Taking a flight with the @WarpedWing brewery

warpedwingOn Wedenesday evening last, my boss (Bill) took a group of us out for a trip to Warped Wing brewery in Dayton…

The brewery takes it’s name from the kink that the Wright Brothers -Dayton’s most famous sons- engineered into the wings of their first “plane” that allowed the first human flight.

Situated in down-town Dayton, Warped Wing has been in operation for just over a year now and seems to be garnering the interest of a good chunk of the region’s craft beer crowd with it’s range of eclectic and lovingly-made ales and beers.

20150225_215835We rolled in to the old converted steel foundry on Wyandot street that is the brewery’s home, just after 8pm, where a youngish crowd were enjoying some of the 5 or 6 beers available that night on tap; there was a good background hum of conversation and relaxed revelry all against the backdrop of the brewery plant itself – a magnificent vision of stainless steel vats, fermenters and pipework – where a magnificently-bearded brewery employee was busily washing off the plant after that days brew session.

The atmosphere inside was warm, convivial and welcoming – laden with the aromas of an earlier mash and heavily-hopped boil.

As I wanted to try everything in sight, I opted for a full flight of Warped Wing beers: Ermal’s Belgian-style cream ale, Flyin’ Rye IPA, Hop Smuggler IPA and Pirogue – a Belgian Quad style ale.

20150225_203603First-up, Ermal’s Belgian Cream Style Ale: this was a lovely hazy yellow and had ample spicy notes in the nose – with a satisfying peppery-spicy dryness that really quenched my thirst, even though it was just a small taste.

The Flyin’ Rye IPA was assertively hoppy, yet restrained enough to allow the cracker-bread, spicy, graininess of the rye to shine through – I liked this one a lot, as I have a peculiar fondness for beers brewed with rye.

Hop Smuggler was an odd choice of name for the next beer, as it makes very little attempt to smuggle the hops past you, preferring to allow their full power of their resinous dankness to smack you fully in the face; slightly hazy and beautifully balanced this was a great IPA.

Next the Pirogue.  Belgian Quad style ale is not something that we get a lot of in the UK, but I wish we did –  complex and powerful (9%!) it satisfied with every sip, and if I was only allowed to have one more glass of any of the Warped Wing beers, it’d be this one…just excellent.

And then as if it wasn’t enough to be sat in the brewery itself; drinking excellent, achingly fresh beer that had been brewed not more than a couple of feet away from me; Bill looked around and said “Hey, there’s Joe!”.

Bill explained that Joe was one of the founders of Warped Wing and we should go say hello, as Bill works closely with Joe’s brother Andrew.

20150225_215228As we talked, I handed Joe a YIMB card and he insisted – despite only coming in to the brewery for a post-basketball beer with friends – on giving me and our small party a whistle-stop tour of the plant.  I can’t tell you how good it is to be given a tour by someone so obviously knowledgeable and proud of their brewery and business.

Warped Wing is doing all the right things: they’re brewing twice a day, six days a week, they have a modern canning line (they’re the only folks in Dayton who are canning their own), they have a barrel-ageing program on the go, and are supplying their excellent range of beers to 50 or so outlets – including at least one local stadium.

Warped Wing’s head brewer is a guy that came from the New Holland brewery and – unbelievably – doesn’t run a pilot system.  He just runs full 66BBL test batches by dialling them in on the kit, and as Joe testifies: 99.9% of the time he gets it smack on and a great beer ensues.

I really enjoyed my evening at Warped Wing and now wished I’d asked more questions and taken many more notes and pictures…

I’d like to extend my thanks to Joe for taking the time out to show us around and telling us exactly how they do their thing.

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I guarantee you’ll be seeing a lot more of Joe and his folks’ beers – the quality, branding and style, plus their obvious passion for doing what they love will see the Warped Wing empire expanding rapidly.

I insist that you go there and take in some of their beer and hospitality if you’re in the area.

http://www.warpedwing.com/

 

Adnams getting all “crafted up”…

adnams_content_7_40053!Adnams

Ok, ok, I know.  “crafted up” is such a wanky turn of phrase, but on a pub-less Friday lunchtime I couldn’t help myself.

Anyway; It seems Adnams are producing some very exciting beers, either in partnership with other brewers or all by themselves.  Folks, this is precisely the sort of thing that all brewers should be doing: keep a good solid range that’ll always get drunk and give yourself license to experiment..and when you do, shout it from the rooftops.

Look at these last couple of press releases from the Adnams site:

A double IPA in collabortaion with Mitch Steele from Stone Brewing:  http://adnams.co.uk/about/news/beer-news/new-wetherspoon-beer-stone-brewing-double-ipa/

Jack Brand Mosaic Pale Ale:  http://adnams.co.uk/about/news/beer-news/jack-brand-mosaic-pale-ale-coming-soon/  (I’m first in line for this when I go to visit the in-laws in Suffolk)

A red Ale with Camden Town Brewery:  http://adnams.co.uk/about/news/beer-news/adnams-collaborates-with-camden-town-brewery/  (Red ale doesn’t sound that exciting, but look at the hop bill: Topaz, Summer, Ella and Galaxy – it’ll be a fruit salad of a beer!)

Well done, Adnams,  I look forward to trying these beers and putting my thoughts into print.

Siren: Sound Wave IPA

SoundwaveAs I was still reeling about after drinking Sound Wave, I forgot to photograph it.  If this is your photo let me know…

Ah.  Siren’s beers…this is where the effusiveness-o-meter generally starts going off the scale a bit; I’ll try to be objective and not gush too much.

Sound Wave pours a really lovely clear amber-gold colour. I don’t know how they work out their carbonation rates (I’ve tried working it out for my beers and always go with a half to a quarter teaspoon of unrefined cane sugar – with variable success) but Siren have it pretty much smack on.  As I never tire of saying, thoughtful carbonation can only do your beer good.

With a delicious looking head atop and a slight haze – most probably from dry hopping (yum) – this is a tasty looking and pretty beer.

The aroma is gorgeous: candyish sweetness, floral and citrus hop notes, fruity yeastiness, and with a smooth malt note running through, it’s bloody glorious.

On the taste I get resin, pine, citrus and floral notes from the hops, a little bitterness and a subtle honeyed malt character, with a dry and not over-the-top bitter finish.

On the after-taste lingering echoes of bitter and pine needles and floral dominate.

This is a special beer and is something that a lot of other brewers would do well to study in order to understand what beer should be aspiring to in 2014 and onwards.

On balance, I think I prefer Siren’s Liquid Mistress (https://yeastismybitch.com/2013/11/07/siren-liquid-mistress/) as that has a smidge more malt sweetness, whereas Sound Wave is a touch drier…but that’s just me.

Pick either of them and enjoy – they’re both bloody marvellous.

http://www.sirencraftbrew.com/our-corebeers/

North Cotswold Brewery: Cotswold Best

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Very pale for a best, with a decent stickyish-looking head and a slight haze…but it was served rather cold, so might have been a touch of chill haze?  The nose was pleasant and grainy and didn’t contain much in the way of hop character – but why should it?  It’s a best bitter…

The body was generous, and had a light maltiness about it with an almost nutty quality.

There was a good strong bitterness in the after taste, and a nice long lingering maltiness about it, too…

Not my idea of a best bitter, seemed more like a summer beer to me.  In any case it was tasty, thirst-quenching, refreshing and just what I was after on a lunchtime in Stratford-upon-Avon.

http://www.northcotswoldbrewery.co.uk/our-beers/

We ate at No.9 Church Street (http://www.no9churchst.com/) which we always make a beeline for whenever we’re in Stratford.  They do a nice fixed price lunchtime or pre-theatre menu, which is always excellent – especially the Steak Bavette.  Mmmm.  Their friendly and knowledgeable staff are an additional bonus, too.