A few months ago I was in one of my Runcorn haunts, The Grapes, and spotted a pump clip with a menacing skull on it. The beer was Startled Octopus, a grapefruity session pale ale which was utterly delightful. When I asked the landlord which brewery this was, he pointed vaguely to his right and said “They’re from up the road.”
What with the Blue Ball brewery on Ashridge St, and the Norton Brewing Company at the Priory, as well as the local pubs brewing their own on site, Runcorn is fast becoming a great place for beer lovers. Buccaneer held a Meet the Brewer down at the Ferry Boat, who definitely do their bit for craft ales in the town, and it was refreshing to see not only a very local brewery, but the amount of interest they were generating, early evening on a Tuesday.
What I love about Buccaneer, is the variety in their beer offer. Too often a brewery will cling to quite a pedestrian set of brews while it finds an audience, but Buccaneer seem to have dived in (excuse the pun) and taken a good few risks. Who would have thought that a grapefruit and orange IPA would not only be popular in Runcorn, but spark a spin-off – Amped Up Octopus – which is better than any of the American style wheat beers it resembles? Never drink a Blue Moon again now this beer is in the world. Request it, nay demand it at your local.
It would be great to see Buccaneer at one of the bigger beer festivals. Some of the trendy pretenders which make their way onto the IMBC roster with some frankly lacklustre ales would be scared witless by seeing this lot rock up. Their Port Side Pirate is a lovely chocolatey porter and the Siren’s Lure blonde ale I could drink all day.
Buccaneer seem to be crowdsourcing their new brew on their Facebook page, so far it has chocolate, wheat, Munich and pale malt, Magnum, Cascade and Columbus hops, and will come out about 5.2% (yes, even the abv was chosen by punters). It launches at the Prospect Inn, Runcorn, on July 13th.