This March should have seen Turning Point Brew Co. open up their taproom and launch their exciting collaboration project New Frontiers. Whilst the grand launch of the taproom is on hold until the pandemic has blown over, the brewing company did manage to launch their collaborative series and through their first virtual tasting session, we managed to get together as a community to drink the four beers in a different way. I recently caught up with co-owner Cam to talk all things beer and Turning Point, and he answered a few questions specifically about these four beers. If you’re still thinking about buying them, think no more! Give this a read then buy the beers for just £15 here.
Turning Point x Roosters – House in the Rock
Nelson and Simcoe Pale
Being from York, one of my first memories of drinking beer was drinking Yankee from neighbouring brewery Rooster’s, based in Knaresborough just a few miles away. A staple in bars across York, Rooster’s has had a big impact on my take on beer, so finding out Turning Point, who currently operate my favourite bar in York, were collaborating on a pale ale, was exciting.
Brewed with the long-sought after Nelson-Sauvin hop and the addition of dry-hopped Simcoe, I am delighted to say that House in the Rock lived up to and exceeded all expectations.
This beer, without sounding like a fan-boy, was stunning. How did it feel to get your hands on Nelson Sauvin and brew with Roosters?
Well thanks! Brewing with Roosters was certainly meant to be; I’ve been fanboying them since day 1 of working in the beer world, and when we moved into their old site it was really cool to be carrying on the history of the kit and brewery, so we had to get them back in for a brew! Nelson is a firm favourite in the camp, but not easy to get hold of. Thankfully the lovely people at Charles Faram were able to help us out.
The balance of flavours was outstanding, what do you put that down to?
Making sure that at the lower end of the ABV spectrum, there is enough “heft” to the beer to make it stand out. Boosting the final gravity/residual sugar with yeast management and malt bill and paying close attention to the clarity of flavour and not rushing the hop additions/conditioning of the beer. Ultimately making as solid a base as you can to really nurture those incredible flavours in the hops and make sure we do them justice.
This might be my all time favourite Pale under 5%, what have the comments been like so far on this beer and the other New Frontiers?
High praise indeed! The reception has been really positive. People seemed to enjoy the tasting and the beers have well reviewed online etc. We were gutted about the timing with this in one way, this had been a big project with months in the making from the whole team, but the silver lining is that we’ve been able to turn it into a good bit of fun and that the beers have helped us keep sales coming in a very difficult time.
Turning Point x Siren – Virtue is Lost
Guava, Vanilla, & Cacao Sour
So right now, I don’t think any beer drinker can deny that Siren Craft Brewing are one of the UK’s best in the business. The past 36 months have seen that brewery go from strength to strength and it’s a coup for the guys at Turning Point to have brewed this beer. Before drinking these four beers, this was the one I was most intrigued at the concept. The night before I drank it for the first time, I’d been drinking Tiny Rebel’s “Screwface” so had big sour expectations – if you’ve not drank that yet, I urge you to, it does exactly what it says on the can. “Virtue is Lost” though, wasn’t a big sour in terms of sour flavours. It was much more subtle, down to the vanilla and guava flavourings rather than sharp citrus usually used. It was incredibly balanced, and at 5.3%, very drinkable. What was genius though was the cacao. Whenever I’ve had cacao in beer it’s been in a milk stout or a deep chocolate porter, never a pale and certainly not a sour; but this isn’t just a gimmick, it’s full on flavour and adds a lot to this beer.
The decision to add Cacao to this sour was truly inspired. How did that decision come about?
I can honestly say before I had the idea I’d never had guava and cacao together, but sometimes things make sense in your head, and it’s worth taking the risk to see if works out. Cacao is such a great ingredient to keep in your brewers pantry, and offers so much more than just chocolate to a beer. It has a funky sharpness that works well with tart fruit.
How was it working with without doubt one of the UK’s best breweries to produce this one.
We’re all massive Siren fans so, excellent really! Collaborating on the recipe with Sean was great, and having Rob down for the brew day was a heap of fun. Hearing about how they run their ship it’s clear why Siren are so well regarded.
Will we see more sours from Turning Point soon?
Always. When the world comes back online.
Turning Point x Thornbridge – Disco Mountain
Vermont Style IPA
OK. Now I have to admit something that’ll make me rather unpopular in the beer community. Thornbridge brewing are not my favourite brewery when it comes to flavours, or indeed inventiveness – there I said it. But what I love about their beers, are their simplicity, and the brewery consistently delivers good 6/10 IPAs, not easy to do. Green Mountain is something all craft beer drinkers have in their fridge at all times, and for me, Disco King is an easy choice whenever it’s on in a local pub. Knowing the two breweries worked together on a combo of these two beers got me very excited, and seeing it come out at 7.2% was even more so.
It was…just delicious. In 2020, I’ve drank several new beers that I wouldn’t normally have, but this is right up there in the top five. Without doubt. The worrying thing was, at 7.2%, this should have felt luxury, something to end your night; but it was very easy drinking, not quite a session but no more punchy than a Punk IPA, for example. I loved this beer, it was everything I expected and more.
Thornbridge are masters of IPAs and the bitterness in this is very typical of their and your style, what made you want to brew a beer in this style with them?
Years and years of enjoying their hoppy beers, in particular, Green Mountain.
The name Disco Mountain is an ode to Disco King and Green Mountain, was the brewing process similar to those beers or is this just a quirky name!
Indeed it was; I spoke at length with Dominic from Thornbridge and we made as many crossovers as possible. In terms of water profile, malt bill, hop times/varieties/temperatures and yeast selection. One of my favourite things to do is to get really involved with the small things in a beer, which in a way is what this project was all about.
For a 7.2% IPA, this is very balanced, you wouldn’t normally expect that. How was that balance achieved in your opinion
We actually dialled back the dry hop volume and focussed on getting a more refined and drinkable beer at a higher ABV. The increased alcohol gives a bit more sweetness, so we added dextrose to cut some of the malt sweetness back so it drinks a little easier. “Less is more” goes a long way.
Turning Point x 5 Points – Known Unknowns
Future Export Stout
As I’m writing this piece I’m drinking a cold can of “Known Unknowns”. Before you read on though, bear in mind I’m not a stout drinker. I’ll drink a half a milk stout if it’s full of lactose and flavour, but very rarely choose a dark beer, so it’s no surprise this is my least favourite of these four special beers. What I will say though, is I really enjoy drinking it. It’s chocolately, full of vanilla and malty flavours and importantly, has a really sweet aftertaste. Now, I’m not a big stout drinker as I’ve said, but this seems like a true classic Export Stout. Nothing too showy, or flamboyant, just straight up good flavours.
Compared to the other three beers, this one is very straight up for the style; 5 Points are known for their classic flavours so was that a conscious brewing decision or just typical of the flavours used?
Absolutely. The inspiration for the brew was their Stout Porter, which 5 Points kindly brought round with them on a visit a few months back. We’ve made a good selection of big stouts since 2017, all of which have had some kind of extra ingredient in. We love those kind of beers, but wanted to test our mettle on a classic style and put our stout skills to the test. What better way than to bring in 5 Points and really nail the details.