SoBeer Year 2021: March with Full Circle Brew Co.

Theres nothing more satisfying then the sound of a cask dispense. The gurgle and the soft drawing sound of the beer being pulled from the cask. The light clink as the swan neck faucet touches the glass followed by the gentle spray as malty, hoppy liquid fills from the bottom. The bubbles of carbonation cascading down the side of the glass as the frothy head of foam begins to settle out on top. Theres many things that I miss about not being able to go to the pub at the moment but this is one experience that is difficult to replicate at home. Fortunately The Shed being upgraded with a working hand pull over the summer has meant that we have been able to connect bag in boxes and mini casks/kegs to get that ‘almost cask’ experience at home. When I was placing my order from this month’s featured brewery, Full Circle Brew Co., I just had to add in a mini keg of Pure Phase DDH Pale Ale to enjoy drinking in The Shed.

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The current home of Full Circle Brew Co. is located in the metropolitan city of Newcastle. The brewery first started up in March 2019, sharing a space at Lanchester Wines Co. before moving to it’s newest residence at Hoults Yard shortly after in July’19. Since then the brewery’s expansion has been rapid, a reflection of the growing craft beer scene in the North East of England. New brewing equipment was installed in October 2019, turning their 1HL starter kit to a 30HL brew kit complete with six 30HL and three 60HL fermentation tanks. The tap room was also opened in the same year in November, only to be forced to close again due to current restrictions. It seems that brewery owner and founder, Ben Clearly, was fated to end up in the beer industry as he already had experience in the alcoholic drinks sector with his successful wine and beer merchants shop, the Pip Stop. His grandparents worked within the beer trade as well as pub industries and his parents also dealt in wine so it felt as if the family business had come full circle, which is how the brewery got its name. With a solid range of core beers as well as seasonal and special release beers, I am looking forward to seeing more of Full Circle behind the bar as soon as the pubs can reopen.

Thirsty work project managing at The Shed

When I was placing my order for my Full Circle box I found that there was a great range of beers to choose from. In particular I really liked that there were quite a few of my favourite styles that had been brewed with sessionable ABVs. Juicy session NEIPAs, hoppy IPAs and roasty, chocolatey Stouts brewed below 5% that are perfect fridge fillers for a Saturday afternoon watching football in The Shed or for a cheeky mid week beer. Full Circle boast that their flagship beer Looper is their “pride and joy” and it is easy to see why. Bursting with orange and stone fruit flavours whilst the thicker body makes it feel like I am drinking a fruit juice. There is a touch of booziness about it that reminds me of drinking a Bucks Fizz. The pleasant bitterness on the finish makes me want to go back for more, until suddenly I realise my glass is empty. Fortunately I had Looper’s bigger sibling, Dooper, waiting in the fridge and if the original is anything to go by then I was in for a treat with this Double IPA. Dooper was brewed to celebrate Full Circle’s 100th beer brewed as well as to celebrate their 1st Birthday. What better way to commemorate these occasions then to take their flagship beer and turn it up to 11! More tropical flavours come forward in the Dooper including juicy mango as well as some citrusy grapefruit adding to the bitter finish. This beer feels very much like a fruit juice, much like Looper, and is dangerously drinkable at 8.2%. Both these beers were very enjoyable and great to compare against one another.

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Now back to the mini keg of Pure Phase. This has to be one of my favourite beers we have had on draught in The Shed. The first pint was beautifully hazy and straw like in appearance with a tight head of foam giving away it’s juicy intentions. As I went for my first mouthful I noted that this beer had a really soft body from the addition of oats and the juiciness was backed up with flavours of peaches and citrus fruits. The first pint quickly disappeared so I was on to my second, third, forth, before realising we’d drained the keg.

I felt very lucky to be involved with Full Circle’s virtual International Women’s Day brew in collaboration with Pink Boots this year. Alongside an amazing team we came up with a beer, in one of my favourite styles – a NEIPA, that we felt encompasses the message of IWD. All being well this will be launched during April which gives me a great excuse to add some more Full Circle beers to my order. Perhaps even another mini keg.

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