Leeds

Fundamentals #41: North Brewing Co x Ritual Lab Triple Fruited Gose Blueberry + Apricot + Blackberry

The last time I reviewed a beer from Leeds’ North Brewing Co. I diligently – some might even say successfully – compared the New England IPA to that most visceral of musical genres, post-punk. Sometimes you just need the melancholic gratification that only racing drums and angular guitars can provide. But other times, you just wanna jam it out, endlessly. So you light up some Nag Champa (hell, feel free to light up whatever’s your preference so long as you’re sharing), stick on Can’s epic Ege Bamyasi and reach for a can of gose.

That’s right folks, gose is the Krautrock of the beer world and I’m very much here for it. Especially when your jam is triple-fruited and, well, tastes like jam.

North’s latest Triple Fruited Gose (triple fruited meaning that three different fruits have been liberally applied to this beer, in this case blueberry, apricot and blackberry) is brewed in collaboration with Italy’s Ritual Lab. The can is as striking as you’d expect from North, with their award-winning branding twisting its way around your eyeballs and into your fridge. The beer inside is no less striking, pouring cosmic purple, the foam even more vibrantly rouge than the beverage itself.

And the smell! Deep hedgerow fruits bolstered by a hint of salinity and a promise of tartness draws you in. Although sadly, this is as far as my own sensory experience of this beer was allowed to travel.

You see, I’ve decided to take a few weeks off the booze. Not because there’s anything wrong with me, but because after drinking a lot of beer in 2018 I fancied giving my body the chance to recover (and maybe shift a couple of pounds) before diving headfirst into 2019. Not wanting to let the good folks at Hop Burns & Black down, I asked my partner Dianne (who works at London brewery Signature Brew – go say hi to her at their Haggerston taproom sometime soon) to do the honours.

“Cor,” she says as effervescent layers of mauve upon violet (seriously, this beer is really purple) make their way into the glass. She’s excited that there are apricots in this beer: “Really bringing balance to the blackberry and blueberry,” she says. I am genuinely nervous for my job at this moment.

It’s fun watching her take that first sip and screwing her face up as the tart beer forces her mouth into a pucker. Sips two and three are less physically and more verbally emotive, with plenty of cooing over the beer, which, if anything, leaves Dianne wanting a little more sourness to balance the voluminous levels of fruit in this gose.

It’s a two thumbs up from her, so make sure you grab some of this one before it inevitably sells out. [ED: Sold out now, sorry! Victim of its own success.]


Matthew Curtis is a freelance writer, photographer and author of our award-winning Fundamentals column. He's written for numerous publications including BEER, Ferment, Good Beer Hunting and Original Gravity. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis.

#HBBAdvent Beer 7: North Brewing Co Kurious Oranj IPA

North says: This juicy IPA is absolutely bursting with flavours of fresh citrus. A generous helping of oats ensures this beer is soft and full-bodied, whilst the addition of Mandarina Bavaria hops give it a raw zesty finish.

We say: The North team are some of our absolute favourite people in the business but not only that, they’re making some of the best beers in the business too (and winning ALL the awards). We had to include one of their specials in this little capsule of 2018. Kurious Oranj has all the sweetness, juiciness and pithiness of fresh mandarin, and couldn’t we all use a bit of Vitamin C at this time of year?

Fundamentals #37 — Northern Monk x Lervig Dark City Devil’s Delight Imperial Stout

As summer fades and the nights draw in I, like many of you I’m sure, begin to crave darker beers again. There’s something about the bite of a northerly breeze on your cheekbones and the crunch of dead leaves underfoot that makes me long for a bar to sit at, a log fire, and a pint laced with the myriad flavours that roasted barley can provide. Bitter chocolate, roasted coffee, sweet molasses… there are certain boxes that can only be ticked by a dark, rich stout.

Last year’s Dark City beer festival in Leeds - the brainchild of Northern Monk Brewery and Richard and Bryony Brownhill of Little Leeds Beer House - was a perfect celebration of these beers. So it’s fitting as we cascade towards the winter months that the event has returned and takes place at Northern Monk’s original brewery and taproom this weekend.

My experience of last year’s event was a highly enjoyable one. The Refectory, as Northern Monk’s taproom is known, is a wonderful space to hold an event such as this, taking place over two floors within the three-storey former linen mill, around a mile from Leeds city centre.

Being presented with the darker and typically stronger beers presents you with an interesting perspective when compared to other festivals of this ilk. Instead of rushing from bar to bar, eager to try as many small pours from as many breweries as possible, I found myself taking more time with each sip, appreciating the nuance of each beer as I ambled around the venue.

To mark this years event, Northern Monk has teamed up with Norway’s Lervig Aktiebryggeri to bring you Dark City Devil’s Delight Imperial Stout. And if that sounds like a mouthful then it’s with good reason. The unctuous beer weighs in at 9% ABV and features additions of crème du cacao, vanilla, oats, dextrose and lactose, all shoring up the already hefty blow dealt by the malted barley, hops and yeast.

Initial fears that this beer would be too sweet for my own palate (which typically prefers beers on the dry and bitter side of things) were soon put aside. Yes, there’s plenty of thick, sweet flavours that aren’t unlike chugging condensed milk straight from the tin, but these are balanced by a snap of dark chocolate and a faintly bitter hop twang, bringing balance to the intensity. My only complaint is perhaps the serving size. This is a big beer to be crammed inside a relatively large 440ml can, so I advise finding a pal to split it with. I can guarantee with certainty that they’ll appreciate the gesture.

Find our beer writer Matthew Curtis on Twitter @totalcurtis.

#HBBAdvent Beer 24: Northern Monk Black Forest Strannik Imperial Stout (Leeds)

Northern Monk says: So nice, we literally double mashed twice. We're bringing another favourite from last year in the form of the delightfully decadent Black Forest Strannik. An Imperial Russian Stout with added cherries.

We say: We wanted something really special to finish off the advent calendar, and what better than this ridiculously sumptuous imperial stout. Rich, boozy and exploding with dark fruitiness, we couldn't think of a better beer to sit back with on Christmas Eve - so that's what we're going to do. Merry Christmas, everyone - thanks for coming along on our advent ride and for all your support in 2017. - All of us here at HB&B

The Beer Lover’s Table: Jerk Pulled Jackfruit Buns and Northern Monk, Fieldwork & Lonely Planet Travel Notes IPA

Jackfruit is one of the food world’s cleverest sleights of hand. Raw, the fruit’s yellow lobes are hidden within a huge, spiky expanse; like a durian but larger and without the controversial pungency, jackfruit has a delicious, tropical sweetness.

But when it’s cooked down with onions, spices, and other savoury ingredients, jackfruit offers up an entirely different realm of culinary possibility. Famously, its cooked texture is so peculiarly reminiscent of pulled pork that it’s hard to believe you’re not eating meat, apart from a whisper of fruity sweetness. I especially like it with a Jamaican jerk-style preparation, here adapted from Bobby Flay. Hand to heart: even die-hard carnivores will likely find it irresistible.

It’s both the satisfying richness of this recipe, as well as that touch of tropicality, that helps it pair so well with the limited-edition Travel Notes IPA. Brewed as a collaboration between Leeds’s Northern Monk, Berkeley’s Fieldwork and Lonely Planet, this is an IPA with a globetrotting pedigree. Ingredients hail from five continents, from European-sourced malt to hops from North America and Oceania, from African mango to South American açai berries. The latter two additions lend the beer a subtle blush hue and a bit of sweetness; it’s fruit-forward and soft on the palate, but by no means shy and retiring.

To tie it all together, I topped the jerk-marinated jackfruit with a crisp and crunchy mango slaw that brings an extra dash of exotic fruit flavours, as well as some textural contrast. Vegan barbecue fare? This summer, you’ve got a reason to give it a go.

Jerk Pulled Jackfruit Buns with Mango Slaw
Serves 2

For the jerk pulled jackfruit:
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 small scotch bonnet pepper, stemmed and seeded
2 tbs olive oil 1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs tomato paste
200g fresh jackfruit, de-seeded
200ml vegetable stock

Blend the spring onions, garlic, ginger, thyme, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, spices, salt, pepper, lime juice and scotch bonnet in a food processor for 1-2 minutes, pausing to scrape down the bowl occasionally, until you have a rather thick and homogenous paste. Set aside.

To a large saucepan, add the olive oil and heat on medium-high until hot. Add the onion and stir frequently for 5-6 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute more. Add the reserved paste, your fresh jackfruit, and the vegetable stock, heating the mixture on high until it begins to boil. Turn down to medium-low heat and cover. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture isn’t sticking, or until the jackfruit has almost completely broken down into fibrous pieces (you can nudge any larger pieces apart with your spoon). The liquid should be thickened; cook for a few minutes longer with the lid removed if it is still quite watery in consistency. Season with extra sea salt to taste.

While the jackfruit cooks, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cover a large baking sheet with nonstick foil. Once your jackfruit has finished on the stove, spoon it onto the foil- covered baking sheet and spread out into a thin layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating and stirring halfway through, until the mixture has darkened and started to crisp at the edges. Texturally, it should have the same caramelised stickiness of pulled pork.

For the mango slaw:
Adapted from Feasting at Home

1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced
100g mango, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
20g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
Zest and juice of one orange
1/2 tbs olive oil

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Allow flavours to mingle for 10-15 minutes before serving. Note that this recipe makes more than required for two servings; it also works well as a nicely crunchy side salad.

To serve:
2 large white baps
Extra handful fresh coriander

Spoon a heaping amount of the jackfruit onto each bap. Top with as much slaw as you can reasonably fit, as well as an extra handful of coriander for a bit of brightness.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up a a can of Travel Notes in store or at our online shop