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The Best Beers I Drank In… JULY 2015

Following on from last months inaugural ‘The Best Beers I Drank In… JUNE 2015‘ here’s the next in the ongoing series.

July was another great month with trips to Huddersfield to the new Magic Rock Tap and Leeds, including new BrewDog venture ShuffleDog and my second visit to Northern Monk Refectory.

I also got through a lot of fantastic bottles at home, many of which were picked up from the BrewDog AGM and my visits to various London breweries last month.

It was genuinely tough narrowing down the shortlist. I was stuck on 16 for a VERY long time.

Here’s what made the cut…

July 2015

Magic Rock – Magic 8 Ball (Keg @ Magic Rock Tap)

I’d been anticipating the opening of Magic Rock Tap in Huddersfield for most of the year.

It didn’t disappoint. There were many beers drunk and lots of highlights that almost made the list, including their new G&T IPA ‘Ginspired’, but in the end it was Magic 8 Ball that I enjoyed the most.

It’s probably the best black IPA around it tasted unbelievably fresh here.

They absolutely nail the balance between dark roasted malts and fruity hops.

Magic Rock Brewing - Magic 8 Ball
Magic Rock Brewing – Magic 8 Ball

Firestone Walker Brewing – Opal (Bottle)

I think this might be my favourite ever saison.

It’s pretty big at 7.5% and fairly complex thanks to a combination of spicy Belgian yeast and dry hopping. There’s a tart almost white wine like flavour along with citrus, fruit and a distinct pepperiness before a big bitter finish.

It’s very dry, extremely refreshing and was a wonderful match for the ‘Deep fried cod cheeks’ I paired it with at the supper club I took it too.

Goose Island Beer – Bourbon County Brand Stout (2012) (Bottle)

At the same supper club my buddy HungerJams brought this beauty for us to share.

A hefty 15% imperial stout with so much going on it’s almost impossible to put into words.

It’s thick, rich and full of flavour; bourbon of course but also chocolate, coffee, wood, spice, vanilla, smoke and dark fruits.

A truly outstanding beer.

Goose Island - Bourbon County (2012)
Goose Island – Bourbon County (2012)

Quantum – Air Force Gator (Bottle)

One of the most interesting beers of the year. Described as an IPL or ‘India Pale Lager’, essentially a hopped up lager.

It’s packed with mosaic which is quickly becoming my favourite hop.

It’s fragrant, fruity and incredibly drinkable.

Quantum - Air Force Gator
Quantum – Air Force Gator

Mikkeller – Hues (Bottle)

As in June I drank a LOT of Mikkeller beer in July. This list could’ve easily contained 5 or 6 of them but I somehow narrowed it down to one.

‘Hues’ is a brilliant oak aged lambic that comes in a fancy bottle with a cork.

It’s very sour and quite acidic. Flavours are unusual but intriguing. There’s a touch a spice, wood from the barrel and sharp cider notes.

Mikkeller - Hues
Mikkeller – Hues

Kernel – London Sour Damson (Bottle)

I picked this beautiful damson sour up on my visit to The Kernel Brewery last month.

Actually it wasn’t quite as tart as I expected but the colour was stunning, it tasted fantastic and was incredibly refreshing. Particularly sat outside on a hot summers day.

Kernel Brewery - London Sour Damson
Kernel Brewery – London Sour Damson

BrewDog – Tokyo* (16.5%) (Keg @ ShuffleDog Leeds)

Another massive imperial stout, this time on keg at the first ever ShuffleDog in Leeds.

In typical BrewDog style it’s big and bold although amazingly this 16.5% version is actually lighter than the previous which clocked in at 18.2%!

This was too sweet for some of the people I was with but for me just stayed on the right side. It’s quite boozy, definitely a sipper.

Flavour wise it’s full of chocolate with a sweet molasses background, there’s some berry flavours and a slight floralness which I think comes from jasmine tea.

Evil Twin – I Love You With My Stout (Bottle)

Another big imperial stout but this time a paltry 12%.

Another sweet stout but again just the right side for me.

Flavour is primarily creamy chocolate with vanilla and cherries coming through.

Unlike Tokyo* this one is ridiculously drinkable considering its strength.

Evil Twin Brewing - I Love You With My Stout
Evil Twin Brewing – I Love You With My Stout

Magic Rock – Bearded Lady Bourbon Barrel Aged (Bottle)

And another big imperial stout!

I bought two of these in June 2014, drank one on the 25th July that year and saved the other until the same date this year. It’s already aged for six months before release so this was approaching two years old.

I can’t honestly say whether the ageing improved it or not but it was every bit as good as last time.

A simply brilliant imperial stout. Warming and very boozy but it’s softened by the bourbon and is so smooth.

Magic Rock - Bearded Lady Bourbon Barrel Aged
Magic Rock – Bearded Lady Bourbon Barrel Aged

Odell – IPA (Bottle)

This has been one of my favourite U.S IPAs for a long time. I’ll happily drink it any time but when I heard Beermoth had a batch in that was bottled just six weeks ago it was a no brainer.

The freshness was immediately obvious.

I love the beer anyway; it’s the perfect combination of sweet, caramel malts and fruity hops with a good bitter finish. The freshness meant everything was so much more delicate.

Odell - IPA
Odell – IPA

Siren Craft Brew – Long Forgotten Journey (Bottle)

It’s fair to say I’m a huge barely wine fan and this is one of the more interesting.

It’s aged in brandy barrels with honey and orange peel which makes it taste almost like beery Grand Marnier.

My bottle was just a touch over carbonated for me but the flavours were incredible.

Siren - Long Forgotten Journey
Siren Craft Brew – Long Forgotten Journey

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