Northern Monk Patrons Rhubarb Sour

apparently the universe has decided to make a beer just for me. this one comes with pop rocks.

from Northern Monk Brew Co.:

NORTHERN MONK PATRONS IS AN INITIATIVE SET UP TO FOSTER COLLABORATION, CREATIVITY AND COMMUNITY BETWEEN ARTISTS, ATHLETES AND CREATIVES ACROSS THE NORTH.

so this beer is probably about as ‘high concept’ as you could imagine and 100% the kind of beer people make fun of when they complain about craft beer culture, but those people are reactionary dickheads so fuck em!

the key theme of it is rhubarb, both in flavor and design concept, which is all thoroughly explained under the peel-off label.

the exterior label (from Lord Whitney, ‘Connoisseurs of Make-Believe’) is weird and shiny in a way both fun and reminiscent of a hologram comic cover, and the bottom of the can includes pop rocks because why not this beer is already wonderful might as well just go completely silly.

honestly the packaging was so interesting i was kind of worried i might have shaken it up too much looking at everything.

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the interior includes a whole description of rhubarb farming and the inspiration behind the photoshoot and the beer itself but i’m not gonna bother writing about any of that other than including the photos here because if you really want to see it all, go buy this beer because it’s super!

so, in a very simple sense this is exactly what it says on the (extremely ornate) label: it’s sour and kind of tastes like rhubarb. the color is a very pretty cloudy ruby/pink grapefruit.

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more than that though, it’s dry and vegetal in a really interesting way because the taste is so unlike the big fruit flavors that tend to come in sours. i almost want to say it’s chalky, if that didn’t have a maybe negative connotation. tbh i kind of lack the vocabulary to describe this because it’s just very different in flavor and mouthfeel even though the basics (sour and rhubarb) are so straightforward. it’s just neat and weird in exactly the way small batch/craft/experimental beers should be. 5/5

p.s. the pop rocks are the only slightly less-than-stellar detail of this beer, because unfortunately they’re just flavored with cocoa butter instead of some kind of sour or fruit flavor, which would have made the whole thing perfect. (i suspect this is because we’re in the uk, where vanilla/plain pop rocks exist and are a thing people use/eat, instead of being considered a freakish aberration.) 20180731_1850271622122339.jpg

that said, they still actually work with the beer as a pairing and not just a gimmick because the sweetness of the pop rocks fills in some of the sweetness you might expect from a fruit sour or even a rhubarb dessert. you can almost think of the beer + pop rock combo as a super de/re-constructed rhubarb crumble.

 

beer review!: Tiny Rebel Gin and Juice Botanical Pale Ale

oh god i bought this before i saw the explanation/ad copy on the website:

The hip hop world has given us loads of ideas, so we thought it was only right we beerify the most famous cocktail rap has given the world.

Gin & Juice is a beer that combines the classic pale ale style, the rich, aromatic notes of gin botanicals and sweet fruit flavours that provide the juice for this party.

Bucket loads of juniper berries, citrus peel and aromatic spices give the beer a delicious, dry note, which is balanced out by the juicy fruit flavours from some punchy hops. It’s like an afterparty in your mouth!

Laid back!

‘given us’ sure does a lot of work considering how appropriation works! i just, ok, whatever, there’s so much going on in that i’ll just let it hang there like the embarrassment aneurysm it just gave me. anyways, Laid back!

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as for the actual beer, it’s not terrible! i probably wouldn’t get it again because it’s not really my cup of tea but the gin and juice (mostly orange) do come through, and it’s not too hoppy. or, the hops that are there work with the gin botanicals to give it kind of a grassy backbone for the sweet/juiciness to come and go on. the only downside is what the description above calls ‘aromatic spices’ because it reminds me too much of halloween-time pumpkin beers. 4/5 for the effort and complexity even tho it’s not really for me

 

wine review! : Baron Gassier 2017 Cuvée Élégance Rosé

i’m pretty sure this is the first Côtes-de-provence Sainte-Victoire rosé i’ve had and i like it a lot. it was on sale at Sainsbury’s for £10 (down from £13) so it was a little more than the usual £4-£7 range of bottom-shelf wines i go for but still worth it imo.

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it’s lovely and smooth (with a very pretty pale pink color). my main impression is that it’s silky but with the minerality that’s the main reason i love Provençal rosé. that minerality almost goes into something like diesel or grass notes that i’m learning are common to South African white wines (which i also like) but the fruit notes keep it from going full gasoline.

aside from those mineral notes the most interesting thing to me is the texture because while this isn’t ‘heavy’ by any means it is definitely fuller than other rosés i’ve had. like when i say ‘silky’ it’s not just smoothness, it means there’s an actual weight to it that stands out. so for example, this maybe wouldn’t be my first choice to have while sitting on a patio in the sun, but it is definitely complex and delicious with everything i want out of a Provençal rosé.

4.5/5

beer review! : Fierce Beer Tart Night Sour Black IPA

muahahahaha time for another sour! i love sours! i have the palate of a child!

for reals tho sours and goses are on the whole my favorite kind of beer, (followed by stouts and porters) so i was very excited to find this, which is a sour black ipa combining sour brightness with some demon blood colored abyssal liquid.

according to the label,

‘Tart Night’ is a great take on our regular Black IPA ‘Night Shift’, which we kettle soured before throwing a massive haul of dry hops in. Roasty, juicy, hoppy, sour – it can’t possibly work… Can it?

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fun fact: the website says it’s 6.5% ABV but the can i got says 7.0%.

also here’s some more marketing copy about Fierce Beer:

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so on to the actual review, which i wrote in realtime as i drank it:

ahhhhhhhh this beer is so weird! it’s like sour licorice and blackberries or something! i love it but probably could not have more than like one a month because the combination is just so odd. i feel like it would be nice to try with a steak but i honestly can’t imagine what kind of preparation would work best because this beer is all over the place. it’s complex and fun and weird and exactly the kind of experiment that small batch seasonal things should be.

5/5

 

 

 

wine review World Cup semi-final edition! : 2016 Tesco Beaujolais

for the second of my France vs. Belgium drinks, i got some Beaujolais. i actually wanted rosé but the little Tesco only had Italian or British ones.

the label describes it as ‘soft and light bodied’,

A vibrant red wine with bright and juicy flavours of red cherry and red currant. Goes with cured meats and cheeses.

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to start it’s kind of boozy on the first nose but with a jammy redcurrant note that’s very nice. it’s full and juicy with a tiny bit of spice, and overall i like it a lot, though i wouldn’t call it soft or light bodied exactly.

i’m having it with a turkey shepherd’s pie type thing which is kind of perfect, as i think it might not be dry enough to do well with steak or something like that. overall it’s very tasty and i’ll definitely get it again especially since it only costs £5.25. 4.5/5

semi-relatedly, i only learned the other day, while watching Richard Osman’s House of Games, that Beaujolais is different from Beaujolais Nouveau, which makes sense but i think until now i’d only ever had Beaujolais Nouveau and kind of just assumed they were both the same. learning is fun!

beer review World Cup semi-final edition! : Westmalle Trappist Dubbel

in honor of France vs. Belgium today i decided to have some appropriate drinks and first up is some Belgian beer!

according to the label,

This dark reddish Dubbel is brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey on a small scale under the supervision of the monks. The income is used for their daily life and to maintain the Abbey. A major share of the profits is donated to charities. This living beer ferments again in the bottle. Store the bottle in an upright position. Serve at 8 to 14 C, carefully pouring from the bottle to a glass and leaving the yeast behind in the bottom of the bottle. You may wish to taste the yeast separately.

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this beer has a nice fluffy head, and tastes kind of sweet almost like dark sour cherries. i was a teeny bit worried it would be overly sweet b/c in my experience dubbels are sometimes a little too cloying but this is a nice balance for the alcohol percentage.

i did what the bottle said and tried the yeast separately, or at least, i poured the last little bit into a separate glass and tried it on its own. it was definitely different than the rest of the beer, a little drier and vegetal with less of the sour cherry notes.

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anyways, i like this beer! it’s not my favorite, and wouldn’t replace a proper sour (or porter or stout if i want dark beer) but it is pleasant and i guess if you are inclined to like dubbels already then i’d recommend this one? 4/5 although i probably won’t be getting it too often