It has been really busy over the past couple of months getting ready for Christmas and the New Year rush here at Critters. After a load of hard work and many hours graft from the team we stripped back the mezzanine and got our new fermenters into place in the brew house. We’re looking forward to filling these with tasty brews in the coming 12 months.
We’d like to wish all our customers and suppliers a happy and prosperous New Year.
Our latest core offering Sultanas of Swing. We love our stout here at Critters and after developing this under the Incubator 3 series we’ve decided to add it to our core range. Using cacao nibs and plump raisins we feel we’ve produced another great tasting stout to run alongside our other offerings.
Nutty Ambassador – CAMRA Champion Beer of Sheffield
Really proud to have won Champion Beer of Sheffield this year given the great quality Sheffield is known for in ale production. A fitting tribute to all the hard work put in across the business – well done team.
Really pleased to have our Nutty Ambassador featured in the BrewDog BottleBox this month.
As we get more kit and grow the Brewery we’re looking to additional packaging types. Two of our favourite brews are now available in 500ml bottle. Details of stockists on the Bottle Shop page.
It’s been a busy time in the brewery with sales moving along we’ve decided to get a new chiller and a couple of 15BBL (around 540 gallon) fermenters to complement our existing kit.
Getting the kit in the building was fun with the lads doing a top job to get these in place on the brew house plinth. These new unitanks will allow us to get on with new products including our new “Great Weisse” wheat beer.
Our old remote chillers were struggling in the warm weather to get the beer down to temperature prior to racking. With winter coming 🙂 we’ve invested in an ICS chiller so we’re all prepared for the warm weather next year!
Lemon Powered Spaceship
At a year old, we still hadn’t done a collaboration brew with another brewery, so with Sheffield Beer Week (13th-19th March) not too far away, we decided it was about time! Jules from Hop Hideout who organises Sheffield Beer Week spoke to us about teaming up with HopJacker (Dronfield), which we thought was a great idea! Edd who runs HopJacker has managed some of the Thornbridge pubs and I (Will) used to be on the Thornbridge brew team, so we’ve known each other for years and share the same passion for great beer. We also decided to get Jon from the White Lion involved, as he’s holding a small beer festival at his pub, and you can find both HopJacker and Little Critters beers in his atmospheric Heeley pub on a regular basis.
So between myself, Edd, Jules and Jon, we decided that an easy drinking 5.0% pale ale was the way forward. We threw some ideas about additions to make it a bit more unique and Edd suggested using some Lemongrass, to make it a bit more lemony and refreshing, on top of that, we settled on using some Lemon peel to add a moreish, citrusy bitterness. As far as hops go, we used a healthy amount of Kazbek and Centennial; both lemony hops to finish our game of lemon bingo.
Tasting notes for the beer:
A golden beer with an orange hue, featuring aroma of candied lemon, sherbet and lemongrass. On the palate you get pleasantly pithy bitter lemon, lemon peel and bready malts that goes from being fresh and lively upfront, followed by a moreish citrusy bitterness with a long lasting taste of the kazbek and centennial hops.
As for the name, Jules came up with Lemon Powered Spaceship as a nod to “Red Dwarf” episode Lemons, and Jon from the White Lion designed the retro looking pump clip, which we’re really pleased with.
We hope you enjoy the beer as much as we enjoyed making it! Look out for it in venues across the city over the next couple of weeks.
Toward the end of last year, we introduced the ‘Chameleon’ to our lineup of regular beers, a 5.5% pale beer that changes the hop variety used. So far we’ve done Mosaic and Simcoe versions, which are both relatively new American hop varieties, which have gone down really well and we’ve had to do multiple brews of both over the last few months, but we decided it was time to throw another into the mix!
We opted to try out a new variety from… Germany! Most German varieties have subtle characteristics; soft herbal, earthy, and floral flavours are common and are perfect for classic Germanic styles like Helles lager, Hefeweizen and Pilsner which only require a delicate and precise addition of hops. However, a new variety on the market ‘Hallertau Blanc’ has been released in recent years, claiming to be more assertive and reminiscent of Nelson Sauvin, one of the most destinguishable hops from New Zealand, so we thought we better try it!
From opening the bag, we were greeted with citrusy and spicey notes at a much higher intensity than we’d ever experienced from a German hop and were excited to see how it turned out in the final beer. We brewed it with the same, simple malt recipe as our other Chameleon beers which just include low colour Maris Otter malt, and some malted wheat, which really lets the hops standout when combined with our clean and reliable English yeast strain.
In the final beer we have aroma and flavour of lemony citrus, gooseberry, elderflower, white grapes, light bready notes with a dry and refreshing finish. We’re happy with it, and how much it contrasts to the two previously used American varieties; it definitely has similarities to Nelson Sauvin, if a little less pungent.
Hallertau is a famous growing region in Bavaria and produces 80% of the hops grown in Germany, and especially known for the production of Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, a noble variety of hop grown for over a hundred years that’s commonly used in German Pilsner thanks to it’s mild herbal, pleasant spicy notes. Other varieties grown there include Magnum, Northern Brewer, and Hersbruker, with Blanc being released in 2012.
We hope you enjoy the beer, and look forward to hearing what you think of it! Our next blog will be about the collaboration brew we’re doing with Sheffield beer week, HopJacker (Dronfield), and The White Lion (Heeley).