Sometimes, a bottle of lager just won’t cut it, so our resident beer guru has handpicked some extra special bottles for those extra special occasions. Expect big and bold flavours, weird and wild styles, and fanciful beers that are beautifully executed.
3 FonteinenPronounced ‘Dry Fon-tay-nan’, this Belgian brewery and blendery produces lambic – beer that has been spontaneously fermented. As well as brewing their own lambic, 3 Fonteinen also use lambic from several other breweries to blend together to create the perfect beers year in, year out. Going since 1887, 3 Fonteinen produces classics which never go out of fashion.
Cuvee Armand & Gaston £14
This Geuze is a blend of one, two, and three year old lambic which have been aged in oak barrels, and the blend is then refermented in bottle. Unlike their house geuze, the Cuvee Armand & Gaston is blended using only lambic produced at 3 Fonteinan’s own brewery. Light and bright lemony tartness, with soft funk, biscuity yeast flavours, and a tight, persistent fizz: this is truly the champagne of beer styles. The funky, bretty flavours will develop with bottle age (if that’s your thing). Pair with salad and seafood, or as an aperitif.
Oude Kriek £14
The lambic beer has been aged on whole schaerbeek cherries for 6-8 months. Drink this young or old: the bottles we have in the shop are quite young, so they still taste of tart, juicy, ripe cherries, with just a touch of marzipan-like flavours from the cherry seed oils. With age, the marzipan will come to the forefront, and it will develop into sour and funky flavours – stick it in the cupboard for a few years if this is more your thang.
Intens Rood £19
This beer is a more ~intense~ version of their kriek: it’s 40% cherry! The extra sugar from the extra fruit has allowed the funky flavours from wild yeast and bacteria to become more dominant: this beer is intensely ‘suck-your-cheeks-in’ tart. Try it with dark chocolate.
FantomeFantome is a quirky little brewery from Belgium and they specialize in Saison styles. Their beers range from traditional styles using grains and herbs that hark back to early farmhouse beers, to the experimental and quite frankly bonkers use of unusual ingredients: like a luminescent nuclear-green beer made with chlorophyll! All of their beers use their house saison yeast, which produces beer with moreish and complex earthy and herbal flavours.
Straight West Ghosting £16
This is a rare collaboration brew with American brewery Polymath. Brewed with kafir lime leaf and citra hops, this saison is citrussy and aromatic, with pithe-like bitterness.
It’s a dandelion saison! ‘Pissenlit’ is the French word for dandelion (also literally means ‘wet the bed’). It’s got strong aromas of sweet hay, with a complex musty and spicy yeast character.
Burning SkyBased in an old farmhouse in the South Downs, Burning Sky are a British take on age-old Belgian Brewing tradition. They have one of the UK’s few Coolships and an extensive barrel programme, making their wild, mixed-ferm, and barrel-aged beers some of the most exciting bottles coming out of the UK.
Imperial Stout £17
This big fat stout has been aged for 18 months in red wine barrels. Luxurious malty notes of rich chocolate are combined with a complex fruitiness and spice from the barrels. Decadent. Pair with a cheeseboard, or with rich desserts like sticky-toffee-pud.
Saison Provision £16
Fermented in oak foudres with saison yeast and then with a blend of Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces. The result is tart, crisp, slightly sour and incredibly refreshing. Enjoy with light meals like salad and simple seafood.
Saison De Fete £17
This beer is light, tart and crisp, with a tight bubbly texture and a subtle spicy character from hops, spices, and spelt. Fermented with their unique mixed fermentation culture and aged in wine barrels for a year.
LoverbeerThis tiny brewery in the beautiful Italian Roero hills brews extraordinary beers inspired by old Trappist brewing traditions, and by the local food, cooking and ingredients. Many of their beers are highly experimental – the brewers research long-gone Belgian styles and try to authentically recreate them, with an Italian twist.
This is an Amber Ale which has undergone mixed fermentation before spending 4-6 months in oak barrels, and is then refermented in bottle. Intensely sour, with woody notes of Brettanomyces yeast and sour cherry.
Inspired by Belgian DruivenBier (grape lambic), Duvabeer is a beer made with local grape juice and fermented using only the yeast naturally present on grape skins. Big acetic-sour notes and sharp raspberry flavours, but with sweetness from the grapes – if you like Flanders Red, give this one a try!
YonderA modern farmhouse brewery and blendery based in Somerset. Their craft begins before brewing starts: many of their ingredients are foraged locally by the brewers themselves. Low-intervention and mixed fermentation brewing place emphasis on their wild and natural ingredients.
Saison Fourage Magnolia £15
The magnolia flowers were hand foraged during lockdown before being added to a mixed-ferm saison. Lightly sour, with typical herbal saison yeast notes adding to the sweet florality of the magnolia.
Loop Perry Pear & Juniper Berries £17
Loop is a never-ending series of tart wheat beers – the yeast for the last brew is re-used for the next beer (think of it like sourdough bread). One for perry lovers, this Loop is fermented in oak casks with Perry pear juice from Burrow Hill Cider Farm, and juniper berries foraged while the brewers were in the Scottish Highlands.
Fig. 2 £9
This thick and decadent imperial stout was brewed with hand foraged fig leaf, cinnamon and vanilla. Like a cake in a bottle.
The Wild Beer Co.As the name suggests, Wild Beer are a brewery focussed on wild fermented and barrel aged beer. They have over 600 barrels in their Somerset cellar, including wine, whisky, rum, tequila, sherry, cider and brandy barrels.
Beyond Modus VI £18
The Beyond Modus beers are a series of beers that are double barrel aged. The original beer, Modus Operandi, is a wild soured English Old Ale barrel aged in bourbon and red wine barrels. Every year Wild Brew blend different vintages of Modus Operandi and re-barrel it for extra intensity. The resulting beer has intense notes of sour red fruit acidity, softened by honeyed barrel and malt flavours. Pair with roast beef (and chuck a bit of the beer in the gravy too!)
This is a Pinot Noir barrel aged version of their imperial stout, Wildebeest. The two years in barrel have added complex red fruit acidity and soft tannins to this sweet and chocolatey dark beer.
Farmhouse Beer Styles‘Farmhouse’ is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of styles, the most famous of which are saison, grisette, and bier de garde. These beers have their roots in the ancient European tradition of farmers producing beer for themselves and their workers. These beers were highly individual to the area, and even specific to each farm: the malt, herbs and other ingredients used for the beer were often from whichever crops the farm was producing, and the many indigenous yeasts produced many different flavours. Today, the beer style is just as varied as it’s historical counterpart – they can range from light and dry, to sour and funky, and often use unusual malts and other flavourings.
Brew By Numbers – Farmhouse Bacchus Blonde Ale £12.50
Brew By Numbers (BBNo) are a London based brewery well known for their delicious pales and IPAs, and they also produce some excellent wild and barrel aged beer. This Farmhouse is inspired by English Wine – Bacchus is a grape often grown in the UK and it produces tropical-tasting white wine. The beer was fermented with saison yeast, grapefruit zest and tropical tasting hops before being bretted and aged in wine barrels. It’s gently tart, full bodied and full of fruity notes.
Against The Grain – Fruitus The Farmer Beescake £18
American brewery, Against The Grain, is all about fun experimentation and looking at beer differently. This beer is part of their ‘All Funked Up’ series of sour wild ales. It’s a bretted – melon and honey – wine barrel aged – spelt saison (a bit of a mouthful!) The spelt and saison yeast add subtle spicy notes while the honey and melons (honeydew and cantaloupe) add fresh and fruity sweetness. Pair with Moroccan food.
Trappist Beer StylesTo be called a Trappist Beer, it just has to be made by Monks – there’s a long tradition in Europe of monasteries brewing and selling their beer to help fund the running of their religious establishments. Technically, Trappist breweries could make any style of beer and call it a Trappist beer (Trappist peanut butter imperial stout anyone?), but these monks tend to produce classic styles from Belgian brewing tradition: Enkel (it means single), Dubbel, Tripel, and Quadrupel. As the names suggest, these styles of beer are named for their alcohol content – Enkels are light, dry and pale; Dubbels are relatively strong, usually amber with a bit of sweetness; Tripels are very strong, sweet and are often pale; and Quads are incredibly strong, sweet dark beer. Today, there are fourteen Trappist breweries producing beer (mostly in Belgium), and there are many, many secular breweries producing Trappist-style beer (usually called Abbaye beer). We’ve got quite a few Trappist and Abbaye beers in the shop – but here’s a few of our favourites!
La Trappe Quadrupel Barrel Aged £22
Made by the monks at Koningshoeven monastery in Holland – they’re one of the very few Trappist breweries outside of Belgium. Each batch of dark, sweet, delicious beer is different: our batch (34) has been barrel aged in new oak, toasted oak, well toasted acacia, and in ex-malbec barrels. This beer is full of lovely vanilla and spice notes, and has a rich blackberry fruitiness from the wine barrels. Comes in a fancy box too!
Straffe Hendrik Tripel £11 and Quadrupel £13
This Bruges based brewery makes gorgeous Abbaye beer. The Tripel is pale with notes of crystalized ginger, coriander and pepper, with lovely herbal notes coming from the hops. The Quad is an intense and sophisticated dark beer: it tastes like roasted chestnuts, sweet medjool dates, and star anise.
Brasserie De La Taupe Brewer’s Desire £13
A collaboration brew between Brewery John Martin and Timmermans, and it tastes like the love child of a Trappist beer and a lambic. It’s light amber, malty, with notes of raisin, whisky, and woody brett, but with a dry and tart finish that feels gueze-like.
Het Anker Gouden Carolus Whisky Infused £19
Het Anker have taken one of their signature brews, Gouden Carolus Imperial Dark (it’s a Quadrupel), and infused it with single malt whisky. The result is a rich dark beer with notes of vanilla, peat, oak and chocolate.