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Festive Big Bottle Beer Guide

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Festive Big Bottle Beer Guide

Nothing says Christmas more than a big beautiful bottle of beer to share round the table, or tree! Whether it's with your mince pie, turkey roast or that game of charades. We've pulled together a few of our recent favourites from a special Belgian oude gueuze (this year's HORAL Mega Blend) or a magnum of Chouffe to a festive pudding stout (Intrepid from the Peak District) and more. Dig out your box of soft-centre chocolates and have a read through for crimbo beer ideas! You have eight sleeps.....GO

Click HERE for that hit of the good stuff...



Weird Beard x Northern Monk - Habitual Offender 11.6%


Collaboration barley wine with sweet flavours of cherry drops and cake icing with a brandy nose and stone fruit richness. Ideal with marzipan rich stollen



Torrside Brewing - Monsters Series, BA Rauchwine 11.0%


Torrside's Monster Series have been gaining great support from beer consumers and this smoked barleywine is a parti-gyle of Hopfenrauch aged for 6 months in whisky casks. Rich sweetness, meets smoke and great with a rich cheeseboard, especially strong blue cheese! Absolutely bangin' value too at £9.60 for 750mls!




Cloudwater x Jester King:
Spirit Animal Loquart Elderflower

I would have included more Cloudwater big bottles in this list but all of the imperial stout went in 24 hours! However, when thinking about a beer that would pair with a wide range of flavours on your festive table, actually this elderflower saison is bang on the money. Delicate, floral, dry, refreshing, thirst quenching. A great to wash really rich foods along and re-set the palette. Plus it's a Jester King collaboration! A highly rated US farmhouse inspired brewery who know their way around this style. £11.00, 750ml. 

Shop  here


Brew By Numbers' Biere De Garde 18/08 pairs along similar lines to the Cloudwater saison but if you're not a fan of floral elderflower notes yet still want that thirst quenching hit; this would be the beer for you.


Mezcal, Gin, Whisky, Bourbon....Keep Your Spirits Up

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I've always been intrigued by spirits and often leaned towards a little night cap after the odd beer or two on a night out. To be honest you can't go wrong with a 'Boiler Maker' cocktail which is pretty much just a beer and whisk(e)y shot on the side - it's my favourite kind of cocktail! No waiting and a big enjoyable double hit of the undiluted good stuff in its purest form. Perfect after a long, hard day at work.

Mezcal, the distilled alcoholic spirit made from the agave plant native to Mexico, is a new found fascination. It's often produced in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, though can be produced in six other states too. There are several different types of agave used in its production (except the Blue Webber agave variety which is used for tequila). Tequila is really a sub-style of Mezcal, much like a regional produced drink such as Champagne or Cognac. The agaves are cooked over wood in big dug out pits wrapped up in agave leaves. Here you begin to have sugars caramelised and a delicious smoky flavour develops. This Serious Eats guide is pretty good for an overview (I always like a good Serious Eats peruse!). All our mezcals are 100% agave. 


Montelobos: 70cl 43.2%

Using 100% organic certified Agave Espadin, this William Grant and Sons entry to the market delivers a smoky experience and sweet roasted Agave licks all at a reasonable pricing for the category. It often takes the agave plant ten years to reach the maturity required before harvesting!

Ilegal Mezcal: Joven 50cl 40%

Ilegal Mezcal started in around 2006 by John Rexer owner of Cafe No Se in Antigua, Guatemala (a dive bar with its own secret mezcal room) and has a stranger than reality story behind it! The name hints at its early trade beginnings lets say... This joven, or young, mezcal has the Espadin agave flavour at the fore with hints of pepper and apple.

Try making one of their signature cocktails at home - La Paloma.

Ingredients: 2oz Ilegal Joven, 0.5oz Lime Juice, 2oz Grapefruit Juice, Top with Club Soda
Prep: Salt rim of Collins glass, add ice, pour ingredients in order as above.

Part of me wonders whether you could top with a tasty grapefruit IPA instead of club soda in the La Paloma? Looking forward to trying a few ideas in in 2017!

Del Maguey: Vida 70cl 

Del Maguey Single Village Mezcals are widely renowned and respected internationally. Mezcal is mostly distilled in the Oaxaca region of Mexico and to often strict adherence to 500 year old tradition using maguey (agave) hearts and 10% pure water in the fermentation process. Village distillers run for generation in the same families (of the indigenous Indian population of Mexico) and have kept the processes alive. Vida is a quality single village mezcal at an entry-level pricing. With hints of honey, vanilla and roast agave on the nose, this finishes with fruity and sandalwood combinations on the palate. Ron Cooper founded the company in 1995 and is often cited as revitalising the global interest in mezcal. Watch their slideshow on the process HERE

Ken Price's artwork adorn's the green bottles, making Del Maguey eye-catching and unique. 

It's difficult as a newbie to whisk(e)y and bourbon to know where to start!!?! But it's an area I'm endeavouring to learn more about (Jules). I recently watched this BBC documentary and it wholly inspired me on the whisky journey. As we've started with a small select range, we decided to travel the World and picked out Teeling from Ireland, Mitcher's US straight rye whiskey, Benromach organic whisky and Sheep Dip Scotish whiskys and of course we had to go with the superb Blanton's single-barrel bourbon. We will be rotating this range as new discoveries come along. 

Gin is having such a boom and resurgence at the moment, much like craft beer and it's exciting to see all the independent distillers and producers popping up over the UK. Our range will be constantly evolving here, but we will always try to stock a good choice at anyone time. Not only do we stock local gins such as Sheffield Dry Gin (and soon to be added Sir Robin of Locksley), but we've looked across the country for interesting ingredient led varieties. Macclesfield based Forest Gin comes in a beautiful Staffordshire made ceramic bottle and the family use locally foraged ingredients such as wild bilberries and Peak District moss to make this award-winning gin. 

Head to our online shop to discover more... HERE

Steve Peat Interview Ahead of Peaty's Steel City Downhill

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Photo: Silent Will

Photo: Silent Will

That time rolls round once again for over 3,000 people to head up to Grenoside Woods, and no it's not some unofficial rave action, well not this time anyway, but the seventh Peaty's Steel City Downhill (SCDH). With world champion mountain biker Steve Peat at the helm, this local competition has grown year on year to become one of the biggest mountain biking events in the UK calendar. A huge well done to Peat and the team who organise this race; raising much needed money to invest back into Sheffield trail building and maintenance in the woods. What we love about the event at Hop Hideout is the family feel and inclusive nature of the event (and epic track!). It was inspiring to see little rippers, men and women all heading down the challenging course last year. In 2016 we sponsored the Men's Veteran race, this year we'll be sponsoring the Senior Ladies, that beer love needs to be spread around.

Steve Peat took some time out to answer a few questions for our blog ahead of this year's action; have a read and we'll see you up in the woods Saturday May 20th! 


Was there an inspiring moment that made you set up SCDH back in 2011? 

Yes, it was a bashing of heads together and a decision to bring some good old fashioned MTB fun racing to the great city.

How has the event grown and changed over the last seven years? 

It has grown massively, the entries alone are now a big headache for us as we get over-subscribed by hundreds, and controlling the parking and spectators is a rather large task these days. It all good though and the day is made by all these people wanting to be a part of our little big race.

What's the most difficult element in organising a downhill event of this scale? 

Preparing for the big day, there is more and more stuff each year to get ready for our one day event, but we have a great core group of four that get the big stuff done and a smaller voluntary group that help with everything closer to the event. It really is a get together of the mountain bike community in the city.


We noticed you were involved in the recent Sheffield city centre downhill event during the Outdoor City weekend. What was it like to race in such a urban environment? 

Yes, the Howard Street Dual Slalom, Nick Hamilton was the main man behind this event and it was awesome fun to race. I  love the dual format for both racing and for spectators, so to be able to bring it into a city centre location was even better. I have raced many urban events over the years and the dual was one of the best.

Do you think urban downhill events in the UK will become more common place, like the Red Bull races in Brazil?  

As the dual format it would be very good, you don’t need a very long course to make an exciting track and something that the racers and fans will both love. It's a great way to get people from city centres to know about what can be achieved on bikes.

What's your favourite downhill route in the UK? And overseas?

Wharncliffe Woods is the best of course!! But I also really like Whistler as an all round destination, it has great tracks, accommodation and bars.


How's life been since retiring from World Cup racing last year? 

As busy as ever……..ha ha, bit strange also, its the fist time in 24 years that I have not had a training goal to get ready for the first big race of the year.

Any major plans ahead you'd like to share? 

Loads, but none I can share………….sorry.


Photo: Silent Will

Photo: Silent Will

Street Art Walk in the Sheffield Antiques Quarter

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The Sheffield Antiques Quarter is a hub for independent & creative businesses & that ethos has attracted many street artists into the area to commit their skills to the walls (or shopfronts or shutters & more). Take a day to wander round your favourite shops, have a bite of food & a beer on the way in-between; we've picked out a few of the artworks to get you started. 

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Rocket01's 'Big Walls' series continues with this beautiful mural entitled 'Visions of the Future' situated opposite the iconic Abbeydale Picture House. 

Just over the road is Pirate Ship which specialises in vintage sportswear, OG streetwear & Graffiti supplies. Their shutter is painted by MistOne, an original Sheffield Graffiti legend. You might need to head down before opening hours to check this one out!

On the side of Pirate Ship you'll find a cheeky Cement Bootz artwork, viewable at any time.

Dotted around the quarter you can find bollards which  artist  Colorarti  has transformed into these friendly creatures. See if you can catch them all... I found this one outside the Picture House Social.  

Find Mila K's substantial sci-fi warrior mural behind The Vaults off Sheldon Road. 

Finish your art trail at Hop Hideout featuring Tom J Newell's artwork on the outside & logo designed by Kev Grey; then call in for a well-earned beer.

Find more art trails here: http://sheffieldantiquesquarter.co.uk/street-art-trail/ 

Golden Pints 2016

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I love the cathartic nature of looking back over 'Your' year, flicking through photos (now a swipe on the smart phone & Google Drive albums) & checking the lists of beers you've sampled (a combination of notebooks, Untappd & smart phone notes). It's a real trip down memory & emotional lane, whether good, bad, indifferent or revelatory. Make the ride & you'll know what I mean...

I've been joining in Golden Pints (started by Andy Mogg & Mark Dredge, if memory serves me right???) since 2012 on my personal blog (I'll be honest, the regularity of posts have sucked over the last two years!). It's at least one blog subject I've wholeheartedly managed to continue to publish. I always start by looking back over the years, then as the months zoom closer to present life, the lens sharpens & I begin the writing process. It's funny how the landscape changes. One 2012 mention for Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer went,

"Honourable mention: Camden Town Brewery‘ Camden Ink’ 4.4 per cent. Highlight drink on a trip to London and a so called quick stop at the Euston Tap pub, the first time I’d heard of Camden Town Brewery and made me endeavour to find out more."

Well fast forward three years & Camden Town was one of the biggest news stories in the UK beer landscape with AB-Inbev's acquisition in December 2015. A big 'Fucking Hell' was heard whispered through the collective hive mind of the indie beer scene. Funnily enough I think it highlights my lack of visiting London regularly back then - as Camden started brewing in late 2010! One thing since that post, which I did promise myself, is that I would do more travelling. I have kept to this (I'm not great at New Year's resolutions usually); though still not as much as I would have liked. But funds & time are my continual enemies upon which I wage a personal battle.  

This Golden Pints has been written from Hop Hideout's highlights; as always we want to thank everyone who has supplied us ace beer & all our fantastic beery fiend customers. 

Drum roll......

  • Best UK Cask Beer – Buxton Brewery x Omnipollo 'Yellow Belly' on cask at Shakespeare's pub, Sheffield, as part of a Buxton Meet the Brewer event for Sheffield Beer Week. As Buxton don't really do cask anymore (or save it for their Taphouse usually, circa 2015ish), this event became a roller-coaster of wonderfulness. Lots of great beery people crammed into the front snug, drinking delicious glasses of this rich, roasted, chocolate impy stout goodness. 
  • Best UK Keg Beer–  Mad Hatter x Hop Hideout x Karkli 'Toncoco Loco' we were hugely proud of this beer & snack collaboration to celebrate our third birthday. Being inspired by multiple tangents including massaman curry to chilli & coconut combos, the Tonka bean became a bit of a revelation idea at the last moment. It was an expression of a beery trio friendship & I loved seeing all the responses from drinkers out in the UK. I wrote about the brew day HERE.  
  • Best UK Bottled Beer – Cloudwater 'DIPA v4/5' for me were a real occasion, you could sense the excitement around this release & I loved the idea of blending & sharing feedback. I know for some it kicked off a huge 'hype' debate but I wasn't on that bandwagon. I thought is was just a brewery using social media & connecting with drinkers. Sharing brewing process & ingredients & open to opinions. It was a real turning point for their double IPA brewing & I've loved every release since. I'm not bothered to get into any minutiae debate over VX is better than VY!
  • Best UK Canned Beer – Alphabet 'Flat White' I know it was a hard slog for Alphabet to commission their new canning line & I somehow think they sometimes get forgotten about a little in the Manchester brewing swell. We had a Meet the Brewer event at the shop & this white coffee stout was one of the favourties of the evening. Love the Hammo artwork too. Honourable metion: NMBCo/ATG 'Smokin' Bees'
  • Best Overseas Bottled Beer – Dugges 'The Orange Haze' IPA We couldn't recommend this beer & brewery enough in 2016. This Swedish outfit have stormed through the year & this orangey deliciousness was a Summer banger. 
  • Best Overseas Canned Beer – Reuben's 'Gose'. An absolute saline sour stunner from Seattle's finest. One of my fav beer & food pairings of 2016 from our BBQ Collective meal. Check the menu HERE
  • Best collaboration brew – Cloudwater & Magic Rock Brewing 'Three's Company'. A beer 'of a moment in time' using JW Lees' yeast & coming into fruition from Manchester Beer Week celebrations. It was a juicy, peachy IPA wonder. Loved the fact it was revisited later in the year with their 'Big Dipper' collab.  
  • Best Overall Beer – Cloudwater & Magic Rock Brewing 'Three's Company'. You can't deny that both breweries have been on top form in 2016. 
  • Best Branding – Beerbliotek. This Swedish brewery pull together colour wheels & typography on cans. Eye-catching & appealing. 
  • Best UK Brewery – Northern Monk Brew Co have been on fast-forward this year with big-hitting releases like Double Heathen, Mango Lassi & more. Working with a who's who of international breweries & finally announcing Hop City festival for 2017!!! *high fives*
  • Best Overseas Brewery – To Ol with their damn fine looking cans, opening brewery/bar/restaurant Brus in Copenhagen & amazing Christmas beers which made my year (Jule Maelk Imperial milk stout anyone?). Honourable mention: Cascade Brewing - Art is a pioneering legend. 
  • Best New Brewery Opening 2016 – Elusive Brewing, Andy Parker is an inspiring, lovely beery fellow & his launch of Elusive has been wonderful to follow from pen to paper to bricks & mortar. 
  • Pub/Bar of the Year –  Craft & Draft, Amsterdam. As Will's sister lives out in Amsterdam, the city is starting to become a second home for us. Craft & Draft is a little out of Dam's centre & has a warm neighbourhood vibe about the place. Friendly staff, lots of beer taps for choice & a little bottle shop to the front. On our return this year was new outside seating, which was a welcome addition. We also bumped into team Omnipollo at the bar after Borefts festival missions. 
  • Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2016 - Himmeriget, Copenhagen. This opened with little fanfare it seemed & no signage back in May when we visited. An amazing beer list both draught & bottled with Cantillon on the taps, Funky Buddha & Pipeworks cans. (We think there's an Evil Twin connection). 
  • Beer Festival of the Year – Mikkeller Beer Celebration is still the one for us. Nothing as yet has beaten the atmosphere & beer list. 
  • Independent Retailer of the Year – Tall Boys, Leeds. Nice peeps who love beer & a good time. It's great when you walk into a beer shop & you can find yourself talking about art, music & have a laugh too. They even launched our NMBCo x Tom J Newell 'Watermelon Crush' collab during Leeds Beer Week. 
  • Online Retailer of the Year – Beer Gonzo. We're in awe of their beer list. I've been tempted so many times to purchase, only reason I haven't is I just don't buy that much beer online surprisingly as I have lots at home. I hear they're opening a tap room & lambic bar too.  
  • Best Beer Book or Magazine – Pallet Magazine,  impressively put together quartely magazine publication with high print values & great quality writing on interesting topics. I want to own EVERY edition of this, it's the same reasons I searched out copies of Wax Poetics back in the day. 
  • Best Beer Blog or Website – Draft Magazine, as it seems to be the only website I read every week. They have the click title temptation down to a winning formula. And it's always worth the read. 
  • Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer – @boakandbailey It's thanks in a big way to them I have a great reading round-up each month. (I never did submit that pub gem photo!)
  • Best Brewery Website/Social media – Cloudwater. From their appealing photos that ooze stories on Instagram combined with personal dialogue to their heartfelt & honest blogs. 

Cheers to beer!


Festive Gift Guide Ho-Ho Hop Hideout

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As December first rears its head, we thought we'd help you out with a little round up a la Ho-Ho Hop Hideout's beery Christmas gift guide. Christmas jumpers at the ready, barleywine on the side....

Now becoming a firm Christmas favourite here at Hop Hideout is Wiper & True's Plum Pudding Porter. An all round festive staple. Perfect on its own as a stocking filler, or buy a few to accompany in a gift box. Who doesn't like a bit of rich fruity dark beer sipping alongside a warm fire. 

There's a limited run of our Northern Monk Brew Co x Tom J Newell Watermelon Crush Tees available in store. Even if you didn't get to try the beer (tart, earthy watermelon, pucker-tastic) Tom's artwork is seriously good. 

For those awkward people, who know exactly what they like or prefer to choose the beer themselves - go for a gift card. You can start from as little as £5.00. Inside the card our message reads 'Good people deserve good beer vouchers'. Awwwwww. 

This newly published home brew book focuses on equipment, set up, brewing process and provides 50 recipes from the hot list of global breweries from The Kernel to Omnipollo, Mikkeller & more. Beautifully printed & great photography inside the pages. We get a little mention in the book too at the back! (We provided the Omnipollo beer for the photo shoot). 

If beer & food is more of your thing try this book from Julia Herz (US Brewers Association) & Gwen Conley. It manages to partner technical information with food & beer pairing menu building suggestions in a really informative way. 

Call in to Hop Hideout to talk to us if you're not sure, we're always happy to suggest present ideas. 

Why not have a beer at the same time *wink wink*

Beery Beertography Birthday Photos

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Thanks to @beer_farts for making us smile everyday during our third birthday week on his #Instagram. We wanted to celebrate this beer community that we feel a part of & with that in mind commissioned this wonderful series of photos. 

The first post featured friends #ElusiveBrewing &#CheshireBrewhouse with our Thai Yum Wit collab. Hurrah! #beertography #lego#beerybirthday #beercommunity#craftbeer #beer 
#goodbeer   #goodfriends#goodtimes

Day two of @beer_farts #beerybirthday series & it was one of Will's favourites, Omnipollo - Noa BA. We managed to source a keg of the delicious impy stout Noa for our birthday weekend; that didn't last long!

Day three and it was a New World as we woke up to news of the new US president... we didn't know whether to laugh or cry @beer_farts #beerybirthday post.

One thing we do know, life is better with good friends around. Northern Monk Brew Co started around the same time as Hop Hideout, cuckoo brewing initially & we hosted one of their first meet the brewer events in Jan 2014. Fellow beer community souls. It's been ace to watch them grow & we were chuffed to be able to brew a collab back in August a watermelon Berliner weiss called Watermelon Crush too.

Day four & it was one of Jules' favourites (she discovered this US beer at Copenhagen Beer Celebration). Wicked Weed - Serentiy, a divine 100% Brett barrel aged farmhouse ale. 

Day five was our birthday launch - Friday 11th Nov & the final @Beer_Farts photo featured friends Mad Hatter Brewing with their classic pale Penny Lane. 

Hop Hideout City Guide: Copenhagen

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Copenhagen Beer Celebration.....now Mikkeller Beer Celebration in 2017!

Copenhagen Beer Celebration.....now Mikkeller Beer Celebration in 2017!

The Danish city had been a bit of a pilgrimage for the last three years for me and Will each May. Mikkeller's Copenhagen Beer Celebration has grown from its initial entity in 2012 in a sports hall just north of the city with roughly 500 people each session to 2016's 1k capacity in its central meat packing district space. If you wanted to get tickets previously you had to sit studiously at your computer waiting for that second they went online, then a quick burst of button tapping, and fingers crossed, you'd snagged some. This year was the first time, in the bigger venue, tickets were available for a number of weeks. The beer celebration itself brings together a list of breweries from across the world all connected by an affinity with Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. It's a festival where breweries bring their big guns out, often supplying one off or limited barrel aged beauties. If you want to try that Cigar City Hunaphu stout or 3 Floyd's Dark Lord, well, you better book those plane tickets now hey!

Here's our city guide to the spots to hit whilst you're there, enjoy, oh and make sure you've plenty of holiday money!


The original Mikkeller bar in the central area of Copenhagen with 20 taps and outside seating to the front. During Copenhagen Beer Celebration this is definitely THE bar to meet people and often hosts a street party on the final Sunday of the Copenhagen Beer Week. Last time I was in one of the Surly guys let me try his beer before I made my purchase - its that kinda friendly place!

Mikkeller & Friends

The neighbourhood Mikkeller bar spot in Norrebro; friendly and laidback. Enter the bar by its corner door as the steps lead you down, opening to a wood and light palette coloured room. 40 taps spread across the main bar in the middle of the room, which reaches out either side. Their specialist bottle shop used to be adjoining but now you find their Belgian inspired sour wunderkind Koelschip. 


A dimly lit bar full of Belgian breweriana sets the tone for this Belgian penned love letter to all things sour. I lost an afternoon in this place. Take a book and indulge your YOU time.   

Ramen to Biru

With multiple branches newly opened in 2016 Ramen is Mikkeller's ode to Japanese ramen noodles. No reservations needed, just rock up and order your ramen. I'd go extra egg....always. Oh and there's good beer on tap and in vending machines to wash down the hot noodles. 


BBQ and beer collaboration between 3 Floyds Brewery and Mikkeller combining Texas inspired meat platters alongside Warpigs inventive beers brewed on site. Make sure you add burnt ends to your meaty selection and a big glass of double IPA, why not hey, you're on holiday. 


Mikkel's previous science students have done alright for themselves! Brus opened its doors in 2016 right during the beer celebration and it was a stunning conversion. The building houses a deli shop, beer shop, bar, restaurant and brewery space. So essentially everything you could ever want or need. This place has set the bar high and they'll no doubt be ones to watch globally in terms of their beery influence. 


Our favourite late night (and all day!) hang out is this underground boozer. A definite parteeee bar with an outstanding beer selection of Danish brews plus US heavies like Hoppin' Frog. Just down the road from the meat packing district and on the way to Kihoskh. Try Dry & Bitter beers - they're closely associated to Fermentoren. 

18th Street finds in Kihoskh

18th Street finds in Kihoskh


The perfect corner store offering bread, the hippest magazines and fridges of the best beers you've ever seen. Brewers seem to ensure a drop off of their wares during the Copenhagen Beer Week, so it's worth popping in each day to check the newest additions. Ask at the counter to check out the beer cellar......they'll let you leave your bag whilst you head down to view the extra stocked beers downstairs. 

Black Swan

A most pleasurable find tucked away at the edge of the historical navy quarter of Nyboder. One of the most recognisable bar like venues we visited with a rock'n'roll leaning. There was a picture of Patti Smith on the ladies and Lemmy on the men's. Friendly bar staff and relaxed vibe with a interesting selection of European beers on draught including a number we hadn't spotted in other bars. 


A crazy number of taps +60 featured at this central industrial beer bar. We visited on our first CBC trip in 2013 when it was pretty much brand spanking new and a bit of an oddity for the area its in. An overwhelming choice and array of beers, though the interior is a little sparse!

Orsted Olbar

A friendly neighbourhood beer bar by the river. Focus on Scandi beers, look out for Amager Bryghus beers here. A beautiful sculptured wooden bar and comfy little nooks to sit in and enjoy your beery purchase. 


Just around the corner from Mikkeller, Viktoriagade. A specialist beer shop and tasting room that's been around for a number of years, let's say pre-Mikkeller. The former owner was Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso (Mikkel's brother). Moving swiftly on! Here you'll find lots of Scandanavian beers and rarities plus if you time it right, the elusive Cantillon beers. 



This unassuming bar just opened whilst we visited, no sign out front, muted grey colours, concrete floors and a high class draught and bottled beer selection. We tried Pipeworks' Ninja v Unicorn cans, Cantillon on draught and big Evil Twn beers (think Jeppe is a partner in this operation). I even spotted Ron Extract of Jester King (though recently announced Ron is leaving JK, he still remains a shareholder) buying one of his own bottles (and Cantillon) to sample during his visit. 


A central food hall housing lots of independent food and drink outlets, where you can sit and consume those delicious purchases. Mikkeller have moved their bottle shop into a unit here (from Mikkeller & Friends) and throughout Copenhagen Beer Week follow their social media to find out what daily US rarities are available in store - Dark Lord anyone....?

Copenhagen Street Food (Food Hall)

Out towards the east of the city near Christiania is Paper Island. A waterside warehouse filled with street food trucks and drinks vendors. Grab a Brazialian grilled meat platter, add Belgian style double cooked frites, and finish off with a classic Danish open sandwich (Smørrebrød) to sample the local cuisine too. 


*TIP* You can pretty much find your beery hit list over at RATEBEER places. 

A few tasties we brought back home

A few tasties we brought back home

Hop Hideout City Guide: Amsterdam

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Amsterdam is a capital city of many wonders; cheese, weed, late night clubbing, picturesque canals, classic brown cafes, windmills, darts and of course beer, more than just your Heineken and Amstel too. I've been going to Amsterdam since the mid-90s, it used to be a yearly trip around Queen/King's Day, the national royal holiday (Koninginnedag in Dutch), where basically everyone transcends on the Dam to party, with sound systems out on the streets and all sorts going on. Then again in July for the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, always ensuring a stop over in the capital. But it's been three years since our last visit and there's been an explosion in Dutch breweries and beer bars since then. Here's our guide to a few beery spots to hit if you're visiting anytime soon:

Brouwerij T'ij

You'll spot the windmill a mile off, helps greatly when you're out of the city centre and everything looks very similar! Those repeating rows of classic Dutch canal houses. Brouwerij T'ij (pronounced eye) produces a range of quality, flavoursome beers and this tap room boasts a beautiful outside terrace area to enjoy them in.

The Beer Temple

An American inspired craft beer bar not far from Central station. An impressive tap list with a meat and cheese board offering to accompany those big US IPAs. (I managed to find and drink the Belgian lambic on tap though!). 


Craft & Draft

Owned by the same person as The Beer Temple and Arendsnest, Craft & Draft opened in 2014, in a neighbourhood spot near Vondel park. Over 30 taps, plus a mini bottle shop situated in the venue's entrance. This was one of the friendliest bars we visited on our trip and we visited a number of times, as we loved the atmosphere. The bar manager was welcoming, informative and helpful in letting you sample before buying. If you time it right, there's a mid-week free tasting session showcasing a particular brewery each time. 

The Beer Tree

A neighbourhood beer shop with a US and Dutch focus plus beer on tap for growler fills. Not far from Craft & Draft and worth a visit if you're in the area. 


I was smitten by the beer choice in this classic Dutch venue, with its long, thin, brown bar as it's the only place I found with a dedicated Dutch focus on the taps. Over 30 taps, plus a detailed bottled menu. Table service on offer here, so just sit down and peruse the menu at your leisure. I'd put a couple of hours aside for this bar, so you can discover the diversity of the Dutch brewing scene. 

In De Wildeman

One of Amsterdam's classic brown cafes - dark wood interiors, different hues of brown covering the walls (it use to be a distillery). We discovered a cask of Weird Beard on the bar which was a big surprise (in a good way as it was a big dark beast). Varied selection of beers from across the world and just off one of the main shopping streets, so a great place to seek refuge from the central madness. 


Oedipus Brewing

A short trip on a ferry from the back of Amsterdam central station takes you to the northern part of the city, where young experimental brewery Oedipus have taken up base in a warehouse. We called in on the open Sunday session with a welcoming atmosphere and party vibe - Redlight Radio DJs were set up playing a mix of jazz, funk, soul and house. The taps mainly featured their own beers such as the delicious saison Mannenliefde; they did have one guest tap, which was a nice addition. 

De Prael

From the quite unassuming exterior in the main redlight area near central station,  De Prael hides an expansive space once inside. Housing a shop, brewery and a connection to the street behind which hosts their bar venue. An impressive use of space and inter connections of different areas. Sign up for the brewery tour where you end up with a tasting paddle at the main bar. 

Butcher's Tears

A little on the outskirts past Vondel park way lies Butchers Tears. Its worth the trip and the Proeflokaal (tasting room) is a low key, white tiled, pristine wonder. Very laid back and you could easily loose a few hours here working your way through Butcher's Tears beers. Make sure you ask about any one-off specials in bottle, as we found a few available on our visit. 

De Bierkoning

A specialist beer shop since 1985 and it's just around the corner from The Beer Temple. Stocking over 1500 different beers, the Dutch section is mightily impressive, let alone the beers from all over the world - I spotted some Cascade Brewing and tasty gueuzes in the lambic cellar on the lower floor. 

Food Hallen

Situated in the west of the city this food hall opened in 2014 in a huge converted building. Inside is an array of food vendors, each with their own space, with group seating and bar areas dotted between. We visited a few times on our stay trying Vietnamese banh mi and Dutch specialty bitterballen (a savoury deep fried meaty snack usually containing minced beef of veal).  The beer choice was a mix of macro Amstel and indie Dutch - I tried a Oedipus' Gandalf The Pink - a tart cherry sour bomb. 

Salon Serpent

As a lover of tattoos I had to visit Angelique Houtkamp's beautiful tattoo parlour Salon Serpent. It's very near Food Hallen. Even if you're not up for a bit of ink, I'd highly recommend a visit to buy her artwork prints and posters. 

Haarlem is  just a 15 minute train ride from central station. Head over for the day or afternoon and make sure you visit these two beery places whilst you're there......

Het Ulitje

Loved this small and welcoming neighbourhood bar. 25 plus taps with one of the most interesting selections we spotted on our holiday. We tried beers from the brewery itself plus Italian White Pony, Spanish La Quince Brewery and Cervesa La Pirata. The bar has taps US style on the back wall, nice exposed brick interior and a bar cat which mooches around looking for friendly strangers to become friends with. Het Ulitje are brewing some of wildest, tastiest beers in the new wave of the Dutch brewing scene, in my humble opinion. 


The panoramic photo I took of this converted church doesn't even touch the impressive space of Jopen. A copper shining BrauKon brewkit lies to the back in front of a set of stained glass windows, inside is a long thin bar, with lots of seating and a restaurant on the mezzanine level. A very slick, grown up beer venue. I sipped a small glass of Harlem Shake (an Oedipus/Jopen collab - big dark stout wth raspberry and black pepper) and took in the view.  

Sour Power – Why You Should Be Drinking Sour Beer (by Matthew Curtis)

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I have a rule when it comes to tasting sour beer for the first time and I like to call it the ‘three sip rule’. Your first taste of a sour beer might not be a pleasant experience, the intense acidity wrapping your tongue around itself into a fisherman’s knot. Fret not, that second sip won’t be quite as intense as the first and by the third your palate will hopefully have adjusted to the sourness. 

There’s a depth and complexity to sour beers that’s like no other and this is part of what makes them so damn appealing. It’s no surprise that more and more breweries are experimenting with creating sour beers of their own. This can be risky, as the many wild yeasts such as Brettanomyces and bacteria such as Lactobacillus can be a threat to other beers in the brewery, infecting them and causing them to unintentionally sour. Some breweries such as Colorado’s Crooked Stave brew sours exclusively to completely eradicate this risk.

The trouble with a term such as sour beer is that it doesn’t do enough to cover the gamut of beers that span the genre. A Flanders Red is a million miles away from a Leipziger Gose for example. The personality and terroir of the beers origin often has a huge influence on this. Take Lambic for example, this speciality beer takes its name from the Lembeek region just south of Brussels. Half the fun with sours is exploring the parts of the world they come from.


Berliner Weisse

There are few beers, except for perhaps the Flanders Red, that are a better introduction to sours than the Berliner Weisse. These are sometimes referred to as ‘kettle sours’ due to the pH of the base beer being lowered in the mash, before being boiled to kill off any other bacteria that might infect the rest of the brewery. This makes it a popular style with smaller breweries that like to experiment. 

Typically low in alcohol, these beers contain a lot of wheat which helps give them body. The flavour is sharp and zingy and only sour for a brief moment before a gentle, grainy, cereal note comes through in a drying finish. Brewers love to experiment with Berliner Weisse as it provides an excellent blank canvas for throwing in other ingredients and adjuncts. London’s The Kernel makes a superb interpretation, simply called London Sour that’s good on it’s own but both the Raspberry and Damson versions take it to another level. The sweetness of the fruit balancing out the acidity in the beer.

Chorlton Brewing Co of Manchester are concentrating solely on producing sour beers and have recently been experimenting with dry hopping their beer like you would an IPA. The resulting beers such as Yakima Sour combine the usual tartness with floral, bitter notes. Ignore these at your peril.



This wonderful style of beer historically originates from the German town of Goslar. However Leipzig is generally considered to be its true home. Here you can visit Bayerischer Bahnhof, a brewery that sits in an abandoned train station, to try their Leipziger Gose. The style sits somewhere between a Berliner Weisse and a Belgian Wit in terms of flavour and feel but the unusual addition of salt to the beer adds an interesting and surprisingly delicious twist. 

Gose (pronounced goze-uh) was all but dead until forward thinking Craft Breweries began to experiment and resurrected the style. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is Westbrook Gose from South Carolina. Without a doubt it has become one of my favourite beers, its perfect balance of juiciness and saltiness making it a beer for just about any occasion. In the UK Magic Rock have created a wonderful interpretation called Salty Kiss. While not being as sour as the Westbrook the addition of fruit such as lime or gooseberry adds a tart, fruity twist to this ridiculously drinkable beer. Look out for it in cans soon.


Flanders Red & Oud Bruin

One beer I can’t do without having in my stash is Rodenbach Grand Cru. This red ale hails from the Flanders region in the North of Belgium. It’s soured by aging in giant wooden tanks known as foudres. Here, all sorts of wee beasties get into the beer and add a deep, lactic sourness that’s somewhere between yoghurt and balsamic vinegar. To create the Grand Cru, Rodenbach blend beer that’s been aged for about three years with young beer that’s around a year old. This masterful technique creates a truly glorious beer. 

Similar to Rodenbach is Duchesse De Bourgogne, which is created in a similar way but has a much darker brown colour and as such is referred to as an Oud Bruin. Duchesse tends to have a slightly more savoury, balsamic quality than Grand Cru. These styles are now being experimented with all over the world and one of the best is La Folie from Colorado’s New Belgium. It tastes like Grand Cru on steroids. 


Lambic & Gueuze

The Lambic producers of Belgium are some of the most respected creators of beer in the world and perhaps the most well known of these is Jean Van Roy of Cantillon. The brewery itself is like a working museum. Witnessing the giant coolships, which Cantillon pumps their beer into so it can be soured by the natural fauna that lingers in the air, is a near religious experience. 

Lambic is completely flat and is often very, very sour so can be quite challenging to drink. Usually young and old Lambic is blended to create Gueuze, the Champagne of the beer world. Sometimes the Lambic is aged on fruit, for example cherries are used to make Kriek and raspberries to make Framboise. There are very few boundaries for a Lambic brewer. 

Other great Belgian producers of Lambic and Gueuze includes Boon and Drie Fonteinen, with each bringing its own unique character to its beer. There are plenty of modern interpretations becoming more prevalent too with Mikkeller’s Spontan range being among the more innovative. Beetroot flavour, anyone?

This merely scratches the surface of the wonderful world of sour beer. The best thing is to get out there and start trying some for yourself. Just remember to always take three sips before turning your nose up.

Thanks to Matt for hosting our first guest blog. We're big into reading and enjoy a bit of writing too here at Hop Hideout (Jules, one half of HH, has been writing about beer for local mag Exposed since 2012). We wanted to support beer writing in the UK and after Matt hosted his Bottle Club, back in July, it got us thinking - let's ask Matt to write a blog to share a beer story we're excited about. Luckily Matt was excited by sour beers too! Et voila! Hope you enjoyed the piece. If you did, you might also be interested in our next beery literature event with award winning writer and broadcaster, Pete Brown, as part of Sheffield's Off the Shelf festival - LINK

Matthew Curtis is a London based freelance beer writer, speaker and a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers. He is co-author of Craft Beer: The 100 Best Breweries in the World. He shares his writing here; put an hour aside, grab a cuppa and get reading : www.totalales.co.uk  

We posted this blog as a head nod to Cantillon's Zwanze day celebration - which is on Saturday 19th September 2015. For further information on this, head to this link: Cantillon