Craft Beer continued to grow through 2018.
No longer on the fringes, we have noticed “craft beer” used colloquially for good beer. Christmas brings many non beer drinkers to Brew Cavern to purchase gifts. We noticed an increase in the use of the term craft beer, even if not completely understanding what it means, the words were used frequently, a clear indication of Craft Beer entering the nations vocabulary.
Within Nottingham, our own Black Iris are an intrinsic part of the cities beer culture. With core range and special beers in bars and restaurants all over they are the brewery to introduce many to their first sour or imperial stout. Neon Raptor of Sneinton Market opened Nottinghams first true tap room, their highly acclaimed and super contemporary beers selling out in Brew Cavern in minutes. Also from Sneinton, Liquid Light won the coveted Thirsty Games at highly respected beer festival Independent Manchester Beer Convention.
Nottingham Craft Beer Week got even bigger with a host of great events around the city, culminating in a festival in line with events in bigger cities like Leeds and Manchester. Nottingham Robin Hood festival moved to the Ice Arena, highlights being the keg bar and American oak sprit barrel aged beers.
2018 was the year of the juice bomb, with New England IPAs everywhere, however we are looking forward to the next trend. We’ve been really impressed with the traditional mixed fermentation brewing from the likes of Burning Sky, Yonder, Mills and Little Earth Project. More of this please!
Craft Beer is more accessible than ever. But with that comes over saturation and macro breweries with inferior products presenting themselves as ‘craft’, along with supermarkets stocking some craft breweries but with poor quality control and lack of refrigeration. You can trust Brew Cavern to source quality craft beer from around the world and store it correctly until it gets into your hands!
Here are a few of our other highlights from 2018
Bottle or Can of 2018
Matt P – Lervig Barleywine 2017. Bourbon Barrel aged sticky rich decadent but refined barleywine
Matt H – Mikkeller Spontandoubleraspberry
Sam – The Kernel – Pale Ale: Centennial, Hallertau Blanc, El Dorado (with oats) – I loved that combination of west and east style IPA, just an excellent beer
Most drunk beer
Matt P – Tegernseer Hell, The summer was so hot i couldn’t cope with anything else but lager and this was on draught at the Canalhouse and in store in bottles
Matt H – Orval. name a better beer to keep revisiting, with its constant evolution in the bottle from yeast Brettanomyces
Sam – Thornbridge Jaipur on cask, as most years!
Best cask pint
Matt P – Lost Industry 10 grain stout at The Kean’s Head – Great on keg but awesome on cask
Matt H – Cloudwater Brown Ale at Beerheadz
Sam – Massey Mild by Heritage Brewing of Burton, a classic recipe.
Best festival Beer
Matt P – Rising Tide Brewery’s Barrel Aged Nakita at the Robin Hood Beer Fest. Imported from Portland a Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial Porter straight from the oak cask.
Matt H – Little Earth Project Hopless Romantic Elderberry at Indy Man Beer Con. Tart complex and bright pink, whats not to like.
Sam – Thornbridge Raspberry Blonde Ale. More than just a blonde ale, a wonderful funky oaky tart and balanced beer. At Nottingham Craft Beer Festival
Beer event of 2018
All – Nottingham Craft Beer Festival.
Great food, music and of course beer from across Nottingham and the rest of the country.
In a lively environment with stalls nestled down the alleys of Sneinton Market.
Most Memorable Beer Experience
Matt P – Being in Ontario, Canada in 34c heat drinking local Collective Arts beer in rural Thunder Bay with extended family while eating barbecued deer burgers
Matt H – Drinking Hill Farmstead on Keg at Tørst, Brooklyn, New York.
Sam – Copenhagen Barr in January, I have found nowhere else that comes close to here for high-end beer and food pairing.
Food Pairings for Christmas
When matching any drink with food its important to think about what you want the end flavour to be. Do you want to highlight existing flavours or introduce new tastes that work in harmony?
With the great wealth of beer styles this is even more worthy of consideration.
We’ve looked at the two main dishes of Christmas Day and offer tips and suggestions to pairing beer.
With so many elements on one plate its important to pair to the more prevalent flavours.
The main thing that holds the meal together is the gravy.
Accentuate this palate with rich dark ales, at the malty end of the spectrum but not as far as stout. Think red ales, english bitters and especially dark Belgian beers. Their dark fruit and yeast esters cut through and work within the richness of the meal.
We suggest pairing with:
On the contrary if you wish to break up all the heavy rich elements of potatoes, gravy and meat try an effervescent saison or tripel.
The carbonation detracts away from the heaviness of the meal and the light herbal qualities work well with seasoning.
We suggest pairing with:
For a different take try a Flanders Red with Turkey and trimmings. A malty but sweet, oak aged and tart beer. Fruity top notes work well with the cranberry sauce, acidity cutting through the starch and the sweet malt working in with the gravy. Fruited Lambic or Sours work well too.
We suggest pairing with:
This decedent dessert needs a rich beer to match up to it’s strong flavours and alcohol finish.
Rather than Stouts or Porters, whose chocolate notes may dominate too much, we recommend keeping it malty but moving towards Barleywines.
Rich sweet and boozy with dark fruit characteristics, they pair well. Spirit barrel aged versions of this style are particularly nimble and add depth to the finish.
You may also enjoy a less aggressive Belgian Quad, with less apparent alcohol and bigger red fruit notes as opposed to the figs and dates of a Barleywine
We suggest pairing with:
Whilst we’re on the subject of Christmas, here’s our seasonal opening hours this year. If date not stated we will be open our usual hours.
Thursday 6th December 9am-7pm
Friday 7th December 9am-7pm
Thursday 13th December 9am-7pm
Friday 14th December 9am-7pm
Monday 17th – Friday 21st December 9am-7pm
Christmas Eve 9am-5pm
Christmas Day / Boxing Day / 27th December – Closed
28th / 29th / 30th December – Normal hours
New Years Eve 9am – 5pm
New Years Day / 1st January / 2nd January – Closed
Thursday 3rd January – Back to normal
With are very excited to have the first bottle releases from the fantastic Yonder Brewing and Blending. Matt H sampled the first kegs at Independent Manchester Beer Convention in October.
Based out of Mendip Hills, Somerset, Yonder are around an hour from Bristol and about 20 mins from fellow wild yeast enthusiasts Wild Beer Co.
Yonder are turning heads with some incredibly complex and exciting beers, based on a mantra of exploring fermentation, foraging and flavour.
Producing beers akin to traditional Belgian styles, spontaneously fermenting with the naturally occurring microbes of the area. See our Lambic blog for more details on the style and spontaneous fermentation.
Named after St Dunstan, a Somerset cleric who was exiled to Belgium
This 5.5% Belgian pale is built on barley and wheat fermented with both ale and wine yeasts. Combined with English and European Hops, Somerset Lavender and Scottish Juniper,
Dunstan’s Exile is dry, fruity and complex.
A true celebration of foraging, this beer is a combination of honey, chamomile, meadowsweet, lavender, yarrow and pineapple weed. Balanced and tart, the 4.9% golden honey wit bier’s first batch was so popular that despite this being a summer beer Yonder felt they had to release it now.
The first of the seasonal series, Loop’s base beer is spontaneously fermented using spilt flour and local micro organisms. It is then aged in oak and blended with fruit and herbs, changing each season. A small portion of the brew will be used to ferment the next seasons instalment.
Autumns Loop includes Victoria Plums, Damsons and Wild Thyme.
Fermhouse is simple and effective. A 3.8% golden ale fermented with Norwegian Farmhouse yeast and local mixed cultures. Brewed to be clean and tart, complexity will develop over time giving easy drinkability with real depth of flavour.
Mikkeller Running Club – Sun 9th September
Join us for meet 30 of the Mikkeller Running Club Nottingham chapter, a drinking club with a running problem!
We’ll be meeting at Brew Cavern for an 11.30 start, run approx 5km, then pop to the Keans Head for Mikkeller beer and nibbles.
Free half pint of Mikkeller beer for all runners.
All abilities welcome. Pace is around 6:30min/km but we never leave anyone behind!
If anyone is interested in Mikkeller Running Club kit, there are some new items up on the Mikkeller Webshop. If we can put a decent order together we’ll get a discount so keep an eye on the site and let Matt know if you’d like anything http://shop.mikkeller.dk
Stuck for gift ideas?
Stuck for gift ideas? Want to find a unique present? Something produced in Nottingham?
We believe there is a beer for everyone, and those that, “don’t like beer” simply haven’t tried the right one yet.
Of course as beer advocates we would say that!
However with over 200 styles out there we are confident that a beer exists for everyone.
It might not become their go to drink over night but, as a persons pallet becomes adjusted to the varied personalities of beer, they will find much enjoyment in discovering new exciting flavours and styles.
Our experience teaches us to never presume someone else will like what you like.
Often the go-to for a lot of people would be a hoppy pale ale, but to a lager drinker that flavour may be too intense and therefore off putting. Maybe they adore chocolate and once they find a dark stout…
Never should beer have been seen as just for men, for decades now there has been an increase in women producing and drinking beer.
Led by a wealth of choice and a welcome ignorance of the past stigma over a lady drinking a beer.
Nows the time to see beer as not just a gift for him, CAMRA members and beer fanatics, but for everyone.
We have a huge selection of beers from around the world, and the booming Nottingham beer scene. With the expertise to help you find something perfect.
Once we’ve found some perfect beers we can present them in our custom gift boxes designed to present the beers saving you the awkward wrapping.
We also have our tote bags. Six separate holders fit every imaginable shape of bottle or can and entitle the holder to 10% off six or more bottles, every time you visit.
Don’t forget mail order too, send our beers all over mainland UK with free delivery over £50.
Not all Dads drink boring beer.
It wouldn’t be fair to presume all dads drink boring brown beer, however with Father’s Day approaching we thought now was a good time to highlight a few beers that will suit a more traditional ale drinker, all with a contemporary edge.
Bristol based Arbor Brewing have been putting out quality beers for ten years.
They are a great example of a brewery able to stay true to their heritage while staying relevant.
Conditioned in it’s pint size bottle, this 4.5% pale ale is built on a traditional clean malt bill. American Citra and New Zealand Motueka hops bring subtle citrus and tropical fruit aromas with a drinkable dryness and light bitterness.
Marble – Berimbolo and Dobber IPA
In their 20 year history, Marble Brewery have successfully remained true to there origins while experimenting and evolving.
We present two beers that sum up a balance between old and the new, enjoyed by traditional drinkers and modern craft kids alike.
Berimbolo is a blonde ale, meaning a clean malt bill and very light hopping. Traditionally this style will be bitter but Marble have dialled that back and further enhanced the aroma with dry-hopping.
Dobber is a beer Marble built their reputation on. So much so that after being discontinued in 2016, it’s back.
Originally brewed at 6.5% then falling to 5%, but now it’s back at it’s original ABV and tasting as good as ever. A return welcomed by beer blogger Matthew Curtis, who was paramount in driving demand for Dobber’s return.
A rich biscuity malt based IPA with real weight that finishes with an explosion of tropical fruit and grapefruit and a lasting bitterness.
Nottinghams own Black Iris have collaborated with Torrside Brewery from New Mills to create an exceptional brown ale.
Torrside love smoked beer, and in Bury Me In Smoke they have created a deep smoky but refined brew with a wonderful malty backbone.
Without the smoke it would be a terrifically drinkable brown ale but the addition creates an interesting and unique beer.
Staying in Nottingham we have this classic beer in the modern local real ale scene.
This english hopped ale offers the best of British ingredients.
Subtle balanced flavours, moreish bitterness and fresh grassy and floral hops.
Anyone who has drunk Real Ale for a number of years will tell you the importance of Burton to brewing history.
Famed for its water, the city has given it’s name to it’s very own style, the Burton Strong Ale.
Once found all over the UK the style is now almost extinct so we’ve had to source this beer all the way from New Zealand.
Sweet toffee and biscuit malt combined with a light hopping of local New Zealand hops. The classic English ale yeast is sure to leave a beautiful lacing down your glass.
A historical style, imported and presented in a can, what a great melding of old and new.
We don’t just love beer at Brew Cavern and for us Hogan’s produce some of the most interesting Ciders around.
This vintage cider was brewed in 2014 from all English apples and pears and aged. Over this times flavours become more pronounced and provide real depth. The cider contains no fruit juice and quality starts with the fruit harvested and washed by hand.
Complex but super drinkable and perfect for summer days.
We hope some of these beers we have picked out will inspire you to find something perfect for Father’s Day.
There’s always that week in April. The Daily Mail heatwave, the “hotter than Ibiza” weather reports and red faced men in vests. A few days of sunshine and madness then back to winter.
We’ve just had another balmy weekend but this time it looks like summer is finally here. Time to get used to the sun and make plans to enjoy it with friends, barbecues and of course beer.
Here are our recommendations for perfect summer craft beers available in store and straight from the fridge.
Belgian Lambic from one of its best producers. Spontaneously fermented using the natural yeast that lives in the atmosphere in the brewery, Lambic’s are often considered to be some of the best beers of the world. Hops are used solely as a preservative with deep complex flavours created by the yeast over a clean wheat base.
Different ages of Lambic are blended giving different flavours, the young is zingy, acidic and dry, the vintage savoury, tart and fruity. These flavours are blended in the perfect marriage. More than just a sour beer it is complex but not heavy, tart sour and refreshing, you’ll notice different flavours the more you drink.
Geuze will cut through greasy burgers and accompany more subtle flavours like grilled salmon.
In a 750ml bottle it is perfect for sharing, top up glasses with half of the bottle then fill with the rest and see how the yeast settled in the bottle changes the taste.
In my opinion Burning Sky are the UK’s best producers of Belgian beer. Brewed over winter, when wild yeasts and other bacteria are less abundant to alter beer, to drink over the summer by farmworkers, Saison’s are dry, savoury, grainy and lightly hopped. Some can possess a hay like “farmyard” finish, some have a tartness with wild yeasts, these develop over time into more complex fruity or sour flavours. Many brewers add herbs and spices to add complexity.
Burning Sky have taken their regular spring saison and aged it in a barrel formerly used to hold natural wine. The “bacchus” still contains the leftover yeast as Lees, these further ferment the ageing beer to create an acidity and delicate floral note. The light addition of black pepper and ginger compliment the many flavours contained in this Saison.
Buy this to share with the white wine drinkers. The pepper and ginger work well with butcher sausage hot dogs and aged cheeses.
A selection of amazing craft pale ales from Nottingham Legends Black Iris.
Endless Summer: 4.5% session IPA with all the flavour of an IPA at a percentage to enjoy all day.
Divine Elements: Nottingham’s highest rated IPA and a stunning fruity beer with a touch of bitterness.
Circle of Snakes: Juicy and hazy New England Double IPA packed with citrus flavours and hardly any bitterness.
Ride The Lightning: Full bodied wheat pale packed with juice and a rich refreshing body.
Mini Keg – Welbeck Abbey Cavendish/Henrietta – 5%/3.6% – £22.00
Welbeck Abbey Mini Kegs are perfect for the BBQ. Containing 8 pints these balanced golden ales are uncomplicated and at a sessional percentage. Not every beer needs to blow your mind, especially when you’re bringing beer to a barbecue and want it to suit many different people. Traditional drinkers will enjoy both Henrietta and Cavendish while contemporary craft beer heads won’t be disappointed.
Pastry stouts are not the type of beers that immediately come to mind for a summer drink. Rich decadent 10% liquid chocolate cake, flavoured with Marshmallows for a sweet finish. Who could resist any time of year.
Take it up a notch for the warm weather. Pour into a glass and use a scoop of vanilla ice cream to create a cooling delicious float, breaking up the richness and completing this dessert in a glass.
Whatever you choose make sure to get out in the sun and share the beer in good company.
Why we chose to refrigerate all of our beer
“We don’t keep beer in the fridge as we have limited fridge space available in store and beer doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Gary”
Gary works for Sainsbury’s, and a few weeks back he made quite the stir on Twitter.
Beer blogger Peter McKerry was responding to a conversation on quality control within the beer industry.
He facetiously linked Sainsbury’s in his response, calling them out on poor practises.
His ongoing argument has been for them to refrigerate beer, especially as Sainsbury’s, like all supermarkets are expanding into Craft Beer. In fact all major supermarkets store some or all of their beer outside of fridges.
Gary, who presumably works in customer care not comedy, should have read his audience. Over 50 comments followed, all citing the importance of refrigerating beer. Amongst the responders were Brewdog, wholesalers that include those that supply Brew Cavern, as well as many beer bloggers and brewers.
So why all the fuss?
All beer needs to be kept stable. Light and temperature can degrade it quickly. Hop flavours will fade and heat causes increases in oxygen making the beer turn sour or develop off flavours. A consistent supply chain from brewery to customer is the best way to deliver the product as intended and protect it from dropping in quality. Cold storage is key, especially regarding Craft beer, with bigger hop flavours, fruit, lactose and other additions and lack of pasteurisation.
Refrigerated beer delivery in Britain is fast becoming the norm. American breweries have worked this way for decades and it is demanded by many, often brewers will refuse to use a distributor that doesn’t store their beer correctly. Soon in the UK many will refuse to supply without cold chain storage or to non refrigerated retailers.
This is why we made the commitment in 2017 to be 100% refrigerated. The vital last piece in the chain to supplying quality and cared for beer. What a waste it would be to have beer travel from brewery to our store kept cool, to sit on a shelf and lose all that flavour the brewer passionately created. It’s not just about beer being cold, although every beer is now able to be consumed immediately after purchase.
With all the benefits consumers too will soon be demanding this approach be taken by all, to part with your money for a sub standard product is incredibly irritating.
It is doubtful supermarkets run by people like Gary will ever understand the importance of this cause.
Nottingham Craft Beer Week 2019: Watch This Space
Keep an eye out for event announcements soon on the NCBW Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NottinghamCraftBeerWeek/