With pubs still closed and brewery tours unlikely to resume for a while, each week I’ll be doing a tasting session alongside my girlfriend whose also a keen beer-drinker, with a range of beers from a different brewery, bringing you impartial reviews and tasting notes from the beers in question. First up…Alphabet Brewing Company.
Who are Alphabet Brewing Company?
Based in the heart of Manchester City Centre, Alphabet Brewing Company are one of the north-west’s top brewing company’s, famous for their flagship beer Juice Springsteen. Founded in 2014, over the past few years their output locally and nationally of this beer and their core range has grown significantly, and they are now a staple in many Manchester pubs and bars.
Four beers. Three from the core range, Charlie Don’t Surf, A to the K and Juice Springsteen and the amped up, lactose heavy version of the last beer Moose Springsteen.
Charlie Don’t Surf – 4% Session IPA
ABC’s session pale, dry-hopped with Simcoe, is a typical session beer. Light, well hopped and leaves a nice bitterness in the aftertaste. It has nice apricot notes with a hint of passion fruit from the Simcoe but overall it is just a nice, solid sessionable beer.
Adam’s Verdict: Any IPA that is brewed well using Simcoe is going to hit the right mark for me. The ever-popular hop brings citrus and fruit flavours to session beers like no other in my opinion and ABC have brewed this to perfection. If I had 100 cans in my fridge and I was looking for a good 4-5% beer, this would be the one I’d grab first before any right now.
Leanne’s Verdict: A refreshing light session pale. Good beer for a sunny day in the garden or the beer garden.
A to the K – 5.6% American Pale Ale
This is one of the brewery’s top beers they produce. A 5.6% American Pale Ale with a big tropical aroma which makes it an exciting beer before you’ve even tasted it. Hopped with Columbus and Mosaic to give it an even bitterness. Hazy, thick white head giving it that smooth creaminess you expect in a good APA. Fruity, smooth, bitter, sweet, it’s everything you expect when reading the can.
Adam’s Verdict: I remember the first time I drank this a couple of years ago on keg and it’s just as good in can. Smooth, thick and a real treat for the palate. My favourite ABC beer by some distance, this beer showcases the brewing quality of the brewery. Consistently a great beer and the beer I’d give to someone if they had never had craft beer before to convert them.
Leanne’s Verdict: Got a nice level of bitterness to balance the fruity flavours. Still quite sessionable even at 5.6% and has a nice mouth feel. Refreshing for a beer that is that strong.
Juice Springsteen – 4.5% Tropical Pale v Moose Springsteen – 4.5% Tropical Milkshake IPA
The last two beers we compared like for like. Two beers cut from similar cloths, the flagship Juice Springsteen taking on the mighty Moose Springsteen. The first, a juicy tropical IPA with bags of pineapple, mango, passion fruit, mandarin and guava, this beer is summer in a can. With an even golden pour and a thick white head; the best way to summarise this beer, is alcoholic mango Rubicon, and if that doesn’t make your mouth water then I don’t know what will!
What can be better than that..try adding heaps of lactose and vanilla and you get Juice’s cousin Moose Springsteen. With a thicker mouth feel and a smoother texture, this is exactly what you’d expect. Still big tropical flavours, but with more vanilla making it more a.mango milkshake than a mango juice. Beautiful. But which came out on top?
Adam’s Verdict: Tough one for me this because I think they’re both good beers. I’m with Leanne in that, I couldn’t drink Moose Springsteen all day, and although both are pumped full of flavours and products other than the core 4 for brewing, Moose feels much more unnatural than Juice. I just think Juice Springsteen is one of those beers you can always be happy drinking; in any situation this beer would hold up and it is so well balanced for a big fruity pale, I don’t think it can be beaten, even by adding lactose and vanilla!
Leanne’s Verdict: For me, I prefer Moose Springsteen but that’s because a milkshake IPA is the style of beer I’d choose if I had all styles available to me. If I had to drink one all day, it’d be Juice as it is a little easier to drink but one or two cans or pints and it’s the creamy Moose Springsteen for me.
Alphabet Brewing Company currently have a live webshop with national delivery on a range of core beers and some special brews. Check out the shop here and social media links as well as a killer chat I had with bar manager Alex recently!