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#Collabfest2016 6: Newcastle, Doghouse, Clerkenwell, Castlegate

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And following an even longer pause...

A quick explanation at this point. They announced the dates for Collabfest2016 shortly after we'd booked a weekend away in Norwich for October 22-23. (Don't look at us like that, it's a fine city, with a terrific BrewDog bar full of excellent helpful staff. More details in a forthcoming BrewDogging blog post, inevitably.)

If you've been reading between the lines, you'll have worked out that our first eight Collabfest2016 beers were drunk in Shepherds Bush on Friday, and the following twelve in Norwich on Saturday. The plan was to mop up the remaining seven in a final sesh at Norwich on Sunday afternoon, before heading back home. Unfortunately, we were unaware of Norwich's strategy for spreading the Collabfest beers across their limited number of taps, which was this: half of them on sale Friday, the other half on Saturday and Sunday. If we'd wanted to drink those seven beers in Norwich, we needed to have drunk them on Friday (or wait throughout Sunday on the offchance that one of them would come on again when one of the Saturday beers ran out).

So, the day after Collabfest technically finished, we're back in Shepherds Bush digging through their dregs to see if they can help us finish this thing off once and for all. Except they can't. The collabs from Aberdeen, Brighton and Leeds are all gone. (Leeds - the spectacularly-named I'm A Lumberjack (And I'm Oak-Aged) - is a particularly sad omission, as it was on at Norwich but they couldn't get it to pour properly.)

So (with thanks to the Shepherds Bush and Norwich bars for at least getting us this far), here are beers 21-24, and if 25-27 ever appear out in the wild we'll let you know...

u) Almasty Brewing Co / BrewDog Newcastle: Morning Wood (brown ale brewed with Modern Times barrel-aged coffee, 6%). A brown ale from the spiritual home of the style. Lots of coffee with a fair bit of evidence of the barrel aging: not so much of what I'd consider to be 'brown' flavour, at least in the early stages. Once it's warmed up, it feels a bit more like a brown ale, getting more brownilicious as it goes on.

v) Fyne Ales / DogHouse Merchant City: Heather Lochbeer (smoked pink peppercorn and heather infused wit beer, 5.5%). It's all there from mouthful one - the heather, the pepper, the wit - and all the twists are nicely balanced (the heather's not so overpowering as to feel odd) with a hoppy bitterness coming in at the end. Thankfully, it's not just a silly name.

w) Affinity Brewing Co w/ Elusive Brew Co / BrewDog Clerkenwell: Brimful Of Masha (coffee and maple American red ale, 7.2%). Looks like a glass of mud initially, very murky. More maple sweetness on the nose and palate, very little coffee coming through at all. Plenty of maple, though, and drinkable enough. Though as with any red ale we drink, the phrase 'it's no 5am Saint' pops up in the conversation eventually.

x) Stewart Brewing / BrewDog Castlegate: They're Coming To Get Rhu Barbra (sour pale ale with rhubarb, 4.5%). One more crappy pun to finish up on. I'm getting 100% rhubarb and 0% sourness (which suits me, frankly), but The BBG disagrees, claiming it doesn't really say 'rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb' to her. That might be a good thing, though. Eventually she says there's more rhubarb coming through, but it's a bit generically sour rather than actually rhubarby.

Best in show (with the caveat that we haven't tried Aberdeen, Brighton or Leeds):
1. Siren/Shepherds Bush
2. Liverpool Craft Beer/Liverpool
3. Wiper & True/Bristol
4. Cloudwater/Manchester
5. Weird Beard/Shoreditch
(Observation by The BBG: most of our favourites - 1 and 5 excepted - have no particularly odd twists in the recipe, they're just standard styles done really, really well.)
24th Oct 2016, 20:10