Wind on. I went to Rochdale. The Regal Moon had four on. I wasn't interested in Jennings or Wadworth on this visit, as far more seductive brews were on offer. My eye alighted on two that I, to use a ticking expression, "needed". JDW have commissioned two brews for foreign brewers to brew over here and here they both were, Yo-Ho Tokyo Black and Stone California Double IPA. Two halves were swiftly ordered. OK not swiftly, this is JDW!
Now I wouldn't normally do full tasting notes, but this time I will. Both deserve it, as both are magnificent beers! The Tokyo Black is very black indeed with a dense tan head. The nose is liquorice with hints of espresso coffee. The taste is dry, complex and full bodied with roast malt, bitter chocolate and faint balancing dark cake fruits. There is little real hop presence until a silky smooth, subtle, hop edged, coal dust finish with some lingering bitterness. A really good beer and very, very moreish.
Now for the Double IPA. This is light, golden-brown in colour with a white, lasting head. Nose is pungent pine resin hops in great abundance. The first sip bowls you over with astonishing palate coating centennial hops and a slight floral edge from the Simco hops also used. The malt backbone needs to be strong to carry this and it is. But this is a hop attack from start to finish and you know it. It is like sticking your head in a hop pocket and tying the ends up. Pine, grapefruit and a wonderful body make you almost swoon with pleasure. The beer drinks beautifully, with little evidence of its strength, through to a long, surprisingly clean, hoppy, bitter, resinous finish. This is a marvellous hop monster with considerable balance and poise. It belies its strength and is a tribute to the brewer. The IBUs (a measure of bitterness) must be off the scale!
Of course I had to have two more halves and did. They were even better and to give the Regal Moon its due, all my beer was served at the peak of cask conditioning and at just the right temperature.
That's it. Go get some and tell me if you agree!