By Chloe Jane Murphy - Shilling Brewing Company
January is almost out of the way which means what feels like the longest 6 weeks in history is almost over and you are most definitely due a treat yo’ self moment. Well aren’t we lucky that the 6 Nations are starting in a couple of weeks? It’s time to get our rugby heids on.
You could argue that the Shilling Brewing Co. lot enjoy rugby almost as much as beer, with us opening our doors to you avid fans out there, from as early as 8am during the Rugby World Cup. Not that we’re blowing our own trumpet but..toot toot!
What are we doing different this time? Well, we had a scrum at Shilling Brewing Co. HQ and decided that if there’s a beer for every occasion, then there most definitely should be 6 for the 6 competing nations - “The 6ix”
We’ll be launching “The 6ix” each weekend of the tournament. 5 weekends in total with one cheeky weekend having two beers on. As always, we’ll be showing all 15 matches live on our HUGE screen.
Along with having our ode to the teams in beer form, we’ll be running a “6 Nations - The Pizza Edition” where we will have 2x pizza specials dedicated to the battling countries on over each weekend to fight it out to see which one steals a pizza your heart. (We’ll just ignore pizza’s Italian heritage on this one).
So keep you eyes peeled for our 6 Nations beers, as we’ll be launching them on the Saturday of each heat. First come, first served.
Don’t worry - the beer isn’t just for the rugby fans, we’ll make sure that those who don’t care about the egg shaped ball can come raise a glass. Whether it be traditional beers, breweries in today's craft beer market or just that country's vibe in general, there’ll be plenty to appreciate. On that note shall we endeavour to discuss some beer chat? Six nations in one post might be a bit too much so I’m going to split this up and make it two posts - double the fun right?! With this primarily being a rugby post I guess I should start with last year’s top three.
On top of their traditional classics that we all know and love, Wales has welcomed the craft beer scene with open arms hitting out with some belting breweries over the years. We are all warmly familiar with Tiny Rebel, but alongside our pals that hooked us up with the likes of Stay Puft and Frambuzi there has been a burst of microbreweries and exciting homebrewers to watch out for. The one that has peaked my interest is South Wales 2019 vibrant newcomers Flowerhorn, who have already dropped some pretty exciting beers.
Flowerhorn - Loops 5.7%
Instantly won over by this 2 lad breweries aesthetic - they truly resemble the inner workings of my brain, Flowerhorn offer up a fully realised, fun approach to brewing in 2020. Loops is an absolute treat of a beer - oats, wheat, lactose and tonnes of mango puree make for one full creamy bodied IPA. With azacca adding that natural spicy aftertaste you get from mangos and mosaic tapping in to all that fruit puree cutting about this beer. It gives notes of various stone fruits and tropical flavours, this beer spikes off into a slight bitter finish.
England has a rich history in brewing with their IPAs and porters still remaining popular to this day, what I find interesting is there beer evolution in the last 10 years.
I’ve always been a beer drinker. I can remember the first schooner of craft beer I ever drank and where I was - you likely do as well. More importantly, I remember a time where the beer scene in Glasgow was quite stagnant. A lot of great traditional beers but a real lack of new, adventurous breweries and 0 chatter or hype. I was right in amongst it when the craft beer ‘trend’ fully hit Glasgow.
‘No Mom, it’s not a phase!’
For me a lot of the breweries that turned my head initially were English breweries.
The first wave of well known big hitters may have slightly fallen out of favour with a lot of us in the last few years but they really were responsible for building that bridge between traditional and modern beers. The likes of Beavertown and Magic Rock brought not just new complex substyles to the masses but along with them some forgotten traditional styles. There has been a massive explosion of new exciting breweries in England from the early 2010s to the point you could plan a beer holiday in any of their cities. Shilling Brewing Co road trip?
Mill’s Brewing - Saison Cider Cask 7%
This brewery is spilling over with interesting beers - Mill’s Brewing take a traditional approach in their brewing style. With a focus on brewing and blending naturally fermented beers with as minimum modern intervention and I’m obsessed. Spontaneous fermentation and locally collected cultures make for incredibly unique beers that have complex flavour profiles.
I recently had this on draft and it did not disappoint. In 2017 oat, barley and rye malts were used to create a bitter base for this beer. That wort was then aged for 11 months in three oak cider. They then took the two casks that complimented each other then blended them and DH with Montueka and Celeia.This process make for floral and citrus aromas, with an initial funky flavour that is quite tart and filled with fruit. The aftertaste is slightly grassy and is quite drying, yet leaves you feeling refreshed.
Ireland have made a name for themselves throughout the world with Guinness to the point you get funny looks if you say you haven’t tried it and I’m totally on board the I <3 Guiness train. Other than it being a pain in the neck to pour #bartenderproblems , this Irish dry stout remains a crowd favourite after 261 years. Guinness acts as a base marker for whenever we try a stout. You want it to have that full creamy body, that is somewhat light towards the end, delivering those roasty-toasty notes at first taste and carry light bitterness in the finish.They helped pioneer nitro kegs to the masses and they deserve our appreciation for that fact.
Along with their trademark export, Ireland have delivered us some tasty new breweries in the last few years with the likes of Whiplash bringing us belting beers but also their new innovative brewery. If you want to geek out over any brewery, their blogs are worth a read http://www.whiplashbeer.com/blog
Whiplash - Surrender To The Void 8.5%
I am dreaming of the day we get this brewery on tap. Forever infatuated with their artwork, they taste even better than they look - they can do no wrong.
Surrender to The Void is nothing but a super smooth, hoppy fruit juice. Initial sweetness ushers in tropical flavours of lychee, peach and pineapple. Ending perfectly with a dry bitter aftertaste. This is one gluggable beverage, especially considering it’s percentage.
There you have it, we’ve taken a tour through the first half of the nations. Next week I can complete the trip with the last three countries.