This month's is truly a cheeky little case. Trust me, it's cheekier than the cheekiest of Nando's aboard the Banter Bus driven by the Archbishop of Banterbury giving out free refills.
I think what I love so much about Best of British Beer and these cases is that after years in the business is that they still surprise me. Each case offers up it's own little gems and this month is no different.
So here we go!
Salopian Brewery, Bulletproof. 5.8%
I didn't think the first beer out of the box would blow my socks off so much. The clue is in the name - this beer is proper hard! The label doesn't give much away, just the brewery name, the brew name and a BBE date. As soon as the cap came off it was clear this is a bare knuckle IPA.
It pours a beautiful amber colour with a thick, off-white head. The nose leaps out and goes straight up the nostrils with a tropical hit and all the pine freshness of a brand new car air freshener. It's big and rich in the mouth with mango, orange, guava, black pepper, pine, cedar and a particularly bitter finish.
For some this beer may be a bit much, but if you like your beer with a little extra kick then you'll love this.
West Berkshire Brewery, Magg's Magnificent Mild. 3.8%
Often viewed as 'The working man's pint', mild beer seems to have taken a bit of a back seat over the last few years with very few hitting the market. With this as an example, I struggle to see why!
A very translucent brown, this throws out aromas of fresh brewed coffee, toasted oats and caramel. The palate gives you chocolate, more coffee, woody notes and a touch of cooked black fruit. I've never been one for a mild usually - probably because I haven't come across many good ones - but this is easy to drink whilst still retaining a wonderful complexity.
Hop Back Brewery, Entire Stout. 4.5%
I was lucky enough to get a taste of HopBack in my last beer ramblings. Safe to say I liked it! So when I saw this in my case I was naturally very excited.
Pouring a beautiful black with a slightly red hue, the nose kicks off immediately with roasted malt, blackberry and wood smoke. Not as heavy and mouth filling as some stouts, but packed full of flavour.
It leads with more roasted malt giving way to chocolate, coffee and a hefty dose of bitterness on the finish. What's more is this beer has been certified as totally vegan! Yay!
Derventio Brewery, Golden Bitter. 4.2%
This is one of the reasons I love this service. A brewery I've never heard of with a great back story serving up equally great beers.
Founded in Derby in 2005, the Derventio literally translates to 'The Market in the Oaks'. Pale gold in colour, the nose is bright and refreshing with notes of lemon, tangerine, grass and pine.
The palate delivers what the nose promises with lemon rind, orange, white pepper and pine. Light in colour and alcohol but very big on flavour.
Lancaster Brewery, Lancaster Red Ruby Beer. 4.8%
I've been a fan of Lancaster Brewery for a while (though I'm a Yorkshire Tea man through and through) having been acquainted with the red beer a few years ago. So imagine my surprise when it popped out of my beers case!
A gorgeous brick red colour and a creamy head, the nose gives off wonderful red fruit, roasted malt and just a hint of grassiness.
The palate is mouth-coating with lots more roasted malt, more grassy notes, red berry fruit, sweet spice and a dry spice. There's a slight fiery note that leads to a lasting bitter finish.
Hop Studio, Mull. 5.5%
Brewed in collaboration with Dock Street Kitchen in Hull, this is a most unusual brew.
Almost ruby in colour the initial aroma is of sweet spice. More specifically star anise and cinnamon with notes of orange peel and sherbet. Normally I'd associate that with a cloudy wheat beer, but it isn't.
On the palate there's heavily roasted malt, juicy citrus and a slight medicinal note. I can certainly appreciate this as a very well made beer and it's certainly of a very high quality but didn't quite float my boat.
Loddon Brewery, Scramble. 4.4%
This is everything I expect and more from a proper British bitter.
Toasty malts, candied orange and a touch of smokiness are all present and accounted for on the nose. The mouth feel is big and bold with more candied citrus, a hint of tropical, yeasty notes and a superbly long, smooth dry finish make for a wonderful beer.
Old Mill Brewery, Bullion. 4.7%
When one thinks of bullion it invokes images of big bricks of gold all stacked high. Naturally I was expecting a light blonde beer but was rather surprised to find a very dark amber liquid coming from the bottle.
All the hallmarks of a good bitter with citrus, toasted bread and pine needles but with a hint of fresh cut wood. The flavour profile is much the same with lashings of malt and that woody note really shining through. A well thought out and well constructed beer.
Mordue Brewery, Workie Ticket. 4.5%
This beer really got me going. It's not often that I have to drink the whole bottle (I normally do anyway) to analyse every flavour note possible. This isn't due to a lack of flavour but more an abundance of it!
Dark brown in colour, the nose is brooding with toasty malt, red berries, sour cherries, and coffee. The palate is a slightly different story. Much more tropical and very full bodied. It follows up with citrus, more red fruit, burnt toast and just a touch of sweetness. This is a beer of two halves with lots going on in each. Another reason these cases are so much fun!
All these beers are available from the Best Of British Beer website. Can't find it on there? Call and ask for it! They'll do their best to sort you out.