In this late, waning winter, a dark duo of 330ml bottles have travelled in from Estonia on a maiden voyage. Not Põhjala (but we got some of that too!), but a new entrant, Pühaste. They've not been round these parts before, though the name rings familiar... Internationally renowned for their beautiful stouts according to the interwebs. Lucky us!
Muda is part of Pühaste's seasonal range of beers - though everyone knows that Chocolate Mudcake Imperial Stout at 11% is appropriate drinking all year round. A collaboration with chocolatiers, Chocolala, cocoa nibs, cocoa paste, molasses & lactose have gone into the making of this beer. A pastry for sure, but one that's grounded!
Distant Hum links Pühaste to another brewery (or Browar) who's dark beers never fail to impress us. Maltgarden have collaborated on this beer that sees the brewers adding buckwheat honey to their ingredient list. At 13% it's not small, but we'd wager this one isn't as in your face with it's body or flavour profile as the concept at a glance would suggest...
And the dark stuff doesn't stop there. Three Hills have come a long way since our first meet and greets at the shops. One of the areas in which the Woodford based brewery has gained some traction is their БПАВК (Baltic Provenance And Village Knowledge) series.
The Russian Imperial Stouts have spanned a number of classic dessert dish inspirations, barrel-ageing, and even a down-scaling to session or 'Baby' БПАВК versions more recently. It makes sense, it gets the people going. Deep, silky, chocolate pairs with all the sweet treats...
And if that's not enough - the Norfolk based Ampersand collaboration, Smoked Plum Baltic Porter has us more than pretty excited. Then there's two Special Heidrun editions showcasing Amarillo & Galaxy respectively at an easy going 4.5% - not dark, but absolutely worth a mention.
If you hadn't guessed, we were dropping a nod at the start of the mailer to a certain Manchester brewery's anniversary. Cloudwater Brew Co are now seven years old and are still a really important part of the UK's craft beer scene, so we felt we should probably do them a little spiel. Also a heads up, we're hosting them at our St Albans shop Saturday March 19th for a tasting and tap takeover!
It's fair to say that Cloudwater put New England style beers on the map this side of the pond with their V series, and they've been at the forefront of incremental steps towards developing hop forward beer ever since - whether that be, incorporating experimental SSV kit into brewing processes, trialling new hops and hop products, or simply shaping the language used to categorise and discuss said beers. They've since stayed true to their seasonal focus and have built a catalogue of beer releases that is frankly - astonishingly broad...
That said, the actual beers involved with the celebrations of making it to seven years of internationally acclaimed brewing are rather more of the comfortable, unstuffy, here's some lovely crowd pleasers variety.
Their customary Party! 7th Birthday DIPA has been hopped primarily with Citra and has additions of NZ Cascade, Galaxy & Idaho-7. The Party! 7th Birthday TIPA returning for its second iteration strips everything back a bit whilst focusing on the pairing of staple Citra with the ever interesting Nelson Sauvin.
Party! 7th Birthday Hopfenweisse isn't as forthcoming with hop listings on its online description, but we'd place bets on Sabro being present given the mention of lime, not that hops are so important when the yeast is doing the majority of the legwork.
And then there's a Party! 7th Birthday My Continuous Improvement Imperial Stout promising even more luscious, velvety chocolate with it's additions of Madagascan Cocoa & Vanilla, but honestly, we don't see much room for improvement at this point, it's a sure choice for big stout fans.
New: Lager, Pale, IPA & Dunkel from Baron Brewing, fledgling craft beer from right here in Hertfordshire!!!