This one is a beer that I only picked up at the end of last week having popped into my local bottle shop to grab a few German beers to set me up for my trip to the north of the country starting this week. This is one of four German beers I picked up, this one along with two others feature on the 1001 beers list which is part of the reason for starting with this one. The beer is marketed as a specialty grain but I couldn’t work that out from the bottle, instead thinking it was a hefeweizen going by the picture on the back label of the beer. I was intrigued by this one having a screw cap with a tamper-evident band on it, something I’m used to seeing on only the cheapest beers in litre plus bottles when abroad; the fact that this supposedly good beer has one is something new to me. The beer takes its name from the fact that six different malted grains are used in the brewing process. I’m glad I picked this one up before going to Germany again as I believe it only normally makes it as far north as Bremen which is a city I’ll only be spending about a day in so I doubt I’d be lucky enough to find it there, and if I do then at least I’ll know what to expect.
Appearance (4/5): Pours a dark amber colour that is quite cloudy and is topped with a fingers-width tall, foamy to creamy white head that holds pretty good over the opening minutes before eventually having in size.
Aroma (6/10): This one starts with a lot of malts and some bread coming through, there is some sweetness present as well but it’s the malts that the beer takes its name from that truly dominate proceedings. It’s not particularly strong on the nose, there is some bitterness and wheat with the beer almost hinting at being a hefeweizen with some background fruits and further grain.
Taste (6/10): Wheat and banana kick things off with the beer again seeming like a hefeweizen but the grains and some strong malts soon take over with touches of sweetness as well. Around the middle some caramel and further grains start to come through and although the beer wasn’t the greatest to begin with, almost seeming bland, it did pick up around the middle with some spice featuring as well.
Palate (3/5): Lots of grain and some sweetness on top of a light-medium body and medium carbonation. There is some spice and a dry finish that is followed by quite a bitter aftertaste.
Overall (12/20): This one is a fairly average offering in truth, it starts with some wheat and spice with background fruits but it still seems to come across as quite a bland one before improving some around the middle. The aftertaste was really bitter and lingered with it seeming overdone slightly. The beer was definitely drinkable but it wasn’t overly enjoyable and won’t be one I’ll pick up again.
Brewed In: Thalmässing, Bavaria, Germany
Brewery: Pyraser Landbrauerei
First Brewed: 2003
Type: Specialty Grain
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Another one-off Brewdog release here, Dead Metaphor is a joint effort from two UK based beer bloggers (Rob from Hopzine and Rich from The Beer Cast) brewed at Brewdogs Fraserburgh brewery last year. The beer is a coffee and chocolate infused, Scottish breakfast stout with the Scottish part taken from the fact that they used some oatmeal in the brewing process to give it a nice twist. This one was released back in October last year and I believe I grabbed a bottle earlier in 2014 but I can’t honestly remember all that well. It’s one that I had been saving for a lazy morning/early afternoon whilst enjoying a day off but I recently realised that it was one of the few bottles I had left that comes in at under 9% abv. and decided this one might be best for a school night whilst enjoying some World Cup action; this one clocks in at a more reasonable 3.4% for those interested.
Appearance (4/5): A deep black with a thick and creamy looking head that is a light brown in colour, starting about two and a half centimetres tall before settling down to a thin lacing that covers the surface of the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Roasted malts and rich, dark chocolate notes initially with a solid coffee aroma and some earthy notes coming through. There is a little sweetness from the chocolate and a little lactose comes through as well but the smell is pretty much as you’d expect from a stout with nothing out of the ordinary really. The nose is rounded out with some liquorice and touches of sugar as swell before some bitterness closes things out.
Taste (7/10): Dark chocolate and some sweetness coming through along with some coffee but the chocolate seems more pronounced. There is a few earthy malts and touches of bitterness with a definite lactose and milky taste with some cream too. The taste was a good, well-rounded one and it went down well.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied, soft carbonation with a semi-sweet mouthfeel and a dry, clean finish that is incredibly smooth going down.
Overall (16/20): This one was quite a good stout from Brewdog, it had a good balance and was very easy-going down. I was struggling to detect much in the way of the oatmeal mentioned on the bottle, the beer almost tasted like a milk or sweet stout in places but it was a taste that I enjoyed despite the fact there wasn’t too much out of the ordinary with this one; a good beer but probably not a classic.
Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
First Brewed: 2013
Also Known As: Brewdog Scottish Chocolate Breakfast Stout
Type: Oatmeal Stout
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: The Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Now for my second review of a beer from The Wild Beer Co. based in Somerset, this one being the first from them that I’ve tried on-tap and follows on from the American pale ale Fresh that I tried back in October last year. This one was added to the keg list whilst I was visiting the newly opened Drygate Brewery brewpub at the end of last month and was the only non-Drygate beer I tried that day, opting for this over the breweries own Gladeye IPA but I intend to review that one as well at some point in the near future. This one is labelled as a very hoppy IPA and falls somewhere between a standard American and the double version, although given the abv. I’d tend to lean more to the former of the two style categories. The last from the brewery that I tried was a very nice offering so that was part of the reason I went for this one and thankfully it didn’t let me down.
Appearance (3/5): The beer settled a cloudy looking amber colour that bordered on orange with a foamy lacing covering the surface of the beer. There was some tiny bits of lacing on the sides of the glass as well but the main talking point was that there was a fair amount of sediment floating around the middle of the pint which looked quite thick and almost seemed like bits of hops sitting in the glass, weird stuff.
Aroma (8/10): Fresh and very hoppy up front with a lot of tropical fruits and some strong floral notes coming through initially. There was a good helping of pine with some background fruits making an appearance too and the beer definitely seemed quite lively.
Taste (8/10): The taste mirrored the aroma well with some strong hops hitting you straight away before quickly being followed by some nice pine and tropical fruits, not to mention some floral flavours too. I could detect some peach and apricot around the middle and overall the taste was excellent.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body complimented by some faint hints of alcohol and a fresh, easy-going taste that takes a solid, bitter feel from the hops. Carbonation is lively and the beer is refreshingly easy to drink.
Overall (17/20): A very nice American style IPA that went down very well indeed. It was heavy on the hops but all the better for it and the fact that it didn’t get off to a great start with the abundance of sediment sitting in the glass was a minor issue once I smelt and tasted the beer. An excellent beer and one that I’ll be on the lookout for again, with any luck I’ll pick a bottle up sometime soon.
Brewed In: Shepton Maller, Somerset, England
Brewery: The Wild Beer Co.
First Brewed: 2012
Full Name: The Wild Beer Co. Madness IPA
Type: American IPA
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: Drygate Brewery, Glasgow, Scotland
Time for my second beer from Scotland’s newest brewery, Drygate. This one is their flagship pale lager and the first thing I should get out-of-the-way is that is a definite step up from Tennent’s Lager that is brewery a mere stones throw away on the adjacent lot at the Tennent’s Caledonian (or Wellpark) brewery. This is one of the new Drygate brewery’s three core beers, the others being their Outspace Apple Ale which I reviewed here previously and their Gladeye IPA which I hope to try sometime soon. This is the beer of the three core offerings that I can see being the most popular, at least in Glasgow anyway and I fully expect to see it available on-tap around the city in the year to come but for the moment you have to visit the brewery’s brewpub to try it one tab it seems. The beer is brewed using three different hop varieties and is then dry-hopped using Cascade hops so it’s a step in the right direction with their being a distinct lack of good Scottish lagers out there; I can only think of a couple in my head at the moment. The beer itself was a nice one and I could see it making a decent session lager, that coupled with the fact that I expect to see it in bars dotted around Glasgow soon means that I’ll probably go back to this one a couple of times in the future but it didn’t seem quite as good as the likes of Schiehallion, not on first tastings at least anyway.
Appearance (3/5): Light golden and very clear with a thin, foamy white lacing for a head that just about covers the surface, the beer looks quite still as well.
Aroma (6/10): This one has a fairly light aroma with some light, grassy hops and lemon coming through initially. There is some subtle lager malts and the beer smells quite fresh and clean with some bread and biscuit as well. The nose is pleasant and fairly typical for a pale lager.
Taste (7/10): The taste picked up where the aroma left off, with some light hops and grassy flavours coming through alongside some citrus and touches of corn. There was hints of grain but the taste, like the smell was a fairly basic one but enjoyable nonetheless.
Palate (4/5): Light bodied and quite lively with medium carbonation and a sharp, fairly dry finish that had some light bitterness thrown in for good measure. I enjoyed the mouthfeel of this one with it seeming quite refreshing in places and it was definitely an easy on to drink.
Overall (13/20): Not a bad lager from Drygate, in fact this one went down better than I expected with a clean taste that was much as you would expect from the style but the balance was good and it was very easy going down. The subtle hops were a nice addition and the beer was a big step up from the other mass-produced pale lager that the east end of Glasgow is famous for producing. I can imagine I’ll be trying this one again in the near future, although a lot of that will no doubt be down to the fact it is brewed so close to home.
Brewed In: Drygate, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Drygate Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Pale Lager
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: Drygate Brewery, Glasgow, Scotland
My sixth beer from the local West brewery in Glasgow now, well my seventh if you count their Munich Red that I’ve tried on a number of occasions now but have yet to get around to reviewing properly one here. This is a new one from them for summer 2014 and one that I assume will only be available on-tap at their brewpub just off Glasgow Green. This was in fact the main reason I ordered a pint when visiting the place over the weekend, I was planning on getting a Munich Red until this one grabbed my attention and I wasn’t sure if I would get another chance to try it. It follows on from another special offering from the same brewery, their Wild West that I tried just over two years ago in the same place and one that I felt was a pretty average offering so I was hoping this one would be a slight improvement at least, here’s what I thought of it.
Appearance (4/5): Cloudy amber with hints of caramel that starts to get darker towards the bottom. The beer is topped with a thin lacing that is foamy and covers the surface of the beer with a tiny amount of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Wheat and clove kick things off with this one seeming like a weakened version of the breweries regular Hefeweizen. I could detect touches of spice and some malts with an almost lager like aroma coming from it at times before the finish is rounded out with some medium strength bitterness.
Taste (5/10): Wheat and malts begin things here, there is plenty of bitterness coming through with only a slight trace of hops. I could detect some fairly light fruits and touches of citrus but neither was particularly pronounced with the beer seemingly pretty basic with a lemon and bitter aftertaste that was quite disappointing.
Palate (2/5): A well carbonated offering from West with a light medium body and a very smooth feel but I couldn’t help but think it seemed watered down and very basic. There was touches of fizz and spice in places that helped things slightly but for the most part the beer was bland and unexciting.
Overall (9/20): Quite a poor beer from the Glasgow brewery, disappointing to say the least with me instantly regretting my decision to try one of their new beers. It tasted like someone had mixed one part St. Mungo with two parts West Hefeweizen and came up with this one, it seemed watery and bland in places and poor throughout. In its defense, it was drinkable but only just and it’s not one I want to try again.
Brewed In: Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: West Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Wheat Ale
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: WEST Brewery, Bridgeton, Glasgow, Scotland
This one was a new beer from Leffe back in 2012 and now seems to be making its way to the UK with Tesco supermarkets recently beginning to stock the beer alongside another of the breweries beers I’ve not seen in Scotland previously, Leffe Ruby. It was a toss up between the two as to which one I would pick up to try first with the Nectar version winning that battle on the assumption that the Ruby would be too sweet. As it turned out you would be hard pushed to find many beers sweeter than this one, coupled with the fact that the bottle was so big meant this wasn’t a beer that I particularly enjoyed finishing but I’m still anxious to pick up a bottle of Leffe Ruby. With any luck Tesco will start stocking a couple other Leffe bottles that I’d be willing to give a try but whether they do or not remains to be seen; fingers crossed.
Appearance (3/5): Clear and light amber in colour with plenty of bubbles rising to the surface. The head is a large, inch tall one that is white in colour when poured into a narrow pilsner glass and takes a foamy texture with some lacing sticking to the sides as the head recedes.
Aroma (6/10): Notes of citrus initially, quickly followed by tonnes of honey and a lot of sweetness too. There is the odd floral note and subtle hops, perhaps a touch of spice too but it is definitely the honey that seems to dominate and overpower the nose.
Taste (5/10): Really sweet tasting with huge amounts of honey that actually seem more pronounced than they were on the nose. There is the odd floral flavour with some light hops and a faint touch of alcohol sitting at the back. Some bread add further sweetness come next before the beer is rounded off with yet more honey giving it a sickeningly sweet taste that was all too much for me.
Palate (2/5): Light to light medium bodied with a ridiculously sweet feel and what I’d probably say was medium carbonation levels. There was a slight hop bitterness to the beer with faint alcohol in places as well but the sweetness was so much that is overpowered almost everything else.
Overall (8/20): Quite a poor beer from Leffe and definitely not as enjoyable as their Blonde or Brune offerings, this one was far too sweet with it sickeningly so in areas which in turn make it a very hard beer to finish. None of this was helped by the fact it was such a big bottle but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this one was such a poor beer and not one I’ll pick up again.
Brewed In: Leuven, Belgium
Brewery: Abbaye de Leffe S.A.
Full Name: Leffe Nectar Tradition des Moines
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Belgian Ale
Serving: Bottle (750ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Glasgow)
A relatively new one from Samuel Smith’s brewery now, by their standards anyway, this one is a strong English ale from the brewery that was first launched back in 2008 and I managed to picked up a 2012 bottle of the stuff whilst in York late last year. The beer takes its name from an old English folk song with ‘Stingo’ meaning strong ale so it fits this one perfectly. The beer was introduced 250 years after the founding on The Old Brewery although it isn’t a commemorative beer despite the fact it could easily be one given the strength of the beer. This one should have the potential to be aged for a number of years but can also be drank fresh due to the fact that Samuel Smith ages the beer for a year before bottling anyway, for this reason I’ve decided to try it now and see how it tastes, if it’s as good as I hope then I’ll have to see about picking up another bottle and aging that one.
Appearance (5/5): Caramel brown with a huge, inch high, very foamy looking head that has a creamy looking layer at the top. Retention is excellent here, particularly given the abv. of the beer with zero movement over the opening four or five minutes before it eventually starts to subside, leaving what is still a fairly sizable head sitting a couple of centimetres tall with some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.
Aroma (8/10): Strong on the nose with good malts and toffee coming through plus a nice alcohol edge to it as well. Plenty of ripe and sweet fruits, oak and vanilla featuring too. A very good smelling beer with a solid balance and the touches of alcohol only improve things, as does the sweetness from the fruits.
Taste (7/10): Again the sweetness kicks things off with some ripe fruits and vanilla coming through, there was some of the oak from the aroma in there as well and I could detect bread and malts with a great balance between flavours. The beer is rounded out with some toffee and the flavour was a very good one.
Palate (4/5): Very smooth with a nice alcohol kick throughout, there isn’t much in the way of bitterness to this one but some sweetness is present from the start. The balance of this one was good and despite the strength it was quite an easy one to drink.
Overall (17/20): Another very good offering from Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery, a strong one from the start but it didn’t overpower and went down surprisingly easy with a good balance. The beer was a good one to mark me making it through 250 beers from the 1001 beers list, I quite enjoyed this one and would definitely be tempted to pick this one up again if I can manage to find it and the price maybe isn’t quite as much as I paid this time around; regardless it’s still a great beer.
Brewed In: Tadcaster, England
Brewery: Samuel Smith Old Brewery
First Brewed: 2008
Full Name: Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo
Type: English Strong Ale
Serving: Bottle (550ml)
Purchased: Evil Eye Lounge (York)
Price: £6.00 (approx.)