For this month's edition of The Session, I put some cockroaches in a glass of some nasty BMC lager. It was a vast improvement! It certainly had a much nicer body.
Actually, that was a lie.
There are hundreds of beers with animal names, but I felt it would be nice to choose one most people would not know. In spite of my ranidaphobia, I thought I would drink a beer from my local brewery Frog Island. This brewery was set up in 1994 in Northampton, and is so called because the area is prone to flooding and was given that nickname by railway workers. They produce quite a small range of cask ales by British standards, clearly preferring to concentrate on a core range rather than experimenting every month with different recipes. They also bottle (and bottle condition) three beers which they will personalise if the customer requests, but essentially there is just Natterjack, Fire Bellied Toad and Croak And Stagger.
To celebrate Brew Zoo I drank the amusingly named Croak And Stagger. This is a 5.6% dark beer best described by the brewers themselves: "Croak & Stagger is a 5.6% dark, full flavoured beer. This recipe for this chestnut-coloured brew includes American Cascade hops which contribute a sweet and spicy note to the aroma. The use of English Marris Otter pale malt, crystal malt, wheat malt and chocolate malt gives a flavour that is initially roasted and slightly bitter and develops to give a slight hint of dried vine fruits. The flavour of the Cascade hops and bitterness produced by the addition of English Target hops combine to produce an astringent aftertaste.. I certainly wouldn't disagree with those comments. For me the dark fruits stand out. There are lovely raisin notes, some bready malts and a nice alcohol content which for me makes for a great Winter Beer, but hey, why not drink it in September. I have provided bottles of this for RateBeerians in USA, Norway and Netherlands, and on the whole it has been very much enjoyed. I have to say I do prefer it cask conditioned, but I would say that about most British beers.
I do have a personal interest in the brewery. I used to work with one of the partner's wife, and one of my mates designed the company logo. I would heartily recommend the beer to anybody who may come across it.