The Northern Powerhouse is an annual collaboration among English craft breweries to celebrate ingenuity, unity, and the Northern pride. Wylam handed over the reins to the Leeds-based Northern Monk to lead the class of 2019.
For the 2019 collaboration, Northern Monk teamed up with each of the seven participating breweries to reinterpret seven different classic and modern craft beer styles. The participating breweries include Track Brewing Co. (Manchester), North Brewing Co. (Leeds), Donzoko (Hartlepool), Wylam (Newcastle), Buxton (Buxton), Cloudwater (Manchester), and By the River Brew Co. (Newcastle).
001. Northern Monk x Track “Small IPA” (3.3% ABV)
Northern Monk teams up with the Manchester-based Track Brewing Company for the first and lightest beer in the series. This Small IPA was said to be loaded with Citra, Ahtanum, and Blanc hops.
This beer is being evaluated as a Specialty IPA (21B) (Strength: Session) in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website.
Hazy yellow-orange. Refreshing lychees dominate the nose. Light-bodied. The flavor opens with light bready and malt tones. Some impressions of sourdough, sweet fruit, and fruit jelly are noted. The finish is quite dry.
Small IPA is a very light and refreshing beer as intended by the brewers. The perceived lychee aroma and flavor definitely add character to this beer.
002. Northern Monk x North Brewing “Triple Fruited Gose” (4% ABV)
The second beer is a collaboration between Northern Monk and their Leeds neighbors, North Brewing Co. The Triple Fruited Gose showcases cactus fruit (prickly pear), guava, raspberry, milk sugar, and salt.
This beer is being evaluated as a Fruit Beer (29A) with the Historical Beer: Gose (27A) as the base style in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the BJCP. The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website. Note that the lactose addition is not noticeable.
Under natural light, the Triple Fruited Gose is an opaque orange-yellow beer with a pink hue. The nose is quite complex, teasing with fragrant peach, oolong tea, milk tea, and coastal seaweed-like aromas. On the palate, the beer has flavors of oolong tea, tart peaches and blueberries, guava, and lime pie. Brine flavor is distinct and also lingers in the aftertaste with some fruit tartness.
Impressive. The Triple Fruited Gose is well-balanced and delicious. The fruit flavors are in harmony and keep the tartness at tolerable levels. The brine character is evident, reminding its drinkers that the base style is the gose.
003. Northern Monk x Donzoko “Bavarian Pilsner” (4.7% ABV)
The third collaboration is with the up and coming brewers from Hartlepool, Donzoko. Bavarian Pilsner is a German Pils brewed with Vienna malt and the hop varieties Loral (American) and Hallertau Blanc (German).
This beer is being evaluated as a German Pils (5D) in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the BJCP. The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website. Note that as of this writing, the characteristic ingredients noted for the German Pils include: Continental Pilsner malt, German hop varieties, and German lager yeast. The Loral hop variety may provide a twist to the classic style.
The Bavarian Pilsner pours clear orange-yellow. Haziness in a classic German Pils is a flaw. Light malts, straw broadly compose the nose, with mild hops, lemon, and spice-like notes adding a twist. Crisp and light-bodied. Flavors noted include vanilla, light malts, and hints of pine character. The aftertaste feels dry and leaves mild impressions of sour fruits and sweet malts.
It is what it is– a crisp and refreshing Pils with a fruity character most likely imparted by the American hop used. Very good.
004. Northern Monk x Wylam “Tropical Sour IPA” (6.0% ABV)
The Tropical Sour IPA was kettle-soured overnight and was “whirlpooled” with Mosaic hops. The brewers from Northern Monk and Wylam then added tropical fruit puree and dry-hopped the Tropical Sour IPA with El Dorado and Citra hops.
This beer is being evaluated as a Wild Specialty Beer (28C) with the American IPA (21A) as the base style in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the BJCP. The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website.
Hazy yellow-orange. Assertive aromas of oranges and pomelos surface, supported by some mangoes, dried grass, and lanzones. The sourness is well-integrated and does not overpower. Flavors of unripe mangos, calamansi (Philippine lime), and guavas are also noted in this beer. Medium-bodied. The aftertaste is dry, of slightly sour mangoes and guavas.
Tropical Sour IPA is a delightful beer with the appropriate level of sourness that allows for the other tropical and citrus fruit characters to shine.
005. Northern Monk x Buxton “West Coast IPA” (7.4% ABV)
Northern Monk and Buxton Brewery attempt to recreate one of the most iconic American craft beer styles using, of course, classic American hops.
West Coast IPA pours a dark amber color and is slightly hazy. Its slight haziness suggests that this beer is an unfiltered dry-hopped variant. The nose offers a straightforward profile of orange marmalade, candied oranges, and dried grass. Medium-bodied. Juicy overripe orange flavor meets with the distinct pine bitterness. The perceived pine-like bitterness also surfaces in the aftertaste together with hints of tea and citrus fruits.
West Coast IPA is a straight-up American IPA that showcases classic American hop characters of citrus and pine. Despite the bitterness, this beer still manages to get some juiciness in there. Fantastic.
006. Northern Monk x Cloudwater “Double IPA” (8.2% ABV)
It is no surprise that a hazy Double IPA was the chosen style for this beer with Cloudwater. This beer was brewed using the New Zealand hop variety, Nelson Sauvin backed by the classic Citra hops.
This beer is being evaluated as a Specialty IPA: New England IPA (21B) in the context of the provisional guidelines of the BJCP for the said beer style. The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website.
Hazy yellow. Fresh pineapple juice aromas on the nose with sharp alcohol notes. This “Double IPA” is medium-bodied, moderately-carbonated, and generally has prominent fruit flavors of strawberries, tart raspberries, puckery lime, oranges, and pomegranate. The familiar fruit flavors continue in the aftertaste accentuated by some bitterness.
Nelson Sauvin is known to impart white wine characters to the beer. However, it seems Citra’s citrus characters influenced more the overall profile of this beer. Nonetheless, this collaboration beer with Cloudwater is a very juicy and fruity hazy “Double IPA” with a slight bitterness. While the sharp alcohol notes on the nose can be muted further, the color is truly a sight to behold.
007. Northern Monk x By the River “Imperial Maple Brown” (10% ABV)
The last in the series is the Imperial Maple Brown, a beer brewed with heritage, crystal, and brown roast malts together with rich maple syrup by Northern Monk in collaboration with By the River.
This beer is being evaluated as an Experimental Beer (34C) with the British Brown Ale (13B) as the base style in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website. This beer deviates from the classic guidelines of a British Brown Ale due mainly to the addition of maple syrup and high ABV (10%).
Dark brown with a tan-colored head. The nose opens up with rich delectable chocolates with hazelnuts and vanilla. The flavor seems to be influenced heavily by the malts and maple syrup as flavors of toasted caramel and coco sugar compose the palate. Some medium roast flavors surface to balance the sweetness, while the aftertaste lingers with sugar sweetness and grapes.
Despite the wide range of sugar-derived flavors noted, the beer still tastes very balanced and drinkable. Very good.
While we were not able to get our hands on the 2018 collection, the 2019 Northern Powerhouse set proved to be a very notable and educational release as a whole. All the beers were executed masterfully, but we think the Triple Fruited Gose really stood out in terms of complexity, uniqueness, and palatability while at the same time, still paying tribute to its original style.
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THE NORTHERN POWERHOUSE 2019 🏭 🏭🏭🏭🏭🏭🏭 ⠀ We’re honoured to be the home of this year’s brew series. Community, collaboration and creation are at the core of our business, and the Northern Powerhouse is the perfect demonstration of these values. This year’s collaborating breweries are: @wylam_brewery @trackbrewingco @northbrewco @donzokobeer @buxtonbrewery @cloudwaterbrew @bytheriverbrewco The can artwork has been designed by some of the North’s best tattoo artists. We’re incredibly proud of the series, thank you to everybody that’s helped us bring it to life. Boxes of all seven cans will be available to buy from the webshop on Friday 28th June.
Co-Founder & Beer Chronicler