High ceilings. Concrete floors. A venue packed so full of people you struggle to bring a drink to your lips or to hear yourself think over the echoing conversation. The Grimm Brewing taproom is like the Great British Beer Festival but with fizzier beer.
I prop myself up in a free spot between two t-shirt stands. Deep down, I think we all know breweries are selling a brand almost as much as they’re selling beer now – just look at how much cash Brewdog swindled through its Equity for Punks scheme or the way people collect Guinness memorabilia. Offering a market stall filled with branded shirts, hats, glassware and enamel pins seems modest in comparison.
It doesn’t hurt that from this spot I can spy on not one, but two very good dogs.
Flower Record is a pale orange, hazy IPA. On paper, it ticks a lot of boxes for me. Orange rind bitterness, orange blossom aroma, and a hint of jasmine are an interesting combo. But it’s light – too light. It has some of the sweetness of a NEIPA but none of the body.
In the end, I feel it’s lacking…something. Make it more bitter, more flora, sweeter, anything. But right now, it’s frustratingly close to being forgettable.
Have I let fruited sours and pastry stouts ruin me? Sue me (for American readers: please don’t actually sue me). It’s not wrong to like beers with flavour, surely?
The more substantial of two 8% Mosaic DIPAs on the taplist – and yes, there are enough beers on the taplist that you get a choice between two different DIPAs with the same hops and ABV.
True to the bartender’s word, this beer has a tonne of body. Sweet, tropical pineapple and mango aromas turn into pineapple and orange juice on the tongue, held together with a thick but not stick mouthfeel. That slick, sweet coating over the tongue lingers into the finish.
It’s not a flavour bomb, but I love it. There’s enough flavour there to keep things interesting, while that mouthfeel seals the deal.
I believe there’s a curve when it comes to beer names that reference films and literature. Too obvious, and you come across as tacky. Too obscure, and nobody has a clue what you’re on about. But reference a line from a poem people likely last looked at in primary school? Now I feel special for having remembered something. Sign me up.
Bright, ruby red and clear, this beer smells of red grape, redcurrants, and generally pretty red. That red grape skin, tannic character hits on the palate too, along with cranberry. Like a fine wine, the flavour balances sweet fruitiness, sourness, and dryness. An excellent drop, though this is definitely a beer to order by the third pint. One wouldn’t want to leave the bar feeling all mimsy.