Sunday, 1 February 2015

January Beer52 review and music pairing

Welcome to January's edition of our craft beer review courtesy of Beer52 and our music pairing feature. Each month we review a case of eight different beers sent to us by the beer discovering adventurers at  This award winning beer delivery company is the most popular and fastest growing craft beer-to-your-door service out there.

In our previous Beer52 post, we gave you the lowdown on these entrepreneurs and their idea to provide a range of subscription services that gets the most tasty and satisfying beer from across Europe to your fridge. Extras are optional and include the opportunity to receive spirits, cigars, snacks and more. Also you'll receive the latest edition of Ferment magazine within your box of tasty delights. Not only does that provide you with even more information on where each beer comes from, but you'll see we have our very own 'Plus One' music contributions to the magazine. This month's features include new band Horsefight, album review of Menace Beach's fantastic 'Ratworld' and tour feature of The Mark Lanegan band.

The month of January is particularly diverse in the range of beers that are being sent out to Beer52's thousands of subscribers. Below you'll find a rundown of what's inside and our own thoughts on the beer itself. Plus, in the age where craft beer is sitting next to fine wine when it comes to food pairing, we give you our beer and music blend by matching each drink to a specific song. This could be a recent artist or more likely, something from any decade in years gone by. How we get there to the chosen song is the key. It might be a direct link from the beer's name to a song title. Or a geographical link with a particular place in common. Sometimes we'll provide a bit of a tedious link in getting there just for a bit fun. Whatever the route to the song it will always lead to what we believe is an awesome track from music's rich history that sits hand in hand with that particular beer. 

So sit back, grab a drink if you've already subscribed and received this month's box from Beer52 and read on....

Beer: Savour Blonde
Brewery: (Windsor)
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 5.8%
Song Pairing: 'Release The Beast' by Breakwater 

The beer...
Savour's re-branding of their design is a huge improvement on mark I and is rather eye catching judging by this bottle of their Blonde as an example. The beer is typically Belgian in style with yeasty attributes at the core. Some spice, a lot of fruit and lasting bitterness. An all round very tasty Summery beer here. Who cares it's only January?
The song...
How did we get to this 1980 masterpiece of a song? Staying with the Belgian theme, we chose dance/dj masters Soulwax as our Belgian band of choice. They've remixed dozens of classics including Daft Punk's 'Robot Rock' which heavily samples 'Release The Beast'. Listen


Beer: California Common
Brewery: KnopsBeerCo. (North Berwick, Scotland)
Style: Steam Beer
ABV: 4.6%
Song Pairing: 'After The Gold Rush' by Flaming Lips (Neil Young cover)  

The beer...
This is a clean, crisp, very drinkable type of beer. A 'Steam Beer' harks back to the gold rush days and was brewed to quench the thirst of the miners. It pours slightly lighter in amber colour than its description. A fizzy head soon disperses to leave a thin white ring. Quite thin in body but a pleasurable taste of light caramel/toffee. 
The song...
Given the story behind Steam Beer and its association with California's Gold Rush era, the song title speaks for itself. The Neil Young original of 'After The Gold Rush' is a fine song in its own right, and has been covered many times. But we have a soft spot for Wayne Coyne and his Oaklahoma band mates The Flaming Lips so listen and enjoy this fantastic version. Listen


Beer: Chocolate Stout
Brewery: KraftyBrew (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Style: Stout
ABV: 6.1%
Song Pairing: 'Slow And Low' by Beastie Boys  

The beer...
A very appealing retro design in typical colours for the drink within - browns, biscuit, caramel etc. Pours a dark brown in colour with good but quickly disappearing beigey head. Not quite the thickness it maybe deserves or we would like, especially on a cold winters night but all the flavours of coffee, chocolate and roast coming through. Slight sweet finish. A tasty tasty stout.
The song...
Taking the 'krafty' element from the breweries name and giving it the traditional spelling of crafty takes us to the Beastie Boys 'She's Crafty'. 'She's Crafty' is taken from their famous 1986 album 'License to Ill' . Also on the album is this old skool favourite of ours.... 'Slow And Low'   Listen


Beer: Oatmeal Stout
Brewery: FourPure  (London)
Style: Stout
ABV: 5.1%
Song Pairing: 'The Passenger' by Iggy Pop  

The beer...
If you're familiar with FourPure you'll know these guys 'do it in cans'. Their range of beers are very distinctive inside their classy aluminium shells, keeping those lovely ingredients fresh and away from light . The Oatmeal Stout pours deliciously black with a healthy tar-foamy head. Slight smokey or burnt aroma and a toasty, roasted taste of light chocolate and coffee. Not too heavy and beckons another.
The song...
FourPure are based in Bermondsey which is in the London borough of Southwalk. Siouxsie Sioux of The Banshees fame hails from this part of the world. In The Banshees back catalogue of hits they've covered 'The Passenger' by the leathery but awesome Iggy Pop, so we give you Iggy Pop - The Passenger' to drink with this.  Listen


Beer: Rubia
Brewery: Ceriux  (Spain)
Style: Wheat Ale
ABV: 5.4%
Song Pairing: 'Breed' by Nirvana  

The beer...
This comes in a beautiful, stylish bottle with a hazy golden content when poured. A strong white fizzy head which quickly disappears. Quite thin, a little creamy and with hints of spice. There's grape must among other delights in this Spanish beverage. Surprisingly enjoyable on a personal note as generally none too fussed when it comes to wheat's.
The song...
Given the country and its grape ingredient we went from there to Black Grape who featured former members of Happy Mondays. Bez was famously the dancer in Happy Mondays. Staying on those lines, Nirvana often played live with a Bez named 'Tony The Dancer'. He took part in both Nirvana's appearances at Reading Festival, and from their 1992 headline appearance we've opted for the song they chose as set opener and Tony's first 'dance' - 'Breed'.  Listen


Beer: Blanca 
Brewery: Cerveses Ausesken
Style: Wheat Beer
ABV: 4.7%
Song Pairing: 'Que Onda Guero'  by Beck  

The beer...
These wheat ales are not my favourite styles of beer so a tricky one to take to task. Pours a hazy pale golden colour. Decent white foamy head. An overall antiseptic taste that masks most of the flavours you should be getting out of this one. Probably the poorest of the box sadly.
The song...
From a wheat beer we go to Wheatus and their American college rock hit 'Teenage Dirtbag'. 'Teenage Dirtbag' appeared on the soundtrack of the terribly awful film 'Loser'. 'Loser' is a superb song by Beck and Becks 2005 album Guero featured the Spanish song titled  'Que Onda Guero'   Listen


Beer: Rye PA
Brewery: Firebrand (Cornwall)
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%
Song Pairing: 'If 6 Was 9' by Jimi Hendrix Experience  

The beer...
In love with yet another fabulous beer by the Cornish folk at Firebrand. This is a really tasty drink with lashings of hops coming through the rye's spice. Deeply golden and clear with a huge white head and good lace. The second beer I've had from Firebrand and an absolute beauty again.
The Song...
Firebrand's own description is that their creations are bold beers with plenty of flavour. (We can raise a glass to that!). Taking the word 'bold' and putting it in music can only take us to one place and that would be The Jimi Hendrix Experience and their second album ' Axis: Bold as Love'. From which we've chosen the fantastic 'If 6 Was 9'   Listen


Beer: Green Devil
Brewery: Oakham (Peterborough)
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.0%
Song Pairing: 'Me And The Devil'  by Gil Scott-Heron  

The beer...
Everything I want from a tasty IPA! Pours a lovely clear golden colour, white foamy head and lace. The smell and taste is all about the fruity citrusy hops which are simply divine. The right amount of bitterness and overall balance is near perfection. A superb beer!
The Song...
We're simply running with the devil here. Taking the devil from the drink and adding it to music via the form of the late Gil Scott Heron with an adaptation of a blues song 'Me And The Devil Blues'. Simple, and awesome. Like this drink.  Listen

And so to the podium of our top three in this months beer52 box #beer52olympics

There were some wonderful surprises in this month's box, and Beer52 as ever have sourced delightfully tasty beers from far and wide. The 'Rubia' from Spain's Ceriux is quite the surprise package, taking personal taste into account when it comes to beer styles, we found this one appealing in more ways than one. Firebrand have yet again impressed with this Rye PA. I wonder if there's a beer of theirs that DOESN'T hit the mark?! Oakham are rightful champions though this month. The 'Green Devil' IPA is deliciously well balanced and ticks all our boxes when it comes to the hoppy, fruity and bitter taste in this type of beer. An absolute classic that we'd return to again and again. Turn Gil Scott-Heron up nice and loud!


Words - Pete Jackson

If you've subscribed to Beer52 and received this box,let us know your thoughts on your favourites or otherwise.... All thoughts and tastes are our own, you may disagree!...

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