One of the most fun sessions at last year's Beer Bloggers' Conference in Leeds was the live beer blogging session. The idea was that breweries (or their representatives) got five minutes with each table to talk about a particular beer they'd brought along as participants blogged about. You can read my write up of it here.
The session made a return at the 2013 conference which this year is being held in Edinburgh, so here we go again!
West Brewery: St Mungo Lager (4.9%)
Described as being between a pilsner and a helles, brewed in accordance with German purity laws. This is the only beer they bottle but they are expanding and plan to bottle more soon, such as their wheat beer. All German hops. Traditional recipe. Beer is light, clean, refreshing and everything I'd expect from the style. Good fizz on the tongue. Could neck a pint of this right now.
Ilkely Brewery: The Mayan Chocolate Chipotle Stout (6.5%)
Part of their origins range. The idea is they look at beer styles around the world and take influences on the. This one was to mark the supposed end of the world.
Nose is massive chocolate. Whoaaaah! Reminds me Cadbury's cocoa with maybe a hint of ginger. Body is not as full as I expected but mouthfeel is excellent and the chilli warms towards the finish. An excellent beer.
Badger Brewery: The Roaming Roydog (7.5%)
Release each year on the 8th June. Brewed for team members as a thankyou to staff. Also sold at their shop online. A porter style with four types of malt and two hops. Lovely hoppy nose - unexpected for a Porter. Drinks way less than 7.5%. Hopped with Bramling Cross and Galaxy. The recipe changes every year (different hops). A really interesting and unusual beer. Got kind of a parma violet thing going on. Three for three so far!
Traquair: Jacobite Ale (8%)
Brewery is in Scotland's oldest inhabited house. Fermented in unlined oak vessels. Spiced with coriander. Another one with a chocolate nose. Beers is a 'wee heavy' traditional Scottish ale. A sweet but balanced beer. Chocolate all over it for me with a sweet finish. Decent! Drinks nowhere near 8%.
Innis & Gunn: Oloroso Cask (7.4%)
A new beer due to be released in September. Their beers were originally designed to 'prime' casks before whiskey was added but the story goes that staff used to steal the beers in Irn Bru bottles as they loved what the barrels imparted. A Scottish ale that was designed to complement the characteristics of the Oloroso sherry casks. Has a vanilla nose. Sherry has imparted a nice sweetness but quite subtle overall. Has a nutty finish. Not especially bitter.
Toccalmato Surfing Hop (8.5%)
A double IPA brewed with Belgian (Special B) malt and lots of American hops. Amarillo and Warrior. Fuck me (sorry Mum) this is good. Not massively bitter for the style. It's a DIPA, pure and simple. Perfectly executed but like none I've tried. Nice kind of funky fruitiness. Dangerously drinkable.
Inveralmond: Blackfriar (7%)
A Scotch ale brewed with pale, chocolate and dark crystal malts. Double mashed to get enough wort for the brew. Small amount of fuggles and cascade for aroma. Pilgrim for bittering. OG1066, down to 1012. Quite sweet with no discernable bitterness (could be my palate was wrecked by the DIPA). Sophie suggested it would be a good beer to pair with food and I agree. Something with chocolate perhaps.
Harviestoun: Ola Dubh 30th Anniversary (11.3%)
Won't be able to buy this anywhere apparently, which is a shame. A black ale aged in a 40 year old Highland Park whisky cask (not blended like the main range. Was served paired with 70% (very dark) madagascan chocolate which was a master stroke. The chocolate cut through the sweetness and let the good stuff from Highland Park sing. An absolute belter. I'm feeling spoiled. Am I drunk?
Shepherd Neame: Brilliant Ale (5.6%)
The recipe is from the archives in the 1800's. Pale malt with EKG and Cascade. Primarily brewed for their bars and pubs. The idea is to promote their sense of history as Britain's oldest brewery. It's a big beer for Sheps at over 5%. A lovely pale ale which would be accessible for lager drinkers. The cascade brings a nice fruitiness. The beer itself is balanced and light. Would love to try it on cask. Very enjoyable.