Rainbow Project 2018 – Part 1

A blog that has frankly taken me far too long to get round to writing, mainly because it took me so long to find an occasion fitting to sample these delights!

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The Rainbow Project was/is a fantastic scheme ran by Siren Craft Brew (https://www.sirencraftbrew.com/about/rainbow-project) with 2018 being the final edition under Siren’s stewardship. At it’s core, it’s about bringing together some of the best names in brewing to collaborate on a series of beers centred around a key theme, with 2018s being barrel aged/fermented beer.

It’s most famous spawn is surely Omnipollo x Buxton’s Yellow Belly, which will be the centre of another blog that has sat in the back of my mind for far too long! Now under the care of Left Handed Giant (one of our personal favourite breweries here at HCBC), the newest edition should be hitting around September.

Anyway, that’s your history lesson, now to review a few beers! I invited Tom and Andrew along as well to give a good balanced view of the beers, so think of this as a HCBC-lite!

Rosa Rouge – Wild Beer + Side Project Brewing – Red Rose + Pomegranate + Barrel-Aged Saison

First up is a Barrel Aged Saison from Wild Beer and Side Project Brewing. You may have guessed but colour wise this was assigned ‘red’ and it used a mixture of wild yeasts from Missouri and Somerset to produce this trans-continental co-fermented barrel aged saison, which is quite the mouthful! Top tip – I usually google the beers that I review, just to see if the makers have put up any interesting facts or stories about the beers they brew. Do not just google ‘Rosa Rouge’ without specifying it’s a beer, the results are definitley NSFW 🤣

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Just look at the colour on that, you can tell just from the photo how full bodied it was!

For this mini review session, I’m bringing back the stats!! When I first started out these reviews were piled high with graphs and tables, but theyve since been relegated to the end of the blog in gallery form. Well for this special edition they make a much-demanded return (You’re welcome Steve).

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As you can see, this is a pretty damn good beer! The general consensus was that it was a really well rounded saison, with no one particularly rating any one category much lower than the others.

The main comments praised the really tart and mouth puckering levels of sourness, as well as its full bodied mouthfeel, something that we haven’t regularly encountered with most Saisons.

Andy’s Take – A really heavy, thick sour that has tang for days. Couldn’t believe how full bodied theyve managed to get it. Very tart beer that leaves you nicely refreshed. A great example of both barrel ageing and saisons done well. Untappd – 4.00/5.00

Equilibrium – Siren & St Adairius – Barrel Fermented Blended Saison

Next up is ‘violet’ from Siren Craft Brew and Sante Adairius Rustic Ales which very interesting used their previous year’s brew ‘Santo Del Frio’ a ‘Blue’ well-hopped lager and blended it together with a warm ‘Red’ red wine barrel fermented saison. A very unique concept as I’m sure you’ll agree!

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Love the bottle design on this one, and that opaque colour really emphasises it’s original lager roots as part of the blend

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Slightly lower scoring than the Rosa Rouge but still a really good set of scores, which would comfortably sit it in the upper reaches of the regular HCBC league table in the ‘Good beer’ region.

Some interesting comments from the tasting notes on this one! Tom tells us that it has a ‘weetabix cereal taste with very subtle flavours and a cracking aftertaste’ whilst also mentioning that it would go great with a light italian meal! The cereal flavour is backed up by both mine and Andrew’s notes, with Andrew also noting that it has a smooth red wine tannin finish.

Andy’s take – As mentioned above, I think this has a really unique ceral-y flavour to it especially on the initial taste. The flavours are all a lot more subtle and it has a gentle sweetness to it. A hint of red wine lingers there, and its a very warming drink. Very interesting idea well executed. Untappd Score – 3.50/5.00

Yellow – Modern Times Beer & Hawkshead Brewery – Mixed Culture Barrel Aged Saison with Apricots

Well for anyone who follows my twitter, you’ll already know my opinion on this, and I wont waste any time emphasising it again – this is far and away one of the best beers I have ever tasted. Using a complex blend of house yeast and wild yeast, followed by fermentation periods in both red and white wine barrels, then onto a bed of 1800lbs of apricots, you can tell that a lot of work has gone into making this the best beer it could be.

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I got so carried away that I almost forgot to take a picture with beer still actually in the glass

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Well those numbers speak for themselves really don’t they? Brilliantly high ratings across the board, an average that would put it second only to the Chocolate Orange Milk Stout in the HCBC league table, and very high scores for both Taste and Aftertaste. The fact all three of us came out with a difference of only 2 marks from highest to lowest shows you how well received it was.

Onto the notes, Andrew told us that ‘the nose promises sourness and it doesn’t half deliver, HUGE (lemony?) sour hit with soft apricot aftertaste’ whilst Tom simply wrote ‘taste – YES – so sour – so good- so refreshing’.

Andy’s Take – Wow wow wow. Absolute fire on the nose as soon as you crack the bottle, the tartness really hits you in the face and then soothes you back down with a lovely lingering apricot taste. Tastes a bit like tangfastics to me. A lot of warmth comes through from the BA process, and it just lingers on so much that you never want it to finish! Fantastic beer. Untappd Score – 5.00/5.00

Final Word

Well, not sure how we will top that last beer, but we haven’t even tried the rest of them yet so who knows, there could be even more unbelievable gems hidden in this box of wonders! Stay tuned for both part 2, and the results of our ‘shit beer night’ where we set out to find the worst beer we could (I know, I didn’t think it sounded like a good idea either…) till next time, cheers!

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