AG#35 Malted Milk Stout

This will be my entry for the Thornbridge/Waitrose Great British Homebrew challenge.  I’m a bit last minute with this brew, but it should be ok in time for the 31st July deadline.  I’m hoping that someone will put me straight if I’m wrong here, but I’m thinking the lactose puts this beer into the Specialty Beers category; as it contains a “non-core brewing ingredient at a level intended to impart a distinctive and discernible flavour or character“.  It’s my first attempt at a sweet stout, and after having tasted the wort, I decided that the amber malt has added a subtle biscuit flavour, and hope this carries through into the finished beer.  For this reason, I’m calling this a Malted Milk Stout

BrCSYpPIMAA1z1oOriginal Gravity (OG): 1.057
Final Gravity (FG): 1.024
Alcohol (ABV): 4.4%
Colour (EBC): 85
Bitterness (IBU): 27 (Average)

3.23kg Pale Ale Malt (Golden Promise)
0.52kg Roasted Barley (de-husked)
0.44kg Pale Crystal Malt
0.37kg Flaked Oats
0.27kg Amber Malt
0.23kg Lactose – Milk Sugar

30g Amarillo (leaf) (8.7% Alpha) @45 minutes from the end (boil)
Safale US-05 Ale Yeast (dry) 1pkt of 11.5g

Strike temp of 80C, 12.4L liquor for 4.83kg grain. Mashed in at 69C (single step infusion).   Mashed for 75 minutes.   First runnings 1.090.  Sparged at 76C 18.0L liquor.  Didn’t take a reading for pre-boil wort. 60 minute boil.

At 15 minutes from the end of the boil, I added the milk sugar to the copper (which I had dissolved into 1/2 litre of boiled water), along with the immersion chiller and protofloc.  

I’m not sure what the final gravity will be, and the FG should (hopefully) finish a lot higher that the 1.012, but BeerSmith didn’t seem to account for the lactose, neither did it seem to adjust the FG when I raised the mash temp.  Hopefully it’ll finish nearer 1.018 and the 5.2% abv stout that I’m shooting for.  Edit: It finished much higher – yet still within the BJCP style guidelines – at 1.024, making this a 4.4% beer.  Tasting good!

I collected 19L of wort, post boil, with an OG of 1.057.  Pitched the dry yeast at 20C.

29/06 1.038
02/07 1.033

05/07/1.024

09/07 1.024 – bottled 18L / batch primed with 78g sugar.

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AG#23 New World ESB

Planned brewday for Sunday, and it’ll be my entry for the Great British Homebrew Challenge 2013.  I want to brew a strong bitter, but as a meddling homebrewer I also want to play around with it and hopefully compliment an English backbone with some New Zealand hop zing!…. well, spice actually, but you know what I mean.  Here’s what I’m aiming for:

Original Gravity (OG): 1.052
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 5.6%
Colour (SRM): 33 (EBC)
Bitterness (IBU): 41.0 (Average)

(87%) Golden Promise Pale Malt
(5%) Caramalt
(4%) Biscuit Malt
(2%) Black Malt
(2%) Pale Wheat Malt

Pilgrim (FWH)
Green Bullet @10 minutes from the end (Boil)
Green Bullet @5 minutes from the end (Boil)

Balancing_actAs you can see, it’s not the strongest of strong bitters, but I’m trying to stay on the right side of ‘sessionability’, given that the winning beer is destined for the pub.  I’d explain myself further, spelling out that I appreciate how strong beers sell too, but I can’t be bothered *smiley face*.  I’m wanting to give the beer malt character and a pleasing colour with the crystal and biscuit malts, but with a punchy bitterness with the Pilgrim hops.  I put a small amount of biscuit malt in my Black IPA and it gives a great flavour, and I’m told that Pilgrim will provide the clean bitterness I’ll need if I’m not to overpower the beer.  Will this create a balanced beer? I hope so.  The bitterness ratio (BU:GU) for a special/best/premium bitter is around 0.75, that is to say my target bitterness units (IBU) of 40 divided by my original gravity (OG) 1.049 = 0.81. (nb, you need to take the fractional proportion of the OG e.g. 0.049 x 1000 = 49).   See more detail on BU:GU rations on Mark Dredge’s blog.  I’m creeping a little out of best bitter territory and towards an IPA, but I’m brewing for my tastes too, so there you go.

The complicating factor, as I understand it, is that attenuation can muck this ratio/balance up.  For this beer I am using some yeast kindly given to me by Saltaire Brewery.  The brewer told me that the yeast is feisty and will go to town on any sugars available.  He also suggested that if I mashed high that this will help tame the b(y)east.  So the mash temp will be 69C.  Reason being for this is that I don’t have the luxury of temperature control, therefore I can’t stop the fermentation that easily.  If the high mash temp doesn’t seem to be working and the FG starts dropping below 1.010 then I’ll transfer off the yeast and give it a stern talking to (while drinking a homebrew and chilling the f*ck out).

Eyes down, HLT at the ready.

Updated 10/12/12:  The brewday went well, although I managed to collect 20L at 1.061, so liquored back (a little too far, due to lack of concentration) to 24L at 1.052.  I pitched the Saltaire yeast early evening and as of this morning there was no visible fermentation.

I tweaked the recipe once I’d had a chance to look at it through the eyes of my BrewMate software.  The colour was on the pale side and the only crystal malt I had was Caramalt, which wasn’t going to add any real colour.  I opted to add 100g Black Malt, somehing I haven’t tried before, but was happy with the resulting colour.

One other observation from the brewday.  My brewkit is annoying me…. again.

Updated 07/01/12 – sadly this brew didn’t make it beyond the FV.  It was tasting of fusel alcohol.  Not terrible, but not worth bottling and certainly not good enough to enter into the competition.  I think the issue could have been fluctating temp or that the yeast got too hot in the FV – autolysis?  Anyway, moving on to my next brew…..

Brewing People are Good People

There is a saying in the beer world that ‘beer people are good people‘, (sometimes known as “good people drink good beer“) it’s more a notion than a fact, but you don’t have to look too far to find examples of it in practice.  My understanding of the saying will be different from the next persons, but I see it as a reference to a small part of the global beer community.  I’m not talking about beer geeks, tickers or reluctant-scoopers, I’m talking about anyone who engages with beer as a drink that can enrich your life, in one way or another.  The sceptical among you will argue that  “beer is just a drink”, or that “industry people have a ulteria motive to their actions”.  This may well be the case, but if you see beer as just another drink then fine, move along and find something that makes you happy, and if you think the industry is just out for your wallet then you may have missed the point.

Breweries are engaging with each other more than ever before, nicely put by The Pub Diaries writing for Melbourne based The Crafty Pint when discussing the “Beer Revolution, Beer Renaissance, Beer Revival” in London (roughly this time last year).  With the London Brewers’ Alliance epitomising the efforts being made locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to collaborate and benefit from shared knowledge, experiences and in some case resources.  I can understand the forming of these alliances, there is a natural tendency to draw your camp closer together when the wolves are circling, but I suspect the alliances would live on despite the lack of a tangible need.  What is more difficult to comprehend is an increasing trend of breweries extending their circle to include and support homebrewers.  It’s more apparant why a brewery would collaborate with another brewery, blogger or publican, but homebrewers?  Once again, the cynics will have their say; “nothing is free”, “you’re being used” etc.  Yes, there are benefits to a brewery getting creative with their marketing and engaging with niche customer bases, like homebrewers, but the benefits are largely in favour of the homebrewer.  Being suspicious of strangers bearing gifts is only natural and it’s a sad part of being human, but many pro brewers started as homebrewers and maybe the reasons for this relationship is to give support where they didn’t have it, or to increase the profile of brewing in general.

This post is probably going to make most sense to those homebrewers who have already benefited from help via social networks, invitations to brewdays, opportunites to compete and win the chance to experience their recipe being produced commercially.  I only have local examples of these kinds of activities, but Saltaire Brewery’s support of the Northern Craft Brewers and Leeds Homebrew group welcoming representatives from Thornbridge, Revolutions and Ilkley breweries to it’s meetings.  Encouragement, recognition, a free beer or two, call it what you want, but they are interesting times and long may this continue to develop.

(Edit: It turns out there may be some villains too, boo!…hiss!)

Food and Beer Matching

Image from The Good Stuff

Food and beer, beer and food, there are plenty of eating establisments that are trail blazing, add to that a fair few people talking about matching the two and I reckon a lot more with a watchful eye on the developments to see how far this will go.  I’m open to the idea and have dabbled with tasting a few beers alongside some different cheeses and have to say it is a lot of fun and a useful learning exercise for someone looking to hone their taste buds.  (To the cynics: I do appreciate beer drunk on its own, oh and wine too!).

I have been trying my best to keep track of the recent coverage and have also taken a look back to see what went before.  I’m not saying that this all started in 2008, but as this is when the trail becomes warm, then I’ll follow it from there.

28th May 2008  the Guardian’s Word of Mouth Blog introduces Will Beckett their “Beer Guerrilla: a man on a mission to set the great British public free from boring beers” with his first article ‘Drinking Habits: pint of the unusual looking at apathetic beer choices.  Will’s mission to spread the word of good beer appears to have been decommissioned on or around 6th January 2009 having suppressed his fire through September and December 2008 including articles on ‘Beer with Gordon Ramsay and low cost alcohol.

Image from River Cottage

Jan 2009 Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a busy chap tirelessly campaigning for food issues in-line with his foodie passions, but he does occasionally cook with beer and notably worked alongside Hall and Woodhouse brewery (Badger Brewery) to develop River Cottage Stinger organic Ale.  This was his beer made with stinging nettles and Hugh says that it goes well with “summer barbeques and winter roasts“, a beer for all seasons perhaps!

Jan-Feb 2009 Oz and James ‘Drink to Britain’ series heroically journeyed the length and breadth of our fair land drinking as they went, and while they didn’t get into the food matching they did a sterling job of raising the profile of beer in general with visits to several breweries, including Saltaire, Prospect and BrewDog.

As far as I can tell from the internet, things were a little quiet for the next year or so, with Nov 2010 seeing Jamie Oliver‘s Magazine Issue 14 includes a drink recipe for a Beer Cocktail – Lambs Wool  which features Kernel Centennial IPA.  Nov-Dec 2010 Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s excellent ‘The Trip’ saw Steve commissioned by the food supplement of a Sunday newspaper to review half a dozen restaurants, with Rob along for the ride.  Sadly they were wine-centric,  but did visit The Angel at Hetton (which is well worth a visit) where they enjoyed a breakfast! so no beer there then!  Maybe the next series?

June 2011 Things started to move forward when Hardknott Brewery’s Dave Bailey started a campaign suggesting to the BBC that Saturday Kitchen should give fair representation to beer and maybe to act as a platform to take beer and food appreciation to the next level in terms of its TV coverage.  While there has been little progress with this campaign in terms of actual airtime for beer on Saturday Kitchen, I’d say it has been the catalyst in us seeing an increased level of interest in the wider media.  8th July 2011 Will Hawkes writes a blog Independent’s online Notebook section and featured Dave Bailey’s campaign.  5th August 2011 Chris Mercer Guardian’s Word of Mouth Blog followed suit and offered a comprehensive run-down on wine vs beer and did a nice job of playing devils advocate.  While mentioning chefs Tim Anderson and Ferran Adria and discussing the wider debate, he also gave some column space to the Hardknott Saturday Kitchen campaign.

19th August 2011 Des De Moor appeared on a  One Show montage after briefing them on the resurgence of the brewing industry and recommending some beers for their item on food matching.  What followed, in my opinion, was a calamitous studio review of beer with food, closing with Jay Rayner making it clear that he prefers wine, a wasted opportunity (but nothing to do with Des at this point, although if they were to try this again maybe they should get him into the studio).

November 2011 sees a flurry of activity:

Image from Leeds Brewery

I’m told that Jamie Oliver’s kitchen/set had a bottle of Kernel Beer in the background, and while this is just grasping at straws I’m hopeful that beer is in Jamie’s cheffing consciousness.  Oh look, it is!  1st Nov ‘Jamie’s Great Britain’ C4 series sees him spend a day with the Leeds Brewery most likely looking at their brewing operation before sampling the beer and food on offer at the Midnight Bell.  As with other chef’s if you Google beer and their name, you get similar hits – beef and ale stew, ginger beer, beer can chicken, beer battered fish.

4th Nov James Hall article in The Telegraph on East Yorkshire Pub named best in UK .  I wasn’t the only one to express my disbelief that the entire spread was devoted to their undoubtedly outstanding food, but not one mention of beer unless you include a reference to ale in their pie.  Just an oversight perhaps? ahem.

5th Nov Saturday Kitchen‘s recipe for Braised Beef Cheeks.  The wine expert (not Jolly Olly on this occasion) took their usual stroll around the supermarket and actually stopped to point out a bottle of Theakston Old Peculier as a food match possibility, but went on to choose a red wine.

7th-10th Nov Brooklyn Brewery‘s Brewmaster and editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer, Garrett Oliver, hosts a series of beer tastings and dinners throughout the UK, including events at Oxford Brookes University, The National Brewery Centre, Port Street Bar and The Cross-Keys.

Image from Thornbridge Brewery FB

11th Nov BBC1 Nigel Slater‘s ‘Simple Cooking’ saw Nigel, Tom (the Wild Boar Man (from Thornbridge Hall) and Jim Harrison (Thornbridge Brewery) cook a Wild Boar burger, with Boar fed with grain from the brewery, along with Jaipur Tempura vegetables.

11th Nov Will Hawkes in the Independent online showing that beer and food matching is gaining recognition.

18th Nov Will Hawkes published once again but this time in both the online and the paper editions, letting us know all about the editor behind The Oxford Companion to Beer, his recent promotional tour and a big thumbs up to beer and cheese matching.

If you have read this and think you might like to give this a go, then look no further than books from Garrett Oliver (Brewmaster’s Table) and Fiona Beckett (An Appetite for Ale).  Of course, if you want to dabble without the financial outlay then check out The Good Stuff, Eating isn’t Cheating, The Beer Prole, Gastroturf and CAMRA (sorry to anyone that I’ve missed).  Keep up the good work one and all!

Please feel free to make comments with anything I’ve missed and I’ll update the post.  Thanks.

The Grove Inn, HD1

Image by Expolits of a Food Nut

My extended absence from this particular beer-paradise has been circumstantial and I had all but given up on visiting during 2011.  Enter stage right @GeekLeeds.  I met Gary (Geek Leeds blog) at the IPA Day back in August, Mr Foleys was packed and through the ‘random factor’ I happened to talk to him and as he didn’t seem to be a mentalist he is now one of the great bunch of people I have met so far thanks to great beer.

A couple of months back I received an SOS from Gary that read, “we need a beery adventure“.  It didn’t take long to agree on The Grove Inn.  Saturday gone, we embarked on our spluttering train journey, a short distance from Bradford and Leeds.  I know that Gary will be blogging about this in more detail than me, so I’ll cut to the bit at the pub.  When Tennyson penned this poem I’m positive it wasn’t with beer in mind, but as we entered the pub, and thanks to the right hemisphere of my melon , the one poem I know of popped into my mind…”crossing the bar“.  It was a moment I had built up in my thoughts and it seems to be a rite of passage for any self-respecting beer geek in West Yorkshire.  Apologies to the architect, but the pub is nothing to look at, it doesn’t draw you in and aside from the large BrewDog logo as you step through the door, you wouldn’t know this was going to be a trove of beery wealth.

It was about 5pm and there was a buzz about the place, a friendly enough mix of folk and we were greeted with “what can I get you“.   Usually this would be welcomed, no leaning over the bar to catch the Keeps attention, but when your head is spinning with choice all you want is a couple of minutes to steady yourself.  Not wanting to look like a total newbie I took control and ordered myself a pint of Hawkshead Windermere Pale, Gary a pint of Thornbridge Jaipur and Ben (@Boodrums) went for a bottle of BrewDog Hardcore.  Way to go Ben! He’ll learn from this, but at the time I couldn’t help feel a little bit jealous of his free spirit.

We settled for a table in the Public Bar as I sensed that the occupants of the Snug weren’t ready for our enthusiasm.  Someone had mentioned the artwork to me a few days before and I now fully appreciate what they were giggling about.   Lets just say the ambience is set to bohemian.  We settled in and slowly moved through the gears (exclude Ben from this) taking in a couple more cask delights in the form of Buxton SPA and Marble Dobber, before hitting the bottle menu hard.  I can’t remember the order perfectly but between us we sailed through BrewDog ABD, Kernel 100 Centennial and Columbus, Rogue Mocha, Little Creatures Pale and Hardknott Infra Red.  Tyler (It’s Just Beer blog) arrived to join us  (@tkiley1) and he influenced us to move onto Brooklyn Sorachi Ace and Nogne O Triple Tiger, Porterhouse Plain Porter and a few others that escape me.

Image by Port Street Beer House

Before leaving we annoyed a fair few people, on both sides of the bar, by our drunken deliberations and eventual purchases to take home.  Safe to say that Kernel 100 Centennnial converts Gary and Ben cleared the cellar of this outstanding beer.  So rude.

While waiting for our carriage home, we had to time to nip into The Kings Head at the station for a quick half of Magic Rock Curious NZ, needless to say this was tasting great.  The journey home would see us swig freely from a communal bottle of Schneider Weisse Tap 5 which rounded a great evening.  Highlights for me were the Brooklyn Sorachi, the Porterhouse Porter and the Marble Dobber.  Looking forward to my next visit to HD1.

(See Tyler’s take on the evening here).

International IPA Day in West Yorkshire

For anyone who is not aware of the International IPA Day celebrations on Thursday 4th August 2011, then please find a run-down of what’s going on for the lucky folk of West Yorkshire, including;

  • Mr Foleys Cask & Ale House, Leeds
  • The Grove Inn, Huddersfield
  • The Sparrow Bier Cafe, Bradford *updated 29/07/11*

Mr Foleys Cask Ale House, Leeds

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August 4th has been designated ‘International IPA Day’ and Mr Foleys will be holding one of the biggest events in the country to celebrate! IPA Day was conceived as a social celebration of craft ale and lovers worldwide are encouraged to take part and interact via social networking such as Twitter.

International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles; the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with it’s broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories and regional flavor variations, making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice. #IPADay is not the brainchild of a corporate marketing machine, nor is it meant to serve any particular beer brand. #IPADay is an opportunity for breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer.

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 Getting involved is easy; the only requirements are an appreciation for great beer and the will to spread the word. Anyone can participate by enjoying IPA with friends, making some noise online with the #IPADay hashtag and showing the world that craft beer is more than a trend!

At Mr Foleys we will have some of the finest examples of the style from some of Britain’s best brewers. Our beers will include four keg IPAs; two from Brewdog and one each from local West Yorkshire breweries Summer Wine and Magic Rock. We will have six cask IPAs coming from Thornbridge, Buxton, Kirkstall, Roosters, Hardknott and Red Willow. If that’s not enough for you, we will have a dedicated IPA fridge serving you some of the best from America, as well as a couple more rarely seen British brews. (confirmed list below)..

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KEG
Magic Rock ‘Human Cannonball’ Summer Wine ‘7C’s of Rye’
Brewdog ‘Hardcore IPA’
Brewdog ‘My Name Is Ingrid’ (UK exclusive, brewed for Scandinavian market)

CASK
Thornbridge ‘RyePA’ (first pub to have it on sale, name may change)
Buxton ‘Axe Edge’
Kirkstall ‘Dissolution IPA’
Roosters ‘Underdog IPA’ (brewed exclusively for us by Ol Fozzard on the test kit)
Red Willow ‘Peerless’
Hardknott ‘Code Black’

BOTTLES
Odell Myrcenary Double IPA
Maui Big Swell IPA
Stone Cali-Belgique 2010
Victory Hop Devil IPA
Victory Hop Wallop Double IPA
Red Willow Ageless IPA
Sierra Nevada Torpedo
Odell IPA
Goose Island IPA
Brewdog Punk IPA
Brewdog Hardcore IPA
Brewdog AB:06

Oh, I almost forgot.
DOGFISH HEAD 90 MINUTE IPA (only 4 bottles, first come first served!)

Still not enough? We will have brewers or brewery representatives from every brewery mentioned above and each will be holding mini ‘meet the brewer’ segments to promote their beer to the assembled crowd. We will also have guest appearances from beer writers Zak Avery and Mark Fletcher, who will be talking you through the history of IPA, why they love the style and some of their favourite beers.

With all this beer we will be in need of food. Curries will be supplied by the fantastic @manjitskitchen.  We feel that top quality Indian cuisinenot only fits the history of the beer, but that beers big in bitterness and hop character are the perfect accompaniment for spicy dishes.

So join us on August 4th at Mr Foleys Cask Ale House (159 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5RG) for an IPA extravaganza! We can be found on twitter @mrfoleys, by phone 0113 2429674, email mrfoleys@mitchellsinns.co.uk or on our blog www.mrfoleyscaskalehouse.blogspot.com

The Grove Inn, Huddersfield

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International IPA Day featuring BUXTON BREWERY
Thursday August 4th has been declared International IPA day! And as you well know, here at The Grove we love IPA, so who are we to turn down an opportunity to showcase this most hop-tastic of beer styles? We don’t expect you to take our word on it though, so we’ve called in some friends who know a thing or two about brewing IPA…

We’re delighted that Head Brewer James ‘JK’ Kemp and Director Geoff Quinn from Buxton Brewery will be joining us on the evening to talk about the brewery, their beers and most importantly, IPA. Buxton are, in our opinion, amongst the most exciting and interesting breweries in the country at the moment and we’re delighted to have them joining us. We shall have 3 of their own IPA’s on the bar – Black Rocks, their 5.5% Black IPA, Axe Edge, a 6.7% hop monster, and for the first time their brand new IPA – WILD BOAR (5.7%).

That is not all! As well as these excellent IPA from Buxton we will have up to 9 other IPA’s on the bar, from cask and keg, featuring more of our favourite breweries from around the world, Including… Magic Rock, Thornbridge, Gadds, Liverpool Organic, Marble, BrewDog, Flying Dog, Great Divide, and more besides! And that’s before we even get to the bottle delights that will be filling up the fridges…

We will be running a tasting card scheme on the night to allow you to sample as many of the draft IPA’s as possible for the best possible price, as well as putting on some Indian themed nibbles to help soak it all up.

Those of you who are social media ‘savvy’ should get involved online on the day, using the hash tag #IPAday to help us all loudly spread the word of IPA and above all great beer!

LONG LIVE IPA!

Contact us on Twitter:
@GroveBri
@GroveChloe

The Sparrow Bier Cafe, Bradford

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International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, bars and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th, craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations – making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice.International IPA Day featuring Saltaire Brewery
A global toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: INDIA PALE ALE
On Thursday 4th August The Sparrow & Saltaire Brewery will be celebrating International IPA Day.

Picture Featuring:
*FREE samples of Saltaire Stateside*
*Saltaire Brewey talk*
*5 draught IPAs*
*Over 10 bottled IPAs*

DRAUGHT:

  • Saltaire Stateside *updated 29/07/11* – the cask in question has had some additional dry-hopping attention over and above that which Saltaire Brewery normally dry-hop their Stateside IPA. Rather than the usual Cascade Hop plug (approx 13-14g) the IPA Day version will include a blend of Double-Cascade hop plugs with more than double Amarillo & Nelson Sauvin
  • plus 4 other beers to be announced soon including a black IPA and a double IPA.

BOTTLES:
Maui Big Swell (can), Great Divide Titan, Goose Island, Odell IPA, Brewdog Punk & Hardcore, Flying Dog Snake Dog & Raging Bitch, Sierra Nevada Torpedo and more!

Contact us on Twitter:
@theSparrowbd1
@SaltaireBrewery