Saturday, 15 June 2013

West Country Ale

Buzzard - 4.8%
I don't remember exactly where I found this beer.  It was one of three possible locations.  A garden centre, a national trust property or the always delightful Beer Gonzo.

Either way that's not all that important when it comes to tasting it only for going and getting more later.

Cotleigh Brewery is based in Somerset and have been crafting beers for about as long as I've been alive.  It shows that in that time they have gotten good at it.

Tonight I'm enjoying Buzzard which is their Dark Ale that has a rich almost smoky taste.  Not to heavy and nicely refreshing.  Taking a deep breath over it reminds me of some of the Belgian beers like Delirium but without the sharp smell of alcohol.

Buzzard has been a wonderful beer to enjoy after a long day of work and should you come across it I suggest you pick it up and try it for yourself.

I'd like to point out that the over abundance of head on the beer is entirely due to atrocious pouring rather than the fault of the beer itself.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Italy has been surprising me lately

Fear - 5.2%
I was pleasantly surprised when I was last in Italy that I could find some local beers that was more than just the lager that we typically see in bars over here.

Brewfist is an Italian craft brewery that produces some interesting looking labels to wrap at least one interesting tasting beer.

I went for Fear, a milk chocolate stout as I do gravitate toward the heavier brews.

Fear is actually not as thick as I was expecting and for a beer with no appreciable head the extreme effervescence on the tongue was quite a surprise.

The chocolate taste is a lot more subtle than I was hoping for.  when something describes itself as milk chocolate I would be expecting a little more sweetness than Fear provides.  I found the chocolate was more in the after taste than as it flows over the taste buds.

I'm not going to make it my mission to hunt it down but I certainly wouldn't turn a bottle down if someone offered it to me.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Golden Dragon

Gulden Draak - 10.5%
Tonight's beer is a Belgian style from the Netherlands in a town called Ertvelde and a brewery called Brouwerij Van Steenberge a family brewery coming up on 7 generations of work. Go have a read of the history of this place, it's interesting and coupled with a set of nice pictures. It's okay I'll wait for you to get back.
Gulden Draak 9000 is a quadruple and weighs in at an impressive 10.5% and as you would expect from that you get a real hit of the smell and taste of alcohol. It also though give you some complicated malts to taste as well.

The head is endless, nothing can shift it as you drink it and the carbonation involved makes this exceptionally gassy to drink.  Each mouthful covers your tongue in bubbles.

There is also a sweetness to the beer, not to the extreme of the Jamaican beers but definitely more than I'd expect in this Belgian style.

I love the flavours but it's such a strong beer you really have to take your time with it.  I'll be nursing this one for most of the evening.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Ska with an MO

Modus Hoperandi - 6.8%
Coventry is famous for the 2 Tone Ska music scene from the 70's.  The Specials came from here and what you might be wondering about is why am I rambling on about Coventry and Ska in a blog called Beer Experiment?

Obviously I'm talking about it because this beer is from Ska Brewing and I bought it in a shop in Coventry.  They are not based in the city, nor the country I would talk about them some more but other than they are American know nothing and their website is down.

Modus Hoperandi is an IPA that comes in cans not bottles which is unusual in the craft beer world, if exploring Beer Gonzo's shelves is any way of measuring it.

With some seriously intense hops it's a great example of how an IPA should be done.  Be prepared for a massive flavour and not for the feint of heart.  Take it from someone who would typically pick one this is worth the chance.

If you find it's not for you I doubt any IPA is.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Burgers and Beer

Picture yourself in a city.  Lets, for argument sake, say it's Birmingham.  You are feeling hungry and thirsty and being a discerning type you don't want just any old lager with your meal, you'd much rather have something better to drink and don't want to scrimp on the food either.

Enter the beer drinker and burger lovers delight, The Handmade Burger Company.

The food there is fantastic.  Quality ingredients, very generous portions coupled some real ales.  There is no pretension, it's all simple things made into delicious things.

Full disclosure time.  I was invited to dine here for free.  This is something I jumped at because I love burgers and it was mentioned to me that they also served some local ales.  It turns out in Birmingham this mean a couple from Purity which was a great way to start the meal, and continue the meal, and to wrap it all up.

What I need to do now is visit some of the other around the country to see what ales make it into the restaurants there.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Fancy bottle tops

Tosca 5.2%
I remember I first saw these swing-top style bottles on Grolsch and would always want to open one even if I wasn't such a fan of the contents.  There is just something about pushing open the lid that is an exceedingly satisfying action. Plus it doesn't matter if you cant find the bottle opener.

Tosca here was found in an unassuming supermarket in Tuscany while I was stocking up on food.  I did some minimal hunting but all I could find was the distributor in Italy rather than the actual brewery.

This is a gem of a beer.  Rich malts over a crisp, almost honey like, tone.  This is perfect for a sunny afternoon or even a drizzly evening (I think Italy is sad to see me go)

There is one more beer I've had here.  I might write it up but I'm not sure.  One way or the other the southern hemisphere challenge approaches.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Beer from an area almost indistinguishable from ivory

For the past week I've been in Tuscany right in the Chianti region.  Of course being smack in the middle of a famous wine making region I couldn't resist hunting out a few beers to see how much competition the vineyards have.
Turbone - 5.0%

Enter Turbone.

Yes that's a wolf in a hat fishing.  I'm assuming it's an amusing pun based on a wolf themed brewery, if my Latin from 18 years ago is correct.

I have a bit of a soft spot for wheat beers.  I find them refreshing like a larger but with more flavour and not as over the top as the IPA's I've run into more recently.

It's got hints of citrus fruits and a pleasant mild bitterness that doesn't overpower everything at the end of a mouthful.

I've got another couple of Italian beers chilling in the fridge so hopefully I can get onto them next. 

Saturday, 4 May 2013

A thugs game played by Gentlemen

I've long been a admirer of the game of Rugby.  Perhaps it's because it's derived from a game I dislike and created in a moment of cheating.

Not much more can be said of the town aside from that and not even this drink as Church End Brewery is in Nuneaton.

Rugby Ale - 5.0%
A strong dark and bottle conditioned ale, Rugby Ale is remarkably smooth and rich.  The cream coloured head remains in place for a frankly astonishingly long time.

On this occasion I poured it gently to keep the sediment behind and it's another success for storing beer in the cupboard under my stairs.  The flavour isn't lost with the slight chill nor being a warm drink that would be just vile.

You should certainly give this one a try if you come across it.

It's just occurred to me that I've been firmly in the Northern Hemisphere with this blog.

I'm calling everyone out now.  Name a good beer from a country south of the equator and I'll find and drink it.

Otherwise I'll drink a can of Fosters and not be held responsible.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Summer fruits in my ale

Rumour has it that there is a little sun around.  Sounds to me like the perfect excuse to talk about a Strawberry Ale.

Strawberry Ale - 5.1%
So what happens here is they take some organic ale and add strawberry juice and more organic ale.

Ignoring my classic bugbear of organic as a marketing label* let have a sniff of this.

Well there is no hiding it, definitely strawberries.  It actually comes across as faintly like the Nesquik powder for milkshake.  The colour didn't quite come through in the photo but it's definitely on the pinker end of the spectrum than a normal amber ale.

This is a gassy, gassy beer that's left me burping repeatedly all evening since.  It is sweet but also acidic coupled with the veritable sea of bubbles.  With the sweet of the fruit over the bitter of the ale it's quite a strange experience.

I do like it but the complexity forced me to slow down to be able to enjoy it.  Nice to drink cool in the sun, should it decide to put in an appearance.

*Seriously people.  Try drinking a beer or eating a vegetable that didn't relate to a living entity.  If you can find one, let me know.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Back from the dead

Celtica - 4.5%
Welcome back everyone.  Been quite a while hasn't it?  Well lets see how it goes from now.

It's finally warmed up enough for me to think that spring has actually arrived.  This means I have to go outside and do work in the garden.  So after an afternoon constructing a hose system and killing weeds growing through my patio I needed a cool beer.

I have a few in the fridge but I wanted to test out my new zero energy chiller, or as I call it the cupboard under the stairs.

Enter Celtica a blonde ale from Great Orme Brewery.

Considering it's not listed in the ingredients I'm amazed at the honey taste and scent coming off this beer.

It's smooth, easy to drink and no nasty change to the flavour after each mouthful.

Now can I get myself over to Wales for a few more beers?