Tiny Rebel Turning Seven!

Tiny Rebel, a fantastic brewery, has turned 7 years old! Based in Wales, they have produced some spectacular brews to date, but to celebrate their birthday they have produced 7 different beers. Amazingly, each is the result of a collaboration with a different brewery – some big names have taken part in this special birthday event, creating a wonderful celebratory collection box. The box itself was neatly packaged, showcasing an incredibly colourful design: for those that aren’t familiar with this brewery, the team are always bold with their use of bright colours! The birthday box contained the following:

  • 7 beers (obviously)!
  • An incredible-looking glass (because birthday beers must be drunk in style)!
  • Some balloons (because every party needs these)!
  • A small packet of colouring pencils (because the inside of the box featured a detailed design that could be coloured in… Entertainment whilst waiting for the beers to chill in the fridge)!

Tiny revel 7th collab.jpg

The glass provided within the set was beautiful: it was stemless, with a deep base and artwork corresponded to the inside of the box, with Tiny Rebel’s logo proud and centre. In addition to this, the logo of each collaborator was present too.

The artwork throughout the entire series was stunning. Produced by the brewery’s creative director, Taz, each can was truly a work of art. Taz was given free-reign when it came to designing, so there was no restriction regarding set themes, allowing each beer remain entirely unique. Each had so much amazing detail to find and appreciate; whilst drinking the beer, each design could be studied and many minute details could be unearthed that might have previously been overlooked.

Mandatory “Imperial Mocha Vanilla Shot Stout” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.53 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 0.5%
  • IBU: 50
  • Collaborating Brewery: Big Drop Brewing Co
  • Style: Stout, Non-alcoholic
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

This was the beer that I was most curious about. Initially, I thought there was a typo, as an imperial stout that was only 0.5% ABV seemed nonsensical. I had no issues with low alcohol or “alcohol-free beers”, but I had never had a successful experience of one, so I wasn’t convinced I could be converted.

Imperial vanilla mocha shot stout.jpg

This was the only collaborating brewery that I had no previous experience with. It poured a thick deep-black with an off-white mocha head. The foam head was maintained throughout sampling: a nice change. On the nose, a huge chocolate aroma came though, backed-up by a hint of vanilla. Upon sampling, these flavours were matched by the surprisingly thin-bodied beer. It began with a complex, deep, malty backbone, before fading into mocha flavours and ending with a sweet vanilla taste. Chocolate tones continued to dance on the palate long after sipping. It genuinely tasted like a stout (which I’m delighted to announce)! Given the absence of a high ABV (as would usually be present within an imperial brew), the warming alcohol sensation was non-existent. However, had I have been poured this blindly, I would have concluded it was ~4-5% ABV.

 

 

Diagnosis: 3.5/5. “Imperial Mocha Vanilla Shot Stout” is definitely my most successful low ABV beer to date. It turns out that Big Drop are known for producing great 0.5% beers. If I were the designated driver, I would certainly be choosing this over a soft drink!

 

 

Mandatory “Citra Session IPA” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.71 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 4.0%
  • IBU:  35
  • Collaborating Brewery: Magic Rock Brewing Co
  • Style: IPA
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

This beer poured a hazy straw colour, with a thin off-white foam head. On the nose there was a huge hit from the Citra hops, which brought back memories of my recent brewing experience (LINK): it literally smelt like opening the vacuum-packed hops. The strong citrus scent also gave-way to a subtler resinous pine. The beer was gentle, which probably wasn’t a bad thing given the presence of a few heavyweights within the box. An incredibly smooth, silky texture provided a hoppy mix of sweet citrus and stone fruit, along with a malt base that developed into a pine finish. It was an easy-drinking beer with a light ABV ending.

Citra session IPA.jpg

Diagnosis: 3.25/5. “Citra Session IPA” is a light, hoppy beer that ticks many boxes. Citrus and pine flavours at a sessionable strength makes this an enjoyable allrounder.

 

Mandatory “Tropical Sorbet IPA” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.70 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 4.8%
  • IBU:  20
  • Collaborating Brewery: Neon Raptor Brewing Co
  • Style: IPA
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

A bright yellow-coloured beer poured from the rainbow-inspired can. It had a small and bubbly foam head, from which a tropical mix of mango, passionfruit and pineapple scents escaped. The beer had medium carbonation, which allowed the surprisingly sharp taste of the beer to pop on the tongue; it was heading toward the ‘sour’ category in my opinion. Through the tartness, tropical flavours accumulated quickly, before they faded nice and slowly, lingering after each mouthful. The beer didn’t have a huge complexity, as it lacked bitterness and sweetness; nonetheless, it was actually quite characteristic of a sorbet.

Tropical Sorbet IPA.jpg

Diagnosis: 3.0/5. “Tropical Sorbet IPA” comes at a time when milkshake IPAs are increasing in popularity, so I was expecting this to excite me in a similar way… I liked it, but didn’t love it; I feel the beer is one-dimensional.

 

Mandatory “DDH Pils” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.46 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • IBU: 20
  • Collaborating Brewery: Fourpure Brewing Co
  • Style: Pilsner
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

The interesting can design featured animals living in a futuristic world against the backdrop of a light grey colour. A light beer with a transparent straw colour came from this can. It had a medium-sized, bright white, foam head that persisted throughout sampling. On the nose I recognised biscuit and took pleasure from a general hoppy scent. The first sip revealed a fresh beer, with lots of carbonation. It began with easy-drinking biscuit notes and then developed into hoppy herbaceous flavours, before it ended florally. It had a clean finish that cleansed the palate; this was necessary, because when I reached the halfway point, the hops built into a mild spiciness that coated the taste buds.

Four pure DDH pils.jpg

Diagnosis: 3.5/5. “DDH Pils” comparatively may not have the complexity against some other beers, but this collaboration has managed to make the pilsner very well-rounded and full of flavour.

 

Mandatory “NEIPA” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.95 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 6.8%
  • IBU: 55
  • Collaborating Brewery: DEYA Brewing Company
  • Style: NEIPA
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

Thus far, the quality of the beers had been very impressive, each scoring high above average. Upon examining the can, I noticed that this NEIPA featured “Cryo Hops”: a first for Tiny Rebel. For those unaware, these are a relatively new feature in brewing: they have the same characteristics as hops, but a greater intensity of these properties (e.g. bittering, aroma, texturing) can be extracted from a smaller volume compared to traditional pellets. “Cryo”, as the name suggests, reflects the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the whole hop cone before it is subsequently separated into the different portions – lupulin and bract. As this process is performed at such low temperatures, the integrity of the ingredient is maintained by preserving the essential oils and resins. Consequently, the same punch of flavour can be created by using half the volume of hops compared to usual.

Back to the beer: this NEIPA poured a hazy, deep-golden colour. There was a slim, white, head that disappeared very quickly, leaving a tiny film of bubbles. On the nose was a herbaceous and pronounced bitterness, along with an element of grapefruit. It was a full-bodied beer, with moderate carbonation; it started with a murky, deeply bitter, resinous blend, that featured pine. From there it gently lifted into a juicy citrus sensation, with grapefruit and lemon flavours. It finished lighter and semi-cleansed the palate, though remnants of bitter grapefruit and pine remained on the lateral portions of my tongue. It was certainly hop-fuelled, and allowed the Cryo Hops to live up to their reputation.

Neipa.jpg

Diagnosis: 3.75/5. “NEIPA” is juicy, hazy and full-bodied. This collaboration has produced a really satisfying brew that I could happily enjoy time and time again. For anyone wondering what difference Cryo Hops might make, start here.

 

Mandatory “Pomegranate and Molasses Belgian Strong Ale” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.71 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • IBU: 40
  • Collaborating Brewery: Yeastie Boys
  • Style: Belgian Ale
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

A Middle Eastern-inspired Belgian ale was the concept behind this beer. A deep amber was poured, with no evidence of a foam head. Even from a distance, the pomegranate scent came through. On closer inspection, the pomegranate provided both sweet and sour aromas and was very fragrant, though the yeast scent typical of a Belgian beer subtly came through in the background. A thin-bodied beer with little carbonation meant that I was initially disappointed. I got a wine-esque taste from it (I’ve never been a wine enthusiast, I’ll stick to beer, thank you very much!), which I found off-putting. Nonetheless, as I carefully sipped away, I began to gain an appreciation for the beer: it was actually like a cross between a sour and a Belgian ale. The pomegranate was juicy and aromatic, whilst the molasses counteracted the sourness and balanced the beer before the lingering Belgian yeast flavour came through. It finished with minimal bitterness and a dry fruitiness, along with a mild alcohol warmth; however, it disguised the 8% ABV well!

Pomegranate and molasses Belgian strong ale.jpg

Diagnosis: 3.25/5. “Pomegranate and Molasses Belgian Strong Ale” is fruity and pungent. Though not necessarily a beer that I reach for every time, it is one that could be enjoyed when I desire something different and more complex. Despite my initial hesitations, it is a very well-rounded beer.

 

Mandatory “Dark Cherry and Chocolate Barley Wine” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 4.09 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 11.0%
  • IBU: 70
  • Collaborating Brewery: Siren
  • Style: Barley Wine
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

The final beer of the series and I had left the biggest until last. A futuristic can design (like a brewery in a parallel universe) contained a beer filled with old favourite flavours: chocolate and cherry. Aromas crashed the senses even from an arm’s length. The beer had a reddish-brown appearance, with a slightly pink foam head (the picture doesn’t do it justice). Following a full assessment, the scents that were present included chocolate and a dominant sweet cherry. On sampling, the beer was incredibly creamy, with a roasted chocolate-malt backbone. This then lifted into a sweet-yet-sour cherry, that raised the beer to a new level and lingered long after sampling. In spite of some alcohol on the nose, when cautiously sipped, the 11% ABV was hidden more than I initially thought possible: it drank closer to 8%.

Chocolate and cherry Barley Wine.jpg

Diagnosis: 4.0/5. “Chocolate and Cherry Barley Wine” is creamy, sweet, warming and well-rounded. Though it hides its ABV well, it is a big beer, especially given the 440ml serving!

 

Wow – if the 7-year anniversary allows a box like this is produced, then I can only imagine what might await us for their 10-year anniversary! Though I may seem a bit too keen for a few brews in a colourful box in three years’ time, with expectations peaked by this birthday celebration, I am not embarrassed to admit I am already excited!

 

 

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