Drunk in... November

I know, I know, we're very behind on these monthly updates. The start of the year has been crazy busy at Beer Voyage towers but hopefully we can get back to some normalcy soon and catch up with everything shortly. 

November seems like a long time ago now but some of the beers we sunk have stuck long in the memory. Here are our best beers of November:


Hedges

I Like To Moob It Moob It - Double IPA 8.8% // Northern Monk x Wylam

We kick off proceedings for November with this delicious entry as 'an answer to recent click bait articles about IPA's giving you man boobs'. 

I'm glad this was the response to the bullshit claims as it's one of my favourite beers of the year from two of my favourite breweries of the year. It's everything you'd expect from a double IPA - it's thick, punchy and fruity and went down far too easily for an 8.8% beer. 

It has Citra, Ella, Vic Secret, Enigma and To hops. I've never knowingly had a beer with To hops but I'm a massive fan of citra, vic secret and enigma hops so inevitably sunk this in double quick time. 

I just wish I bought more than one! 

Amber Enigma - American Amber Ale 4.8% // Cloudwater Brew Co. 

From one beer with Vic Secret, Enigma and Citra hops to another comes this delicious red ale from Cloudwater. 

I'm usually quite indifferent to red ales generally but was pleasantly surprised by this. Mostly because it didn't taste like the majority of red ales I've come across in the past. 

It has five different hops and five different malts which gives it a pretty unusual flavour. It looks like a red ale and smells like one but tastes quite a lot more tropical than I'd expect from this style. That's definitely not a complaint and is probably why it's on my list this month. 

Once the initial fruitiness die down you're left with the usual biscuit/malt taste you'd expect from a red ale but the fresh hop taste still lingers which really makes this beer stand out. Great stuff.

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The Red Wine Stout - Stout 8.2% // Anspach & Hobday x Dugges Bryggeri

Taking a darker turn with this collaboration between London brewery, Anspach & Hobday and Swedish maestros, Dugges.

Aged in red wine barrels after black pepper, liquorice root and blackcurrant juice were added, this was an excellent stout to drink on a winter's evening. The fruit from the blackcurrant and wine were the dominant force and there was a subtle warmth from the spicy ingredients giving the beer an extra layer of complexity. Lovely. 

I had this on my first visit to The Arbitrager, an excellent little beer spot in the heart of the city. Despite being full of suits, it soon cleared after an hour or so and the atmosphere improved greatly. Prices are quite steep but if you're in the area, it's worth a visit for a couple of beers. 

Noa Pecan Mud Cake Stout (Bourbon Barrel Aged) - Imperial Stout 11% // Omnipollo

Going even darker and even more Swedish now with this ridiculous beer from the magical Omnipollo. 

The regular version of Noa was one of my favourite beers in 2016 and it's no surprise this version aged in bourbon barrels is equally as good. If not better. 

Whilst regular Noa is very much a dessert beer, this one ramps up the flavour with the warmth and booziness of the bourbon barrels. It's definitely a beer to sip and savour as the flavours come through more and more as the beer comes up to room temperature from the fridge. 

I had this and the Hazelnut Cupcake version together and this one was definitely better. More complex, not overly sweet and all round excellence. 

Lightning Sombrero - Double IPA 8.5% // Mad Hatter Brewing Company x Wild Weather Ales

Now some light(ning) to break through the dark with this beer from those always interesting Scousers, Mad Hatter. 

I find Mad Hatter beers the very definition of hit and miss - some of their beers are fantastic but some can be real stinkers. This collaboration with Wild Weather Ales really took me by surprise.

I went for it on the recommendation of the barman at London Beer House - a wonderful little pub in St James, London. 

It's a gooseberry double IPA which intrigued me enough to go for it. There was definitely sourness apparent from the gooseberries but I was amazed at how strong it was considering the taste and colour. It was very pale looking and tasted very, very light. Deceptive for 8.5%!  

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Jambo! - Imperial Stout 8.5% // The Wild Beer Co

One of the last beers from the same day I had the Mad Hatter beer above so by rights I probably shouldn't remember this beer. But when it's as good as this, I definitely do. 

An imperial stout brewed with all of the raspberries and all of the chocolate. It was wonderful to get to try this of draft at Craft Beer Co. in Holborn. On a bitterly cold winter's evening, this was just the warming antidote. Jamboooo! 

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Neal Gets Things Done - American IPA 6.1% // Verdant Brewing Co

At the end of November, we were lucky enough to attend another Tate Modern Tap Takeover. Following the same format as the Cloudwater one we attended in the summer, only this time the beers were provided by haze makers Verdant and Cheltenham's Deya. 

The night was a fantastic showcase of both breweries and this beer was the standout. Even though we were in the middle of winter, sinking this beer immediately had me pining for summer days where I could sit in a beer garden sampling beers such as this. Verdant are probably the one of the UK's best at what they do and this is a perfect example of that. Hazy, juicy, hop-forward beers that mask their ABV well. 

I may have even drunkenly professed my love of Pulp to the guys from Verdant who probably thought I was a weirdo. 


Brand

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Automne - Farmhouse Saison 6% // Unity Brewing Co

I went on a trip to Winchester to check out the Overdraft Craft Ale Bar which opened a few months ago. Looking up at their beer menu, I was pleased to see a couple of Unity beers on. I’ve been impressed with everything I’ve sampled from Unity so far and this Farmhouse Saison did not disappoint.

Automne is brewed with juniper berries which gives it that beautiful floral bitterness found in gin. I’ve not had any beers like this before but my understanding is that it’s a difficult style to get right. Unity have pulled off the juniper saison brilliantly though with this. Besides the beer, I was impressed with Overdraft in general, a great little bar serving some nice craft beers.

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Pale Ale Kiwi Lilt - New Zealand Pale Ale 5.5%  // Wiper And True

Kiwi Lilt has the honour of being my first ever takeaway growler fill, purchased from my local bottle shop the Beer Musketeer.

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve had from Wiper and True thus far so I had complete confidence in taking away a litre of this stuff. Guess what? It was bloody great. A refreshing pale ale with loads of tropical fruit flavors and citrus zest made this really easy drinking. I polished off the growler to my self in one night (who shares beer anyway?).

Just like actual Lilt this has a totally tropical taste.

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Thirstday Fossil 8 - Oyster Stout 6.4% // Staggeringly Good

Staggeringly Good Brewery based in Portsmouth have been running a weekly event dubbed Thirstday Fossil - every Thursday they debut a new experimental beer. These experimental brews have included a Champagne Saison (Thirstday Fossil 6) and a Scotch Ale (Thirstday Fossil 1).

Unfortunately, I managed to bloody miss nearly every single one (even the amazing sounding Cola Bottle Beer!). Suffering from some serious FOMO, I eventually managed to get to the launch of Thirstday Fossil 8, where they would unveil their 8th experimental concoction.

Staggeringly Good deserve a lot of praise for trying something different and scoring a hit with this lovely oyster stout. Brewed with real oysters (yuck), this stout is deliciously smooth, bold and goes down very easily. I’m just saddened that I didn’t get to try their other Thirstday offerings!

(Update: I have a feeling that Thirstday Fossil 8 was a precursor to the Bishop Slayer Oyster Stout that Staggeringly Good brewed to support the Solent Oyster Restoration Project. Bishop Slayer is another excellent oyster stout and well worth checking out.)

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Hallo Ich Bin Berliner Weisse Watermelon - Berliner Weisse 3.7% // Mikkeller

During the latter end of my trip to New England, USA, I managed to discover a great bottle shop in the Somerville area of Boston called Downtown Wine and Spirits.

Whilst they may not win any awards for the name of the shop, they deserve the star prize for the wide range and sheer quantity of craft beer they sell. This shop was huge. Packed to the rafters with domestic beers, half of which I had never heard of before, as well as a big selection of beers imported from outside of the USA. I'm used to bottle shops with a couple of shelves but this place was bigger than a lot of our supermarkets back in Blighty. Surrounded by all of this, I somehow managed to select possibly the least American beer available from the whole bunch - maybe I was just feeling Euro-homesick.

Either way, this Berliner Weisse was enjoyable and a welcome change after spending two weeks mostly drinking pale ales and pumpkin beer. Extremely sour, Hallo Ich Bin Berliner Weisse Watermelon is nicely refreshing. The watermelon isn’t overpowering at all, in fact, I probably would have liked a bit more of it. Overall enjoyable and made a nice change of pace.

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Dame Melba Phantom - Berliner Weisse 4.8% // Beavertown

“Hey deadhead, take a bit of peach”

Ah, Beavertown with your consistently good brews, where would I be without you?

 I managed to find a can of Dame Melba Phantom at bar on a night out and I’m pleased to say it’s beautiful stuff. Peach and raspberry flavours with a perfect mixture of tart and sweetness. It also pours a really pretty grapefruit pink.

This Berliner Weisse, unlike Hallo ich Bin…above, isn’t overly tart or offensive at all. To be honest I mostly forgot I was drinking a Berliner Weisse and I was able to enjoy the sweet flavours that came through this fantastic beer.

I could easily drink a few of these in a row unlike most sours.

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Blueberry Shandy - Fruit Beer 5.4% // Ipswich Ale

Perhaps a controversial entry to this month’s Drunk In… is this Blueberry Shandy by Ipswich Ale. Yes, that’s right, shandy. Now before you shut your browser, unsubscribe or drop-kick your computer out the window, let me explain… it tasted really bloody good. I had tried a few of Ipswich’s beers on my trip through New England and I was generally impressed by all of them, their Pumpkin Porter that I had at the Flights and Frights event was also surprisingly great.

During a long day of seeing the sights of Boston we arrived at our final stop for the day, the iconic Cheers bar, as made famous by Woody and co. Taking in the atmosphere of this tourist hot spot and Boston institution, I took a gamble and ordered this Blueberry Shandy despite there being more conventional ales on offer.

I’m pleased to say the gamble paid off, Blueberry Shandy was light and nicely refreshing - it wasn’t sweet at all but had that earthy blueberry flavour as well as plenty of citrus zest top it off. It’s also 5.4% which means hopefully my man points are still in tact.

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