Anspach & Hobday

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 December All Killer No Filler box revealed

We've still got a couple of All Killer No Filler beer subscription boxes left for you to pick up before Christmas (or get it delivered in time for NYE). If you've been wavering, check out what's in this month's box to get you excited (SPOILER ALERT). What a way to end the year!

 

 

Fundamentals #16 – Anspach & Hobday The Pfeffernüsse Saison (A Christmas Gift for You)

Hello, this is Matthew Curtis.

It is so difficult at this time to say words that would express my feelings about the beer to which you have just consumed. A beer that has been in the planning for many, many months First, let me thank all the people who worked so hard with Anspach & Hobday in the production of this beverage and in their endeavour and desire to bring something new and different to the beer of Christmas. And to the brewing industry which is so much a part of our lives.

Of course, the biggest thanks goes to you, for giving me the opportunity to relate my feelings of Christmas through the beer that I love. This intensely spiced Pfeffernüsse Saison features notes of cloves, cinnamon, biscuit and brown sugar, with the saison yeast leading way to an intensely dry finish. May you enjoy it now, or in several years time as it slowly ages towards perfection.

At this moment, I am very proud of all the brewers and on behalf of all of them, Anspach & Hobday, Hop Burns & Black and myself. May we wish you the very merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years. And thank you so very much for letting us spend this Christmas with you.

(With no disrespect to the artists involved to the recording of the wonderful A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector and friends. Except for Spector himself, who turned out to be a murdering bastard. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, you filthy animals.)

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up this very special festive brew in store or online.

New stuff in store: 11 December

Deck the halls... with shedloads of beer. Here's what's in your Christmas stocking this week.

  • Glorious new 750ml sharing bottles, including Anspach & Hobday's White Coffee Milk Stout, Wiper & True's Winter Ale Abbey Rye and Vocation's Naughty & Nice Chocolate Stout (also now in can too).
  • We went a bit overboard on Bristol breweries this week, knowing how much you love them. From Arbor, we've got their Grifter APA, Breakfast Stout and Basta Rosse, a red ale brewed with Italian brewery Mezzo Passo. We also see the triumphant return of their Yakima Valley IPA, one of the most-requested beers we've ever had. From Wiper & True, we've got Amber Simcoe Steam, Small Beer #13 and Sorachi Ace IPA in addition to the 750ml Winter Ale Abbey Rye. Be quick, these won't hang around.
  • On a South-East London stylee, we've got Partizan's delicious 300th Brew, Don Biere de Garde, as well as Late Knights' roasty Penge Porter and the return of the ultimate shirk, rest and play beverage, Deserter IPA.
  • Also from within the M25, say hello to Big Smoke Brew Co's sublime Underworld Milk Stout and the return of Weird Beard's Duke Of Dank Red IPA. (The clue is in the name.) A little further out, Siren's Pompelmocelo is a delightfully tart grapefruit IPA that will definitely put a pucker in your pint.
  • Brewdog has launched its annual Prototype series, where you get to have your say on which beers should make it onto their core line-up. We've got two this week: Milk Stout (see a theme here?) and Black IPA
  • One final Christmas beer joins the ranks: Rogue Santa's Private Reserve, a hoppy, sprucey, malty amber ale.
  • And finally - because: Star Wars - we've re-upped on Northern Monk's It's A Trap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New stuff in store: 16 April

Another motherlode of the good stuff. Drums, please:

  • Brand new to our shelves is the excellent One Mile End brewery, based beneath Mile End Road at the White Hart Brew Pub in Whitechapel. This brewery is getting kudos from all quarters and we know you're going to love these beautifully crafted beers: Salvation Pale Ale, Snakecharmer IPA and Hospital Porter.
  • Moor, Moor, Moor! SoHop, NorHop, BritHop... all your hops are belong to us. Grab all three of these spectacular ultra pale ales and vote for your favourite.
  • Ahead of our Anspach & Hobday brewer showcase on the 29th, we've stocked up on their new Pale Ale plus got a re-up of their excellent Table Porter. Expect more special treats on the night...
  • Firm flagon-fill favourites Gipsy Hill add another string to their sessionable, full flavoured bow with the Yuzu Japanese Pale Ale, a zesty number brewed with Kent Brewery.
  • We loved Siren's quarter-IPA, Half Mast, last year - this tasty 2.9%-er packs a flavoursome punch for such a low ABV beverage. Get it while it's cold!
  • Also on the session front, Weird Beard's Little Things That Kill is your ideal summer ale. Hopped and dry-hopped with Centennial and Nelson Sauvin (from Jen's hometown), with an addition of Cascade, we predict this will fly out the door if these sultry temperatures continue.
  • If, like us, you love the refreshing cidery tartness of Wild Beer's Somerset Wild and Ninkasi beers, then you'll adore Zintuki - a skilful blend of both. We put this to a taste test on Wednesday over lunch outside the shop in the sunshine and can confirm it's perfect summer drinking. Hey, it's a hard job, but someone has to do it...
  • Wiper & True's beautiful branding is an accurate indicator of the sophisticated contents inside in the bottles, the result of which is that we can never keep this Bristol brewery's beer on the shelf for long. Two new additions this week: Blossom Amber Ale and Southern Cross Pale Ale.
  • Lastly, Founders All Day IPA. Our best-selling US beer now in cans!

There are probably some we've missed off - best to come in store and see for yourself. And don't forget to check our flagon-fill page for all the deliciousness coming up on draught too - only the best for you...

No hops, no backstage pass

 

On Wednesday 25th March, we kick off our Top of the Hops Brewer Showcase series. These are regular 'meet the brewer' events with an HB&B difference - bringing together two of our greatest loves, we're asking our favourite breweries to bring along not just their best brews but also their favourite brew-tunes.

The first brewery to accept the challenge is one of our favourite new breweries, SE17's own Orbit Beers, born from a love of travel, music and beer (sound familiar?).

Mario, Robert and Robbie will be bringing the fruits of their 'hi-fidelity brewing' to HB&B, soundtracked by their quintessential brewhouse tunes, including but not limited to the Velvet Underground & Nico, Neu!, Throwing Muses and more... You'll get to meet the brewers, taste their beers and hear their favourite music (which you'll also be able to buy on vintage vinyl).

It's free to come along and while you don't need to book, for this first event, if you book a place you'll also get 10% off purchases on the night. Reserve your spot here

Upcoming showcases feature Gipsy Hill Brewing (Wed 15th April), Anspach & Hobday (Wed 29th April) and Five Points Brewing (Wed 13th May), with many more to be announced.