Susanna Forbes' picks from Craft Beer Rising

Susanna Forbes

Susanna Forbes

02 March 2018

From Craft Beer Rising to a modern creperie, Susanna Forbes crosses continents and cultures as she brings you this week’s picks

8 Wired, Cucumber Hippy, 4%, New Zealand
Berliner Weisse

Great to see the NZ Collective on such good form at Craft Beer Rising. Celebrating its third birthday, there was much to talk about, including the arrival of latest recruit to the fold, Nomad Brewery from Australia – yep, they’ve hopped across the Tasman. For me, 8 Wired’s Cucumber Hippy was the perfect show opener.

Cucumber notes on the nose led by contrast to a sassy palate, where the refreshing green cucumber notes are tempered by light sourness, making for a mouthwatering finish. The carbonation is relatively gentle and the whole experience is serene.

Anything else? Nomad has ex-Birra del Borgo brewer, Brooks Carretto on the mashtuns. We’ll report back once sight – and taste – has been made.; £58/24x44cl cans; £149/30l keg;

Sheppy’s, VAT 07 & VAT 14, Somerset
Cider, cloudy & clear

Somerset-based family cidery Sheppy’s has joined the can brigade with two snappily packaged ciders. Named after the vast vats that have been used for years to mature the ciders, both are crafted with local cider apples, with VAT 07 (4.5%) having a splash of cloudy apple juice thrown in, making it refreshingly light in flavour with hints of Braeburn and Cox.

Meanwhile VAT 14 (5%) is clear, light gold in colour, with rounded, ripe apple flavours plus a slightly higher astringency making it seem a little drier.

Anything else? Paying a visit to the West Country? Imbibe Live regular Sheppy's has converted its old apple bays into its atmospheric Apple Bar Bar & Restaurant.

 £12/12x33cl, 01823 461333,

Brewdog, Native Son, 8.5%, Aberdeenshire
West Coast Double IPA

What a cracker! Not for the faint hearted, you can almost see the tropical fruits in the glass. Head brewer Jason Pond was on hand at CBR to share his latest creation. Six different hops at three stages, no wonder there are layers of zesty, citrus and exotic fruit alongside the dank, pine notes which dominate the finish. Slips down far easier than its 8.5% might suggest.

Anything else? Put in a stemmed glass and match with anything cheese influenced. From Ploughmans to Mac'n'Cheese to full-flavoured soufflé.

£47.67/24x33cl, £130.52/20l keykeg;


Maison Sassy & Cidrerie Nicol, Normandy/Brittany
Poiré, Cidre Bouche

The opening of a sophisticated Breton creperie in the alleyways between Liverpool Street Station and Spitalfields, L’Ami Malo, lets us throw a light on two serious cider houses.

Maison Sassy, based in Normandy, crops up around London, from Milk & Honey to Sexy Fish. Its unashamedly fresh-pear-juice imbued Poiré made from 12 pear varieties has been chosen to match the sweet crêpes. Fellow producer, Cidrerie Nicol has been making cider for 90 years.

Based in Morbihan, south-west Brittany, this award-winning family producer is best known for championing local hero apple, Guillevic. As well as a Cidre Bouché duo, L’Ami Malo has its Guillevic des Druides. A beautiful, Celtic-symbol-adorned bottle, contains a tangy, sparkly character, with good food-matching capabilities. This, says L’Ami Malo co-owner Vincent Couvreur, is ‘the most important aspect. Our cidres Brut match perfectly with meat, fish and cheese, and are a great way to provide a fresh note at the end of the meal.’

Anything else? Morbihan (‘small sea’ in Breton, named after the local geography, leading to the Rhuys peninsula) is home to the ancient Carnac stones which predate Stonehenge.

Maison Sassy: c: £20.40/24x33cl; £24/6x75cl; Enotria, Venus, Bibendum;; Cidrerie Nicol,

Fourpure, Easy Peeler, 4%, London
Citrus Session IPA

Calling all fans of Fourpure’s iconic Juicebox IPA, its little brother has arrived. One of seven beers unveiled at Fourpure’s recent new brewery opening, Easy Peeler's zest remains but the abv and bitterness have been dialled down – but not too much.

Mandarin and tangerine on the nose lead to a light-to-medium palate packed with orange zest and tropical fruit and a balanced bitterness (30 IBUs) on the close. Enlivening.

Anything else? Fourpure has 60 brews on its roster in 2018, including an ambitious, pan-continental collaboration.

POA 24x33cl/12x33cl can; 30l kegs/keykegs020 3744 2141,

Want another swift half? 

Classic IPAs and Japanese lager: Susanna Forbes’ Swift Halves
Susanna Forbes’ cider-tinged swift halves


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