Seven of the newest and most interesting brews, according to Black Lodge's Robbi Etherington
The last few years have seen Liverpool flooded – though not literally, however great that would be - with superb craft beers. Gone are the days of drinking warm Carling or watered down Fosters, or even those neat cans of Stella that come in pints. No, today it’s all about subtle flavours and fruit notes; clarity and colour and whatever head retention is. Beer’s gone fancy, and frankly we’re all for it.
Problem is, there being such a proliferation of these great new breweries and brewers means that it’s often hard to find the beer that’s just right for you. Luckily, we’ve got your back: we sat down with Robbi Etherington, ops manager at the Baltic Triangle’s Black Lodge Brewery, to get the low-down on this summer’s best and brightest.
Chapter: 1 As Lazarus
Based out of Frodsham, Chapter Brewing offer something no other brewery does: fictional beer. Every new release is inspired by literature, giving a unique angle to each and imbibing them not only with a great taste, but also with a story. 'Chapter 1. As Lazarus' is an old classic for Chapter – a cloudy, tropical IPA with an ABV of 6.2% and a Biblical origin. As Lazarus is to be re-released just in time for July’s Liverpool Craft Beer Expo.
Chapter x Handyman Brewery: Sour 3
Smithdown Road’s Handyman Brewery may have opened only a year ago, but they’re already making waves on the local brewing scene. This collaboration with Chapter is a 4.2% sour beer with a blackcurrant aroma and flavours of beetroot and hibiscus. According to Etherington, it's "super summer freshness - not for everyone, but I was keen on the contrast between the earthy beetroot and the tartness of the hibiscus."
Neptune x Ladies That Beer: Nāmaka
This wheat beer comes courtesy of a collab between Sefton’s Neptune Brewery and Ladies That Beer, an all-female drinking group that’s run by the wife of Neptune’s owner. More hibiscus here, but this time blended with passion fruit to give a tart, fresh and fruity finish. What's more, it's also now available in 440ml cans, making it the perfect complement to a lazy afternoon in the park. And a night out afterwards. And the next morning.
Gibberish: Custard Cream Citra Pale
Gibberish is a relatively young venture from Gareth Matthews, the founder of Mad Hatter Brewing. They champion quality ingredients, innovation and a dash of the peculiar in their beers, most of which can be tasted at their brewpub down in the Baltic Triangle. Their custard cream citra pale (yeah, we know) is what Etherington calls a "juicy and hazy solid summer session that tastes bigger than it is." Custard creams and beer. You can’t say they don’t experiment.
Wylam x Black Lodge: Northern Powerhouse Collaboration 003
Black Lodge Brewery have only gone from strength to strength in the three years since they opened. This fruit-based beer is one of eight collaborations between Black Lodge and a number of other breweries around the north of England, all to be released later this month. 003 is a mixed-fermentation farmhouse ale made with mango, apricot and peach - and at 7.5% ABV, it's not to be trifled with, either. You’ll be able to try it – and the other collabs – at Black Lodge’s Northern Powerhouse launch event on the 22nd June.
Black Lodge: Mangos to Market
Our second release from Black Lodge is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Mangos to Market is a birthday collaboration with the Baltic Market, available on the 20th June. Says Etherington: "expect massive amounts of mango to level out the insanely low pH level, making for a seriously sessional sour." If nothing else, it should be the perfect antidote to those sweltering late June evenings
Black Lodge: LOA
Finally, we’ve got this double dry hopped IPA, with Azacca and Cascade hops, is both seriously tropical and hard-hitting, thanks to a touch of pine and resin. According to Etherington, the inclusion of lactose - an ingredient used in brewing to add a little extra sweetness and body to a beer - gives it "a mouthfeel like no other." That all may seem complicated as hell, but you’ll get the benefit of it all once it’s there in a glass in front of you. Oh, and find it on cask if you can – you won’t regret it.