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After trying out our very own World Beers mixed case for a beer tasting party, Christie Day, Brand Expert at money-saving website Savoo shares her tips for hosting a top beer tasting night on a budget.
The UK's first Trappist brewery has launched with the delicious Tynt Meadow. Read the amazing story behind it here.
Our top ranked and reviewed fruit beers by our customers plus a few of our favourites, including a collab between To Øl and Pohjala. Tantalise your tastebuds this Summer with these punchy fruit beers.
What is RateBeer and why should you care?
Want an article full of terrible puns? No? How about 10% off these fangtatsic beers?
8 things you need to know about low alcohol and no alcohol beers
English vs US IPAs, Bohemian Pilsner vs German Pils, Belgian Witbier vs German Weissbier. How exactly do the same beer styles differ in different countries?
When we put a shout-out for the best beer sheds on the Perfect Draft Facebook group, we didn't expect this
The History of Beer – Part 2 – Commercial Brewing
The third part in an exclusive series of articles about the history of beer by one of the world's best beer writers
For most of our history, beer has been drunk on the same premises it was made: in homes, monasteries, inns, taverns and alehouses.
But naturally, some people are better at making beer than others, and from the Middle Ages onwards
We speak to Sierra Nevada's beer ambassador Steve Grossman about Sierra Nevada's amazing past and what the future holds for the brewery
It’s hard to overstate the influence Sierra Nevada has made on the world of beer. This brewery, based in Chico, California, was launched in 1979 in the first wave of US craft breweries that would change the world. It was founded by avid homebrewers Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi. They also turned to local ingredients, including hops from the Yakima Valley. The first beers they made are still benchmarks in craft brewing’s most famous beer styles. Steve Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s Beer Ambassador, curates a case of beers that highlight the brewery’s best as well as picking out the beers that are much-loved by Sierra Nevada. We caught up with him on a recent visit to the UK.
People namecheck Sierra
Beer jargon buster
There’s a lot of jargon, buzzwords and terminology floating around the beery world. Beer Hawk is here to help make sense of it all
BEERAdmittedly, not jargon, but we know it is the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drink in the world. Brewed using cereal grains and fermented.
MALTThink of malt as the base of beer. It provides the sugar for alcohol, but also impacts on the colour and flavour.
HOPSHops are responsible for preservative qualities, imparting bitterness and giving flavour and aroma.
YEASTA group of organisms that ferment sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide. It also can add flavours to a beer.
BOTTLE-CONDITIONEDNaturally carbonated in the the bottle because of an additional fermentation from sugar added in packaging.
ABVThis is the measurement of alcohol in a solution described as ‘alcohol by volume’, in percentage terms.
Delve into the dark side
If it is a dark, winter ale that you’re pining for...
Ohh those dark beers: Deep, bold, luxurious and opulent. We can see why you like them! Naturally ‘dark’ doesn’t explain how something tastes, but if you’re reaching for something dark, it’s probably because you love something a bit fuller-bodied, rich in flavour and possibly not too bitter. It’s a wildly diverse category of course, from 3.5% milds to 11% imperial stouts. It includes Bocks from Germany and tripels from Belgium, milk stouts from American and, of course, the porter from Britain and much else besides. We’ve picked out a few of our favourite dark beers of the moment to showcase the variety on offer. There’s even a marshmallow beer!
Big Drop / Stout / 0.05%
Big Drop Brewing Co is a brewery that is dedicated to producing exceptional beers that are less than 0.5% ABV beer. There’s
The History of Beer – Part 2 – From ale to beer
The second part in an exclusive series of articles by one of the world's best beer writers
Wherever humans settle, they have always managed to ferment the local vegetation into booze. Depending where on Earth they are, some plants grow better than others. And while the climate has changed quite a bit over the centuries, grapes have always grown well in southern Europe, while grain has fared better in the north.
So when the wine-loving Romans arrived in northern Europe, they were distinctly sniffy about the local beverage. The Emperor Julian is reputed to have written an ode to ‘wine made from barley’:
Who made you and from what?By the true Bacchus I know you not.He smells of nectarBut you smell of goat.
Given the early recorded origins of beer in the Middle East, many have speculated how it made its way from there to northern Europe,
The story of Founder's remarkable CBS
CBS is here! This is the 'Canadian' version of KBS, one of the most sought after beers in the world. Watch the Founder's film about it's world-beating barrel ageing programme
Some beers come and go, some beers however develop their own life, their own history, their own future. When brewers at Founders Brewing Co, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, released KBS, they probably thought it would be good, but probably didn’t imagine the fuss it would cause. And when we mean fuss, we mean a queueing-at-dawn, inflated-price-on-internet, blog-post-filling, RateBeer-loved, 100%-scoring beer. It became one of the world’s most sought-after beers. If it sounds like hype, it is, but this was a beer that deserved every superlative adjective. KBS, a bourbon barrel-aged chocolate coffee stout, weighing in at 11.8%, is the best imperial stout in the world.
The best alcohol-free beers
Dry January? Alcohol-free beers are no longer tasteless as these amazing examples demonstrate
Low alcohol and alcohol-free beer has a long reputation for not having much flavour, but times have changed, and these days you can get your hands on a variety of enjoyable alcohol-free beers (less than 0.05% alcohol). Our pick includes a German classic, a pale ale from a cutting-edge new brewery and Nanny State from BrewDog.
Big Drop Brewing Co is a brewery that is dedicated to producing exceptional beers that are less than 0.5% ABV beer. There’s a definite market for it (low alcohol beers are some of our best selling ones at Beer Hawk), and they are getting better all the time. This stout, however, marks a new stage in complex, interesting and characterful low alcohol
PROFILE: Founders brewing Co
If there’s someone who doesn’t love at least one of Founders Brewing Co’s beers, we’re yet to find them. Maggie Cubbler visited Grand Rapids, Michigan, to find the secret of its adoration
“You came here on a good day,” Francesca says taking a sip of the 11.2% Backwoods Bastard. “You’re the first person besides the staff to see our new expansion.”
Gesturing to a door at one end of the sleek wooden bar, Francesca’s colleague continues: “This expansion is huge. We used to brew a lot. Now we’re capable of brewing a f*$% tonne.”
“A f*$% tonne?” I laugh. “Must be metric.”
I’m at Founders Brewing Co’s taproom in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There’s a chill outside, suggesting impending snow, which makes its wooden interior feel all-the-more cosy and very, well, Michigan. A Michigan girl myself,
What was your gateway beer?
Beer Writer of the Year Adrian Tierney-Jones writes about the importance of the first beer that opened your eyes
Think about the first time you enjoy a certain beer style that you normally shudder at, a beer that you usually declaim ‘I hate this kind of beer’ with the venom usually reserved for whenever Donald Trump appears on the TV. However, the world has been turned upside down and this beer in your hand is rather delicious and the intricacies and attractions of the style are suddenly totally understandable. Congratulations, you have discovered and enjoyed a gateway beer, a beer that will open up your senses to a whole new journey of beer.
Gateway beers are usually not the most exciting versions of their style and they won’t break new records for flavour and aroma, but they are beers whose character is the olfactory and gustatory equivalent of a large light bulb flashing off and on above your
Christmas beers are more than just modern marketing, dating back at least into the 1600s
The Christmas ale. The jolly, warming, merrymaking Christmas ale. Is that the sound of Silent Night being sung by a choir outside?Or perhaps Christmas beers are just another regular beer with some cinnamon flavouring thrown in as a not-so-subtle marketing ploy, and a vaguely smart pun for a name. Pumpkin ales are divisive, and so can the Christmas ale. But should this seasonal beer also be thrown into Room 101 along with plastic mistletoe and the Furby (sorry, I mean, Hatchimal).
Perhaps first we should look at the ghosts of Christmas past to see what they were drinking… [wavy editing affect here].According to the Oxford Companion to Beer, lambswool was one of the first Christmas ales, a frankly
Diary of a Christmas collaboration
Christmas CRCKR is a new collaboration between Beer Hawk, Fourpure and North Brewing Co. But why are collabs so important for the beer industry? Daniel Neilson finds out on brew day
It’s 10am in Bermondsey, South London, and North Bar and North Brewing Co’s co-director John Gyngell and North Brewing Co’s Head Brewer, Seb Brink, are on their second cup of coffee in the Fourpure taproom. Meanwhile, James Johnson, our snapper, is getting in the way of the brewers mashing in. Bags and bags of malts – Belgian, German and British – are being thrown into the huge stainless steel tun. The grist, as the blend of malts is called, is about to be mashed. Brew day is here.
Beer is an industry that loves a good collaboration. You see it all the time on cans and bottles. This one, Fourpure x North Brewing Co x Beer Hawk, is a first for us. It’s been months in the planning. Recipe
Style guide: Porter
Porter was once the lager of its day, drank by everyone. But then we nearly lost it. Here's the story of its fall and remarkable rise
(Courtesy of the British Library)
We nearly lost porter. The beer that London drank, the beer that inspired Arthur Guinness, the beer that was the first to be mass produced. But we nearly did. Porter, dark and hugely satisfying to lug back on a winter’s night, was as popular by the end of the 18th century as lager is today, yet on September 9, 1940, Whitbread brewed its last one.
Today, browsing Beer Hawk alone, there are more than 20 from across the world. Imperial porters, smoked porters and even a marshmallow porter. Thank the beer gods we still have porter.
5 THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR...
Flavour. The original porters probably tasted smoky and a little sour, but today it is chocolate, coffee and caramel
Best new beers of the week
Amazing new beers from Brewski, the highly-rated Alphabet, BrewDog and some continental beauties
Brewski / 50 States of Freedom / 4%
This Swedish micro brewery has been producing some innovative beers. 50 States of Freedom is a tart, salty, lime bomb that tastes a bit like a fresh margarita. The lime is prevalent on the nose but the tartness is hidden well and nearly imperceptible until it hits your tongue. When it does make it to your mouth, it’s tart enough to make you pull a bit of a face. White lacey head and a straw colour make this appealing and bright beer a perfect drink for a warm summer’s day. Also a great complement to taco night!
Best beers we tried this week
Amazing beers have landed in the warehouse from De Molen, Fyne Ales, Brewski, Oud Beersel and Mondo Brewing. Here are our tasting notes
Mondo Brewing / Global Heresy 2 / 4.8% Mondo is a London brewery who came crashing into the craft beer limelight in 2015 as the best UK up and comer and has lived up to the hype. This collaboration with Heretic Brewery in the US is bottle conditioned and highly carbonated blood orange saison. Black pepper and citrus are the two most notable flavours. As the big fluffy head dissipates the blood orange is more noticeable and the beer has a surprisingly sweet finish for a saison.
Best beers of the week
This week we had a member of our design team, Dan, pick out some of his favourite beers. This week features three different styles from three very different countries
Beer Hawk's Beer Sherpa Patrick Gengler picks out his favourite new beers of the week including Lost & Grounded, De Molen, Founders, Haandbryggeriet and To Øl
In a new video series, our Beer Sherpa, Patrick Gengler, talks us through the best new beers that have hit our warehouse recently
Brewgooder: Drink Beer, Give Water
Brewgooder is a beer label that donates 100% of its profits to clean water projects around the world. We speak to co-founder Alan Mahon about this remarkable story
Where did the idea for a beer that helps with the water crisis come from?
Josh (Co-founder) and I had previously founded and ran two social enterprises before, including a sandwich chain in Scotland called Social Bite which provides food and employment for homeless people. We were obsessed with the idea that you could help people through good businesses and brands which you could also take satisfaction in seeing come to life. This obsession didn’t end at 5pm on a Friday and it’s often something we’d take to the pub. Thinking of all the things I’d want to do it became clear that outside
Guest blog: Magic Rock’s taproom
Following on from last week’s Beer Hawk University: Navigating the taproom, our Beer Sherpa Patrick Gengler visits Magic Rock’s Huddersfield taproom, and with it, gets a little taste from home. Photograph: Sam Needham/Magic Rock
How to feel a bit like an American in England? My wife and I went on an excursion this weekend that was the closest we have felt to being back in the States for some time. We drove down from our home in Harrogate to the Peak District for a hike with the dog, but with the real goal being a visit to Magic Rock Brewing’s taproom. I don’t know if this is how a lot of younger adults in America spent their free weekends but for my friends and I, this is pretty common. We would pick a nice sunny day, jump on our motorbikes and ride two hours to the beach for some Dogfish Head, and growlers to take home with us. On the rainy weekends we would go the other way to Fredrick
This week, we've seen some amazing deliveries to the warehouse, including these delights from Cloudwater, Thornbridge, Buxton, Rooster's and Arbor. Not bad eh?
Thornbridge / Tart / 6% This beer is named after the town that hosts Thornbridge: Bakewell (of the tart’ fame (although in Bakewell NEVER call it a ‘tart’, it’s a ‘pudding’). This pours with a nice frothy head, with a very light blonde straw colour. The aroma is… intriguing, it smells a little sour and fruity. It is clean and crisp with a mild sourness. Mild and very, very drinkable. The perfect beer for sunshine and spring air.
Five best beers this week
Dip into this eclectic global selection from Ireland, United States, Belgium, and Berkshire.
Devil’s Canyon / Full Boar / 7.4%
Darkness, deep, fresh, malty darkness. This beer looks more like a Guinness than a Scotch ale. It is nearly black with a red brown hue when held to the light. Straight away the nose gives off suuuuuuuuper fresh malt. It smells like fresh grain that just went into mash when you are home brewing. There are hints of caramel and dark biscuits. The finish is slightly sweet but dry and short. Seriously stellar beer!
Siren / Alarm Red Chilli Beer / 7.4%
Pours dark brown but looks red, maybe even angry. Straight away on the nose, the beer smells of hot chilli
Five of the Best New Beers This Week
There's an amazing selection this week with fantastic new beers from Arbour, Omnipollo, Roosters, Ticketybrew and Brew By Numbers
Arbour / Oz Bomb 4.7% Australian Pale Ale
We’re excited to have some beers from Bristol-based Arbour. In particular this ‘Australian Pale Ale’, so named for the Aussie hops combination of Galaxy and Vic Secret. The flavour evokes memories of pineapples and starbursts/juicy fruit gum. It pours a frothy off-white head on a cloudy slightly darker than straw coloured liquid. There is a light carbonation and hoppy bitter finish that lingers. There is something in this beer that makes it taste unmistakably like a real ale, which is good because they are our newest addition to the Real Ale range!
Buy this beer here
The Big Picture
The art of the can photographed by Rob Vanderplank
Art matters. Labels matter. For a good century, brewers have understood the benefits of a nice bottle, bottle label and pump clip, often employing world-class illustrators and artists to make them. Just look at the artwork on the old William Younger’s and Guinness labels. Plus, the Bass Red Triangle was, of course, the first registered trademark. Breweries have long understood branding.
Yet in the brave new world of craft beer, the design of bottles, pump clips, and especially cans, can be elevated to something beyond branding. At its best, it’s a canvas for artists, illustrators and designers. Just look at this Unfiltered Lager can from And Union. It’s beautifully simple, yet tactile. We love it (what’s inside
Malt of the Earth
In celebration of BrewDog's stunning Semi-Skimmed Occultist launch, we look at what makes dark beers so complex and delicious
The Maillard reaction is a beautiful thing. A reaction between amino acids (stay with me) and sugars that makes food, and beer, taste amazing. It is, in short, the browned crust on a steak, the golden shine on a brioche and the darkened onions on your hotdog. So what does a chemical reaction, first discovered by French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard in 1912, have to do with this month’s Beer Club focus on the indulgent dark beers we’ve included? Well, pull up a chair and crack open your Semi-Skimmed Occultist.The beer you’re pouring into your glass is dark red with a sumptuous creamy head. The taste? There's a rich hint of chocolate and
Stone's Little Bastard is here
Little Bastard Ale is the younger sibling of Stone's classic Arrogant Bastard Ale, and we've got our hands a few. And, wow, it's good
From the moment you pop open the can, but can instantly recognise the aroma of the Little Bastard from its bigger brother, perhaps a bit less intense due to lower alcohol, but it’s still as arrogant as ever.
The original ale was brought forth in 1997, Arrogant Bastard Ale and, according to Stone: "openly challenged the tyrannical industrial beer overlords who have spent their careers brazenly attempting to keep beer drinkers chained in the shackles of poor taste. Arrogant Brewing exists to fight the darkness, and bring enlightenment."
The younger sibling of the original Arrogant Bastard Ale, Little Bastard Ale, revels in an uncompromising celebration of intensity.Consider this Arrogant Bastard Ales’ almost-identical little brother,
Born To Die 13.05.2017: The Verdict?
BrewDog's Born To Die is back. BrewDog's 'Terminally hopped' beer comes out every few months, and is defined by its drink by date. Here's some opinions from us... and you
Here's what our team thought...
"Oh my. Brewdog's Born To Die is, well, to die for. This sparkling gold beer hits you with gorgeous aromas of grapefruit, citrus fruits and fresh-cut grass. Taking a sip, however, sends you to another world (pretty sure it's heaven.) Complex notes of passionfruit, mango, candied oranges and lemongrass are complemented by a fantastic earthy bitterness with a bit of spice whilst a firm bitterness nicely lingers. A medium-light body and a dry finish give this IPA a very refreshing drinkability that is surprisingly restrained. But those are just words. All you need to know is that this. Beer. Is. Fresh."
Ellie: "Super piney and resiny taste with an almost chlorophyll quality, a bit like cut grass.
How to detect off flavours
While some so-called off-flavours can be appropriate in certain styles others are not and may kill a little bit of your soul. Here's a quick guide to the most common off-flavours
Diacetyl: Appropriate in small amounts in pale ales and stouts, it tastes like butter or butterscotch. It's never any good in most lagers and would be a sign of improper brewing techniques.DMS: Expected in some pale lagers like American lights, Dimethyl Sulphide tastes like cooked corn or tomato sauce. Proper brewing will make sure this compound evaporates out of your beer.Acetaldehyde: Low amounts of this compound are ok in beers like a Biere de Garde but if anything else tastes like green apples or paint then your beer fermented at too high a temperature.Cheese: Very bitter IPAs can have a hint of cheese but beers that taste like stale cheese
The season for saisons
Beer Hawk's Beer Sommelier, Maggie Cubbler delves into the history of the saison
As is widely known, Belgium has a fascinating brewing culture and history. In fact, the stories of everything from Belgian Trappist beers to the Oud Bruins of Flanders will be forever preserved thanks to UNESCO’s recent declaration that Beer Culture in Belgium shall be inscribed on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The deliciously diverse beauty of Belgium’s beer is well deserving of this acknowledgment. One beer style that is a major contributor to Belgian beer lore is the celebrated saison. First brewed in the 1700s on the farms of Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia, this original farmhouse ale was brewed for the seasonal field workers – les saisonniers – who performed manual labour under the hot summer sun. Considering potable water was hard to come by, les saisonniers
Founders KBS 2017: Our verdict
KBS (Kentucky Bourbon Stout) from Founders is one of the most sought after beers in the world… It’s a remarkable barrel-aged stout that always gets 100 on RateBeer, and we’ve managed to get our hands on some. Cue much excitement in Beer Hawk HQ and a scramble to taste 2017’s offering. Here’s what we thought…
Patrick Gengler, Beer Hawk’s Beer SherpaThe coffee aroma is initially pronounced with a vanilla and bourbon smell from the barrel aging process, the aroma finishes with a smooth dark chocolate smell. The flavour feels a bit thinner than last year’s with higher levels of carbonation. It isn’t as coating or thick. The flavour is full despite it being ‘thinner’. There’s certainly large amounts of vanilla in the middle. The finish is long and bitter with a lingering dark chocolate flavour that is complemented
5 great beers of the week: Cloudwater, Mikkeller & Brekeriet
This week we're focusing on fantastic new (ish) beers from Cloudwater, Lost Coast, Howling Hops and Brekeriet
Brekeriet Picnic SourNow we’re talking. The small Swedish brewery Brekeriet, who specialise in wild yeasts and sour beers, have created this puckeringly powerful sour that has a homemade lemonade vibe, or perhaps a cut of scrumpy, it certainly looks like a rustic cider with a pale straw colour like a misty sunrise. It’s remarkable for 2.2% ABV – the yogurty tartness is vibrant, alive and very refreshing.
Buy the beer here
Around the World in 80 Beers: Part 3 - Ireland
We're heading across the Irish Sea this week in a St Patrick's Day special this week on our Phileas Fogg-style balloon journey to explore the best of beer from Ireland new craft beer scene
(Also read an interview with Donal McLynn fropm Ireland Craft Beers here)
The White Hag / Bran & Sceolan / 7.2%
This is an IPA like no other. White Hag have produced a beer that seems rooted in the Irish wilderness – is that a peatiness we sense? The bitterness is balanced brilliantly from the piny and citrusy US hops. Would take a really spicy curry. Wow.
Why Ireland is making such great beer right now
We’re crossing the Irish Sea this month, to try some of the amazing beers coming out of Ireland at the moment. We spoke to Donal McLynn of Ireland Craft Beers for an insight into the country’s brewing scene
How has the Irish beer scene developed over the last few years? The Irish beer scene, like in many parts of Europe and beyond, has exploded in the past three to four years. Where there was only a handful of mirco-breweries five years ago, there are now perhaps close to almost 100 breweries and cider makers operating in the country. The government has been very active with tax incentives and reducing certain regulations to help grow the industry. Also the consumer has fuelled the boom by stepping beyond the generic beer culture which had Ireland in its grip for decades.How is Irish craft beer received in the UK?
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BEERS: PART 2 – Belgium
This week we continue our virtual balloon journey from Germany to Belgium (yes, in the wrong direction!) to explore one of the great beer countries in the world
5 best new beers of the week
This week we've got a stunning red hop ale from Magic Rock, VIPA from Siren and a beer called Pig Smasher from Weird Beard, of course
St Feuillien / Saison / 6.5%For the last couple of years it seemed everyone was making a saison, a Belgian farmhouse ale that is characterised by a ‘funky’ and ‘farmyard’ tastes. There’s a little spiciness from the hops and the yeast character. There are lots of great saisons by other brewers – Brew By Numbers springs to mind – but this from St Feuillien is one of the classics, a benchmark. It has won pretty much every award going. If you want to try a saison, try this one.
Buy it here
Our crystal ball is broken but here are a few of the Beer World trends that we think may gain some steam in 2017. Beer Sommelier Maggie Cubbler shares her insight into the four key trends we expect to see this yearJuicy IPAsHaters of the haze, you’re about to be converted. With intensely juicy flavours, a creamy mouthfeel and refined bitterness, this new wave of IPAs coming out of the States is so exciting you won’t care that it looks like it was dipped out of an old cellar bucket. Breweries like Huddersfield’s Magic Rock are taking note of this so-called East Coast IPA and it is now taking the rest of the world over by a big, delicious, juicy fruity storm. Your move, West Coast. HoneyBreweries like Rogue and Founders are having success incorporating honey into beers like their Honey Kölsch and Honey Gose, respectively. As mead lovers know, honey adds a lot of flavour complexity and a bit more
New in the warehouse this week are these amazing beers. We've a stunning barrel-aged sour from Bruery Terreux, a hop bomb from Ironfire, a ginger and lemon delight from Siren plus one of the most lucious porters we've had for ages.
Franzikaner / Weissbier Alkoholfrei / 0.5%Franziskaner Alcohol-Free is one of the best examples to show that low-alcohol doesn’t mean low-flavour. Indeed, this weissbier won Gold at the 2015 World Beer Awards for an alcohol-free wheat beer. This satisfying beer is full-bodied and really delivers in the flavour department: lovely notes of citrus, banana and spice are unmistakable and a lively carbonation brings it all straight to the forefront.
Around the World in 80 Beers: Part 1 Germany & Austria
The voyage of discovery is why we started Beer Hawk. So as we take off in our balloon Phileas Fogg style and perhaps extend the metaphor a little too far, please join us for a journey around the world, from the farmhouses of Belgium to the mountains of New Zealand and through the cosmopolitan cities of Stockholm, New York and Huddersfield. Many of the beers here are from our newly (and hugely) expanded range that brings rarer beers, seasonal specials and classic and craft beers. So pack your bags, we’re sparking up the balloon (if that’s what you do to a hot air balloon?) and heading to Germany and Austria first.
Erdinger / Dunkel / 5.3%The Erdinger Dunkel Weissbier is yet another finely crafted German wheat beer from Bavaria's Erdinger brewery. As with all of the Erdinger products