At the beer bloggers conference I had the pleasure of a few Williams Brothers beers that I have not had and probably would not even be able to get in Ireland with the exception of the first one.
Birds and bees is a lovely and refreshing golden ale. A little cascade to provide some citrus bite in the finish. It's no IPA but it's not trying to be. Perfect summer beer.
Any self respecting beer lover from the UK and Ireland will have probably tried Fraoch before. It's a Scottish heather ale brewed without hops and using heather and bog myrtle instead.
Fraoch 22 is the big brother of that beer, brewed to 11% and then aged in Sherry/Whisky casks. There is a strong smokey peated whisky aroma and flavour as you might expect. It was rather sweet but I loved the fact that the finish was slightly sour in the finish. A beautiful beer that I was able to nab a bottle of and share it around the table later that evening.
Nollaig is a Christmas beer, Nollaig of course being the word for Christmas. In Ireland it was be Nolliagh if you are interested. Our languages are very similar. This beer was a real star of the show kind of beer. Perhaps not quite as interesting as Fraoch 22 but infinitely more drinkable. The finish was dry and the sweetness of the spruce came out but rather than being a cloying sweetness, it just seemed to go very well with the beer. This did not feel like a 7% beer, it was dangerously drinkable.
Joker double IPA is worth a mention because it is a gorgeous IPA and would go down very well in the US. I am not entirely sure it has actually been released yet but I could be wrong. It's the basic Joker IPA recipe with more bang for your buck.
Shepherd Neame had a beer I have not seen before. Simply called Canterbury Jack. It shares the typical metallic notes I get with most of their beers and is a bit sameish. I did manage to try a special edition beer though. This one in a proper brown bottle for once. I will write about that another time because I made sure to bring a bottle of it home. Still, Jack is not a bad beer, just a misunderstood rogue of a beer.
These were very interesting. Apart from being bags of hops, these were single hop beers that Marston's brought out. They did not have them all there of course but they brought all the hops they use and everyone could sniff or taste them. They did have the marynka single hop beer with them which was very interesting in that I had not heard of it before. It would be great to get the whole range, I wonder do they do a case with one of each?