these consumables, but then present them in a laid-back, friendly way.

What I enjoyed most about the brewing scene here is how diverse it felt. There’s not as much bandwagon-hopping and imitation as I’ve seen in other beer destinations. Chicagoans do things their own way, and that often means a brewery will put a lot of effort into producing a unique take on things. This could be the hop gems of Half Acre, the crispy lagers at Dovetail, the tongue twisting mixed fermentation projects at Whiner, or the, well, whatever they want to call it at Off Color. If you love beer, you should visit Chicago as soon as you can.

Back to Tuna, though — this beer pours a bright shade of tangerine from its lovingly designed can, a head of off-white foam enticing you with aromas of barley sugar and navel orange. To taste, there is plenty more of both of these things: a touch of smooth malt sweetness to begin, and then plenty of zesty, citrus notes to clean all that up before leading to a not-too bitter finish. It’s perhaps a little one note, but at 4.7%, that’s kinda the point. Tuna is a beer to fill the fridge with and throw back when you need a hoppy hit that won’t touch the sides.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a can of Half Acre Tuna while you can in store or online.

Fundamentals #30 — Two Roads Tanker Truck Sauvignon Blanc Gose

The worlds of wine and beer can often feel very different to one another. Beer often tries to grasp at the concept of terroir, French for “of the earth,” referring to the effect that location and climate has on a wine's eventual character. This is a much more difficult concept to express within beer, especially if your hops are imported from the US, your barley from Germany and your yeast cultured in a lab in Copenhagen.

Terroir does exist in beer, but you’re far more likely to find it in, say, the spontaneously fermented lambics of Belgium – which are fermented by harvesting wild yeast from the air surrounding the beer – than the latest IPA.

Taking this concept further, if a brewer decides to add grapes (or must, the pressed juice that is the winemaker's equivalent to a brewer's wort) to beer, by reason this adds another dimension that further reduces its sense of place. Does that matter if it makes a beer taste great? Of course not. Terroir is a fun, and often romantic thing to think about in terms of alcoholic beverages, but it is not fundamental to our enjoyment of great beer.

Both wine grapes and wine barrels effect beer in very positive ways. Barrels not only imbue beer with woody, tannic flavours – along with a wine-like character – but also provide the perfect environment for culturing up interesting yeast and bacteria for further flavour development. Grape juice, on the other hand, is going to provide you with a far cleaner, more precise flavour. It’s also going to give you some extra sugar, which yeast will turn to alcohol during fermentation, so beers with added must can, on occasion, be quite strong.

That isn’t the case with this Sauvignon Blanc Gose from Two Roads, however, which uses the Sauvignon Blanc grape to great effect. Fans of Nelson Sauvin will enjoy this light, thirst-quenching sour (the New Zealand hop takes its name from the flavour of this particularly fruity grape). Gooseberry is often its most obvious character and that’s ever present in this sour, which crams lots of effervescent, sparkling wine-like character into a beer that sits at just 4.8%.

This Gose is an uncomplicated beer, and perhaps a little one-dimensional. This, however, makes it an ideal lawnmower beer. Perfect for smashing down after a day spent in the hot sun, when a bottle of wine might be a little stronger and less thirst quenching than what you require. It also pairs excellently with barbecued chicken or fish, which means its a beer that can be easily enjoyed in the majority of summer scenarios.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a can of Two Roads Sauvignon Blanc Gose in store or online.

The Beer Lover’s Table: Baked Saffron Rice and Chicken (Tachin) with Whiplash Clap Hands American Wheat

There are some dishes it’s worth turning on your oven for, even in the height of summer. Tachin is one of them. I first tried, and loved, tachin - a Persian dish of baked saffron rice, layered with stewed chicken—several years ago. Recently, a recipe in Bon Appétit encouraged me to try making it myself.

Tachin really is a showstopper of a dish. Made sunny-yellow with copious quantities of saffron, featuring braised chicken and tart barberries, it’s baked until its outside turn crisp and burnished (that crunchy layer of rice, known as tahdig, is completely irresistible). It does require effort, but the feat of having pulled it off makes it all worthwhile.

Whiplash has been brewing remarkable beers for a while now, and Clap Hands, the Irish brewery’s American wheat beer, is no exception. Lively and bright, with the big, fluffy head that you’d expect from the style, Clap Hands is also abundantly hopped with Mosaic, El Dorado, and Lemondrop. That lends it a bold apricot character, plus a touch of tropical sweetness. It pairs seamlessly with the hearty and rich tachin, and complements its saffron perfume beautifully.

Baked Saffron Rice and Chicken (Tachin)
Adapted from Bon Appétit

Serves 6-8

For the chicken:
450g bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon fine sea salt

For the saffron rice:
525g basmati rice
Fine sea salt
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons hot water
3 egg yolks
230g Greek yoghurt, plus additional for serving
120ml vegetable oil, plus additional for greasing
2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
3-4 tablespoons dried barberries (substitute with finely chopped dried sour cherries) 

1. First, cook the chicken. In a large saucepan with a lid, add the whole chicken pieces, plus the onion, garlic, spices, and sea salt. Cover with cold water. Transfer the saucepan to the stove and place over high heat. Once boiling, cover and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for approximately 40 minutes, or until the chicken is beginning to fall apart.

2. When the chicken is fully cooked, transfer the pieces to a cutting board and leave until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, pour out all but half a cup of liquid from the saucepan (save the stock for another use in lieu of discarding). Remove the skin from the chicken and shred the meat, using your hands or a fork. Transfer the shredded meat back to the pot with the liquid, and stir to combine. Place over low heat and cook until the mixture is soft and stew-like but not watery, stirring occasionally to prevent it burning. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Add to a sieve and rinse under lukewarm, running water for 2-3 minutes, or until the starch has washed away and the water is clear. Fill a large, lidded saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add generous amounts of salt: you want it to be as salty as the sea. Add the rice and cook for approximately 6 minutes, or until it is tender but not fully cooked, and still has a bit of bite in the middle. Drain the rice. Rinse with cold water, and drain again.

4. Crumble the saffron threads between your fingers and add to a ramekin or small bowl. Add the hot water and stir. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 205° C.

5. In a large bowl, add the egg yolks, Greek yoghurt, vegetable oil and the saffron mixture, and whisk until smooth and uniform. Taste the drained rice; if it could use some seasoning, add between ½-1 teaspoon of sea salt to the yoghurt mixture, and whisk through. Add the rice to the yoghurt mixture and, using a spatula, fold until evenly coated. Be gentle, as you want the rice grains to remain whole.

6. Grease a large bowl, baking tray, or cake dish - preferably Pyrex, as that lets you see the colour of the rice as it cooks - lightly with vegetable oil. Add half the rice and gently compact into a flat layer. Add the stewed chicken in a single layer, leaving a small margin around the edge, and then top with the remaining rice, patting flat into a compact layer.

7. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for between 1 hour-1 hour and 15 mins; your cooking time will vary depending on the shape of the bowl or tray you use. Begin to check after 1 hour; the tachin is ready when the rice around the edges and bottom is deep golden- brown.

8. Once the tachin is fully cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for five minutes. Meanwhile, make the barberry topping. Add the butter to a small frying pan and place over medium-high heat; once it melts, add the berries, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

9. To serve, remove the foil and place a large serving plate on the top of the tachin. Using oven mitts, carefully flip so the tachin is inverted onto the serving plate. Top with the barberries and butter. Slice and serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, if preferred.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and an all-around lover of tasty things. Follow her on Twitter at @clairembullen, and pick up a can of Whiplash Clap Hands American Wheat in store or online.

Fundamentals #29 — Beak Brewery Citra | Verbena | Nelson Sauvin IPA

A heap of breweries are boarding the haze train at the moment – next stop Juiceville USA.

Fascination with modern, aromatic US hop varieties, such as Citra or Mosaic is turning into obsession for some brewers. In fact, in terms of acreage, Citra recently overtook the original pioneer of American hops, Cascade. And there’s a whole host of new and interesting varieties coming such as Cashmere and Pekko now being made available to brewers, giving them the opportunity to push the flavour and aroma of their beer even further.

The problem with so many breweries investing heavily in the zeitgeist that is New England IPA, is that it can, on occasion, be difficult to tell one outfit's offer from another. Even worse, some great beer from lesser known producers can be overlooked. This is a travesty.

So the next time you’re desperate to fill you bag cans from Cloudwater, Verdant, Deya et al, save a little room in there for something new. A recent favourite of mine has been from Beak Brewery, a one man “cuckoo” brewing operation masterminded by brewer Daniel Tapper. Not being in possession of a brewery of his own, Tapper travels to other breweries – such as Missing Link Brewery in Sussex – in order to produce his beers.

One that recently found its way into my refrigerator was a New England IPA featuring Citra, Nelson Sauvin and, somewhat curiously, Verbena. I was interested to see how the herb would affect the flavour of this beer – and that was before I’d even taken the time to appreciate the delightful artwork on the label.

This IPA pours with that typically golden, opaque hue that has become such a welcome and familiar sight these days. The aroma is sweet, with hints of barley sugar clouding a little candied orange peel. As with the best New England IPAs, the beer’s body is far lighter than its appearance would suggest.

There are some fun flavours here – a little smoosh of orange, a prickle of gooseberry and an almost woody, herbal note from the Verbena near the dry finish. It’s just a hint of woodiness though, acting in a complementary way to the dry herbal prickle I typically find Nelson Sauvin adds to a beer, along with more obviously tropical notes like passion fruit and lychee.

If you’re looking to broaden your NEIPA perspective with something just a little bit different, this banger from Beak is a great way to do so.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a can of Beak's Citra Verbena Nelson Sauvin IPA in store or online.

Fundamentals #28 — Anspach & Hobday & Hawkes The Sour Graff

I’m enjoying watching the gentle loll of the modern cider revolution as it gracefully strides into view of beer lovers. Cider is unquestionably having a bit of a moment of late, and it feels like we’re at the foot of a much bigger mound when it comes to what many consider to be beers sister-beverage. For me, cider is far closer to wine, especially orchard-based, low intervention cider - pulling fruit from local orchards, and allowing it to ferment naturally as it matures into a finished product. In fact I personally feel that much of modern cider forms the perfect bridge between beer and wine.

We’ve got some work to do before cider can get to a point where it’s fussed over like so much modern beer though. One producer attempting this is Hawkes, based on Bermondsey’s Druid Street, amidst the largest feast of brewers within the capital. The fact that the cider maker is now owned by BrewDog might give you some inkling on how close to the beer drinkers table cider is at the moment - and of the cider maker's sizable ambition.

The Sour Graff is a hybrid beverage produced with Hawkes’ Druid Street neighbours Anspach & Hobday. The base beer is a Berliner Weisse, which then sees the addition of Dabinett apple juice prior to fermentation. What I particularly enjoy about this is the seeing the apple varietal get a namecheck, front and centre. In a world where hops are such a strong hook for beer enthusiasts, dangling a carrot… err, apple, like this lends the beer drinker the next rung to swing from.

I was also pleased to find such an approachable beer beneath the cap. Fans of sours will be immediately drawn to its sharp, tart quality. The apple flavour is sweet and fizzy, like a mouthful of sour-apple pop rocks, but the dry finish smoothes this out. If you can overcome the initial sharpness of how sour this beer/cider hybrid is, then you’ll find a beverage that is simple and eminently drinkable - perfect for long summer days.

Behind all of the fun this drink provides, however, is just the faintest hint of farmyard funk. Not enough to challenge, but - for those that find it - enough to perhaps pique an interest in the wider world of cider. In this respect, The Sour Graff is a great introduction to cider for those who have not yet decided if they like it or not.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. If you're quick, you'll be able to find a last bottle of The Sour Graff in store or online.

Our Deptford shop opens this weekend!

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Deptford, we're finally ready for you (almost)! We'll be vacuuming up the dust and throwing open the doors to our Hop Burns & Shack-of-Joy this Saturday at 10am.

Inside, you'll find hundreds of the world's best beers, amazing British ciders, our favourite wines (with a big focus on natural and organic), a carefully chosen selection of small-batch spirits and of course our famous wall of hot sauce.

Initially, as we get up and running, we'll be open five days a week (Wed-Sun) but will extend these hours as soon as we can. In the meantime, here's when you'll be able to visit us:

Wed: 3-8pm  /  Thurs: 3-8pm  /  Fri: 12-9pm  /  Sat: 10am-9pm  /  Sun: 12-6pm

To celebrate our opening, we've got some amazingly handsome and hard-wearing HB&B tote bags to give away to the first 100 customers who spend £20 or more with us.

And a gentle reminder that we are primarily a takeaway bottle shop -  we'll have a couple of benches outside for a little sunshine tipple, but if it's full bar service you're after, you're spoiled for choice with our fantastic neighbours which include Little Nan's, Tap Room SE8, Buster Mantis, Gin & Beer and more. 

Thanks so much for all the support so far, Deptford - we can't wait to see you at the shop :)

Our letter to Beavertown

Today we made one of the most significant decisions in our retail careers in deciding to stop selling Beavertown, a brewery that contributes an enormous share of our revenue, after hearing the news of its sale to Heineken. We will sell through the stock we already have but going forward we will no longer retail Beavertown. We are, frankly, absolutely gutted about this but we feel strongly that we need to be true to our principles and our support of independent beer. Here's our letter to Beavertown in full.

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It's no exaggeration to say we are hugely disappointed by this morning's news. I imagine many of you will be feeling the same way.

Hop Burns & Black is built on the ethos of supporting the independent beer scene - it's at the very core of our reason for being. 

We appreciate breweries are businesses like any other and often need help to grow and realise their ambitions, but we hoped Beavertown were cut from a different jib to those who just follow the money. Beavertown has been hugely instrumental in developing the UK craft beer scene and to sell to Heineken (no matter what the share) feels, quite frankly, like a slap in the face.

Heineken - like AB InBev - does not have the health of the UK independent beer scene at heart. Dressing up this move as good for the consumer is just spin - in reality this is simply helping Big Beer chip away at the UK independent beer scene. As independent retailers whose business is also at risk from Big Beer's targeting of the industry, we cannot support this.

We have had a long and close relationship with Beavertown - your beers make up more than 8% of our annual beer turnover (second only to Cloudwater), so this is not a decision we have taken lightly. However, as with Brixton after it sold to Heineken, we are prepared to say goodbye. We're sad that we've had to take this decision but nothing is more important to us than our principles.

We will sell through the Beavertown beers we currently have in stock but will not be placing any more orders. 

We want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your fantastic support over the years - Beavertown people are good people and we will very much miss working with you. 

Jen & Glenn @ HB&B

UPDATE: We have also sent a similar email to the Fourpure team following the announcement of their 100% sale to Lion/Kirin. While this news was not at all unexpected, it's still a sad day as we have worked closely with the Fourpure team over the years, sharing many great nights, hangovers and even a collab brew. Our stance remains the same, however - we are here for independent beer.

Fundamentals #27 — Fuerst Wiacek A Quick One IPA

Citra and Mosaic are my homeboys, I like hanging out with them often. I also enjoy it when they’re accompanied by pals like El Dorado, Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin and even Simcoe (although the latter sometimes feels like he may be trying a little too hard to roll with the cool kids these days). They are fundamental to the modern, hoppy, hazy pales I have spent much of my recent time obsessing over.

There’s an argument that a lot these modern beers, with their juice dialled up and the bitterness muted, are very similar in character. On the surface that much is true. But the more I delve into them, the more subtle variances I detect between them. That might be something as simple as a beer's mouthfeel, or how that beer’s specific yeast has added its own character - for better or worse.

Drinking a modern beer hopped with Citra and Mosaic can be as exciting for me as it can be refreshing, because I can still be surprised by how the flavours in that beer present themselves - be they through citrus or tropical fruits, through peach and apricot driven esters or through heady, dank, onion, pine and wild garlic. Yes I like that too.

Fuerst Wiacek - a brewery based out of Berlin, Germany, but currently with no production facility of its own - is a new one to me. The brewery describes its beers as modern and balanced and my first impression of its New England style IPA A Quick One would indicate that this statement holds true.

That depends of course on your definition of balance. If a beer with a fruit basket of tropical notes from papaya to mango to lychee that’s wrapped up in a soft, yet featherlight body with a delicate, dry yet ever-so-slightly bitter finish is your idea of balance, then this beer will almost certainly be right up your avenue.

This is an excellent modern IPA, and an exemplary use of my good friends Citra and Mosaic. I look forward to spending some more time with them should they show up in a Fuerst Wiacek beer once more.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up A Quick One in store or online.

Fundamentals #26 — North Brewing Co. Transmission IPA

One of my favourite historic pieces of music television is the clip of Joy Division performing Transmission on BBC2’s Something Else back in 1979. The performance is bookended by an interview with the band’s then manager, Tony Wilson, alongside drummer Stephen Morris. In the clip, Wilson laments how the Manchester-based band’s track doesn’t have a universal appeal, due to it being “unsettling… slightly sinister and gothic”, despite its “hypnotic melody”.

For many beer drinkers, modern beer – in particular the opaquely hazy and enticingly juicy IPAs that have shot to fame over the previous 24 months – may hold similarly unsettling qualities. Who knows what terrors may lie within a beer that will not drop bright?

By rights, with enticing, accessible juicy fruit flavours and little to no bitterness, the modern hazy IPA has all the qualities that should hold universal appeal to all beer drinkers. But the nonconformity of the style gives it that unsettling character, because it doesn’t look like what we’re told beer is supposed to look like. New England IPA is the Joy Division of modern beer, and a keen sign that we’re in the post-punk – or dare I say the post-craft – beer era.

Transmission is also the name of a hazy IPA from Leeds based North Brewing Co. The brewery’s founders Christian Townsley and John Gyngell made their name in the Yorkshire city as the founders of North Bar, which is sometimes referred to as the first craft beer bar in the UK.

North Bar has been a trendmaker and bastion within the Leeds scene since its founding in July 1997. Then, in 2015, Townsley and Gyngell decided to take the next step and launch their brewery under the same moniker. In recent months the brewery has really hit its stride and is producing some stellar beer.

Transmission is an IPA that follows the modern trend of being hazy and juicy. Flavours of mango interweave between sheets of candy sugar, which are all tied together with a subtle dry and bitter snap in the finish, something that should satisfy even the most hardened of purists. Although its appearance and flavour may be unsettling and slightly sinister to those accustomed to the traditional, its accessibility will no doubt welcome an equally high volume of people to the genre.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. We love Transmission so much that it's now a core beer at HB&B. Pick up a can in store or online.

The Beer Lover’s Table: Indian-Spiced Fried Chicken Goujons with Raita and Beavertown X De La Senne Brattish Anglo-Belge Pale Ale

If I could only pick one beer to pair with food for the rest of time, I’d probably go with Brattish – a recent collaboration between Beavertown and Belgium’s De La Senne (and unfortunately for my purposes, only a limited-edition brew).

Billed as an “Anglo-Belge Pale Ale”, this summery beer is all fruity esters on the nose, thanks to its Belgian ale yeast strain. On the palate, it’s still fresh and delicately sweet, but the lingering snap of bitterness makes Brattish exceptionally balanced and versatile. You could serve innumerable dishes with a beer as food-friendly as this one, but I opted for fried chicken goujons. In my opinion, they’re one of the most miraculous things you can cook at home – partly because they’re really just an adultified version of the chicken nuggets you loved so much as a kid, and partly because they’re really, truly not difficult to make.

If you’re the type who quails at the idea of frying anything, know that these are shallow- rather than deep-fried, and cook for just a few minutes: crispy, crunchy, tender, flavourful fried chicken can be yours in no time at all.

To add another dimension, the chicken fillets are also marinated in an Indian-spiced yoghurt mixture, similar to what you’d use if you were making chicken tikka. Serve cooling raita on the side, plus an additional dollop of hot sauce or chutney, if you’d prefer.

Indian-Spiced Fried Chicken Goujons with Raita
Serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a main

For the chicken goujons:
½ cup (130g) Greek yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, minced
1 green chilli, minced
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
11 oz (320g) mini chicken breast fillets
½ cup (70g) flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup (70g) panko
2 cups (500ml) vegetable oil

For the raita:
¾ cup (200g) Greek yoghurt
1 small handful mint leaves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
½ teaspoon coriander
1 small clove garlic, crushed

1. Begin marinating the chicken several hours before you plan to cook. In a medium- sized bowl, add the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, chilli, spices and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Stir well to mix. Add the chicken fillets and mix with a spoon or your hands to ensure they’re well coated. Cover and leave to marinate for at least two hours, or up to overnight.

2. Prepare the raita. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.

3. When the chicken is done marinating, remove from the fridge. Prepare your batter assembly line. Fill one bowl with flour and the remaining ½ teaspoon of sea salt, whisking to combine. Fill the second bowl with the beaten eggs and the third bowl with the panko crumbs, and set out a large plate at the end. Remove one fillet from the yoghurt, shaking off any excess marinade, and dip into the flour. Toss and flip to evenly coat, and shake off any excess. Quickly dredge the fillet in the egg mixture, coating on both sides, and let any excess egg drip off. Finally, place it in the bowl with the panko crumbs and toss until well coated. Place the battered fillet on the plate and repeat with the rest.

4. When all the fillets are battered, add the vegetable oil to a large frying pan, preferably cast iron, and place over high heat. Heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the oil temperature reaches 180°C/350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Carefully add half of the chicken fillets; they should sizzle rapidly. Cook, rotating and flipping the pieces with tongs frequently, for 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken is crisp and deep golden-brown. You can check that the chicken is cooked through by removing one fillet and slicing into it; the meat inside should be opaque, tender, and flaky.

5. When the chicken is cooked through, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Repeat with the second batch.

6. Serve the chicken while it’s still warm, alongside the raita and additional hot sauce or chutney, if you prefer.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and an all-around lover of tasty things. Follow her on Twitter at @clairembullen, and pick up a can of Brattish while you can, in store or online.

Fundamentals #25 — Cloudwater DIPA V3 2018 & V3.1

Time can be good for IPAs. I’m not talking about cellaring your freshest beers and letting them fade away like a forgotten 90’s pop star - this is not how you make good barleywine. I’m talking about what a brewery can learn once it has had time to experiment and glean a little maturity. With experience and a combination of technological and creative know-how comes great beer. With the re-release of its V3 Double IPA and coincidental launch of an up-to-date V3.1, Manchester’s Cloudwater has done just that.

I remember when I went to the London launch of Cloudwater beers back in 2015, but I don’t remember the pales and IPAs I drank that day. Instead I remember a tasty bergamot hopfenweisse along with some soft and luxurious low-strength beers served from cask. But as pleasant as these beers were at the time, they were not to be a marker of this breweries bright future. Its foray into intensely hopped beers, inspired by the brightest starlets of the American scene such as The Veil, Treehouse and Trillium, would eventually fulfil that role.

Cloudwater’s evolving DIPA series would catapult the brewery into the light fantastic, seeing it claim accolades on both sides of the pond. And yet, none of the 13 beers in this range would showcase potent hop characteristics in the same way as the trend-breaking beers that would follow. Sure, it proved to be a worthy experiment. It helped the brewery figure out what its equipment was capable of, and what its fans wanted more of. But these beers are now a world away from the weekly-released DDH treats we’ve come to expect. So when I see folks pine for these one-off experiments, I find myself asking why that is.

This fresh release of V3 is an interesting experience, but for me this beer doesn’t represent where this brewery is at in 2018. It has that characteristic softness that is so strongly representative of what a Cloudwater beer is to me, along with flavours of ripe melon and a little honey. However the back end of V3 is one of cloying sweetness and some hot alcohol—not the bright burst of hop intensity I’ve come to expect.

V3.1 contains three times the dry hop addition as the revivified edition of V3. You could call it triple dry hopped with its 24 grams per litre to the meagre 8 grams in the older recipe. But this is the kind of beer we have now become accustomed to from Cloudwater. It’s not TDH, its perfectly normal. The newer recipe is far hazier than the previous one, but the aroma and flavour is also dramatically more intense. While its appearance is cloudy, soft, tropical notes of papaya and lychee provide the brightness, with the intensity turned up to its maximum.

This is the kind of beer I want from Cloudwater, a beer that demonstrates maturity and nuance in the same beat as it does vibrancy and intensity. I hope those nostalgic for the older version got what they wanted out of this release, but as far as I’m concerned I hope Cloudwater keep learning, keep evolving, and keep developing these righteously juicy beers.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up both V3 cans while you still, erm, can, in store or online.

HB&B is coming to Deptford!

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We are delighted to announce that we've located the perfect site for our second outlet - and it's in sunny Deptford.

HB&B Deptford - or 'Hop Burns & Shack' as we like to call it - is a small but perfectly formed version of the branch you know and love in Peckham. It's located directly outside Deptford Station (next to the old KicksLove shop, just down from Mouse Tail Coffee and Forest, and within spitting distance of the legendary Little Nan's). This means it's perfectly placed for Deptford and New Cross folks to stop in on their way home, and it's just one stop from London Bridge so we'll get to see much more of our north-of-the-river friends - no excuses now, guys.

If you've been following our journey, you'll know we've been looking for a new site for a while - over the years we've suffered our fair share of bad luck and also the curse of being extremely picky.

Our love for South East London is loud and proud, so we've always thought Deptford would be our next move. We've been stomping up and down Deptford High Street for ages, fuelled by amazing bagels from The Waiting Room and moral support from those lovely lads at Villages. We love this place - we love its strong sense of community and its support for independent business, and it helps that it's developing a pretty cool food and drink scene too.

So yeah. We have the keys and now the hard work begins - converting a weird little railway arch into a TARDIS of awesomeness. Opening date is still TBC but it'll be sometime in June - the sooner the better. Deptford, we are SO excited to be in you.

See you soon...

Why we've gone cash-free (for a month at least)

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During May, we won't be accepting cash payments (so please ensure you have a card with you for in-store payments). We're doing this for a month's trial, with a view to making it permanent if the trial proves successful.

Why do we want to go cash-free? There are several reasons.

More than 95% of you already pay by card or online - Those of you who do pay in cash are usually carrying a card as back-up, so we hope any inconvenience caused will be minimal. 

Added security - It's a fact that businesses that don't carry cash are less likely to be a target of crime in store, not to mention a reduced risk of theft if we don't have to haul cash to the bank. We're all for making ourselves and our staff safer.

Damn banks keep closing their branches - This means we have to travel further to get to a branch to deposit our cash takings, and when we get there we have to wait longer as everyone who used to visit those other branches is having to come to the same branch. We want those hours back!

Less time cashing up, more time to spend on important things - Counting the float at the start and end of the day is a time-consuming chore we'd prefer not to have to do. We have much more exciting stuff we'd rather be focusing on to make our service to you even better.

So apologies for any hassle caused. We're keen to hear your feedback - good and bad - as the month progresses and in turn we'll let you know how the trial has gone at the end of May and if we'll make it a permanent thing or not. Thanks for understanding :)

Fundamentals #24 — Pressure Drop x Lost & Grounded How We Roll Belgian Chocolate Stout

Every few months I try to slow down a little and take stock of where the beer industry is right now, and how far it’s come in the past few years. Its booming evolution still shows no sign of slowing down. And just thinking about this point alone can be exhausting - especially when, like me, you’re embroiled in the whirlwind that is Beer Twitter™. However, when you put your phone down, and open a bottle of beer from one of the UK’s finest small breweries, suddenly that whirlwind stops spinning and the beer world seems to slow down - for a while at least.

Over the past year or two, I’ve noticed how far the overall quality of British beer has improved, especially from breweries which emerged within the last few years. Modern breweries are learning to invest in process, equipment, sensory training and quality control to ensure the beer in your glass is tasting better than ever before. At more than 2,000, the UK now has more breweries than anywhere else in the world bar our friends in the United States, who boast more than 6,000.

Numbers alone don’t make up a great beer culture though. In order for the UK to continue to stand up and be counted as one of the world’s most important brewing nations, quality needs to keep improving, which from what I can see is happening all around us.

Two breweries leading the charge in this respect are Bristol’s Lost and Grounded and North London’s Pressure Drop. The former launched in summer 2016, boasting an impressive German-made brewhouse that allowed the brewery exacting control over the beers it produces, be it a modern IPA or German-inspired Pilsner. The latter started its journey in Hackney in 2012, eventually expanding to its current Tottenham home in 2017. Each makes excellent beers in their own right, so you know that any collaboration between them will likely tickle your fancy.

How We Roll - a Belgian Chocolate Stout - certainly tickled mine. The beer’s relative Belgian-ness is very understated, only really evident via its voracious carbonation and exceedingly dry finish, both of which seemingly serve to enhance both the beer's chocolate flavour and its overall drinkability. This beer also skillfully avoids being too astringent, dialling the roasted quality of the stout back to let the milk chocolate flavour really shine.

How We Roll is one of those beers that comes along once in a while that I expect to be good, but is so good that it almost takes me by surprise. It shouldn’t though - instead, like many beers, it should stand up as an example of how high the quality of many brewers’ output in the UK has become. Here’s to enjoying many more beers like this one.

The Beer Lover’s Table: Pork Kofta Kebabs with Labneh & Rocket and Reutberger Josefi Bock

The arrival of spring means rain showers and growing things, but in beer circles, it also means bock. German bockbiers—which you’ll recognise because their labels are almost always festooned with prancing goats—are traditionally released in the spring after having been brewed and lagered during the cold winter months.

Many beer drinkers are probably familiar with rich, malty doppelbocks, but helles bocks (also known as heller bocks or maibocks) are also worth your while. Reasonably strong but paler in colour than your average doppelbock, these beers are less malt-driven and have a stronger hop presence than their darker cousins.

Brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast, Reutberger’s example of the style is a tawny-hued lager with brilliant clarity. It brings mellow sweetness rather than lingering bitterness—its finish is all toffee and caramel, courtesy of its 50-50 split of light and dark malts.

As with most malt-led German beers, Josefi Bock loves pork. I toyed for a while with pairing it with various braised recipes before settling on something quicker and—while still hearty—slightly fresher. Very much a riff on a classic kofta kebab, this recipe both subs pork for the more traditional lamb and adds a rogue element in the form of an
apricot glaze. Rather than being oversweet, the glaze adds fruitiness and complexity that marry well with the pork while picking up the toffee notes in the beer beautifully.

To tie it all together, I added labneh (Greek yoghurt’s tangy, cheese-like cousin), fruity Aleppo pepper flakes, peppery rocket and fresh mint. Throw the lot together on whatever flatbread you fancy, and wrap it up in foil: this isn’t one for the forks and knives.

Pork Kofta Kebabs with Labneh and Rocket
Serves 4

For the pork koftas:
8 metal or bamboo skewers
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
750g 20% minced pork
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sumac
2 large echalion shallots, finely chopped
1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the apricot glaze:
2.5 tablespoons apricot jam
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce

To serve:
4 large, round flatbreads of your choice (pita, naan, etc.)
Approximately 350g labneh (substitute Greek yoghurt if unavailable)
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Several handfuls rocket
Large bunch mint
1 lemon
Aleppo chilli flakes

1. First, make the koftas. If using bamboo skewers, submerge in water and leave to soak. In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, roughly grind the fennel and coriander seeds. Add to a large bowl with the minced pork and the rest of your spices, the shallots, salt and pepper. Work through with your hands until evenly mixed. If you want to check
the seasoning, place a teaspoon-sized amount of the pork mix on a plate and microwave for 20 seconds. Taste and adjust accordingly. Place the pork mix in the fridge and leave to chill for 1 hour. 

2. Remove the skewers from the water and pat to dry. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top of it. Wet a paper towel with vegetable oil and grease the wire rack, so the koftas won’t stick.

3. Remove the pork mixture from the fridge and divide it into two. Set one half aside and divide the other into four even portions. Take one portion and pat it until it’s slightly flattened and rectangular. Place a skewer in the middle and shape the meat around it. Gently roll and compress the meat with your hands until it is a roughly 7–8-inch log, with the skewer running evenly through the length of it. Place on the wire rack-fitted baking sheet. Repeat with the three other portions, and then with the remaining half of the pork. Place the whole tray of koftas in the fridge and leave to chill for roughly 45 minutes.

4. Heat the grill/broiler on your oven to medium-high. Place the kofta tray in for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until the tops have darkened in colour. Remove and flip the skewers over and return to the grill/broiler and cook for 5-7 minutes more.

5. As the koftas are cooking, make your apricot glaze. Add all five ingredients to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook down for 2-3 more minutes, or until the glaze is syrupy and very thick. Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl or ramekin.

6. Once the koftas have darkened on both sides, remove from the oven. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze on one side of the koftas and return to the grill for 2-3 minutes, or until they’re starting to look browned and caramelised. Flip the skewers, brush with the rest of the glaze, and cook for 2-3 minutes more.

7. Just before serving, heat the flatbreads in the grill/broiler for 1 minute per side until warmed through (you may need to do this in several batches). Arrange each flatbread over a sheet of foil. Dollop a good amount of labneh or yoghurt in the centre of each flatbread and swipe into a long vertical stripe. Season the labneh with flaky salt and a
generous pinch of Aleppo chilli flakes. Top with a good handful of rocket and roughly torn mint leaves. Squeeze lemon juice over the greens and then arrange two koftas on top. Season the meat with additional Aleppo chilli flakes. Carefully fold over both sides of the flatbread to cover the filling and tightly wrap with the foil, folding up the foil at the base
to prevent any leaks. Serve immediately.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and an all-around lover of tasty things. Follow her on Twitter at @clairembullen, and pick up a bottle of Reutberger Josefi Bock while you can.

Fundamentals #23 — Black Iris Let The Juice Loose NEIPA

People say you can have too much of a good thing. That less is, in fact, more. Undoubtedly, there are many walks of life where this is true. Say for example if you spend less time working on that Excel spreadsheet or playing badminton, then you can spend more time down the pub, enjoying great beer. Or perhaps in the construction of a great pilsner, where the subtlety of pale malt playfully mingles with the nuance of noble hops, leading to a finished product that is perhaps greater than the sum of its parts.

Life would be boring if all we did was drink pilsner though, and badminton is a really fun way to get some exercise. When it comes to IPA, or at least IPA as we known it in the context of modern beer, you can’t have too much of a good thing. For IPA, more is more. That’s why it’s been the driving force of modern beer ever since folks like San Francisco’s Liberty Brewing decided to brew a rambunctiously bitter beer called Liberty Ale way back in 1975.

IPA is the carte blanche that brewers have used to define themselves, and in turn the industry they operate in, since the year dot. It can be bitter, it can be juicy, it can be sweet, it can be savoury, it can be dank as all hell. It can even be dark, (unless you are a Cascadian Dark Ale purist, hello to you). We can safely say that IPA as we know it now is fundamental to how we experience and enjoy beer in the modern age.

Let the Juice Loose is a New England style IPA from Nottingham’s Black Iris Brewery. Looking at how many of us enjoy our IPA in the modern beer age, this is a fantastic expression. Pouring distinctly hazy to the point of being (quite satisfyingly) turbid, your senses will almost immediately be piqued with aromas of mango, papaya and kumquat. Let the Juice Loose continues to purvey its tropical dance party of flavour when it hits your palate, with those fruit notes leading to a finish which is part dry, and part lingering stone fruit, as a hint of yeast esters give you the nod it’s time for another sip.

The hazy, juicy, New England IPA won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a fantastic gateway to those new to the style that may have previously been put off by lots of bitterness. Personally, I find that when this style is done well, it’s the kind of beer I want to drink all of the time. Except for those times I want a pilsner. Because sometimes less is more and sometimes more is more. Just like brewing, in fact.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up one of the last cans of Let The Juice Loose while you still can, in store or online.