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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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#Collabfest2021 part 12: Dalston, Glasgow, Cambridge

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44. Rye Me A River (Hackney Brewery x Dalston, orange & cardamom rye IPA, 6.2%)
We're wrapping this all up in Dalston, as we're doing an evening of Dangerously Experimental Cinema in the area immediately after this. This may be a mistake on our part, obviously: lots of shaky camera and industrial noise may not work so well after sixteen beers (even if they're all 1/6 pints). Nevertheless, as we're not planning to visit any more bars after this one, our grand total for Collabfest 2021 will be capped off at 46 beers out of a possible 66, just because we've drunk all the other ones in here. (Hence the bulking out of this flight with Carolina BIPA, which we think is good enough to deserve an encore.) Our pre-penultimate beer of the set is Dalston's own contribution, which once again needs time to warm up and let its spiciness come through on the palate rather than the nose: it eventually comes through at the back, but you have to wait for it.

45. Blueberry Bait (Overtone x Glasgow, blueberry sour, 8.0%)
Definite fruit, definite sourness, but not mouth-puckeringly so. I can vouch for it pairing well with the Dalston bar's Halloween special, the Smashing Pumpkin Spice burger, which is an utter frickin' delight. (It's nice to see that unlike Old Street, Dalston has stuck to its original USP as a totally vegan establishment, with Biff's totally killing it as the in-house caterers.) Doesn't taste like an 8%, it has to be said.

46. Cocomera Atomica (Pastore x Cambridge, watermelon sour, 8.0%)
And neither does this - but it definitely tastes of watermelon rather than water, which is enough to deceive you into thinking it's just a healthy fruit drink. Just the sort of thing to set you up for a night of potentially terrifying short films. Wish us luck!

Picking our favourites from the 46 is a hellish idea, but if pushed I'd go for Portergeist by BAP BAP x Le Marais, and The BBG would say it's a toss-up between that one and Brewhouse Collective by Full Circle x Newcastle. Of the 46 there's only one we'd class as a disappointment (no names mentioned, work it out for yourself), and that feels like one hell of a strike rate. Same time next year, then?

24th Oct 2021, 18:10   comments (0)

#Collabfest2021 part 11: Castlegate, Peterhead, Brussels)

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41. Red Adair 1914 (OGV Taproom x Castlegate, raspberry fruit beer, 4.7%)
"Didn't you dance with Ginger Rogers?" goes the punchline to a terrible joke that was popular when I was a lad. "It doesn't taste like anything to me," says The BBG (as a reference to Westworld rather than our recent infection with Covid), and you can't really argue with that - maybe the Dublin beer has desensitised us to any fruit flavour that isn't screamingly over the top. If you take a huge mouthful and swill it around, there's a little fruit detectable, but not much more than that.

42. Berry Yer Heid (Brew Toon x Peterhead, triple berry smoothie sour, 7.5%)
If it was Covid that stopped us tasting anything from the last beer, then we appear to have just discovered a cure. This is another madly fruity deal, even when chilled a little too much as this is initially, with a bit more acidity than many of the other sours we've had this weekend. We had a decent time in Brew Toon's taproom when we visited Peterhead a while ago as part of the whole BrewDogging project, and it's good to see them still doing well.

43. Blackcurrant & Strawberry Sour Ale (Brasserie Surrealiste x Brussels, berry sour, 5.8%)

Not gonna lie: by this point in the proceedings, our flight choices are entirely driven by the question 'which ones haven't we had yet?' And in the case of the Camden bar, there are only three left that are new to us. We pad out the flight with a return to Ploom Shake Shake Shake The Room, because we liked it and it stands out in photos. (Alarmingly, I forgot to take a photo of this board again, so credit to The BBG for the picture.) But in terms of beers to be reviewed here, our final one in this bar is the one which really needs a name that's the French or Dutch equivalent of 'Ronseal' (delete as appropriate). It doesn't have the acidity of the previous beer, but there's still a reasonable amount of fruit there, especially on the nose - it's another example of the previous beer having an impact on our expectations for the next. If nothing else, we're getting a good dose of Vitamin C from this flight.

24th Oct 2021, 15:50   comments (0)

#Collabfest2021 part 10: Camden, Leeds North Street, Edinburgh Cowgate, Dublin Outpost

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37. Camden Creepster (Werewolf x Camden, American brown ale, 5.1%)
Off to Camden next, and starting off with their own collab. The BBG has a fondness for brown ales as a nowadays neglected style: she says this is a nice one, but there's a hint of something else on the nose that turns out to be cherries. Possibly a bit too cold initially for both our tastes: there's a bit more flavour in there once it's warmed up a little.

38. George Of The Dunkel (Turning Point x Leeds North Street, banana dunkelweizen, 5.4%)
I'm suddenly struck by the realisation that the Brendan Fraser film is nearly a quarter of a century old. Some of the people who worked on this beer may even have not been born in 1997. The BBG has flashbacks to her own childhood drinking this, saying it reminds her of banana chew sweets (though there's not much else there apart from banana). It's quite a subtle fruit flavour to begin with, but hits harder as you go on.

39. Guided By The Hops (Guide Dogs x Edinburgh Cowgate, NEIPA, 5.7%)
Part of a set, apparently: Guide Dogs have also brewed a beer for the other Edinburgh bar called Guided By The Malt, which is a lager. Current information suggests we're not going to find that one today, so we'll have to make do with this. It's a pretty average example of One Of Those: not too juicy, not too cloudy, not much else: just a glass of cold slight bitterness. Probably in position 39 of our rankings so far.

40. Tuck Shop Mafia (Hope x Dublin Outpost, fruited sour, 8.0%)
Hello Dublin! I'm sure we'll get around to visiting your bar at some point in the future: in the meantime, we're enjoying this ridiculous fruit bomb you've sent over for us. Hard to think of the word 'sour' with all the other stuff that's going on in your mouth at the time. It's a good 'un.

24th Oct 2021, 15:24   comments (0)

#Collabfest2021 part 9: Shepherds Bush, Sodermalm, Old Street, Aberdeen

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33. Philly Cheesecake (Orbit x Shepherds Bush, lemon cheesecake sour, 5.0%)

Looking back at late Saturday (see part 8) from the relative sobriety of Sunday morning, maybe six flights in one day was a bit ambitious. ("Southamptom"? Really?) So we're taking it easy to begin with today, with a booze-free brunch at the Shepherds Bush bar before diving back in with their own beer. It's a good refreshing starter, the alcoholic equivalent of a grapefruit juice first thing.

34. Chasing Mavericks (Northern Exposure x Sodermalm, NEIPA, 6.5%)
In case you were wondering, the Swedish for "one of those" is "en sån". This has a couple of quirks, though. First one is the very obvious bang of fashionable Sabro hops coming off it from the first mouthful. Meanwhile, The BBG is interested in the detail that it's been brewed with kolsch yeast, which makes it a bit more distinctive. Still looks like orange juice, though.

35. Tangled Goals (Boxcar x Old Street, red saison, 5.5%)
Remember Old Street? They used to be the alcohol-free bar, but that idea fell by the wayside once BrewDog realised that AF beers wouldn't sustain us through a pandemic. They produced a 0.5%er for last year's cans-at-home Collabfest (see for details), but this year there's no longer a requirement for that. It's no 5AM Saint, but as it's a saison it doesn't need to be, and The BBG likes the unexplained smoky undercurrent in there.

36. Ghost Bocksters (Reids Gold x Aberdeen, smoked marshmallow doppelbock, 7.0%)
Ooh, nice. Now this one has an *explained* smoky undercurrent, with the smoke subtly adding to the marshmallow flavour, stopping it from getting overly sweet. Dangerously gluggable.

24th Oct 2021, 12:47   comments (0)

Collabfest2021 part 8: Headingley, Nottingham, Southamptom, DogTap

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29. Johnny Loud Trousers (Wilde Childe x Headingley, double IPA, 8.0%)

One. Of. Those. But with a name influenced by Viz.

30. Sorbeto Orangelo (Hollow Stone.x Nottingham, fruit IPA, 5.9%)

Nice enough but with nothing that leaps out. Maybe the fact that it’s our 22nd beer of the day may explain the brevity of these reviews.The BBG likes it but think it doesn’t have enough to compete with the others.

31. Souropod (Staggeringly Good x Southsmpton, berliner weisse,
Another bleedon’ sour (a concept it takes th s couple of hundred words to sun up on the official spreadsheet). It’s fine, and I’m not just saying that because my phone’s down to 15% powerr.

32. Sink The Biscoff (6 Degrees North x Dogtap, Imperial stout, 8.0%)
Those Fucking Biscuits again, but in what happens to be a nice beer.
23rd Oct 2021, 23:44   comments (0)

Collabfest2021 part 7: Norwich, Leicester, Ealing, Tallinn

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25. Stratosphere (Burnt Mill x Norwich, IPA, 4.8%)

Wasn’t expecting our evening at BrewDog Ealing – with a seat around the fire feature and everything – to be starting with a sour, but here we are. The lemon in here is pushing it into sour territory despite everything: it’s nice enough to drink, but not enough hops for something advertising itself as an IPA. The BBG suggests it gets a bit more sherbetty as time goes on.

26. Yuzumaki (Round Corner x Leicester, saison, 7.2%)

Still a lot of the lemon sherbet going on from the previous beer, so this one takes a while to cut through. The BBG comes to like it as time goes on, especially its colour, but still can’t taste any yuzu on it. I’m less convinced: maybe saisons aren’t really my thing.

27. Rockin’ &:Poppin’ (Jefferson’s & Ealing, double IPA, 8.5%)

This is nice, but definitely ‘one of those’. Murky as hell, lots of juiciness, with possibly the high alcohol content compensating for all of the other clichés. It should be noted that at this point, the punks behind the bar at Ealing are playing Toxic by Britney Spears. (Not judging – one of my karaoke specialities is Baby One More Time. That, and Chocolate Salty Balls from South Park.)

28. Black Ballerina (Puhaste x Tallinn, black forest ale, 6.5%)

Not hitting you in the face like last night’s black forest beer, but that”s not such a bad thing. We’ve been fans of Tallinn’s breweries since our visit in 2018, so it’s nice to hear that both the bar and the brewery are still going.
23rd Oct 2021, 23:23   comments (0)

#Collabfest2021 part 6: Dundee, Malmö, Swansea, Milton Keynes)

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(Picture taken by The BBG, because I forgot to take one myself. That bodes well for the rest of the weekend, doesn't it?)

21. The Royal Dank Of Scotland (Wasted Degrees x Dundee, dry hopped IPA, 7.0%)
Good silly name, but also chosen for its hops, and it delivers on that score. What does dank mean anyway? I've always assumed it's a dope thing, so I'm not convinced, but it does grow on you. The BBG thinks she'd try it again if it ever came up: she's fed up of NEIPAs and likes the idea of IPAs that do something else.

22. Carolina BIPA (Hyllie x Malmö, cascadian dark ale with chilli, 6.5%)
Looks properly black for once (brewers are sometimes wishy washy about the B in BIPA). Not sure we're getting the hops, but definitely getting the malt, and absolutely getting the chilli as a spectacular afterburn. (I'm trying to find a more positive-sounding word than 'afterburn'. But it's meant to be positive, really.)

23. Biscoffee (Tenby x Swansea, biscotti coffee milk stout, 6.0%)
Those Fucking Biscuits: The Beer (as a follow-up to the spread and all the other variants out there). Actually, it's all right. The BBG would go so far as to say 'quite nice'. But I've spent too much time in office waiting rooms to see Biscoff as anything other than a way of distracting you from the fact that nobody really wants to meet with you right now.

24. Under The Sun (Blackened Sun x Milton Keynes, peach melba hefeweizen, 5.0%)
Back on the palate cleansers again for our last beer in Chancery Lane for now,: maybe it's needed to remove the Biscoff stout. Not massively exciting, but refreshing enough, despite no actual peach melba coming off it, just a vague fruitiness.

23rd Oct 2021, 18:20   comments (0)

#Collabfest2021 part 5: Kungsholmen, Chancery Lane, Inverurie, Brighton)

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17. Bit Of Valhalla (Keane x Kungsholmen, bitter, 4.2%)
New thrill! Do they still say that in 2000AD nowadays? We're paying our first visit to Chancery Lane, a former Draft House bar that's been rebranded by BrewDog as one of their own, rather like Milton Keynes. So this is our 74th bar visited, which implies that we'll need to do something special for number 75. We'll see what we can do. In the meantime, our first beer here is a bitter that's a little underwhelming fresh cold out of the taps, so we let it warm up a few minutes before coming back to it. Still not outstanding, but you could imagine downing a pint of it in other circumstances. 

18. Pale Ale Citra/Sabro (Brew By Numbers x Chancery Lane, pale, 5.8%)
The local beer, apparently, though Bermondsey seems a bit of a distance away. (Or is it more accurately Greenwich these days?) It's a fairly straightforward pale ale, really, with not too much evidence of the Sabro hops that all the young people like nowadays (it's there, but not yelling at the top of its voice like Sabro beers normally do).

19. No Planet B (Black Isle x Inverurie, west coast DIPA, 8.0%)
Quite nice, with syrupy DIPA feel to it, but nothing really distinctive about this one. Definitely the weaker of the two westie DIPAs on offer.

20. Dough Big Or Go Home (Unbarred x Brighton, cookie dough stout, 6.7%)
Decent stout, on the sweet side as you'd expect. Initially not as good as some of the ones we had yesterday, but it gets better as it warms up (though still not as good). They say it offers a full cookie dough experience, but to be honest Ben & Jerry's do it better.

23rd Oct 2021, 17:33   comments (0)