Beer

No More Heroes XXIII – The Five Points Brewing Company Pale Ale

We started No More Heroes in an effort to champion beers we considered to be underrated. Over the months since it started we may have strayed from that ethos a little, as some of the beers we’ve reviewed are ones that often receive critical acclaim. It would be small minded of us to take any of the credit for that, of course.

This week's beer, Pale Ale from Hackney’s The Five Points, is perhaps one that doesn’t get the credit it deserves, despite being one that sits and sells happily on taps and shelves all over London be it from cask, keg, bottle or can.

“Normcore” is the phrase used by The Five Points Marketing Manager, Doreen Joy Barber, when she describes how some people view their brewery. Instead of working on a myriad of expressive beer styles like many of its peers, The Five Points have focused on producing a solid, reliable and consistent core range.

But I think there’s more to it than just that. The magic of Five Points’ beers is not just that they taste great, but they do so while allowing you to switch off and enjoy. They can be uncomplicated and drinkable like the Pale Ale or brand new Pils or deep and complex like their American style IPA, Hook Island Red or London Smoke.

The Five Points manage to straddle the slowly widening gap between the UK’s traditional beer culture and its bleeding edge of craft beer. This makes them an important brewery because not only does it make them a gateway to more interesting beer styles but it also gives both the craft and traditional worlds something to enjoy. Few other breweries manage to share this common ground.

Music Pairing: Steely Dan – Do It Again (1973)
Steely Dan gets a pick here because, like Five Points Pale, ‘Do It Again’ manages to effortlessly straddle the line between skillful musicianship and seriously easy drinking. It’s also the perfect vibe for these hazy summer evenings, as the cool breeze and shorter nights of autumn gradually still roll in.

We’ll be back with our next No More Heroes Live Event at Hop Burns &; Black on Thursday September 29th. We’re excited to be hosting James Kemp from Manchester’s Marble Brewery and spinning a whole host of Manchester tunes. Full event and ticket info is coming soon, so stick it in your diaries now.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total Ales, and Good Beer Hunting, and on Twitter @totalcurtis. And why not get Five Points Pale Ale delivered to your door via our online shop?

Hop Burns & Bottle Share: Tim Anderson

Every two months (ish), we invite our favourite beery people to join us for a glorious thing we call Hop Burns & Bottle Share. As well as our guests bringing along the beers they've been saving up to drink in the company of other brew enthusiasts, we ask a celebrated beer-ophile to select a handful of the beers that have changed their lives or thrilled their tastebuds.

Last night it was the turn of Tim Anderson, founder of Nanban, winner of Masterchef UK and passionate lover of beer. Tim's reverence for beer is well known - he was working behind the bar at the Euston Tap when Masterchef propelled him to fame and has since gone on to collaborate with his favourite breweries to concoct a range of fantastic (in all senses of the word) beers, several of which we tasted last night.

Tim began the night, unusually, with a 9% imperial stout, North Coast's Old Rasputin, the beer that kickstarted Tim's beery journey. From there we explored some of Tim's collaborations, starting with the brand new Market Saison, a delectably light hibiscus and green tea saison brewed with Tim's SW9 neighbours, Brixton Brewery.

Revealing his love of design and comics, Tim told us the story of his cartoon creation Sally Squirrel, initially Girl Reporter in an earlier collab, now Teen Detective in his collaboration with Weird Beard, a chokeberry miso walnut and sake yeast porter.

Next up, the iconic Pressure Drop Nanban Kanpai, a wheat IPA with yuzu, orange and grapefruit, and a staple beer at Tim's Brixton restaurant, before Tim wheeled out the big guns with Yadokai.

Yadokai is a four-way collaboration between Tim, Wild Beer, the Hanging Bat and Blackfriars Restaurant in Edinburgh - a sake-inspired yuzu, sea buckthorn and seaweed ale, it's not for the faint hearted. It's fair to say we weren't great fans of this when it first came out last year; however this year's batch went through a period of pediococcus infection in the bottle and has come out the other side triumphant and tasting better than ever. Compared to white port or a delicate sherry, this has to be tasted to be believed. To do so, you'll need to get to Nanban in Brixton - Tim recommends it as a digestif at the end of your meal. 

We're so grateful to Tim for taking the time out to come and hang with us for the night, share his stories and his wonderful beers. Cheers sir! You can get Tim's selection (no Yadokai, sorry) at our online shop or in store while stocks last.

Here's what our guests brought to the party. The next event is scheduled for September and will feature one of Bristol's most exciting new brewers... Details announced soon.

Hop Burns & Bottle Share shares:

  • Fantome Forest Ghost (Padraig)
  • Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon Imperial Stout (Kai)
  • Against The Grain Little Did We Know Sage Smoked Saison (Kat)
  • Westbrook Mexican Cake (Jamie)
  • Darkk Star Imperial Stout (Jez)
  • Brussels Beer Project Smells Like Hop Spirit (Emma)
  • Struisse Reserva Bourbon Barrel Aged Rye Quad (Emma)
  • Brewdog Born to Die 18.06.2016 (Benjamin)
  • Double Ass homebrew (Kiran & Phil)
  • Chilli Stout homebrew (Kiran & Phil)
  • Mikkeller Brodie's Big Mofo Stout (Kai)
  • Wylam All Gone South (Malee)
  • Siren BA Life is A Peach (Malee)
  • Siren Hillbilly Wine (Malee)
  • Brussels Beer Project Brusseleir Zwet IPA (Jez)
  • Yo-Ho Tokyo Black (Robert)
  • Hitachino Dai Dai (Robert)
  • Hitachino Espresso Stout (Robert)
  • Coedo Shikkoku (Peter)
  • Coedo Beniaka (Peter)

Matthew Curtis's No More Heroes XVII – Partizan Lemongrass Saison

Some beers are just made for food. Some are even made with ingredients you’d associate with cooking as opposed to brewing. Then there are some beers that go as far as using food itself as an ingredient.

Take the boys from Northern Monk, for example. They recently teamed up with The Real Junk Food Project to brew a saison that includes leftover pastries and pears as ingredients. It sounds bonkers, but this beer is actually using ingredients that otherwise would have gone to waste. I was fortunate enough to swing by the brewery when they were making it and can’t wait to finally get a taste.

Saison is a great style to use as a blank canvas for more unusual ingredients, perhaps because of the way the dry and tangy saison yeast strain provides something for these flavours to lean on. Bermondsey’s Partizan has used the saison as its own carte blanche to go mental. Alternative variants of its saisons include a lemon and thyme infused recipe that almost tastes more like a marinade than a beer, and one that attempts to mimic the flavours of the classic negroni cocktail.

The one I’m drinking today is flavoured with lemongrass and it’s arguably one of Partizan’s best beers. The incredibly light body balances the snap of saison yeast with delicate flavours of lemongrass, which are followed by a bone-dry finish. As you’d expect it’s exceptional with food, particularly fragrantly spiced Thai curries or Vietnamese noodle soups. It’s also surprisingly decent with roast chicken as it is with hot wings in buffalo sauce.

 

Music Pairing: A Flock of Seagulls – Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)
Tonight at the shop we’re hosting the next installment of the live tasting that was inspired by these posts. Getting Away With It is our homage to some of our favourite 80s electronic tracks and a chance to enjoy some kickass beers in good company. If you’re quick you can probably still snap up a ticket.

Wishing, by the wonderful A Flock of Seagulls, made our shortlist but didn’t make it into our final six for the night. So what better way to celebrate this great track than to pair it with this eclectic saison from Partizan. I think you’ll find it works as well with this track as it does with a steaming bowl of chicken pho.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total Ales, and Good Beer Hunting, and on Twitter @totalcurtis. And you can get Partizan Lemongrass Saison delivered to your door via our online shop.