Buxton

Fundamentals #47 — Buxton X J. Wakefield Coral Castle Coconut Infused Imperial Stout

I haven’t forgiven Florida’s J. Wakefield Brewery for its use of what I feel was sexist branding on many of its labels, especially when its Gourdita pumpkin beer still does. So why am I reviewing Coral Castle, a coconut-infused imperial stout brewed in collaboration with Buxton, you may ask?

Perhaps it’s because I believe in second chances and the ability to move one’s position once presented with new information. And the brewery did apologise. Also, perhaps, there’s significance in that this US brewery has forged several deep friendships here in the UK, expressed through collabs with the likes of Cloudwater and Mondo, as well as Buxton. There’s a great deal you can learn through collaboration, and also if you’re not acting right, your friends should be the first to set you straight.

J. Wakefield isn’t off the hook for me yet, but Buxton deserves all the plaudits for its beers, and this one is outstanding. The condition I find myself in when drinking this beer, however, is a long way from that.

I was just in Denver for this year’s Craft Brewers Conference. While the days at CBC are filled with seminars and panel talks and looking at the canning lines whirring away in demo mode on the trade show floor, the evenings, well, they’re about studying the host city’s beer culture. It may not surprise to hear you that Denver has this in spades. And so I wake up the morning after the night before a little worse for wear, and the fear sets in. Have I missed my deadline? Is it today? Oh shit.

Thankfully I had the beer with me in my suitcase, with the intention of drinking it at a sensible time. But time, I thought, was out. So I did what any self-respecting beer writer would do, and poured the can out into one of the plastic cups in my motel room, and began making my tasting notes.

I wouldn’t normally recommend drinking an 8.5% ABV stout at 10.30am on a hangover. But with my palate morning-sharp (ish) and my other senses dulled by the previous night’s indulgence, this beer proved to be the perfect hair of the dog. It was rich, roasty and delicious, the ever-so-carefully adorned coconut adding just the right dose of playful flavour, almost vanilla and bourbon barrel-like in character.

After tasting, I grabbed my laptop to start typing up my notes, sending Hop Burns & Black’s Jen a panicked message that the copy would be with her shortly. “It doesn’t need to be in until Monday, Matt,” came the reply. Ah.

The lessons to take away from this experience are: to always write your deadlines down, that delicious beers do indeed taste delicious at any time of the day, coconut works beautifully in imperial stouts, and to never let those guilty of potentially marginalising behaviour off the hook, ever. Happy beer-drinking, everyone.

Matthew Curtis is a freelance writer, photographer and author of our award-winning Fundamentals column. He's written for publications including BEER, Ferment, Good Beer Hunting and Original Gravity. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis. We have a mere handful of Coral Castle cans left, pick one up while you can…

#HBBAdvent Beer 13: Buxton x Lervig Trolltunga Gooseberry Sour IPA

Buxton says: Trolltunga is a jutting rock in Norway, hanging 700 metres over lake Ringedalsvatnet. Only the wary tread the path to the very edge. This beer was brewed to celebrate friendship and a love of wild places. A collaboration with Lervig Aktebryggeri. (Stavanger, Norway)

We say: Like the place that inspired it, Trolltunga is spectacular (and with the bonus of not having to trek in snow shoes to enjoy it)! A collaboration of two breweries with the technical skill and subtlety to make this beautiful Gooseberry Sour IPA work in every way. Pouring golden haze with a lacy whitehead the full and juicy mouthfeel gives way to a slap round the face of tart gooseberry and lemon sherbet cleaned up with a dry finish. One of HB&Bs favourites from the beginning and now in a 440ml can, so even more of it to love and crush. - Nathan, HB&B Deptford Manager

HB&B Sub Club - our April box revealed

Here's what was in our first ever HB&B Sub Club box that went out last month. We're just as excited about this month's box - we've found some mind-blowingly awesome beers to fill it with yet again...

We'll be releasing a limited number of new memberships this week. These will go on sale on Friday 5th April at 9am. Head here and get your finger on the button. More info on the boxes can be found at our FAQs page, or simply drop us a line.

No More Heroes XXXII – Buxton Wyoming Sheep Ranch Double IPA

Hop forward craft beers like IPAs have always followed trends. Right now that means creating beers that are full of juicy, stone fruit and tropical flavours with super low bitterness. Often these beers are highly hazy and even sometimes completely opaque, the mouthfeel is silken, similar to a German hefeweizen and the bitterness is dialed right down. These so-called “New England” or “Vermont” IPAs, due to this being an origin point of this style, are the crux of fandom in beer right now.

Five years ago, things were very different. Brewers were locked in a bitterness war, intent on brewing the most bitter beers possible, with super high IBU counts (International Bitterness Units) often boasted on the packaging. Beers such as Stone Brewing’s Ruination or Mikkeller’s 1000 IBU are great examples of this. By my reckoning, this current trend we're seeing for juicy IPAs with very low bitterness is a reaction to the bitterness wars going too far.

A primary casualty in this bitterness arms race was the humble West Coast IPA - that beloved beer which poured a deep golden colour, was completely transparent, focused on flavours of citrus and pine and left a slick trail of deliciously bitter hop resins on the palate as it glided down your throat. These were the beers that made me love IPA in the first place and a part of me worries that brewers have forgotten them as they spend their time chasing the juice whale instead.

But not Derbyshire’s Buxton Brewery. Wyoming Sheep Ranch is a Double IPA brewed just how they used to be. One sip reminded me how good this style of IPA can be and made me realise that perhaps I too have been far too invested in chasing the juice. It’s worth reminding yourself just how satisfying the resinous, bitter kick of a West Coast double IPA can be and Wyoming Sheep Ranch is as good a place as any to start.

(P.S. I went to Wyoming once and I didn’t see any sheep ranches but I did have lunch at Applebee’s and had a really nice time.)

Music Pairing: Dr. Dre feat. Eminem & Hittman – Forgot About Dre
From one West Coast banger to another - here’s a classic slice of hip hop from Dr. Dre. We forgot about West Coast IPA in a manner similar to how, in the late 90s, we forgot about Dre, so here’s a timely reminder. Now drink up and eat your vegetables.

Find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Get Buxton's excellent Wyoming Sheep Ranch and more from their range in store or head online to get it delivered to your door.

New stuff in store: 17 December

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So much incredible new goodness in store this week for Christmas that we've got no time to write it all up outside of a bullet-point list. Feast your eyes on the below, then come on in and treat your taste buds. (PS: make sure you take home the above can-tastic Star Wars trilogy if you're a fan.. Moor-sporting staff member not included with purchase.)

  • Brixton Megawatt Double IPA
  • Buxton Rain Shadow Russian Imperial Stout
  • Cloudwater Brown Ale
  • Moor TFA (Totally F***ing Awesome) Black IPA
  • Mikkeller Milk Stout and Nuclear Hop Assault Imperial IPA
  • Boon Oude Geuze Bone Dry Mikkeller Selection
  • Mad Hatter Brew Co Tzatziki Sour and Blueberry Pancake & Maple Syrup
  • Marble Chocolate
  • Vocation Divide & Conquer Black IPA
  • Summer Wine Sucker Punch Pale Ale
  • Plus the awesome new craft beer card game Hip Hops!
  • AND Beavertown's brand new Invasion of the Lupuloids IPA Series: Declaration 1 and 2 on flagonfill!

New stuff in store, 3 December

It's December, so it's officially approved to use the C-word. It's OK to mention Christmas too. Here's what's new and coming at you this week.

FESTIVE BEERS:

Joining Brewdog Hoppy Christmas IPA, Weird Beard Black Christmas Cranberry Stout, Struisse Tjeeses Reserva 2013 and Mikkeller Hoppy Lovin' Xmas in the festive line-up, we have:

  • Camden Beer 2015 - a malty bock lager aged in bourbon, tequila, rum and cognac barrels. Festivity in a bottle.
  • Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper - a Belgian strong dark ale aged in tequila barrels. That's the Christmas spirit!
  • Mikkeller Fra Til Via - a porter with Christmas spices. Handily includes a gift tag on the label for gift giving made easy.
  • Mikkeller Nelson Sauvignon. A 750ml sharer that's been fermented with champagne yeast, brettanomyces and enzymes, then aged in Chardonnay white wine casks. One to pop for the New Year's celebrations? Regardless, you need this in your life. 
  • Pressure Drop India Rubber Ball - the juicy banger to end all juicy bangers, crammed full of Citra hops and clementines. We are ridiculously in love with this beer and we're not afraid to shout it from the rooftops.

Also:

  • Two new beers from the glorious Buxton Brewery that we're beyond excited about. Trolltunga Gooseberry Sour IPA is everything you want from an autumnal sour - delightfully tart - and The Living End Imperial Stout is probably the best bourbon-aged stout you'll drink all year.
  • Two new big 750ml sharers from Wild Beer. The Blend Winter 2015 Beyond Modus II is a limited edition special release based around their flagship Modus Operandi sour, blended with other barrel-aged beers from their library. Try it against the Summer Blend for an study in compare and contrast. Squashed Grapes is the beer that had Glenn blathering on for days after trying (and loving) it at Taste of London. It pretty much does what it says on the tin - it's like red and white grapes got funky. Exquisite.
  • Two new darks from our South Eastern friends Fourpure and Orbit - Fourpure's Morning Star Vanilla Porter is a luxurious chocolate number fermented with French oak chips and matured with whole Madagascan Vanilla beans. And Orbit's Seven Double Stout makes its return for 2015 - we'll be launching it at the shop on Friday, where you'll be able to try it against last year's Seven which we cunningly aged for the past year because we loved it so much.
  • And finally some returns. Magic Rock cans! Cannonball, High Wire Grapefruit, Salty Kiss - come get some. And the always popular Marble Manchester Bitter is back. Happy days.

New stuff in store: 19 November

It feels a little bit like the calm before the storm right now before full-on Christmas madness kicks in. The good stuff keeps on coming though... Read on.

  • We're very excited to announce the debut of two London sauce ranges. Sidekick Sauces are smooth, creamy delights that are packed with flavour and go well on pretty much everything. Slow Richie's come to you from the wonderful chaps who bring you the best street food south of the river, currently wowing the punters down at Brick Brewery. Their delicious sauces all incorporate Brick's beers and we know they're going to be a surefire hit. Standby for a motherlode of new sauce action coming next week, too.
  • Peckham meadery Gosnells has introduced their new spiced Winter Mead in glorious 750ml bottles - the perfect gift and a definite centrepiece for any autumn/winter table. Stay tuned for in-store tasting dates.
  • And speaking of beautiful 750ml bottles, Cidre L'Atypique is our new craft Normandy cider and it looks and tastes absolutely incredible. Who needs champagne when you have this?
  • On the beer side of things, our love for Buxton Brewery knows no bounds and we're greatly looking forward to trying out their new Double Axe Edge DIPA and Red Point IPA when they land later today. These guys never disappoint.
  • On the oop north brewery tip, we also welcome a third can from Vocation Brewery of Hebden Bridge. Pride & Joy American Pale Ale joins the exquisite Heart & Soul Session IPA and Life & Death IPA in the fridge. 
  • Back down south, Sussex way, we have new Burning Sky! Cuvee in big bottles, Vatted Potter in 330ml. 
  • Finally, Green Flash Hop Head Red makes its return - a big red DIPA from San Diego. This is definitely the season of the red ales right now and this caramelly, resinous hop monster is at the top of the field.

New stuff in store, 15 October

The best new beers! The best new hot sauces! The best old records! Who loves ya, baby? Here's what's new on the shelves this week...

Beers:

  • New breweries alert! We welcome Surbiton's Big Smoke Brew Co to our London shelves. These guys are making some cracking beers, of which we've got three: Medicine Man IPAElectric Eye Pale Ale and Dark Wave Porter.
  • We've also got double can action from Leeds brewery Northern Monk, another new entrant to the HB&B shelves. We've got their terrific New World IPA as well as It's A Trap, a collab Belgian IPA with our friends at Yeastie Boys.
  • Plus after winning all the plaudits on flagon-fill, we've got Mad Hatter Brewing's Toxteth IPA in bottles, as well as Fear Of Eating Words, a hoppy bretted Trappist-style ale.  Get in!
  • From Pressure Drop, we've got the gloriously named and designed Alligator Tugboat IPA, as well as the welcome return of (the equally well-named) Strictly Roots, a beautiful earthy porter made with foraged dandelion and burdock.
  • Buxton Yellow Belly makes its somewhat sinister debut. This beer was one of the hits of last year's Rainbow Project - a peanut butter biscuit imperial stout made with Swedish superstars Omnipollo. (FYI the provocative packaging is the breweries' protest against racists, the most yellow-bellied of them all.)
  • You can't drink enough Arbor Ales it seems, so we've got another one to add to the line-up - Half Day IPA, a super-tasty American Pale Ale from our Bristol buddies.
  • Our first-ever French beers hit the European section - Brasserie du Quercorb is run by former Dulwich residents Jayne and Paul, and they're making some terrific brews. PS - we're the only place you'll find these in London, so drink these and feel special...
  • And as always, phenomenal new beers coming up on flagon-fill...

Sauces:

  • We had a great day on Saturday with Harry from GingerBeard's Craft Preserves and Justin from Moor Beer in the house, launching their new collab sauce, Ghost Pepper Fusion 2015. All of Harry's sauces incorporate beers from Bristol breweries - i.e. practically made for HB&B - so we took the liberty of relieving him of all his stock before he went back home. Choose from Ultimate Stout BBQ Sauce (made with Bristol Beer Factory's Ultimate Stout), Moor Amoor Chipotle Ketchup (made with Moor's Amoor Porter) or the insanely good Beer Bacon & Chilli Jam (made with Arbor's Smokescreen Porter).
  • We've also got two more local sauces lining up on the chilli wall - Vicky's Kitchen Caribbean Pepper Sauce, straight outta West Norwood, and Dalston Chillies' delicious fruity new Bajan Sauce.

Records:

  • Cheers to customer Ian, who brought in a gold mine haul of eclecticness including Roxy Music, Motorhead, Aphex Twin, Black Sabbath, Bikini Kill and an original pressing of Pulp's Different Class with all six inserts... Get in to trawl the bins before Saturday when we're hauling them down to the New Cross Oxjam festival for the day. (Catch us at the Job Centre in Deptford and pick up some sauce and records while you catch loads of awesome bands.) 

New stuff in store, 9 October

Every week (ish) we write this post, yet we never fail to get indescribably excited by the things we list within. This week is no exception. Hold on to your hats...

  • Beavertown heralds the return of their annual pumpkin beer, Stingy Jack. It's stingy by name but also by nature - we've got extremely limited stocks of this, so it's a one-can limit, alas. One can! We know. Sorry about that.
  • Five Points London Smoke is back on the shelf - we love this beer. It's a great food match or just enjoy its smoky goodness on its own. We've also restocked on Five Points Pale cans - get in quick.
  • Two newbies are in from Weird Beard - their Tsujigiri Yuzu IPA was such a hit on flagon-fill that we've brought it back in bottles, as well as the new India Brown Ale, No More Bright Ideas.
  • We're delighted to have two new lines from Buxton (though before you get your hopes up, sadly they're not the elusive Yellow Belly Sundae or the Rainbow collab with Arizona Wilderness...) No complaints with what we have managed to get our hands on though - the always-amazing Axe Edge English IPA and Wyoming Sheep Ranch DIPA. Boom!
  • Two more new Wiper & True beers extend the range on shelf to no fewer than six brews from this excellent Bristol brewery. Amber Ale: In The Pines is a richly malty red with a distinct piney finish; Family Tree is an IPA that's rating off the scale, bringing together the earthiness of Nugget hops with the pine burst that is Simcoe and Mosaic, a mix of both.
  • Two new ones from the brewery we fall more in love with every week, Arbor. Choose from the easy-drinking American amber ale Red Henry or flagon-fill favourite Beech Blonde, in addition to the other Arbors already on shelf - Oz Bomb, Why Kick A Moo Cow and Yakima Baby.
  • And we've saved the best for last - the best flagon-fill line-up we've seen in ages. Seriously, go check it out. Wylam Jakehead IPA is back. We've got a new Burning Sky - Saison Provision Reserve aged on gooseberries. Tuatara Sauvinova has been flying off the shelves in 330ml bottle - don't miss it in large-format. And we've still got two Yeastie Boys kegs in the cellar - the brewery we love so much we bought (shares in) the company. Fill yer boots!

New stuff in store: 9 April

A quick round-up of all the AMAZINGNESS that's new on shelf this week. It's been a bumper week.

  • The stunning sours from Chorlton Brewing Co have been such a hit that we've extended the range - you definitely need to check these bad boys out.
  • Orbit's new seasonal, Peel (named after one of HB&B's heroes, the late great John), also hits the shelves - a delicious session blonde.
  • Siren's delectable peaches and cream IPA Life Is A Peach sold out in record time both times we had it on flagon-fill - don't miss it in 330ml bottles.
  • Three very special new releases arrive from Buxton Brewery - one we weren't allowed to name until it launched on Friday 10th, the mighty Two Ton DIPA,, plus two exceptional barrel-aged numbers, Very Far Skyline, a Berlinerweisse aged in chardonnay barrels, and BA Dragon Tips, brewed with maple syrup, chilli and "dry-baconed" with actual bacon.
  • Plus - hold on to your hats - we've got Burning Sky on flagon-fill AND bottle. Burning Sky was named one of the world's top five breweries by Ratebeer this year and is always incredibly popular at HB&B.
  • Be quick... Also on flagon-fill - Magic Rock, Tempest and Beavertown Gamma Ray and Bloody Ell (!!!). We're also now doing cider fills - first up, the delightfully dry Oliver's Gold Rush #3.
  • Oh, did we mention new bottled beers from superstar breweries Stone and Mikkeller?

It's a wonderful time to be alive, people.