Kona: Making waves

Kona: Making waves

Sometimes no matter how hard you try to avoid cliché superlatives and bold statements to describe a new experience, you just can’t manage it. The second, third and maybe forth time, it probably diminishes a little… becomes more familiar. Whether that is the first time you had a certain dish at your new favourite restaurant or maybe the first time you tried skinny dipping at Brighton beach, its very much a personal thing.

With this in mind, it takes something really quite special to allow you to categorically say every time you experience it, it is as f**king great as the last time. Big Wave by Kona Brewing Company is just this kind of experience and it deserves as many cliché superlatives as you can throw at it.

 

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Golden ales are ten a penny now lets be honest, and it takes quite a lot of effort to wade through the almost limitless amount of pale offerings from new start up’s trying to make their mark, bigger more established players trying to get in late on the game (here’s looking at you Rev James) and everything in between. So when I came across Big Wave it came highly recommended by a friend at work who has an outlook not too dissimilar to mine when it comes to beer. Luckily I happened to stumble upon a bottle on a trip to Waitrose a few weeks later. shit. Game changed.

The Important Stuff

Upon cracking open the bright blue cap the beer pours a beautifully crisp golden colour and holds its head well, releasing a punchy tropical aroma from the Galaxy and Citra hop varieties used. The flavours back this up with a prominent but still subtle pineapple and tropical vibe, finished with a gentle bitterness and stops just short of making the beer too sweet. One word can describe Big Wave perfectly… that word is balance, providing sweet aromas, moreish flavours and at 4.4% with an IBU rating of 21… this is as balanced as a beer gets and as far as I am concerned, this is in my top 5. I love it.

Flavour matching

Traditionally a good golden ale like this goes with white fish such as a piece of flame grilled cod or Pollock, spicy poultry such as buffalo style wings or Piri Piri smoked turkey legs. Even better still, how about pairing it up with the perfect ocean side burger recipe in The Honu burger, I will be honest the write up is from a few years ago and the photography and writing isn’t great. I will be remaking and updating this one soon so keep your eye out for that one, but for now you get the general idea!

In the meantime, don’t forget to look out for Kona: Big Wave in a bottle shop near you.

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Hop gear #1: Tiny Rebel, Brew Dog, Wayland’s Yard, Ale By Mail.

Hop gear #1: Tiny Rebel, Brew Dog, Wayland’s Yard, Ale By Mail.

In the now near legendary words of a certain Mr.Scroobius pip from his equally revered podcast, Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!

Officially the first fully fledged article from the new #BSB blog. Hop Gear will be a medium of delivering a regular round up of all the most interesting and up to date goings on in the beer scene, picked up from social media and the deepest darkest reaches of the internet, podcasts and all the media I manage to consume between posts.

Going forward I will probably look to recruit contributors to this area to allow me to stay up to date with more than my scrolling thumb can deal with alone, so keep your eyes peeled for new faces and names throwing content your way. But for now, lets get started on that good shit…

The prince of all Saisons

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Tiny Rebel have officially tugged on my nostalgic heartstrings by releasing their newest beer ‘Super Saison’. The draw of the Dragon Ball Z inspired artwork and one of my favourite beer styles is simply too much for my little brain to cope with. Take my money. Take all the money.

An intriguing combination of Kaffir lime leaf and Lemon Verbena, layered among the powerfully unique characteristics of the Wallonian Saison yeast will surely be something everybody will want to get on board with, however it will not be for the faint hearted at 7.4%. This bad boy will be available at Tiny Rebel Newport and Cardiff from the 20th April and looks as if it will also end up in a bottle shop or bar near you very soon. I have high hopes for this one! Read more @ Tiny Rebel

I’m sorry… it’s terminal

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By now I am sure if you are familiar with craft beer you will be familiar with Brew Dogs ‘BORN TO DIE’ range, beer with a limited life span delivering bold flavours, usually with a hefty ABV and the ability to leave a big impression on you. A very good mark for the craft beer trophy hunters among us, so if you want to join the BTD club you can read more and most importantly buy it, here @ Beer Hawk

Wayland goes to B-town

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My favourite coffee shop and friend of the blog Wayland’s Yard in Worcester, had some great news this week as they have welcomed a brand new arrival to their already great WY family…beer! They have had a brand new delivery of Beavertown beers which include stand out brews from the Tottenham brewer such as the widely adored Gamma Ray, The easy drinking Neck Oil and the punchy blood orange flavours of the newest wave of Bloody ‘Ell, Sam and the team truly do have you covered, from the beautifully crafted coffee to the hearty and soul fulfilling food, finish off with a (responsibly enjoyed) craft beer and you are sure to have a pretty good day on your hands. Give them a visit next time you are in Worcester! http://www.waylandsyard.com

Discount from Ales By Mail

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The picture says it all really, any discount on your beer bill is a saving grace. Visit www.alesbymail.co.uk and enter the code ‘highfive’ at checkout for £5 off.

In other news…

Brew Dog £213m equity deal NOT a sell out say’s James Watt: Full story

American brewers association get all PC: Full story

London craft beer festival tickets still available: Find them here

The ale report: Einstock white ale

It seems like it has been a while since I wrote anything on here as I have just had so much on recently blogging has had to take a bit of a back seat. This down time has given me an opportunity to think about what I want to do with the site going forward and it has really helped me get my ducks in a row as it were, so I have decided to add another string to the blogs bow.

In today’s society food plays a vital role in social interaction and personal expression, meaning everybody has their own way of utilising food to convey a message, express their feelings or passions and be truly creative. This type of attitude is becoming increasingly noticable in the production of beer in the UK. Craft beer is on the rise and the demand for beer’s to pair with different types of food is through the roof as people of my generation realise the complexity that a bottle of wonderfully crafted IPA or porter can hold. It’s only right that the blog helps promote that attitude.

I will admit I work for Marston’s beer company so I make a point of living and breathing the beer industry and our brands. I adore my job and I really have invested greatly into the ethos of the company, meaning I adamantly believe in great beer and I am thoroughly passionate about our products. We genuinely don’t make a beer that I don’t enjoy but with this in mind, I will avoid reviewing our own products unless it is a new one as I am quite well versed and a little biased in all of our permanent beers. I will however be reviewing as many other distinct craft beers as I can get my hands on!

The first entry in this new category on the blog is the Einstok White Ale, a product of Iceland emblazoned with a blue Viking that appears to mean serious business. First impressions are that the bottle looks awesome. It is a very simplistic design with a plain white label and the formerly mentioned viking in the middle, leading to a similar neck label and a cap that has two crossed battle axes on it. Love it. I bought it based on it’s design rather than the contents of the bottle if I am 100% honest.


Taste wise it is a real fresh, crisp ale with flavours such as the orange peel it is brewed with and a honeyed sweetness that follows, but I didn’t pick up much of the coriander that is also billed quite prominently on the label. No lingering bitterness and not as ‘Wheat’ strong as I assumed it would be, which all comes together to make a dangerously drinkable beer at 5.2% I could crack on with it all evening! Very nice. I would recommend this one with spicey food which will utilise it’s cooling, refreshing nature or a hearty poultry dish as it won’t overpower any delicate flavours you are enjoying with the meal.

 

Good beer. 4.5 out of 5.

 

The Goblin ghoul-ash

It’s that time of year again! The leaves are falling and the fresh food that has spent the summer slowly maturing to its full and gloriously ripe potential is rolling onto the shelves. It is honestly my favourite time of year but lets be fair, as a person who is obsessed with food why wouldn’t it be? It’s a time when we start to consume warming stews and soul caressing roasted meats that are packed with the fruits of the British summer time, providing flora and fauna with ripening nourishment.

However once a year a dark cloud looms heavily over the land as the date wheel strikes 31, the spirit of Halloween creeps across the woodland and the flicker of a thousand pumpkin lanterns twisted smirk’s illuminate the night sky… on October 31st the season of mischief is in full swing and to celebrate this epic arrival I have put together a recipe using the finest ale that the UK has to offer. The unofficial king of Halloween, Wychwood’s Hobgoblin provides the ruby nectar that lifts this dish to new levels.

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 500g stewing steak
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 large Onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 clove Garlic, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 4 large Tomatoes, diced finely
  • 1 bottle Hobgoblin (Ruby)
  • 300ml beef stock, prepared in advance if your using stock cubes.
  • 1 handful flat leaf Parsley, chopped
  • black pepper and salt
  • 150ml thick soured cream

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  1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large casserole dish or oven proof saucepan on the hob.
  3. Put the beef and flour into a bag and shake/ work well so all the beef is well coated.
  4. Add the meat to the pan and brown well all over, then remove and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining oil to the pan and throw in the onion, celery, squash, garlic, both peppers and fry until softened and the squash starts to brown.
  6. Add the beef back to the pan with the tomato puree and paprika and give it a good stir.
  7. Now is the time for the most vital part of this wicked recipe… crack open the bottle and add the Hobgoblin, stock and chopped tomatoes. Stir while on the heat for a minute or so then cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and stir in the parsley and the sour cream, season well and continue to stir until well combined.
  9. Serve with fresh bread and brown rice for a truly wholesome Halloween inspired autumnal treat!

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  • * 2 large Tomatoes, diced
  • * 75ml dry White wine
  • * 300ml beef stock, home-made or shop-bought
  • * 2 tbsp flat leaf Parsley, chopped
  • * black pepper
  • * 150ml Soured cream

Meeting Brewdogs Black Russian

Flavour matching food with beer is something that is certainly on trend at the moment and for good reason. Beer is not just something to be taken in with salty snacks and pub grub, there is a beer for every meal or occasion be it sitting at home with a steak, eating seafood with friends or even when enjoying a luxurious, rich dessert.

I would quite like to focus on the dessert aspect for this post as there is a lot to be said for a beer with your after dinner treat as I have started to appreciate recently. If I was to ask you to think of ways to describe a dessert I’m sure words like rich, thick, luxurious, sweet and decadent would possibly pop into your mind, which is pretty much what you need from a sweet. The reason that those words relate themselves so easily to the final course of a meal is, I would safely assume, that you have had some pretty damn good desserts that fit the profile. So its only natural that you need a beer of considerable quality that also fits this description itself to go with it right? well you’re in luck, as Brewdog have got you covered.

Last week I tried their Cocoa psycho: Russian imperial stout for the first time in their Birmingham bar and my god was I impressed. I have not been a stout or porter drinker up until this point in my life, as I am usually drawn to lighter ales such as their ‘Dead pony club pale ale’ (Which by the way kicks some serious ass too as far as sessionable ale goes) Hobgoblin gold, Ringwood Boondoggle and that sort of thing, so I ordered this particular drink out of pure intrigue. I had had a little look at the bars ‘Menu’ of currently available beers prior to arrival to try and plan what I wanted and at a mean 10% this Cocoa psycho fella seemed like the only option that not only challenged my usual choices but also tested the outer limits of my threshold for alcohol!

Brewdog- going Coco!

Upon ordering from the bar I started to pour the stout into the awesome glassware they hand out for each respective drink and was met with a mysterious, thick, delightfully black drink that meant business from the beginning. A decent little head initially graced the glass before slowly dissipating into the moody abyss, leaving behind a scent that gave notes of oak, a little vanilla, coffee, and offered some subtle chocolatey highlights.

First taste opens up a world of tongue led exploration that wont get you in trouble with the wife, giving you a lot to think about without overwhelming you. Waves of dark chocolate and coffee dominate this stout while only a subtle bitter note nips through. Malty, vanilla afters linger with a twinge of its 10% ABV appearing only when it starts to warm a little.

In summary: This beer would be a brilliant accompaniment to a Tiramisu or dark chocolate fondant, finishing off your evening with this would be advisable as you feel incredibly satisfied, spoiled and a little disappointed when you have finished your glass. Decadence is provided in droves as promised by Brewdogs description of the product on their website, all of which is spot on. While not being particularly sessionable due to its high ABV and maybe being a little too rich for some peoples blood it is a must buy for any discerning beer drinker who either wants to try something new or just enjoys a really great, well made drink. Good job Brewdog!

9.5/10

http://www.brewdog.com