Matthew Curtis's No More Heroes IV – Chorlton Brewing Co. Farmhouse IPA

Chorlton Farmhouse IPA.jpg

When I think of Manchester, I first think of the fantastic music that the city has spawned. It’s responsible for seminal bands such as Joy Division, The Smiths and perhaps one of my all time favourites, The Chameleons. You might be thinking: “Who the hell are The Chameleons?” and rightly so – they never quite broke through to the mainstream but if you listen to tracks such as ‘Don’t Fall’, ‘In Shreds’ and ‘Tears’ you’ll struggle to understand why.

Much like the early 80s, the last 18 months has seen an explosion of innovative new breweries, such as Cloudwater and Track Brewing Co, emerge onto the Manchester scene. One of these breweries, perhaps one that hasn’t quite been getting the attention it deserves, is Chorlton Brewing Co – and quite interestingly it’s a brewery that is concentrating almost exclusively on sour beers.

They might not be to everyone’s taste but sour beers are rapidly gaining popularity, encouraging a whole new wave of palates to discover great beer. Chorlton produce a range of sour beers, from dry-hopped kettle sours such as its Yakima Sour, to the beer I have in front of me now, Farmhouse IPA.

This isn’t an IPA as you know it, in fact it’s a combination of two beers that have been blended together or ‘vatted’ to produce the finished product. In this case it’s a blend of an IPA that has been aged with the wild yeast Brettanomyces (Brett) and another that has been fermented with saison yeast.

Farmhouse IPA absolutely honks with the characteristic cedarwood and barnyard aromas that typifies a beer fermented with Brett. There’s also a hint of lemon juice on the nose. On the palate there’s a twisted combination of funk and resinous hops that somehow holds it together. The flavours are chaotic, but gloriously so.

It’s by no means a refined beer but then that’s not the point. Much like The Chameleons, it’s harder to get than what you’d consider mainstream but once you do get it, you simply can’t put it down.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total Ales, and Good Beer Hunting, and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Matt also took the photo above. 

New stuff in store: 4 June

After last week's order frenzy, we weren't sure we'd have any room left for more new stuff but we thought, stuff it - let's get more anyway. Here's what's new this week.

Summer is made for sours, and while summer may not technically start til the Solstice on 21 June, we're getting in early. Friday sees a delivery of sensational sours including:

  • The bolstering of our Cantillon cupboard with a re-up on Cantillion Gueuze, Kriek and Rose de Gambrinus, and new additions including the Cuvee Saint Gilloise and Vigeronne. Where do we stash all these? No idea. Come in and play hunt the lambic... ;)
  • MO CHORLTON! We adore this Manchester brewery's wares and are beyond excited to get more of their good stuff on our shelves. Get ready for their new Citra Sour and famed Woodruff Berlinerweisse, as well as their Sandalwood ale and Eclipse Lager.

We're also boosting our US section with the likes of:

A bit closer to home, Gipsy Hill's Yuzu returns in bottles and on flagon-fill. Surely their most popular beer yet, and now award-winning too, recently taking out the best in show award at the Crystal Palace Beer Festival. We also welcome Brockley's new Summer Ale, with 10% of the proceeds going to the Brockley Street Art Festival.

Finally - we've had a load of new-old records come in. Some fantastic disco 12"s and LPs in the bins, with more set to arrive next week. Get diggin'.

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.