For this selection we’ve taken a beery jaunt around the world, visiting Italy, Sweden and South Africa, before finishing off with a spicy version of a Cuban rum that isn’t technically rum…
Moor Brewing + Birrificio Lambrate, United We Can, 4.7%
Part of the Citizens of Everywhere Beer Collaboration
‘Citizens of Everywhere’ is an ambitious collaborative brewing project that sees 12 UK breweries team up with 12 breweries from across Europe. The venture was devised by Moor Beer and Thirsty Cambridge, with online retailer Beer 52 managing exclusive retail distribution of the beer. We got hold of a box and have been steadily guzzling our way through a Baltic porter (brewed with the much underused juniper and pine) from Gadds (UK) and Pöhjala (Estonia); a fruit sour from Gipsy Hill (UK) and To Øl (Denmark); and an amber ale from Five Points (UK) and Bevog (Austria).
Our pick for this round-up has to be founders Moor Brewing, from nearby Bristol, who partnered Italy’s Birrificio Lambrate to brew up a pale ale with a mix of interesting European hops. Drink it without too much thought and it’s another excellent Moorish gluggable pale ale. But concentrate and you can smell melon (cantaloupe we reckon). The first sip is also soft and melony before a herby bitterness quickly rises and fades, leaving some more melon in the aftertaste. It’s a beer with a distinctive fruit-hop nuance, but falls way short of being a fruity beer… and we like it a lot.
Cape Brewing Company, Cape Point, 4.8%
Booze importer Morgenrot is rapidly expanding its portfolio of beer with some interesting global brands, with South Africa’s Cape Brewing Company recently being added to the list. We were sent two of their range to try – a lager and pale ale, with the latter impressing us most. It’s simple and restrained, pointing it towards the mainstream market, which is fine by us. Sniff it and you can smell the grain along with some fruity hopping, and on tasting the two ingredients also share the scene. There’s some decent bitterness along with touches of citrussy hopping, but it’s not a hopfest. Our bottle was downed at 6pm on a sunny spring Friday and it set up the evening perfectly – a simple pale ale primer for the weekend.
Brutal Brewing, Tail of the Whale. 4.8%
Another brewery with mainstream appeal is Sweden’s Brutal Brewing. We’ve only been familiar with their Pistonhead brand but it looks like they’re upping the stakes with beers under the ‘Brutal’ name, and they sent us six releases which we’re guessing will soon receive lots of shelf space. The most interesting of these was Tail of the Whale, brewed with 55% wheat malt, Scottish ale yeast and a dry-hopping of citra. It had a wheat beer crispness and lemon freshness but also some mellower fruity notes and, overall, proved to be a very simple, summer-refreshing beer which we think might prove to be popular. Also among the selection we received was a very impressive 0.0% IPA, loaded with hops to give an earthy bitterness and citrus fruitiness combining with a decent body for an alcohol-free beer.
Bacardí Spiced, 36%
Launching this month is a new spiced spirit from famous family booze-makers Bacardí. We managed to find our way onto the brand’s press list and were sent a bottle to try ahead of its store release. The first thing we noticed about the label is that it’s described as a ‘premium spirit drink’, rather than rum as we would’ve assumed. A little bit of research revealed that 93% of the contents is blended young and aged rum with the remaining 7% taken up with flavourings, natural spices and sugar.
Vanilla is likely to be top of the spice list as that’s the most obvious flavour, accentuated by the drink’s sweetness and a slight hint of rum smokiness. The other touches of botanical spices combine to create a flavour that isn’t a million miles from one of rum’s best glass-mates, coke, making it an obvious mixer for rum and coke creations. There has been a huge increase in the number of spiced rums being released in the last year (not all of them good) and this is such an unthreatening, mixer-friendly spirit – with a popular brand behind it – that we have a suspicion it will be a big success.