Torrside Brewing have come across my beery path a couple of times in the last fortnight and I have enjoyed it each time. We pretty much go for Lancashire beers but for Torrside, we will happily make an exception.
It started with a tweet from Daryl at Bunburys about a Rauch-Off between a cask Torrside and a keg DUB. Bunbury’s patrons would vote on a Thursday evening on their favourite. I arrived a day late and tried both.
Twitter folk will know that I enjoyed both and the Torrside took it for me on the night. The smoke was more subtle and provided a deep ale that was suited to cask rather than keg.
Then I read the excellent Beers Manchester blog and a big, big statement. It was referring to Torrside’s American Barley Wine ‘Monsters’. To quote:
A simply magnificent achievement!
To put in simply, without undue hyperbole, this is quite possibly the bottle of beer that has made the biggest impact on my tastebuds in the 3 1/2 years I’ve been sharing with you. The last beer that made as near an impact as this, was a 2/3rd of Human Cannonball by Magic Rock. The beer that effectively started me blogging.
It’s THAT good.
Praise indeed. It made me sit up and notice. Read the whole post here.
On Daryl’s shelves were a few bottles on Monsters. After reading Beers Manchester, how could I refuse?
I tweeted the guys at Torrside before heading in. I said we may be some time and that was the truth of it. Monsters is an American barley wine and at 8% has already developed a bit of a reputation. First sniff and I was struck by how remarkably similar it was to our 6% Holy Imp. I stayed quiet and watched Phil. Exactly the same reaction. The taste though was a departure. It is sweet but not overpoweringly so. Whenever Bareley Wine is mentioned, it is difficult to get away from the ghost of Whitbread Gold Label. My grandmother and father both used to come back from the corner shop with a 4 pack. For many people, their first bad alcohol experience was with pernod or some such and they cannot even look at it without going queasy. Mine was with Gold Label and I have stayed clear of Barley Wine since. Monsters has put me well on the road to Barley Wine rehabilitation.
We cracked open a bottle of our own Holy Well 8.5% Scotsman’s Stump and drank it alongside. We were doing a fair bit of blind tasting during the evening and you can see how short of glasses were were getting.
The stump is a dark Scottish style ale named after an infamous point of Winter Hill where a traveller was murdered long ago. It is deep, sweet and malty but tasted dry in comparison to the Monsters.
I ended up back in Bunbury’s with my father-in-law and Torrside No Frills was on cask. Deep and worth drinking followed by a Lost Time on keg. Light and fresh wheat beer. Very good.
For a couple of brewers like us, Torrside are a great inspiration. We enjoy their beer in cask, bottles and keg. We like their labels and the way they have built up a variety. We know that when our regulars come knocking, they are looking for new and interesting things as well as looking for those one-offs that are a bit special. Above all, Torrside are 3 home brewers who show it can be done. Long may it continue.
The Lancashire Beer Circle is a Facebook group aimed at connecting Lancashire Brewers with Lancashire people. The chat is warm and friendly. Come and join in, you will be made very welcome.