As we are half way through our first year of 12 beers in 12 months it’s about time we reflect on what we have produced so far and show our respects to the lovely artists and brewers that we have collaborated with. We set ourselves the aim of creating ‘12 months of happiness’ and six months down the line it can most definitely be confirmed that we are doing just that! With both brewers and artists collaborating to make 12 great beers in 12 months we are truly celebrating the hard work and artistry that goes into making amazing craft beer. 

January brought us the first installment of the project; ‘Pink Champagne’, a Pink Brut IPA at 6.0% VOL ACL, achieving its stunning pink colour through hibiscus flowers to accompany the refreshing tart lemon and rich berry flavour. Cranberry and strawberry were the undertones of flavours for the hops, with Citra being the prominent flavour with juicy citrus notes. We collaborated with Green Duck Beer Co. located in the West Midlands embracing their hop forward beer approach to achieve the fruity flavour. It was then time to find an artist to compliment the brew, to which we found Sleep Sparrow, formally known as Sophie Chadwick, an Illustration Graduate. Her work is heavily influenced by atmospheres found in such things as music, colour theory and human life. The piece she created is called ‘Fits Like a Glove’ which we soon were to find related to how well each of these beers fit into Black Storm’s current repertoire. 

February came around and so did the need for a weather fitting beer, so we brought you Alliance, a Black New England IPA at 6.4% VOL ACL. This beer had a unique New England Haziness in a black beer, with a mixture of amazing flavour with an upfront fruity aroma followed by a mild, non-bitter, caramel roast, following through with a juicy hop flavour. Something that kept you warm from the inside out. To create this amazing brew, we collaborated with Fallen Acorn Brewing Co. located in Gosport, as neither of us had tried this style before we thought we may as well dive into the process together and it was confirmed something insanely tasty came of it. We knew the illustration needed to be something special for our first NEIPA so we found Andy Touhy, a designer and illustrator specialising in contemporary design with his roots firmly in the British commercial art tradition. He created the illustration ‘Alliance’, which is the only surviving example of a Royal Navy A-class submarine used in WW2, for such a strong piece of art it was only right we named of 2nd contribution to the project ‘Alliance’ too.  

March was the month we brought you ‘Onesies & Cuddles’, our second New England IPA, at 6.0% VOL ACL. In this brew we used HBC431 experimental variety hop which has both fruity and earthy characteristics to accompany the unique combination of melon, tropical fruit and stone fruit used in the brew. The final pine and earth notes then follow through to finish the unique flavour combination, leaving your tastebuds embraced in Onesies & Cuddles. To create this tasty brew, we collaborated with Frisky Bear Brewing Co. in Leeds, who specialise in exceptional US style craft beers using top quality ingredients from the USA. The can artwork is called ‘A Thousand Mates’ by Leeds based illustrator Dale Crosby, a can that ensures you always have a few mates to have a drink with.  

April was the month of ‘Cherry ‘The King’ Lawler’, a 5.0% VOL ACL IPA. Reminiscent of cherry menthol sweets there was a certain tartness to this IPA, yet the lingering taste of hops and bitterness ensured it was very easy to drink especially on warmer days. We collaborated with Liverpool based microbrewery, Top Rope who pride themselves in making modern, bold flavoured, vegan beers. Meaning the simple flavour of cherry was perfected effortlessly. We then hunted for the perfect Liverpool based illustrator that could recreate this simple yet punchy flavour in visual form. We found Jason Hollis who created the illustration ‘Lacuna’ using acrylic, ink and spray paint on canvas all free handedly, the straightforward geometry perfectly reflects how simply effective ‘Cherry ‘The King’ Lawler’ was. 

May delivered ‘Gentleman of Letters’ our lowest VOL ACL yet at 4.8%, this beer was our first gluten free addition, being a dark roast stout. It was dark with a subtle nutty aroma, the naturally gluten-free artisan millet malts gave a depth to the roasted flavour with a hint of dry chocolate and dry finish. We crafted this alongside our very own Autumn Brewing Co. to ensure we knew our very first gluten free collab was going to meet the level of all our previous collaborations. Ciaran Glöbel was the artist we collaborated with to create the striking bright design, he used traditional signwriting tools and techniques to produce striking, hand-painted work. A collaboration that proved that craft beer can be accessible to everyone. 

June brings us to the end of our six month round up as ‘Shakedown’ was most recently released, a New England Style Milkshake IPA at 6.4% VOL ACL. It is a milkshake IPA that celebrates summer with a peach and apricot flavour brought through El Dorado and Simcoe hops, its beautiful golden orange body is created using oats, wheat, and an added dash of caramalt. We created this with our friends over at Tyne Bank Brewery in their amazing brewing facility where they really focus on local passion. To carry on the celebration of the North East, our birth place, we also collaborated with Newcastle based illustrator Dan Underwood, who created a design celebrating creativity within Newcastle.  

We hope you have enjoyed the amazing beers we’ve produced so far, and with six more on the horizon we hope you’re just as excited as us! Stay in the loop by following us on Facebook @12beers12months and let us know if you would like to see the collaboration project again next year!  

Black Storm  

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