THE FRENCH EXCHANGE – SEMAINE SEPT!

As summer finally landed in Brighton I cycled south for the final part of my Tour de France. First up, we joined up with the race before it crossed the border to Switzerland and circled around the epic Lake Annecy. By far and away the most picturesque part of#TheFrenchExchange, with a bit of local beer to boot. A few hours on the road landed us at a beach near Montpellier (the first I’ve seen since leaving no. 7 East Street) and it is home to La Brasserie des Garrigues. The Artisan outfit brew under the same basic principals as us – natural, unpasteurised and vegan friendly so I gave them a can of our recent collaboration at Arundel and asked for their ‘strongest’ competition. La Frappadingue is an imperial IPA, notching 7.5% ABV and just about classed as a DIPA. Our first attempt at Dirty Rascal aimed to enter the trend but it’s got a long way to go before we can class it as the kind of Bison Beer we strive to achieve. For starters, and not because of my (still) pathetic French, they couldn’t understand why we chose to strip the gluten, and some of the fruits from the Citrus Centre in Sussex were lost in the madness. That being said, the punchy brew packed way too many punches for the French outfit and turned out to be in a different league. La Frappadingue certainly looks the part and drinks super malty but there’s no bitterness to the finish and I probably wouldn’t have finished the bottle had it not been for work purposes. Dirty Rascal will improve and serves as an example to the collaborative approach we have in this industry – stay tuned for news on our next collusion with Good Chemistry in Bristol. That’s all from France, I’ll be back next week to sit on the stones of Brighton beach and celebrate Nick’s 37th Birthday. It has been an awesome adventure, but the frogs are much better with wine. See you by the seaside!

THE FRENCH EXCHANGE – SEMAINE SIX!

As Portugal upset the odds at #Euro2016 and Paris called full-time on the tournament and headed East to the Champagne region. If anything, the competition continued the year of the underdog and proved that teamwork is key. In Épernay, I found France’s finest champagne makers and I searched for a beer to take on Two Tribe’s introductory Saison. Dom Pérignon, a world-famous monk that made champagne his craft, worked at Moët & Chandon, which I toured and clearly saw the difference between making beer and blending champagne. The classification itself is complicated – it can only be produced in an area less than 10% the size of Sussex. To put this into context, Ridgeview wines (who The Bison Arms team visited earlier this year) is around the same size as Moët & Chandon – with plans to double in the next 5 years. It’s fair to says Dom and his successors are doing a decent job, producing 28 million bottles of bubbly every year (The UK produced 6m bottles of all wine varieties in 2014!). I digress, in between the vins of Reims and Epernay, I found a suitable Saison to take away. La Pirata’s effort with Green Street isn’t a match made in heaven but the 8.6% attempt was an ideal opponent. Barcelona to Moscow is the most random collaboration I’ve ever tried and, from the first sip, it was clear they struggled to find some common ground. It’s certainly not easy drinking like the Two Tribes brew and I found it far too yeasty for the style. That said, I’m certainly no connoisseur of Saisons, but I know what I like and the taut, limey finish did nothing for me. On the other hand, Supersonic Saison(should’ve been called ‘Insane In The Saison’) is delicious. Easy drinking with big hits of orange, it’s one that says the summer season is here and there’s always plenty of beer – for those that can’t guzzle champagne all day long!

THE FRENCH EXCHANGE – SEMAINE CINQ!

I’ll be honest, I picked this beer because of it’s label. But, isn’t that what everyone does these days? And fortune favoured the brave on this occasion as the final match for #Euro2016 scores just 29 for style according to RateBeer (Beast Street gets 71), yet you’ll see by the final score that the contest was much closer than that. Coco Nino are Charles and Hugo, friends who’ve brewed together for years and whose beers can be found all over France. Both Brewberry and A la Bière comme à la Bière know these guys personally and speak very highly of their personalities. The Hoppy Pale Ale is perhaps a bit more American in style than our Beast Street because the tropical taste is more akin to our See Side (being canned as I type this) than the bitterness Beast is more known for. Side by side, they look like best friends, with bodies of amber haze and dusty white heads. They both smell beautiful as well so, for me, it comes down to the taste to decide the outcome of these evenly matched brews. The Coco Nino is a bit stronger at 5.8% but the Beast Street is just that bit more rounded and possesses the type of experience needed to win a tournament. I’ll be on the move next week after the final on Sunday (allez les bleus) and embarking on the Tour De France so any tips on where to head once my current supply runs dry much appreciated!

THE FRENCH EXCHANGE – SEMAINE QUATRE!

I went back to Brewberry to find a match for Magic Rock’s sensational gose-style beer, Salty Kiss. The collaboration with Danish master brewer Anders Kissmeyer won gold at World Beer Cup 2014 so it seemed spot on that Ben suggested Sjavár Bjór brewed by The Wall. The Italian outfit sourced sea salt flakes from Iceland for this, which I found fitting considering both their teams’ progress at #Euro2016. The first thing that strikes me is the artwork on both beers – Magic Rock designer, Richard Norgate, can do no wrong when it comes to drawing on cans and The Wall’s Icelandic flag influence on their bottle is intriguing. Frequenters of Bison Beer will need no introduction to the Salty Kiss, as the 5/5 brew is seldom not on our shelves. The tarty number is in a different league to Sjavár Bjór. It pours flat and tastes so salty that I can’t be certain of its style – it says it’s an amber on the label but, apart from it’s appearance, shows no characteristics of it’s compatriots. It is still an interesting beer, with a bit of Bertie Bassett about it in a liquorice aftertaste. I’ll be sticking with my Magic Rock for sure and I’m sorry Sjavár Bjór, but it’s the sea for you – where you’ll fit right in because you taste and smell like seawater.

THE FRENCH EXCHANGE – SEMAINE TROIS!

If you can find a better bottleshop in France than A la Bière comme à la Bière, then I’ll buy you a beer. Simply step off the Eurostar and hop a couple stops up the Metro to find all of the beers. The guys have got a second shop further East and have recently opened a pub, which I’ll be sure to visit. The interior is typically Parisian with much of the drawing done by by local street artist, Urm Le Fou, who has a style not too dissimilar to Brighton’s Will Blood or Beavertown’s Nick Dwyer. I spoke to Nick before my trip and he’s hung out here a few times, which was evident by the amount of their cans sitting on the rustic shelves – although they’ve no chance of stocking Bloody Notorious. The shop clearly champions local too, so I asked for a contender to Brighton Bier’s collab with Choccywoccydoodah and got given a 6.5% stout brewed West of the city. I was expecting my closest encounter yet as the guys had plenty to put forward and, whilst I’ve been a big fan of Brighton Bier’s recent brews, I’m not blown away by Choccy’s chocolate. The 7% vegan stout exceeded my expectations, pouring with impressive carbonation and drinking so smooth you’d have to agree with the velvety description on the can. O’Clock’s stout was decent, with a nose of glorious coffee and a blink-and-you-miss-it copper head, it’s a solid stout but overall disappointing for a recommendation that never got out of first gear for me. Keep an eye on#thefrenchexchange as England and I enjoy an extended stay in France and get yourselves down Bison for all the Brighton Biers.

THE FRENCH EXCHANGE – SEMAINE DEUX!

I’ve been asking around after last week’s shocker and some locals pointed me to the Latin Quarter, where I found a Brewberry. On one side of the cobbled street is a bar with 20 taps and opposite is an offie. The tap room had growlers on display but no filling station so I sampled all the beers and hopped across the stones to the bottleshop. Ben, a true Parisian whose English is decent, sent me packing with a selection of France’s finest and a contender forTiny Rebel’s 5.2% red.  Les Brasseurs du Grand Paris  are based North West of Paris and their Porte Dorée provided proper competition. It pours deep red and smells fantastic – a tasty number if a little thin on the finish. Unfortunately for France, Tiny Rebel’s champion beer of Britain reined supreme and ran out with the win. Scant consolation after super-subs Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge got the England party going at #Euro2016. Fans of England, Wales and Cwtch can find it at no. 7 East Street.

THE FRENCH EXCHANGE – SEMAINE UN!

Jack’s Tour de France starts at Euro 2016 and he’ll be spending the summer travelling to offies with his favourite beers from Bison to try and find some competition. You can view his favourite discoveries using #frenchexchange and tweet any much needed advice on where to go!

Ok, my French clearly failed me here. Monsieur nodded along as I described the bitter oranges from Seville and high ABV (which will be imperative to my relationship with the french) Bloody ‘Ell brings. The 6% pale ale was very thin and no contest for Beavertown’s blood orange IPA, which might not be as good as last year’s but still ranks right up there in my go to beer list. The head disappeared quicker than the camera could capture it and the citrus notes did nothing to save its bacon. 1 Franc out of 5 from me, I’ll try and find somewhere that speaks English next week.

Friday 13th on East Street

Drink Through It
Anyone out there suffer from triskaidekaphobia? Nah, we didn’t think so – but did you know that around 20 million Americans do? So much so that it’s estimated almost $1 billion is lost in business on this day in the states. We’ve been freakishly busy sourcing some great beers from the likes of Tempest, Mad Hatter & San Diego’s very own Modern Times to keep you safe. We suggest you stock up because if you wake up alive and well on Saturday then you’ll need a few more to get through Eurovision. Unfortunately our first attempt at a IIPA won’t be ready in time, but check out Dan’s design to whet your whistle for the collab that lands later this month!

 

Unforgiven Red Rye | Tempest Brewing Co.

“A Beer for Cowboys” – much like a red ale but the beer does what it says on the tin, big smokiness with a rye backbone running through. Fancy something a little different, then this is for you! Enjoy Cowboys.

I’ll give this smokey rye 4 Brett’s.

It’s gonna be a long, hot summer

Open Late, Until 8
The sun might’ve have seemed a little shy to come out but after we enticed it with a few beers it’s finally started to shine and we’re staying open later to celebrate that. There’s nothing that makes us love this fair city of ours more than heading down the beach with a cold brew or two. And you don’t have to knock off early (although that’s all fine by us) to do just that, with Bison Beer open until 8pm Monday – Saturday to buy some beer. So grab yer growler and join us on the pebbles as we kick back and watch the sun set.

We’re giving Will Blood a few growlers to wish him good luck for his solo show @ Brush this Saturday from 7pm. It’s a private view but if you’d like to join us in checking out his latest work then drop us a line here and you can sneak in with us as a beer delivery bod. Will’s told us that everything on show will have been produced within the last 3 weeks!

 

Soul Style IPA | Green Flash

Got sunshine? Then this bright & tropical beer is for you to head to the beach with! A fruity, slightly dry IPA with a little pine going on. Given its 6.5% booze content I could easily get carried away on a summers day! Bring on the sunshine Brighton.

I’ll give this 4 and half Brett’s outta five!

Bison Bank Holiday Bonanza

Bison Beer is on the Map
It May be bank holiday weekend but we won’t be running around any maypoles or Morris dancing just yet. Instead we’re remaining indoors whilst we wait for the official start of summer – from the Met Office! Luckily we’ve teamed up with various artists across Brighton to welcome you into their houses with delicious Bison Beer. Go and escape the elements on the Central Trail with 20 venues to choose from within walking distance of our store. We’re exhibiting some of the art in store too so swing by and cheers to that with a beer on us. And if you don’t feel like intruding on the artist’s houses then you can hang out at the Vans store with cans of See Side APA on offer Saturday night where Will Blood, amongst others, will be drawing on skateboards for Deck Show 2 before his 5 week solo show at Brush. Then there’s the small matter of draught Beast Street IPA at the opening of shop friend, Oli Butler’s, Trunk Top 86 on Gardener Street and Brighton Tattoo Convention.

The guys and gals from Crate Brewery came down from East London for our latest meet and greet at the Crafthouse last night. 64 Degreespaired some delicious food to their brews, featuring the one off Oceanic Pale Ale that got rave reviews by those in attendance by the seaside. Somehow there’s still a few growlers of that (but no more beef brisket) left so come on down and check it out today.

We also went to Arundel this week as we finally felt ready to try and brew a DIPA. We took plenty of help with us with Coconut IPA kings Matt and Ben joining the brew squad which included Les from The Bison Arms team and plenty of Arundel regulars as well. The story started at the Pulborough Citrus Centre where we picked lemons the size of Nick’s head from the tree and zested them overnight. In the spirit of doubling up we’ve all agreed to try and double our press-ups by the time the brew comes into can…

 

Automaton IPA | Salopian Brewery

These guys don’t worry about telling ya about the beer on the bottle, that’s for you to decide. It’s a sweet and juicy IPA with a little bitterness to finish off. It’s a Bank Holiday sunshine kinda beer boys and girls. Head to that Bison fridge and give it a go!

I’ll give this four and a bit Bretts outta five. Cheers!