Brew By Numbers

Fundamentals 48 - Brew By Numbers 85 Triple IPA Mosaic El Dorado Calypso

I’ve taken to enjoying a lot of wine recently. I’ve even gone as far as to sign up to HB&B’s Natural Wine Killers subscription club. It wasn’t long before my shelves started to groan under the weight of several bottles of exciting natural wine. A good problem to have, I admit, but I had to face facts – it was time to start opening these bottles.

For a long time, a bottle of wine to me has symbolised sharing and camaraderie. Whether it’s over dinner or simple conversation, a 750ml bottle is there to be poured and passed around, until it’s time to open the next one. The same is true of beer and cider. There’s a certain joy in sharing a big bottle from the likes of Burning Sky, or Oliver’s Cider and Perry, with friends.

However, a 440ml can doesn’t always send the same sharing message – although when you’re dealing with a 10% beer, it should. This particular beer, 85 – the latest triple IPA from London’s Brew By Numbers – despite its lofty strength, tastes like the kind of beer you want to covet rather than rationing out. Its aroma groans under the weight of intensely tropical yet slightly savoury Mosaic hops. But rather than buoying this sensation with the oft-used Citra, this beer diverts to Calypso and El Dorado, adding passion fruit, mango and guava undertones into the heady mix.

I found myself halfway through the can without realising, such was its drinkability; the gentle warmth of alcohol being the only sensation that indicated the beer’s strength. There’s a stickiness to this beer, not unlike a barleywine that’s been blended with a juicy double IPA. And this is what makes it so satisfying, it’s at once voluminous and potent before reverting back to being dry and drinkable. Soon, I realised the other half of the can had disappeared too.

Then I really felt its strength. I crushed this like so many IPAs before it, but at 10% the triple IPA would have been better shared. So be careful to take it easy with this one and share it with friends, because the delicious beer inside definitely doesn’t want you to.

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 just a handful of BBNO 85 Triple IPA cans left, pick one up while you can…

#HBBAdvent Beer 11: Brew By Numbers Witbier Cranberry (SE London)

Brew By Numbers says: A tart, bright and fruity witbier brewed with cranberry, supported by some orange zest. Fuchsia pink in colour, with a floral, zesty aroma and sharp, juicy cranberry flavour.

We say: Brew By Numbers has been anticipating my taste obsessions these past few months. First came the Table Saison Ginger, followed by the Chocolate & Orange Stout and now this Cranberry Wit. It’s sherberty and spritzy, rich with red fruitiness and has a nice tart tang from the added orange zest.

With Christmas Day only two weeks away, it’s a beer to get you in the yuletide spirit. Just pour it into something pretty and say goodbye to that UTI. Plus, OMG babe, it’s pink. #basicbeertch - Cat

HB&B Sub Club - our July and August boxes revealed

Our All Killer No Filler HB&B Sub Club boxes just keep getting better. Check out the most recent boxes below and then get yourself over to the shop to join the club...

July

 

August

Fundamentals #10 – Brew By Numbers/Hop Burns & Black 55|05 Double IPA Citra & Ella

This week has been all about London Beer City and the crazy amount of events book-ended by the London Craft Beer Festival and the Great British Beer Festival. As ever when there’s a glut of beer events pace is the trick but with so much good beer flowing this gets tougher every year.

At the heart of this year's London Beer City schedule is the Battle of the Beer Shops. The event will see a series of collaborations between a selection of London’s specialist beer retailers and some of the city’s craft breweries. At the time of writing this piece it takes place tonight, so keep an eye on your favourite social media channel to keep up with the fallout.

For their beer, the folks at HB&B have teamed up with the ever-verdant Brew by Numbers and, as they also did recently with Marble Brewery, have produced a Double IPA.

Brew by Numbers has grown increasingly deft with the production of hazy and hoppy beers over the past few months and this effort fuses US Citra and Aussie Ella hops with lemon zest to produce a citrus and tropical fruit blast wave of flavour. These fruit notes are paired with a typically soft and pillowy mouthfeel that has become the hallmark of Brew By Numbers’ beers.

I was surprised, however, to learn that the yeast that fermented out this beer was the humble Safale US-05. This fundamental is at the heart of many a great beer but with the recent trend in yeasts that produce rich, stone fruit flavours in hazy IPAs I wasn’t expecting Brew by Numbers to tell me that this was the yeast at play in this beer.

US-05 provides an exceptionally clean fermentation, meaning that it produces very low amounts of esters, which are responsible for the peach and apricot notes in a lot of modern “New England” style IPAs.

Brewers rely on clean fermenting yeasts like US-05 to let hop notes shine through, which in a beer such as this Double IPA is essential. Clean yeasts such as US-05 are often unsung heroes when it comes to beers like 55|05, so be sure to tip your glass in affection to this workhorse of a yeast strain when you enjoy this beer.

The fundamentals of beer are anything that makes up the sum of a beer’s parts. You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up some of our amazing 55|05 collab in store or online while stocks last.

The Beer Lover’s Table: Bulgogi and Brew by Numbers Saison Citra

There’s a lot to be said for eschewing ‘festive’ traditions that bring no real joy — and if there’s a joyless food, it’s turkey. Miserly with its fat, yet excessive in bulk: why do we eat this thing, again? It’s the reason duck has been a staple at my past few Thanksgivings, and why I think bulgogi may be the perfect Christmas dinner.

Bulgogi (Korean marinated beef, for the uninitiated) might go better with kimchi than with cranberry sauce, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t holiday-appropriate. Its heady mix of garlic, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and chilli excels in the fragrant-kitchen department, for starters. It marinates for hours, but cooks quickly. And — an important consideration, when you’re sharing food with those you love — it’s best served family-style, with plenty of accompaniments on the side. Fried eggs, spring onions, the aforementioned kimchi, and a fiery red sauce made with gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste): mix them all in and enjoy a Christmas dinner with actual kick.

These bulgogi bowls have sweetness, purring heat, acidic tang and fermented funk, all of which suggest that they might be difficult to pair with beer. But Brew by Numbers’ Saison Citra was an ideal fit. 01|01 is beautifully golden, boasts a juicy-fruit demeanor, and has a whiff of real pungency about it, courtesy of the Citra. Its own multi- dimensionality means it works with sweetness and with funk, while its sheer gulpability bats away heat. It’s a damn good beer for an extra special dinner.

Bulgogi Bowls
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 4-5

For the bulgogi:
½ pear (Asian pear, preferably), peeled and grated
4 garlic cloves, grated
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbs ginger, grated
1 tbs demerera sugar
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
500g steak (you could use skirt, topside, or another cut that takes well to marinating and searing)

Add the pear, garlic, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, ginger, sugar, and sesame oil to a ziploc freezer bag. Meanwhile, slice the beef into very thin slices — about as thin as you can get — and add to the bag. Seal the bag and ensure the marinade and beef are well mixed. Place in the fridge and allow the meat to marinate for 6-8 hours.

For the sauce:
4 tbs gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
2 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs demerera sugar
2 tbs toasted sesame seeds
3 tbs water
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, grated

Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well blended.

For the rice:
500g sushi rice
660ml water

Rinse your rice in a sieve under cold water for several minutes, stirring gently with your fingers as you do, or until the water runs just about clear. Add the drained rice and the water to a saucepan and heat on high until the mix has come to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the rice to stand, with the lid on, for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice.

To assemble:
2 tbs vegetable oil
Sea salt
Toasted sesame seeds
Spring onions
Kimchi
Fried eggs

Once the rice has been cooked and the sauce prepared, get ready to fry your beef. Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat on high until very hot. Add the beef to the pan in a single layer (you will likely have to cook in several batches) and season lightly with sea salt. Cook for a minute or so until lightly browned. Flip, and toss the meat, continuing to cook over high heat, for 2-3 minutes more, or until nicely browned.

To assemble, divide the rice between the bowls. Top each with a generous helping of the bulgogi. To each bowl, you can add a healthy dollop of kimchi and top with a fried egg. Finish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and spring onions. Drizzle over with sauce — the more, the spicier.

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. And swing over to the shop or the online store to pick up Brew By Numbers Saison Citra while stocks last.

#HBBAdvent Beer 8: Brew By Numbers 21|03 Pale Ale Citra Amarillo Mosaic (Bermondsey)

Brew By Numbers says: 21|03 is vibrantly juicy, thanks to being hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Mosaic, but it’s more than its hop bill that sets this pale ale apart. It’s noticeably hazier than our previous two pales. Its natural fruit-juice-haze confirms its unapologetically single-minded flavour profile.

We say: Earlier this year, some of the folk from BBNo brought us a flagon of their new, not-yet-for-sale Pale Ale to try. That first brew was a juicy banger, but 21|03 has been our favourite iteration so far. This is how you do a tropical fruit beer. It’s murky, but get over it and enjoy. - Catherine

Each night, we'll reveal the day's hand-picked beer from our Big Beery Advent Calendar. Feel free to comment below or have your say on Twitter or Instagram (#HBBAdvent). Find BBNo Pale Ale Citra Amarillo Mosaic in store or via our online shop.

Big Beery Advent Calendar - Beer 20: Brew By Numbers Saison Citra / Amarillo & Orange, 5.8% (SE London)

glenn@hopburnsblack.co.uk

Each night at 8pm, we'll post a blog about the day's hand-picked beer in our Big Beery Advent Calendar - why we love the brewery, why we've chosen the beer, why we think you'll love it too. Feel free to comment below or have your say on Twitter.

BBNO says: "The Citra Saison is Brew By Numbers' modern interpretation of a Belgian farmhouse classic. The hops balance the yeast character while a light spicing adds complexity. The Amarillo & Orange is brewed using Amarillo hops (known for their orange-like flavour) and Seville orange peel. It's light, refreshing and incredibly drinkable - a truly seasonal saison."

We say: We couldn't have an advent calendar of our favourite breweries without including BBNO and we couldn't have BBNO without including one of their saisons - or in this case, two, the Citra or the Amarillo & Orange, depending on when your advent calendar was purchased. The BBNO team were originally inspired by a trip to Belgium and the crisp and funky saisons they tasted there, and this fascination is borne out by the 15+ different saisons they regularly brew. Lovely stuff.

New stuff in store: 5 November

On a grey and dreary Guy Fawkes' Day, here are a few things to put a rocket under your bum and a spring in your step - AMAZING NEW BEERS. 

From the best part of London - that is, the South Side - we bring you:

  • Brixton Pacific APA - it's no secret that our favourite Brixton beer has always been their juicy American-style pale ale, Atlantic, so - with a natural bias for all things down under - we were especially excited to see the new special edition Pacific Antipodean Pale Ale, showcasing the region’s boldest hops. A terrific beer!
  • Brew By Numbers Black IPA - BBNO brings back the Black IPA, this time hopped with one of our favourite hops, the mighty Mosaic.
  • Fourpure Northern Latitude - A delicious Scandanavian-inspired rye ale that's made for wintry times (and the perfect contrast to their forthcoming Southern Latitude summer ale, which was a huge smash last Christmas). And it has a reindeer on the can!
  • Late Knights Peckham Rye IPA - finally back on shelf! Our favourite beer from the pub kings (and fellow Dulwich Hamlet sponsors) of South East London.

From further afield in this fine country of ours:

  • Cloudwater DIPA - Manchester's excellent Cloudwater Brewery turns one on Saturday and to celebrate, they're launching a brand new, massively-hopped Double IPA. We'll have it on flagon-fill (at 9%, the biggest beer we've ever poured into 1-litre bottles) and in 330ml bottles from Saturday.
  • Moor Not Another Eurovision Beer - Every week we demand more Moor and this week they've obliged with this succulent new rye amber, brewed with Brewdog for this year's Collab Fest. Plus, one of our absolute favourites strikes back as Return of the Empire, um, returns.

Finally, from even further afield:

  • Jester King - adding to our illustrious stock of 750ml sharing bottles, we add two from this incredible US farmhouse brewery committed to making wild ales and spontaneously fermented beers. Vernal Dichomotomy is a saison fermented with kumquats, rosemary, lavender and spearmint (yes!) and Provenance Lemon & Lime is a wild-fermented citrus ale. 
  • And Imma let you finish, but Evil Twin & Lervig's Big Ass Money, an imperial stout brewed with money and pizza, has the best name and description of all time. Due in on Friday.

New stuff in store: 10 September

All of this week's beer deliveries are now in and new hot sauces are on their way... We'll save the sauces for a separate post - here's what's new and exciting in the HB&B world of beer:

  • Howling Hops! It's always exciting when we introduce a new brewery to our London shelves but we've been especially looking forward to stocking East London's Howling Hops Brewery. In lieu of making it to their amazing tank bar, take home their bottled range. We've picked four varieties to start with and by jove, they're good - the clean and crisp Pale XX, the delightfully light and fragrant Running Beer American brown ale, the bold, flavour-packed IPA and their tasty dark Black XX. Collect the set.
  • A slew of new Brew By Numbers goodies, including their White IPA Citra & Mosaic in bottle and on flagon-fill and a new porter, Bramling Cross. Yes, it's officially porter season, people.
  • On the US front, we welcome back Alesmith X and IPA. We've also got a new addition from The Bruery. Regular readers of our Twitter feed will have observed the occasional ode to Rueuze, The Bruery's superlative sour. Joining it on the Big Beers shelves is Cuivre, The Bruery's one-off 7th anniversary Old Ale. We won't lie, it's the most expensive beer in the shop. That's why we've only got six of them. Splash the cash and make one yours.
  • And as always we've got a stunning line-up on flagon-fill. The Kernel brings together the big Cs for their IPA Citra Columbus Chinook Centennial, there's a great collab session pale, North by South East, from Manchester's Marble Brewery and our new South London neighbours Bullfinch Brewery, and Gipsy Hill's Yuzu returns, tasting better than ever, to name just a few.

New stuff in store: 20 May

Somebody say MOTHERLODE? Hold on to your hats, beer lovers - this week is a veritable gold rush of new and exciting brews. (They're being delivered today and tomorrow, so all should be on shelf by end of play Thursday unless something goes horribly wrong.) 

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. 

  • On the South-East side of things, we've re-upped in time for the Bank Holiday on all your favourites, as well as recent additions from Brew By Numbers (their White IPA has all the beer geeks talking), Kernel (their Black IPA = likewise), a brand new Single Hop Citra from Hop Stuff, Orbit's ever-popular Nico Koln-style lager in cans, Weird Beard's Little Things That Kill, plus the entire One Mile End range is back on shelf, spanking fresh from the brewery.

  • Looking further afield to the rest of the UK, good tings agarwn here too:

    • Three new barrel-aged beauties from Siren Craft Brew - BA Day Dream, Siren's Mikkeller collab, an imperial white stout aged in bourbon barrels; BA Shattered Dream, an imperial stout brewed with coffee, vanilla and cocoa nibs aged in banyuls and bourbon barrels; and Long Forgotten Journey, a golden barley wine aged in Grand Marnier barrels for more than two years with added orange peel. Never say we're not good to you. Never. 

    • You loved the beers from new Manchester brewery Cloudwater so much that we simply had to get more. We've got their IPA in bottles, with their Session IPA set to hit flagon-fill soon. (See what else we've got coming up on flagon-fill here.)

    • Our love for Tom Oliver's miraculous way with cider knows no bounds - we've been gorging ourselves on samples of his Fine Dry Perry over the past couple of weeks and now we're finally sharing it with you. Think you don't like pear cider? Think again. We'd pick this 750ml beauty over most champagnes any day of the week.

  • And, arguably saving the best for last, looking even further afield to Europe and across the pond it's time to get very excited indeed:

    • From the US, we've nabbed a case each of Founders' Blushing Monk, brewed with a ridiculous amount of raspberries and Belgian yeast, and the infamous KBS, an imperial breakfast stout brewed with massive amounts of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year. Are you visibly salivating in an embarrassing fashion yet? We are. 

    • We also welcome new beers from Prairie (their Funky Gold Amarillo, a mix of tropical fruit and sour Prairie funk); canned heaven from Ska (just how cool are the Rudie Session IPA cans?), the exotically hopped Two Roads Li'l Heaven, made with Azacca, Calypso, Mosaic and Equinox, and Evil Twin's gloriously tart Nomader Weisse; plus Yankee classics in the form of Laguitas IPA and Brooklyn Sorachi Ace in 355ml bottles!

    • From Denmark, we've got three newbies from To Ol - F*** Art, The Heathens are Coming saison, Friends With Benefits APA and another impressive addition to our already-impressive gluten free range, Reparationsbajer GF Pale Ale. That GF shelf will surely be groaning under its own weight soon... Plus we've loaded up on more Mikkeller cans and added the Spontandryhop Citra to the top shelf.

    • Finally, last but not least etc, from Belgium, we say goededag to Rodenbachs in big bottles - the Vintage and Caractère Rouge - and the much-vaunted Straffe Hendrik Wild.

Is that enough for you? If you can't see any of these on shelf, just ask - we too are wondering where the hell we're going to put all of it. See you soon.

New stuff in store: 23 April

It's another beer-valanche of amazingness this week. Bullet points don't do this lot justice but we'll try our best:

  • Our best-selling Mikkeller beers! Now in giant 500ml cans! At an insanely good price!
  • An exciting new To Ol and Naparbier collaboration - the Sai-Kaki-Son saison! We can't wait to try this one from these two exceptional European breweries.
  • A tasty new summer brew from our neighbours at Brick Brewery - look out for the Hefeweizen, with its fetching lemon-yellow label.
  • Brew By Numbers Nut Brown Ale is back - and if you're quick you can also pick up a BBNO Rastal glass to enjoy it and the rest of the BBNO range in.
  • Fourpure's new limited edition saison, Roux 2015, brewed with Michel Roux Jr hits shelves tomorrow.
  • We introduced One Mile End Brewery to HB&B last week and it's been so enormously popular that we've restocked and extended the range. New in, their Ancho Cocoa Porter - brewed with ancho chillies. (You know we're a sucker for anything chilli...)
  • New brewery klaxon! We've jazzed up our German section with the addition of & Union, a range of eminently drinkable Bavarian lagers and ales. Check out these deliciously colourful beers nestled next to the fridges...
  • You wanted more Tempest - we've got it. Newly rebranded and now in 330ml bottles, we've got shedloads of this always-sublime beer. Look for it, as always, on our well-stocked Scottish shelves. (Hey, HB&B is run by a Ferguson and a Williams - our love for all things Scottish is in our blood...)
  • And saving the best til last (according to Ratebeer at least) - in Burning Sky news, 750ml Cuvee bottle joins the 330ml Saison a la Provision.  Treat yourself - you're worth it.

Finally, in non-beer-related news, we've still got some fantastic vintage vinyl waiting to be snapped up from all the  stock we brought out for Record Store Day. The Smiths, Joy Division, The Breeders, The Cure, Joni Mitchell, The Fall, The Beatles, Beastie Boys, Michael Jackson, Isaac Hayes, Bobby Womack... Gloriousness awaits.