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The Unpleasant Moblog Of Spank The Monkey

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Another part of the Spank The Monkey media empire: offending your brain at The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey, offending your ears at Spank's Audio Lair, and offending your eyes right here, right now.

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#Collabfest2019 round 3b: BrewDog Dalston

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13. Cardiff & Beer Riff - Basil Crush (Strawberry & Basil Sour, 4.3%)
Definitely got the fruit, not so sure about the basil. Very nice, but suffers a bit in comparison with the Red Rosies Bairn we had immediately before (see previous post). Nice and refreshing for all that.

14. Aberdeen & Six°North - Blue Stack (Blueberry Saison, 6.6%)
Definitely a saison, comes as a shock after a couple of nominal sours. ("Basil Crush was a sour?" says The BBG in disbelief. "It didn't taste of basil, either.") She likes it, whereas it takes me quite a while to get used to it. Still not quite sure by the end of the glass.

15. Birmingham & Glasshouse - Li’l Sebastian (Tart Fruit Pale with Sour Cherry & Vanilla, 6.5%)
What with this and the Terry Needs His Nibs on sale at this year's BrewDog AGM, obscure references to Michael Schur sitcoms in beer names seem to be the in thing now. Someone should call an imperial stout Jeremy Bearimy while there's still time. As advertised, it's a big old collection of mad shit in a single glass - The BBG suggests it's what a beer would be like if you got a six-year-old to design it. As with the previous beer, I'm still not entirely certain if I like it, but coming down more on the positive side as time goes on.

16. Castlegate & Fierce Beer - May Contain Cherry (Imperial Cherry Sour, 10.0%)
Our first double digit beer of this fest. 'Now that's a sour," says The BBG, and it's certainly more obviously one than the earlier beers with that in the name. Definitely cherry too. It's an interesting change to have a sour beer brewed at that sort of strength.

18th Oct 2019, 22:07   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 3a: BrewDog Dalston

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9. Dalston & Hackney Brewery - Two Hops This Time (DDH Pale Ale, 5.0%)
One Of Those, but decent with it. Hoppy, murky, all the usual things. Not much else to say about it. Sorry, Dalston, I know it's your beer and everything, but still.

10. Helsinki & Fat Lizard - Stepdance Stout (Gluten-Friendly Dry Irish Stout, 4.6%)
Apparently you can't say gluten-free if it comes out of a tap, hence the name. I think it's a little lacking in body, though I may have been spoilt by some of the imperial monsters I've had in the past. Quite nice, though, and I have fond memories of Fat Lizard from our previous Helsinki visits. The BBG thinks it makes a nice change to have a dry stout.

11. Oxford & Double-Barrelled - Shark in My Roof (Imperial Caramel Porter, 7.5%)
During the previous beer as well as this one, we're indulging in the new menu at the Dalston bar, which serves exclusively what Michael Legge has taught us to think of as 'fucking vegan food' - jackfruit burgers loaded with 'cheeze' and 'bacun', that sort of thing. Spelling aside, they're lovely, but it may be impacting our appreciation of the beers. We can't remember what makes a stout different from a porter, but this is a nice one either way, with the caramel really coming through.

12. Perth & Top Out - Red Rosies Bairn (Fruited Hefeweizen, 4,4%)
Even after the triple whammy of a jackfruit burger, cajun fries and a seven per cent porter, this still cuts through on the first mouthful. It's not quite Wu Gang Chops The Tree (the hefeweizen from Pressure Drop that's the best beer currently being brewed in London), but it's rather fine, both as a palate cleanser and a lovely beer in its own right. It grows on you even more as you drink it, surprisingly.

18th Oct 2019, 22:05   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 2: BrewDog Camden

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5. Camden & Two Tribes - Rhubarb Remix (Rhubarb & Rosemary Sour, 4.6%)
Starting day 2 like day 1, with a lager, but a slightly more interesting one (i.e. less lager-tasting, so the traditional lager drinkers may not like it as much). The fruity and herby twists are subtle (I'd say very subtle, though The BBG wouldn't go that far), with the rosemary most obvious on the nose and the rhubarb giving it its sour edge. Again, a nice gentle beginning to the proceedings.

6. Peterhead & Brew Toon - Algae it a Gose (Blueberry Gose, 5.1%)
Ah, Scottish wordplay humour. Fruity from the word go, although not immediately obvious it's blueberry. The BBG says there's a high note in the flavour that reminds her of Earl Grey tea, though it's a little uncertain. I'm thinking of it more as Hard Vimto. Both approaches are valid, I guess. Possibly you'd expect a Gose to be a bit saltier than this is, though it comes through a bit more as time goes on.

7. Malmo & Rocket Brew Co - Laika Forever (Sour IPA, 6.2%)
BrewDog bars frequently tweet pictures of canine visitors with the caption Dog In Bar Klaxon: well, this is Dog In Space Klaxon. (I'm getting a 7 Seconds Of Love earworm as a result.) A bit more properly sour, but pretty good with it, and that's Mr BrewDog-Built-A-Whole-Brewery-With-My-Share-Money-To-Make-Beer-That-Tastes-Like-It's-Gone-Off-The-Bastards talking here (i.e. me). The BBG, who's much more of a fan of the style, is getting vegetal notes off the flavour thanks to the hops, this being an IPA and all.

8. Manchester & Wander Beyond - Manta Meringue (Nitro Lemon Meringue Imperial Milkshake IPA, 9.1%)
Wander Beyond were the stars of this year's Edinburgh Festival: or at least, the imperial stout of theirs that was better than most of the shows we saw. This is the first beer we've had this Collabfest that feels like a special treat - our high expectations of the brewery have been met. You wouldn't want to drink milkshake IPAs all the time, but in small bursts the texture and flavour of this makes it dangerously gluggable, which is always the best possible rating for a Collabfest beer. The BBG suggests that it only tastes like lemon meringue when someone says the words 'lemon meringue' to you: it's more a subtle lemon flavour, with the lactose giving you the meringue bit. It tastes very nice, anyway.

18th Oct 2019, 19:07   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019 round 1: BrewDog Shepherds Bush

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1. Bologna & Birra di Fiemme - Hopriginal (Alpine Pilsner, 5.0%)
It's a lager. It's a decent one, crisp with a nice level of bitterness, but not really our thing - we just picked it because if the published tap lists are to believed, we won't get to see it anywhere else this weekend. It's a starter beer, and okay for that.

2. Reykjavik & ÆGIR Brugghús - Who Let the Jam Out (Fruited Sour, 6.5%)
More fruity than jammy - not puckeringly sour, but as the fruit fades the sourness comes through as a mild afterburn, which gets even milder as your palate gets used to it. Likeable, but as they used to say on a film board of our acquaintance, it's The Shawshank Redemption of sour beers, because it's frequently cited as a favourite film by people who don't like films very much. (You can kind of see why they had to shut the board down.)

3. Stirling & Fallen - Black is the New Orange (Belgian Chocolate Orange Stout, 7.1%)
Okay, that's a good name (a few years late, though). Not quite the Terry's Chocolate Orange In Booze Form we were hoping for: not much chocolate, and the orange is more of a floral note in the aftertaste. We think there may be a bit more chocolate as it warms up, so we nip to the next beer for a bit and then come back: there's a little more of a velvety mouthfeel that makes you think of chocolate rather than actually tasting of it. I think of it more as a tribute band to chocolate orange stouts than the real thing, but The BBG likes it despite it not being what she expected.

4. Shepherd’s Bush & Brick Brewery - Twice Shy (Coconut Double IPA, 8.1%)
Not much coconut in the mouth - more on the nose at the start and in the aftertaste at the end, though that might be the chocolate stout messing with our tastebuds. Very much One Of Those, as we tend to refer to all those non-see-through IPAs everyone does now. As we keep on drinking it goes more peach than coconut, though that's not such a bad thing.
17th Oct 2019, 22:15   comments (0)

#Collabfest2019: it's that time of year again...

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Yeah, this is the only thing I use Moblog for these days, so sue me. From those humble beginnings five years ago when we could visit all four London bars in one day and neck all 16 beers in the festival, this year there are 78 beers - each one a collaboration between a BrewDog bar and a local brewery. The Belated Birthday Girl and I know for a fact that we won't get to sample all 78 over the next four days. But let's see what we *can* do, shall we?
17th Oct 2019, 21:52   comments (0)

#Collabfest2018 part 9: @BrewDogShepBush

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?Belated mopping up of a few straggler beers in Shepherd's Bush.

34. Merchant City Glasgow / DeadEndBrewMachine: Wit Beer Can’t Jump (Wit w/ White Grape, Peach and Kaffir Lime, 5.0%)
Standard wit beer with typical banana taste, not so much of any of the other things in the recipe. (Even after being told what's in it, The BBG can't detect them, except for a hint of lime towards the end.) Pleasant enough, though. If I said it was up there with Hoegaarden, would they throw me out of craft beer? (It's certainly no Otley O-Garden, which is my favourite example of the style.)

35. BD57 Oslo / St Hallvards Bryggeri: Not Another NEBA (NE Habanero Brown Ale, 6.5%)
A beer from The Bar That Can't Legally Call Itself A BrewDog Bar (Norwegian law says you can't mention a brewery in a bar name, or summat). I didn't realise that NEBAs were such a big thing that this one needed a satirical name, but maybe that's part of the joke. Lovely and peppery: I'm getting actual hotness, but The BBG's Dalston-ravaged tastebuds just register it as a nice taste, while still being very much a nicely balanced brown ale with caramel overtones and good mouthfeel.

36. Stirling / Fallen: Stirlinger Weisse (Berliner Weisse, 3.6%)
More weisse, though as the name implies this one's more like a traditional Berliner, with the fruit and the sourness nicely combined. Clearly citrus fruit involved, but hard to tell exactly what. 

37. Soho / Signature Brew: Radio Java (Coffee Pale Ale, 5.0%)
The BBG quite likes it: she's getting coffee, but I'm getting musty. For me, it's like that time when the flat upstairs from me had a leak that went though my ceiling onto my bookshelf, and it tastes like some of my books did after that. I like coffee beers generally, but I don't think it's a nice coffee beer: she says it's not top of her list, but she's not getting the same negative vibes that I am.

38. Brighton / Cloak+Dagger: Beer Grills (Southern BBQ Stout, 7.2%)
(Ignore all the ones behind it in the picture, they're the current beers in the Fanzine series and nowt to do with Collabfest.) (Also ignore the fact that they've spelt the name wrong on the flight list.) And after three mediocre Fanzine beers, this redeems the entire flight, if not the entire evening. Like the NEBA, it's a spicy beer, but the spiciness isn't the only thing going for it, although the chilli kick at the back of the throat is a major part of it. The BBG hopes BBQ refers to sauce rather than actual burning meat, but isn't prepared to probe that too hard because she likes this too much. Anyway, if we'd had this during the original Collabfest weekend, this may well have bothered our top threes. (The BBG thinks the same about the NEBA, but me not so much.)

25th Oct 2018, 23:22   comments (0)

#Collabfest2018 part 8: @BrewDogClaphamJ

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Our final bar visit of Collabfest - limited, of course, by the requirement to see our last few LFF films either side of it. As we're at the BFI for most of today, we've taken the train Sarf of the river to see what Clapham Junction have left that we haven't drunk already. The answer, irritatingly, is five beers: hence the extended flight pictured, requiring a switch from 4:3 to 16:9. Here we go:

29. Milton Keynes / Blackened Sun: Malfiore (Oatmeal Black Saison, 6.0%)
The blackness (okay, toasted malt) gives it a level of interest above a usual saison. I've mentioned earlier that I'm not a big fan of black IPAs, but I'm quite liking this. The BBG likes how the oatmeal is giving it a bit more mouthfeel, too.

30. Oxford / Tap Social Movement: In The Gateau (Black Forest Gateau Stout, 5.5%)
Terrible pun (though it reminds me of Radio Active's bit where Elvis sings a song about a boy's love for a lizard, Tim The Gecko). Very few of the flavours coming though initially - to me it feels like they're cancelling each other out. There's a little more to it once it's warmed up a bit, but it needs a lot more of everything to be as decadent as they think it is. Also, it's a very odd shade of brown, like someone put a cake in a blender.

31. North Street Leeds / Ridgeside: Spilt Milk (Vegan Milkshake Pale, 5.8%)
Fucking Vegan Beer, as Michael Legge would say/sing. (If I could easily set up links in these posts, I'd point you at the YouTube video for The Last Days, a song written from the POV of his dying dog.) Anyway, this is pretty great: the vanilla and oats give this a properly decadent feel (unlike the previous one), with the latter presumably doing the job that a big tub of lactose would normally do for this style. A lot stronger than you'd initially think, and dangerously gluggable. (The BBG has just Googled the Ridgeside brewery's founder, Simon Bolderson, and is now a bit emotional.)

32. Firenze / Piccolo Birrificio Clandestino: Something Purple (Blackcurrant Berliner, 4.5%)
Ooh! Fruity! Nesquik (almost as much as the actual milkshake beer we had earlier, although The BBG isn't so convinced)! Plus a decent degree of sourness to balance it out.

33. Tallinn / Puhaste: Black Swan (Coffee and Chocolate Sour, 4.5%)
We use our final Collabfest 2018 beer to toast Aimar from the BrewDog Tallinn bar, who looked after us tremendously when we visited there a few months ago, but passed away not too long afterwards. He steered us towards a couple of great dark local beers on our late night visits, and I think he'd have approved of this one. I don't believe 'coffee' and 'sour' are two tastes I've considered as matching, though The BBG points out that as there are actual sour coffees out there it isn't that ridiculous an idea. Plus a little bit of saltiness in there too, as it's a gose.

So, 33 beers out of 52 (well, technically out of 49, as three of them were made by overseas bars and never made it into the UK). For me, it's hard to pick a single overall favourite: I think that Black Swan, Silver Beech and I Tira-Miss-U each have the right balance of being utterly unique while also being drinkable as hell. The BBG would go for Hylliedog, 97 On Ratebeer and Spilt Milk, though she would like it known that it took her ages to whittle a shortlist of ten down to those three. Your own mileage, of course, may vary.

Will Collabfest 2019 clash with LFF 2019? God, I hope not. We'll probably see you back here next year, either way.

21st Oct 2018, 16:08   comments (0)

#Collabfest2018 part 7: @BrewDogSoho

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Well played, The Cambodians, well played (though your first film was better). So, for a quick post-film nightcap:

25. Glasgow / Up Front: The Obvious Choice (NEDIPA, 8.0%)
As the name suggests, another One Of Those (but doubly so). Kind of does everything you'd expect, though the murk is a slightly darker shade of murk than usual. There's a little bit of bitterness that you get towards the end that you don't normally find with these things.

26. York / Turning Point: Chip Hazard (Mint Choc Chip Pale Ale, 7.4%)
Slightly scared of this one from the advance word alone. And it's true, it definitely tastes of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and therefore WITCHCRAFT. 'I like it, but I don't think I'd want to drink it often' says The BBG, and I think I'm with her on that one. Particularly as it tastes nothing like 7.4%: if someone sold this to you as a soft drink, you'd totally believe them.

27. Goteborg / Benchwarmers Brewing Co: Drop The Basil (Basil/Lime Saison, 5.0%)
This one has to battle through the ice cream taste of the previous one before it'll even register. It could do with a bit more basil in it: the herbs are a fairly mild part of the recipe. It's really more of a normal saison where you couldn't tell what the special ingredients were without seeing them written down. Refreshing enough, just not particularly interesting ('isn't that the definition of saisons?' suggests The BBG).

28. Kungsholmen / Hyllie Bryggeri: HyllieDog (Grapefruit IPA, 6.5%)
Treating our last drink of the day as our early morning breakfast juice. Definitely a nice one to finish off: the nice juiciness of a NEIPA, but it has a bit more bitterness and softness, and you can see through it too. It's a very likeable beer indeed.

So, with one day to go, we've got 24 beers still to do: will we complete the set in time? Of course we bleedin' won't, but come back tomorrow to see how we do.

20th Oct 2018, 23:50   comments (0)