There's been some really interesting beers knocking around in Leeds this week. Whilst in The Adelphi for lunch last Monday I spotted a bright orange pumpclip advertising North Peak Brewing Co's Vicious American Wheat IPA. Wheat? IPA, you say? Count me in. It turned out to be terrifically hopped, all the usual pine-led and grapefruit accented hop bitterness that you'd expect from an IPA, and was in good condition. The addition of wheat however, smoothed things out and rescued the beer from being too astringent, adding sweetness and a bit of body. A good beer - not sure if I could drink a lot of of, but one for hopheads to seek out, for sure. And any pumpclip with a 'Dogman' on it gets my vote. Did anyone else catch this?
Next up, I was pleased to see Sharp's Abbey Christmas Ale (4.6%abv) on. I wasn't expecting a great deal from it given my usual aversion to 'Christmas' beers, but this really was a great pint. Tonnes of caramel and spicy, peppery notes on the nose, the beer has a really big, rounded, fruity body - like a lighter, tasty dark mild on steroids. It's brewed with an Abbey yeast, which does add a little more wild fruitiness to the already moreish proceedings. Easy to drink, and as moreish as Mince Pie, this is one Christmas ale that really is worth trying. It's got Yarrow in it, too, but I couldn't even begin to describe what this even tastes like, so it passed me by completely. A great beer. You can read what frame of mind Stuart Howe was in when he brewed it here. On a personal note, it's nice to see Sharp's beers on offer in Leeds.
Moving back to my more usual haunt for lunch today (and by lunch, I mean Beers), Foley's, I finally got my mitts on Revolution Brewing Co's 45 Porter (4.5%abv). Raisins and biscuity malt dominate the nose as opposed to the smokiness that I, for some reason, was expecting. The beer is light, and has a great balance of creaminess and gentle, dry bitterness on the sip. There's a slight hint of milk chocolate as the sip finishes, and overall it's a very easy-drinking, moreish Porter. An auspicious start for the new boys on the block at Revolutions. See below for an interview with the lads.
And lastly, but by no means least, comes SummerWine's latest foray into beers to make you sit up and take notice, Heretic Black IPA (7.2%abv). Those used to SummerWine's style and the P6 IPA project will immediately recognise the hallmarks; a big, rolling hop attack both on the nose and the sip, although Heretic's hoppiness is only gently fruity and more on the herbal side than a grapefruit bomb. The addition of darker malts does lend a little more sweetness to the body to keep things balanced. I know that one of the aims of the beer was to seem like a regular IPA if you closed your eyes - and I think that James and Andy succeed in this. There is none of the smokiness or chocolate notes that you'd expect from darker malts, and in return you get...well, a great IPA that just happens to be black.