Tuesday, 27 November 2012

One more unto the breach

Porter - 5.5%
My word it's been a while hasn't it?  Where does the time go?  How have you been?  You look good.  Have you lost weight?

Anyway back to the beer.

I've been a fan of The Kernel for quite a while now.  They know how to make beers that are delicious and unpretentious.

Tonight's?  No exception.

This is their Porter.  Nothing else just Porter.  Bottle conditioned so remember to pour it slowly and steadily.  I noticed it was in a slightly larger bottle than all the ones I have seen before from them.

There is a hint of citrus to this one that I find unusual in such a heavy and thick beer.  It's viscous and your arm will get some exercise lifting it.

It does have a surprisingly bitter after taste but do not let it put you off.  The flavour is complicated but pleasant.  As ever The Kernel has not disappointed.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A Poultry Stew

Duck Soup - 4.2%
There is something quite reassuring about reading a label on a bottle of beer and seeing it reference a local pub.

Warwickshire Beer Co. are very local to me but for some reason I'd never actually had any of their brews.

This Duck Soup was a speciality for the local university but thankfully now is available without having to go all Good Will Hunting and sneak into the University bars.

The picture makes it appear darker than it is, a rich bronze colour without the flash, but the smoky malt flavours are something I would previously have linked to a more stout-ish drink.

I'm sorely regretting now passing this up whenever I have seen it.  It's getting added to my list of good beers for when I don't want to experiment.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Narrated by Morgan Freeman

March of the Penguins - 4.9%
They face the long walk across the ice sheet.  Lonely and freeing to make sure their young have enough food.  This March of the Penguins however is far less dramatic and much more liquid.

I've had this one sitting around for a while.   Bought it mostly because of the name.  I've discovered that this is a dangerous method for picking wine but for beer you never know.

The head is a rich creamy colour and there is something of a smoky aroma.  The drink itself is smooth and rich.

I've noticed a habit of stouts to be compared to coffee flavours and smells.  Personally I don't smell or taste it.  So ignoring that little bit of license we're left with a nice but not exeptional stout that I wouldn't pass up if offered but also wouldn't hunt down.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Old in name as well as taste?

Tudor Ale - 4.8%
This beer has been sitting in my kitchen for a good few months now.  I believe it came from my sister and before that a reenactors market.  It comes from Kingstone Brewery which for the past 5 years has been independent and dedicated to using traditional methods and recipes.

This one, in line with the venue of purchasing, is a Tudor Ale.  And frankly if this is what they had to drink then I'm amazed we bothered to try anything else.

The smell is rich and smoky, the colour is a deep dark brown and the head and fizz subdued.  Ever so slightly bitter with a complicated almost dark chocolate flavour.  What can possibly top this?  They also make a stout.....

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Pay the Toll

High Street Bitter - 5.2%
I have a confession to make.  I have a membership with the National Trust.  I know, I know.  It's sandals and Thermos flasks from here on out and downhill from there.  The one benefit is that I get to go to the little shop at the end and look at the local beers they often sell there.

This is from Tollgate Brewery and I picked it on a whim.  They have been going for about 7 years in South Derbyshire.

I've been on record before saying I'm not a big bitter fan.  Go look at my comments from my home towns beer.

This is nothing like that.  It's a bitter but right at the opposite end of the scale.  A dark and rich bitter without overpowering hops and a wonderful selection of malt.  The head is surprisingly light considering the fullness of the taste.

Hunt this one down and try it for yourself.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Guarding the underworld

Cerberus - 4.5%
Tonight's tipple comes from Norfolk and a company called Fox Brewery.  I got given a boxed set of their beers in a nice little package to enjoy and review.

This is Cerberus, three headed guardian dog of the underworld.  It's also probably one of the least fizzy beers I've ever had.  Seriously I opened the bottle and there was hardly a noise.

It's not stale just very flat and look at that nice dark colour.  The flavour is nutty and initially very pleasant.

Sadly about halfway down things took a turn for the worse.

If you are familiar with athletes foot powder, this beer eventually tastes almost exactly as that smells.

It's a real shame as to start is was delicious and I'll always look forward to a good dark beer to topple the crown of Old Engine Oil

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A Mountain in Scotland

Schiehallion - 4.8%
Near Perth there is a mountain which goes by the name of Schiehallion and depending on how it's translated could mean "Fairy Hill" or "The Maiden's Pap" or "Constant Storm".  Nice to see we've got that one nailed down.

One of my all time favourite beers is Old Engine Oil.  The same brewery produced that made that also brews Schiehallion.

It's billed as a craft lager and should be drunk straight from the fridge.  So what better way to undo a trip to the gym than a nice cool refreshing beer afterwards?

Well it's definitely cool, but refreshing?  Sadly it's a little busy on the hops to be truly refreshing to me.  It seems that many brewers now are trying to distance themselves from the popular lagers by upping the stakes in terms of flavours. It's not a bad thing for someone to do but when I want something cool and refreshing I'd also like something just a little simpler.

The off licence I buy most of my beers from has sadly now closed due to their Victorian building being turned into a hairdressers.  It's a real shame but I hope they will be back at a new site soon.  Good luck Alexander Wines, I'm rooting for you.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

With genuine chocolate

Heartless - 4.9%
Not so very long ago Red Willow tweeted about some old beers left around the brewery.  One of those was the inspiration for tonight's drink Heartless.

The first thing I noticed as I poured it out was just how heavy it is.  There is some serious weight behind it.  The second will be the genuinely pleasant chocolatey taste.  Here's where the weight helps by slowing me down, otherwise I'd be in danger of guzzling this.

Once it's gone down you get a slightly bitter, in a dark chocolate sense, after taste that is remarkably pleasant.  Dispite the shear mass of the drink it isn't as smooth and velvety as something like old engine oil.  Get that texture with this flavour and I will drink my self into an early grave.

Next up I could go for something independent from Norfolk, something I don't expect to enjoy or something with Coconuts in it...  Suggestions?

Friday, 29 June 2012

A long goodbye

I recently changed day jobs, I wouldn't want you to be fooled into thinking this is my day job.  As is tradition I went out with a handful of guys from the office for beers.

There is a bar in the centre of Birmingham I enjoy called The Post Office Vaults and as it was my choice I dragged them all there.

As the evening wore on more and more drinks were consumed and one of the bad idea bears suggested a drinking game with a punishment drink.

So we ended up with a lambic by the name of Gueuze.  The bar staff even checked we were sure with a "You want a proper lambic?!"  The general consensus is that this smelt like a stale urinal.

You can't see clearly but the label shows a statue pissing the same colour as the drink he's holding.

It's definitely a real lambic, fermented from the yeast in the environment, and sour.  Incredibly sour.  It definitely taste better than it smells but I'm not going to be in a rush to repeat the experience.

And there in the background is a forlorn former co-worked missing me already.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Final round of Craddock's

Saxon Gold - 4%
So here we are with the final beer of the trio from Craddock's, Saxon Gold.

As the landlord of the Duke William still hasn't fixed his web page (redirect in action here) I shall once again read from the bottle, chapter 1, verse 3.  "Traditional Golden Bitter, with Fuggles & Goldings hops, gives a clean taste leading to a dry finish."

Well where to start with a statement like that?

I have had a fair few "Tradition" bitters over the years and this is nothing like most of them.  This is delicious.  The hops give a great flavour and the dry, only ever so slightly bitter, after taste doesn't punish you for drinking it.

After a lot of bad memories of working in Stourbridge and dodging the drugged up beggars in the city centre, now I have something better to thing about.

All three beers gone and drunk.  On the plus side I got two of each of the beers so I can revisit them and check my original opinions and make sure I didn't chill the stout to much.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Craddock's Round 2

Capra - 5%

You may or may not have noticed that I haven't linked to the website for the brewery yet.  The reason is it appear that the pub they are housed in (winner of pub of the year 2011) doesn't appear to have paid their graphics designers and the website points back to the hosting company.

Craddock's has been selling around the West Midlands though I haven't seen it getting as far east as Coventry yet.  Again these fine bottles came from a friend as wedding present.

Tonight's post gym beer is Capra and to quote the bottle "Pale, lightly hopped, fruity, premium bitter".  It is also great in giving you good storage and serving instructions.  These bottles have a good amount of sediment so a single good clean pour is your friend here.

This beer is spectacular.  Not overdone on the hops nor the bubbles I find Capra to be incredibly drinkable with a great well rounded flavour.  If I find more I'm snapping it up.

Can the final Craddock's measure up?

Friday, 15 June 2012

Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin

Goat Herder - 4.5%
So recently I was married.  I had no input into the wedding gift list so I was delighted when I was presented with three beers from a small independent brewery.

So this is Craddock's episode 1 of 3.  Goat Herder.

As you aught to have figured out by now, Goat Herder is a Stout.  As stouts go it's not as thick and heavy as most.  The colour is a rich red and it has a slightly sharp taste that mellows into a softer dusty after taste.

Personally I like a little more substance to my stouts and a bit less effervescence.  So if you're a lager drinker looking for a gateway stout, hunt this down and give it a go.

Monday, 4 June 2012

A little Italian flavour

Peroni Gran Reserva - 6.6%
So this last week I went to see Avenue Q again.  And before hand we went as a group to Pizza Express.  As I didn't want to fall asleep in the theatre and start snoring we didn't have any wine and I spotted this on the menu.

Peroni Gran Reserva this is Peroni's attempt to do something a little more special than their normal fare.  It is a richer amber than the classic Nasstro Azzuro and with it comes a better flavour.  It has a nice subtle malt which reminds me of the northern European beers like Leffe.

They only serve the smaller bottles and it is a little more than the base lager but it is worth the price increase.

It was quite a surprise to discover this on the menu and I'm glad I found it.

Friday, 1 June 2012

A return is imminent

Sorry for going dark on you all.  My wedding is now complete, my honeymoon over and my new job all ready to start.

Beers from Malta coming soon.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Named like something out of Harry Potter

Querkus - 4.5%
In Oxfordshire you can find a relatively new brewery by the name of Ridgeway of Oxfordshire.  You will be hard pressed to find their own webpage, let me know if you do.

This beer was given to me by my sister.  She also gave me the Garlic beer so her track record is pretty poor to say the least.

What I have is Querkus - Smoked Oaked Porter.

It's a surprisingly light coloured beer for a porter, more red then brown.  It also has a smoky taste, as advertised by the name, that lingers on your palate and is delivered by its delicious smell.

There is a slight downside.  The beer has a rather harsh sharpness to it that cut through the smoke rather than a richness.  It's a little disappointing which may in some part be down to the smell being such a hard act to follow.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

It's good for the bones

Milk Stout - 4.5%
Bristol has a long tradition of brewing and keeping that tradition alive is the Bristol Beer Factory.  They produce small batches of ales by hand.

What I picked up was a bottle of Milk Stout.  The Milk Stout is so called because it uses a sugar derived from milk, lactose.  Now I have to be careful with the quantities of that I intake lest is lead to me getting rid of it far faster than the human bowel is designed to.

What it actually produces is a nice middle of the road stout that I would be hard pressed to differentiate from another.  Not unpleasant, far from it, merely not as special as others.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

On top of Mount Fuji

Asahi Black - 5%
So Friday evening I went to Mount Fuji.  There must clearly be some obsessive compulsive disorder inside me as compartmentalised food makes me happy.

This time I glossed over the sake and went for the beer.  And what a beer it is.  Asahi Black is I believe imported rather than brewed over here under license.  This means an exciting can covered in text I can't understand.

It is surprisingly light and thin considering it's deep black colour.  The flavours are subtle but pleasant without going crazy on carbonation.

Two cans of this disappeared on me that evening without even really realising it was happening.  Surprisingly refreshing and a welcome start to the weekend.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Down by the river bank

Otter Bright - 4.3%
You know I think I might have a favourite brewery forming here...

The fine folks at Otter Brewery have produced something that looks and tastes remarkably similar to a lager but, unless they are lying to me, is actually an ale.

Otter Bright is a fresh, crisp beer that is highly reminiscent of a lager and it is very refreshing after a long week of work.  It has a subtle and pleasant citrus flavour that reminds me of the Lotus IPA from a few months back, but it far less over powering.

Now if only I could convince them to make me an Otter Stout (Stoat?)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Imperial Stout - 10.4%
I have to admit it as the label that pulled me in on this one.  Brightly coloured and strangely type-faced on the label over a dark stout.

This Imperial Stout is brought to you by Left Hand Brewing Company who are based in Longmont, Colorado.  Looks like this one has dropped off their radar now as it's not mentioned on their own website.  These fine folks are craft brewers who take what they do seriously.  Brewing professionally since 1993

Immediately on opening it you get a scent of chocolate, deep and rich, which sums up this stout nicely.  Thick and creamy in texture with a wonderful roasted malt flavour it's a rather heavy beer so you wouldn't want to try and drink too much, no matter have much you really would like to.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Taste the Difference

Traditional Kentish Ale - 4.5%
There are two constants it seems in this world.  Sainsbury's have a Taste the Difference version of every conceivable product and, if someone wants a mass produced beer, Shepherd Neame have a hand in it.

As I discovered a short while ago Asahi in the UK is produced by them and now they are making generic beer for supermarkets.

Shepherd Neame is an old Brewery, founded before America gained it's independence, on the site of even older beer making.  But having a long linage does not automatically make something good.

It's a mild beer, not overly hoppy but with enough there to let you know about it.  A nice slightly bitter taste and perhaps a touch more gas than my stomach would like, I'm burping all night long.

On the whole it's a nice, inexpensive beer that is easily available everywhere.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A name that is filled with lies

Smokeless - 5.7%
It's been quite some time since I've been lied to as much as I was this evening.  You would think if you were to name your product "Smokeless" then it would be decidedly without a smoky flavour.

Red Willow Brewery however think differently.  It's the product of a man, with a fixation on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who decided brewing beer for a living was more fun than whatever else he was doing.

They have produced Smokeless which is a smoked porter.  See right there in the name the lies come out.  But apart from the name do I have any other complaints?  Well I served it to myself colder than I would have liked but I can hardly blame anyone but me for that.  I really need to find a cool spot in the house that isn't the fridge, or at least get the beers out more in advance.  Still it had been a long day at work and I wasn't about to let an excessively chilled beer stop me.

So yes, it's smoky.  And it is yet another porter.  You can see from the picture almost no head at all, compounded by how slowly I poured to avoid the sediment.

I definitely enjoyed the rich flavour at the start but toward the end there was a sharpness to the beer that, while not ruining it for me, certainly detracted a little.  I'm going to put this down to the beer being too cold and the blame rests at my feet there.

I think there is real charm and greatness in this one so I shall endeavour to get it again and confirm.  In the mean time go get some of your own and let me know what you think.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Land of the rising sun

Asahi Super Dry - 5%
In far off Japan there is a beer company.  Asahi has been brewed since 1892 in Japan, meaning "Rising Sun" this is the Super Dry version.  It was this beer which took over the Japanese beer market making Asahi brands account for almost half of the Japanese market.

So what we have here is a finely crafted Japanese product with the finest ingredients and shipped over the UK?

Nope, bottled and brewed under license by Shepherd Neame.  So how do they do with the recipe?

The answer is not bad at all.  It's a crisp and clean lager with no unpleasant taste at the end of a sip to make you regret it.  I would compare it favourably to a Chang or Tiger and this evening it complimented an Indian curry.

Highly recommended and relatively easy to get hold of, check your local Sainsbury's, and get a cold one in for the summer.  It'll be perfect for the BBQ season.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The 24th February Beer

Cuvée van de Keizer Blauw - 11%
I recently found myself wanting something a little more special.  Something I would not normally buy just for myself.

Asking at the friendly local off license I was directed to Cuvée van de Keizer Blauw. It might have been purely for it's cost, an impressive £8.75, but he did claim it to be a beer with a little something more.

This is the special edition, brewed only on the 24th of February to celebrate the birth of Charles Quint who supposedly preferred beer to wine.

You can't see from the picture but it's a deep red and what you can see it's a lively fizzy drink.  Not so filled with bubble that you will be burping or bloated for the rest of the night, just a nice fizz.

The flavour is rich and sweet.  You will notice eventually the warmth coming through from the alcohol content, a surprising 11%, which doesn't blow your head off and is somewhat reminiscent of a red wine.

Grab it while you can and remember to share the bottle or be prepared to be knocked flat.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

So they tricked me with an IPA that looked like a Porter.  This time I went in a little less blind.

Rapture - 4.6%
Magic Rock Brewery produce Rapture, a Red Hop Ale.  And when they say Hop they mean Hop.  Really rich and complex flavours and a dry finish spoiled only, for myself, with a slightly too bitter tang at the end.

It's similar to Lotus, but instead of being purely smooth it's got a much more fizzy texture.  I call this an excellent beer that doesn't sit well on my palate.  If you are a fan of something citrus and very strongly hopped expertly blended together I urge you to try it.

While you are enjoying that I will be off trying to hunt down a Magic Rock Stout.

Friday, 17 February 2012

More research required

Straffe Hendrik - 11%
A few weeks ago I threw out a blanket statement.  A sweeping and crass generalisation about Belgian brewers, and their habit over overloading the visual senses with beer bottle labels.

I then found the exception that proved the rule.

And another.

And now this one.

Fine I was wrong I accept it.  So bring on the beer.

Here's a Quadrupel from De Halve Maan Brewery.  It appears you wont find it on their website now as it's not on this years plan.

Firstly you wont notice this is an 11% beer from the taste.  That comes a little later as it sinks in and you are trying to type.  Hold it in your mouth for a little while before you swallow and when you do you will realise that it does have quite a kick.

It's a rather complex and malty flavour.  And while it is complex it's also delicious.  If I could survive more than one of these a night I would definitely enjoy it right up till the alcohol poisoning.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Isn't that a smelly kind of cheese?

Trappistes Rochefort 6 -  7.5%
Ahhh something of a classic here.  This is a real Trappist beer from an actual monastery crewed by real monks.  But lets not hold that against them.

Trappistes Rochefort 6 is a relatively rare beast.  It's the least produced of the 3 different variants produced at the Abbey who, being a monastery only make the beer in sufficient quantity to pay for the upkeep of the Abbey.  So defiantly worth picking up when you see it.

This is a spicy dark beer with hints of something like caramel.  Not surprisingly when I asked for something sweet I was handed this.  Simple and uncompromising for flavour and after taste.

Friday, 10 February 2012

From down at the river bank

Otter Ale - 4.5%
What's cuter than an otter?

Not much.

What's tastier than an Otter Beer?

Well a couple of things but don't get me wrong this I like.

Otter Brewery are based in Devon and before last Friday I had never heard of them.  They were the ale of choice at The Oak in Baginton where a few of my friends gathered to celebrate the ageing of another.  To get in I had to first pay Jasper the dog with a round of fetch before he would let me continue.  With him suitably pleased I could explore the beers.

Sadly for my collection I got no further than Otter Ale.  Delicately fruity flavours without the over hopped citrus of an IPA made this something I had to go back and try again... and again... and I think at least one more.  All I really remember after that was that I wasn't driving and the person next to me had a child seat on his lap, but no child.

Friday, 3 February 2012

A Sheep in Wolfs clothing

Magic 8 Ball - 7.0%
Take a look at that over there.  Dark with a rich cream head, slightly washed out by the flash, Can't you just imagine the rich flavours, the thick roasted malt aroma?

Well I'm glad you can.  All I get is the citrus twang of an IPA.  This is Magic 8 Ball, Black IPA.  Yes Black IPA.  Brought to you by the folks at Magic Rock Brewing.

It's as strange a beast as it appears.  You have a flavourful IPA with the look of a more manly ale.  I would challenge someone to drink this alongside a regular IPA and see if they could tell one was dark.  Obviously you'd have to blindfold them first or it's a bit more trivial an exercise.

As IPA's go it's quite nice, but once again not my thing with a lingering bitter after taste.  I was a little disappointed that it wasn't as unusual in flavour as it is in colour, but that should not stop you.  Fans of IPA rise up, go forth too Hudddersfeild and rejoice.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The calm before the storm

Export Stout - 7.1%
This coming Friday I have been given permission to go out and play at a pub to help a friend celebrate his birthday.  I intend to write up a little something on each of the beers I come across there.  What I'm not expecting is a great variety but I hope to be proven wrong.

To prepare myself, I've gone back to an earlier brewery which I've enjoyed but had something of a mixed bag out of.  The Kernel and his Export Stout.

It's another dark colour with a nutty smell and a full roasted flavour.  I would hesitate to call it a bad batch but I have had nicer in a similar style before.  It was lacking in a solid body to back up that roasted malt.

I'm perhaps being a touch harsh as this is an interesting beer from an always interesting brewery.  I may not enjoy everything they make but I do like their attitude to beer.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Ye Olde Beer

Ebulum - 6.5%
In folklore, elder trees are said to ward off evil.  In practicality all of it apart from the berries contain chemicals that metabolise into cyanide.  I always wondered who learned these things and was it a scientific study into what was edible.


Another Scottish ale tonight.  From the folks at Williams Bros. Brewery comes Ebulum a dark ale made with Elderberries.  I can't, with any degree of honesty, claim to be able to taste the Elderberry.  But then what would I know?  I doubt I could identify one with someone pointing at it.

So a dark and chocolatey beer with a light refreshing finish is what it all boils down to.  It's black colour suggests a rich flavour with isn't present, and indeed was promised by the scent.

I wouldn't turn down another but I'm not going out of my way to find this one again.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Epic and Surreal

About 4 years ago a friend and I decided to travel from England to China by train.  Along the way we found ourselves in Moscow on New Years Eve.  And what is there to do in Moscow on New Years Eve?

Baltika - 5.5%

This appears to be the Budweiser of Russia.  It was everywhere and I was rather surprised to see it back home recently.

The Baltika Brewery was formed during the Soviet Union and survived to become a private business in the years after its fall.  In 2008 they were snapped up by Carlsberg and they are now letting it out into the wider world.  Talking to a Russian, when I was in St. Petersburg for work, he didn't rate it too highly.

But what does he know?  Well as lagers go Baltika is a nice clean refreshing one.  It goes nicely with spicy food doing a great job of complimenting the heat and taking the edge of it as well.

There is a slight after taste, but for once it is one that I like.  Think of a clean lager crossed with a hint of honey.

Za vashe zdarovye!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The demon fish

Cut Throat Porter - 5.1%
In Colorado there is a fish.  Well I would suspect there are many fish.  What I mean is there is a type of fish.  Actually I'm pretty sure there are lots of types of fish there.  Lets try that again.

The Colorado River Cutthroat trout is an endangered species that has been claimed for the name of tonight beer.

Odell Brewing Company has been going since the late 80's when craft beers were just starting out.  They are constantly expanding due to demand moving from 8000 barrels a year to 45000.  Fortunately for me they started bottling as well.

Cutthroat Porter is a nice mild beer.  There are some nice caramel flavours with a good smell of roasted malts.  Dark but not especially heavy which made it very easy to drink despite its dark colour.  This is going on my list of lighter porters to drink again.

I'm also aware that I'm in danger of turning this into Porter Experiment rather than Beer Experiment.  So next time, something I picked up from a trip to Russia...

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

From the mind of Willy De Lobel

Viven Porter - 7.0%
I have finally found it.  The missing label.  The Belgian brewery that can print a beer bottle label without festooning it with pictures and lurid colours.

Viven Porter smells and tastes like it has just come out of a smoke house.  I wouldn't be surprised to hear they burn entire forests in the vicinity of the brewery to get the scent right.  Also, go take a look at the web page, I'll wait for you.  Seen it?  That's right the picture of their beer looks nothing like mine.  It's far far darker and lacks the brilliant bleached white head.

So what do you get other than smoke and misleading pictures?

It's a bitter and thin beer not very surprising, or especially daring, rather than a thicker more substantial porter I was expecting.  For something similar in terms of price and beer I would have to recommend something more like Old Engine Oil instead.

Friday, 13 January 2012

From the islands to the south

This Christmas my sister did most of her present shopping for me on the Isle of Wight.  Mostly they were dinosaur based, because dinosaurs are awesome, but also this beer from The Garlic Farm.

Garlic Beer
Well I promise you this.  You will notice the garlic.  It has the aroma of of a generic ale and garlic, mostly garlic.  The taste?  Garlic.

If you can imagine you have a beer, but instead of just drinking it you fill your mouth with garlic and filter each sip of beer through it, you are getting close to vileness that is this beer.

I like garlic, it's great in food or with a marinade and olives.  But PLEASE keep it out of my beer.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Barnstorming season

Today we go to a brewery from Bath.  Bath Ales dates all the way back to 1995 when it was founded by long time brewers with a love for craft ales.

Barnstormer - 4.5%
This was another of the Christmas beers I was given from the Sainsbury's selection.  Barnstormer which has undergone a rebrand since mine was bottled to become Barnsey.

Barnsey is a dark bitter which has a flavour similar to a stout or porter but without the heavy, thickness that so often accompanies them.

By a happy coincidence I had a pork based dinner that night and they were an especially good compliment for each other.

Again we have a beer with subtle chocolate flavours that add to the taste and don't over power it.  The bitterness is at a pleasant level and no unpleasant back of the throat after taste.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Bring me my Bow

With Christmas time comes presents.  And what better way for people to say Merry Christmas than with beer.

This one was chosen because of its literary connections, in that, it was named after the poem by William Blake, Jerusalem.

Wells and Young's proclaims themselves to be the UK's largest independent brewery, set up in 1875 in Bedford and still with involvement of the Wells family.  The water used to make the beers is mineral water, still drawn from the original well.

Burning Gold - 4.7%
How is it?  Glad you asked.  It's a somewhat refreshing bitter with an after taste that mellowed as the drink went down.

As you can almost see the colour is where the name for this one comes from, clear and gold.  What you can't see is the proud statement on the label, repeated on the website, that it has "a dry, crisp flavour with more than a hint of citrus on the palate".

Now I don't know about you but to me "more than a hint" should mean some at all.  It was overall an average ale that could have benefited from being a touch cooler than the room temperature I had it at and would be far more drinkable on a hot day.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

A Belgian Flagship

I've been drinking this for a while now as a drink that I expect to be pretty consistent.  Leffe Blond is the flagship beer of Leffe, which is the European face of the global brewery Anheuser-Busch InBev, the people who bring you Budweiser and Becks.

Leffe Blonde - 6.6%
So what do you get for your money?  Well for starters you aren't paying a premium, with big business come big discounts.  And you have a pleasant generic Belgian beer.  It's smooth and easy to drink with a slight bitter after-taste which isn't so powerful as to bother me.

The head is foamy and not dense not rich.  It remains for quite some time as does the carbonation in the beer, you aren't going to find this go flat on you as you enjoy it.

While I'm not disgusted by this beer I bought it from a generic local off licence and this was all I could find that wasn't the same as you would see in any bar in the land.  I spent quite a while hunting in case there was something interesting and this, a mass produced beer, was as close as I could get.