Even though the summer months are finally here, the weather seems to be dragging behind. Some people feel their Beer tastes change with the seasons, but for this article I'm slurping from the Darker ranger of the spectrum rather than light summer ales. From a more traditional Porter, to a Black IPA all three should offer something different...First up is Seggie Porter from St. Andrews' Eden Mill Brewery. Poured delicately, I've managed to generate a large, wispy head on the Beer, light mocha in colour and kicking out a strong cocoa hazelnut aroma. First sips bring a ton of liquorice and chocolate, but i can also recognise Munich malt characteristics in the aftertaste. Well carbonated, and with a Cola-light feel this is a really enjoyable, solid Porter which is very balanced and quaffable at 5.2%.
Moving on, I'm full of anticipation for my next Beer from one of Leeds' youngest Breweries - Zapato Brew. Currently cuckoo Brewing but with their own kit being readied, their initial releases have been well received, and their Baltic Porter - Delegate Zero - is one I've been eager to try. Initial aroma is tobacco like and dank, but the flavour is sweet and bold, with roasted berries and on the finish. The Sorachi and Bramling Cross hops add a real tang and complexity to this moreish Porter, which packs a punch at 6.2% abv. Check it out while you can.Finally, I'm cracking open a Black IPA from one of my favourite London breweries, Pressure Drop's Syd Strong. This was brewed with the Camden branch of Brewdog as part of their annual Collabfest and, as you'd expect from such a partnership, this is one Black IPA that has a strong hop profile along with a decent abv at 7.1%. Piney, sharp aromas fill my senses at first, followed by a sweet-savoury creamy Rye backbone and a biting bitterness. Not unlike a hoppy soda float, this is luxuriant and hugely sinkable.
Words - Gareth Pettman