Surprisingly this one is only my third beer from the Boston Beer Company given the fact that the last Samuel Adams beer I reviewed here, their Blonde Ambition, that was actually an English brewed offering from Shepherd Neame so I won’t count that one. This one follows on from the brewery’s Noble Pils that I reviewed just over three years ago now and their flagship offering, the famous Boston Lager that I sampled way back in March 2012. This one is a beer that I’d spotted in a Morrions supermarket a couple of weeks ago and would probably have avoided had I not noticed it was a 355ml bottle that indicated it was an American brewed offering from the brewery rather than another disappointing collaboration with an English brewery that would likely have come in a lager, 500ml bottle. Originally released back in 2013, this one is part of a series of ‘Rebel’ beers from the brewery that also includes a Cascade, Grapefruit, Raw Double IPA, Ride and finally a rouser version of the beer; basically they’ve got pretty much ever variety of American IPA covered. Attracting a few okay reviews online, I don’t expect this one to be an absolute classic American IPA but it is one that I’m quite looking forward to trying and it was reasonably priced for an American import so I’m not going to complain too much if it fails to impress.
Appearance (4/5): Pouring a light but slightly caramel tinged amber colour, this one is quite a clear beer and has a few bubbles rising to the surface as well. Topped with a thin, quarter centimetre tall head that covers the surface well initially before turning very slightly patchy in the corners. It’s not a bad-looking beer and I’m definitely looking forward to trying it now; so far, so good.
Aroma (8/10): Quite fruity and fresh on nose with a nice citrus burst initially and some good pine to open things up. It was a juicy aroma that kicked the aroma off with some floral touches and a few herbal esters too. There’s some orange coming through along with touches of pineapple and the odd tropical fruit; it’s definitely a nice smelling beer and come through with more punch and resinous pine to it than I’d been expecting, good stuff again here.
Taste (8/10): Starting quite fresh again with plenty of citrus and pine hops to open things up in a very similar fashion to the nose, there’s some mango, orange and pineapple in there with a nice tropical fruit backing too that has plenty of grapefruit too. Following this, a few sweet malts and caramel flavours come through to help balance things out a little as well. It wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary taste wise when compared to other American IPA’s but it was a nice tasting beer with good bitterness and a very fresh flavour to it throughout.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and fresh on the way down, this one was quite a bitter beer that came through with a light-medium body that was sightly thinner than I was expected but only just. There was a slight tang coming through from the citrus as well and despite the bitterness, it wasn’t a particularly dry beer thanks to the juicy fruits that featured from the start; light, enjoyable and definitely an easy one to drink.
Overall (16/20): Quite a nice beer from Samuel Adams, certainly a lot better than the Shepherd Neame brewed Blonde Ambition that was the last beer under the name that I tried and a good one for the first IPA that I’ve had from the Boston Beer Company. It was fresh, hoppy and bitter with some nice citrus and tropical fruit flavours from the start that helped the beer go down easy. There was some nice caramel and sweet malts that came through from the middle onwards and balanced things out nicely, a solid offering from the brewery and one that I’d be happy to have again.
Brewed In: Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
Brewery: Boston Beer Company
First Brewed: 2013
Type: American IPA
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Morrisons (Glasgow)
A rare re-review of sorts now, this one is me going back to a beer that I’ve had on a number of occasions now and always enjoyed it after initially trying it on-tap at Brewdog Aberdeen when it was still a prototype offering back in January 2013 but since I’ve always felt I rushed that particular review I though I should give it another go now. I was further inspired by the fact that Brewdog are now in the process of releasing a Jack Hammer inspired series of beers that began with the Monk Hammer offering recently and I thought that would be a good excuse to give their original another try.Since this one is my second review of the same beer, I’ll do my best to keep things short here and get straight on with the review to see if my tastes have changes much since I first tried this.
Appearance (4/5): The beer pours a light amber colour and the body is a very clear on with quite a few fine bubbles rising to the surface as well. The head is a good one, sitting just over a centimetre tall and holding well as a white, foamy one over the opening couple of minutes before eventually settling as a creamy looking, quarter centimetre head that covers the surface of the beer well.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a strong bitterness with a good combination of pine hops and grapefruit to kick things off before some touches of citrus start to come through as we get closer to the middle. It’s definitely a fresh nose with some orange and tropical fruit notes in there as well, some peach and mango comes through too though. Towards the end there is a faint touch of caramel sweetness as well but the hops and bitterness are definitely what dominate throughout.
Taste (9/10): Quite a strong, resinous pine taste with a lot of citrus and grapefruit flavours to open things up. This one was quite an intense beer with some tropical fruits coming through around the middle but they seemed to come through slightly lighter than with the nose thanks to the pine and grapefruit grabbing your attention first. Towards the end where was an oily bitterness and some faint caramel that matched the nose well but yet again the hops dominated with this one and the flavour was excellent.
Palate (4/5): Quite a fresh but medium bodied beer, this one was intensely bitter from the start and it had quite an oily feel to it too for the most part. There was a slight tang in there and towards the end it seemed quite dry with a lingering bitterness at the end that stayed with you. It seemed like a well carbonated offering that was easy to drink despite the strength and the strong bitterness with the alcohol content well hidden too; excellent stuff.
Overall (18/20): This one is a beer that sums up what Brewdog are all about for me, excellent IPA’s. The beer opened up with some strong hops and tonnes of resinous pine that got your attention from the very start before some lighter tropical fruits and citrus started to come through. The beer hinted at some sweetness towards the end of both the nose and the taste but the hops won the day really and the beer was an excellent one as a result. I really enjoyed revisiting this one, it went down a lot better this time than it did when I first tried it a couple of years ago and this is why it’s a beer I always find myself going back to when I get the chance; a great beer all round and a must try.
Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
First Brewed: 2012
Type: American IPA
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
A second beer from Drygate in quick succession that makes this one not only my tenth beer from the brewery but also my first collaboration from them as well. The beer is one that was only just released in the last week or so, having been brewed in collaboration with North Brewing Co. of Leeds, England and it’s one that I managed to try last weekend, a mere couple of days after its initial release. As I’ve probably mentioned numerous times before when reviewing beers here, I’m not usually the biggest fan of saison offerings but the fact that this one was a raspberry saison and quite a low alcohol beer seemed to get me interested when I spotted it on the Drygate tap list on my recent visit, it also being a new beer from the brewery didn’t hurt either though given Drygate don’t have quite as prolific an output as the likes of Brewdog seem to. Anyway, here’s what I thought of the beer when I tried it recently.
Appearance (3/5): A slightly off-amber colour with the odd raspberry tinge coming through as well as faint orange, this one was topped with a thin head that was foamy and white whilst just about managing to cover the surface of the beer too but it was definitely on the small side of things.
Aroma (5/10): Not as pronounced as I’d expect from a fruity saison, in fact it was quite weak but there was some citrus and raspberry notes coming through in the early going; they could definitely have been stronger though. They were accompanied by some pale malts and orange notes as well as a few summer berries, mainly the raspberries you would expect but also some strawberries too. In truth the beer was too light on the nose which gave it a weak and disappointing feel.
Taste (7/10): The taste started off a touch stronger than the nose and it was quite sweet too with some raspberries coming through alongside the various other berries from the nose and sitting on top of a citrus base that made the beer seem quite tangy too. I got some fresh, grassy hops and a touch of bread along with the pale malts from the nose and a touch of yeast towards the end of the beer. It still wasn’t the most pronounced taste going but it was certainly a step up from the nose at least.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and quite fruity with a nice, tangy base from the citrus and a pleasant sweetness coming through from the fruits as well. The raspberries added a hint of sourness and overall the beer was quite smooth, sitting on top of a medium body and coming through with a faint bit of spice and some dryness at the end.
Overall (11/20): This one was definitely a slow starter and the nose in particular was a real source of disappointment but thankfully things started to pick up a little come the taste thanks to the combination of sweet fruits, citrus tang and sourness from the berries that seemed to balance out nicely. It was definitely a fresh offering and it proved easy enough to drink, probably due to the low alcohol content but it was far from being a strong enough beer and didn’t seem like a saison at times. An interesting beer but not the best and probably not one that I’d have again either I’m afraid.
Brewed In: Drygate, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Drygate Brewery
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: Drygate Brewery, Glasgow, Scotland
Another new Drygate beer now and what will be my ninth in total from the brewery, their gluten-free Pilsner offering. This one is a new year-round offering from the Glasgow brewery that launched just a month or two ago and is one that I managed to stumble upon in their brewpub on a recent visit after initially struggling for something new to try there. Currently only available on keg but with plans to launch it in bottles later this year, I can imagine this one will be another Drygate beer that I’m likely to see quite a lot in the Glasgow area over the coming months. This pilsner will be my second lager from Drygate and it follows on from the second beer from the brewery that I tried when I reviewed it here back in July of 2014; their flagship Bearface Lager. I never usually hold out much hope when trying new lagers, even those that would be described as craft offerings, and considering I wasn’t a huge fan of their Bearface Lager this wasn’t one that I thought would be a classic but since it was a new beer from a local brewery I went in with an open mind anyway; here’s what I thought of it.
Appearance (4/5): This one was a really clear looking beer that sat as a light golden colour in the glass and was topped with a very thin, foamy lacing that was bone white in colour and done well to cover the surface of the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Opening up with a semi-sweet nose, this one featured a lot of pale malts and some hints of corn in the early going before some background citrus started to make itself known. There was some faint touches of straw and hay with a hint of coriander and some grassy hops sneaking in too but there wasn’t too much out of the ordinary with this one really.
Taste (6/10): Following on in a similar fashion to the nose, this one is quite a light beer with plenty of pale malts and some hay to open things up along a very basic citrus flavour that appears towards the middle. The beer seemed a fair bit sweeter than with the nose though and there was some faint smoky touches in there as well which I hadn’t been expecting but other than that, this one seemed to be a fairly ordinary and quite average tasting pilsner from Drygate.
Palate (3/5): A light bodied pilsner that was quite smooth and fairly fresh in the early going too. There was a faint tang around the middle from the citrus and the odd touch of smoke made an appearance as well but on the whole it was fairly easy-going and balanced.
Overall (13/20): This one was an okay lager overall without proving itself to be anything special, or memorable for that matter either. There was more sweetness coming through with the taste than I’d expected and a faint hint of smoke featured towards the end of the beer but for the most part it was a fairly standard pale lager that came through fresh and balanced without really exciting. Initially I thought it was on track to be a better offering than the brewery’s Bearface Lager but by the time I had finished this one I wasn’t so sure.
Brewed In: Drygate, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Drygate Brewery
First Brewed: 2016
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: Drygate Brewery, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £3.80 (approx.)
A new beer from the 1001 beers list and my first new English beer from the list in a while now, this one coming from the Arkell Brewery based in Wiltshire, England. This is naturally a beer that I’ve been on the look out for, basically since starting this blog and despite numerous trips to England over the years, it’s one that I hadn’t been able to source until I finally stumbled across a bottle in Giffnock’s Whole Foods Market recently and quickly grabbed a bottle. Initially launched in 2001 as the brewery’s first organic ale that is brewed using organically produced honey, I imagine it will prove to be quite similar to Fuller’s Honey Dew that I managed to try on-tap, in London last summer. That particular offering was actually the UK’s first organically produced beer, having been introduced two-years prior to this offering but I’m still quite interested to see how the two compare.
Appearance (4/5): Pouring a bright copper colour, this one took quite an aggressive pour to form a thin, quarter centimetre tall head that is foamy and white with a few larger bubbles rising to the surface of the beer too. The body was a clear one and the head eventually started to turn quite patchy, leaving a bit of space in the centre of the beer after about thirty or forty seconds.
Aroma (6/10): Not a particularly strong beer on the nose really with some light malts and a sticky sweetness kicking things off alongside the honey that the label promised. There was a nice nectar aroma from the beer that touches on some caramel as well but wasn’t quite as strong as I’d expected either really. There was some faint citrus notes and a hint of apple coming through with some light bitterness in there too. It was definitely a pleasant nose but it could also have been a lot stronger.
Taste (6/10): This one opened up with quite a bitter taste that had a lot of earthy malts and hops to begin with before some caramel and the honey from the nose started to appear but neither was particularly strong this time around either. There was some background fruits again making themselves known, mainly some apples and pears, and there was further bitterness towards the end of this one.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and moderately carbonated, this one was quite a bitter beer that had an earthy feel to it from the early going onwards, whilst some basic floral touches also featured. The beer was quite easy to drink and there was definitely a noticeable sweetness coming through from the honey without being the dominating characteristic that I’d been expecting.
Overall (12/20): This one was a pretty average offering on the whole and to be honest I was expecting a lot more honey to come through in both the nose and the taste but sadly it wasn’t to be. There was a strong bitterness throughout this one and some earthy flavours dominated more than I thought possible with this type of beer but some sticky sweetness did come through in areas in it wasn’t a bad beer per se, it just wasn’t a particularly interesting offering either. I managed to work my way through the bottle easily enough and the balance wasn’t too bad but at the same time it definitely wasn’t as good as Fueller’s Honey Dew offering that I tried a while back now either.
Brewed In: Swindon, Wiltshire, England
Brewery: Arkell’s Brewery Limited
First Brewed: 2001
Type: Golden/Blond Ale
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Whole Foods Market (Giffnock)
A second Clockwork Beer Co. offering from me now and one that I tried on cask at the brewpub over the weekend, just over a year after first visiting the place and trying their Cartside Red that afternoon. This one is another cask offering from the brewery that I opted for after finding that my first choice, their Oregon IPA, wasn’t available on my visit. This particular beer is another of the brewery’s regular cask offerings and it’s labelled as an American pale ale which is part of the reason that I opted for it on this occasion, seeing as we’re just getting into the summer months (despite the fact the weather doesn’t seem to be improving any).
Appearance (3/5): This one was a slightly hazy looking beer that sat as a fairly yellow looking, golden colour in the glass and was topped with a small, foamy white lacing around the circumference of the beer without looking like a particularly appealing beer.
Aroma (5/10): The one was quite a one-dimensional beer on the nose with some moderate strength hops and a few touches of citrus coming through in the early going before a few malts and some bread showed up around the middle. The beer has moderate strength on the nose but in truth it just wasn’t all that interesting a beer in my opinion.
Taste (5/10): Quite a bitter taste, more so that the nose indicated really and there was quite a strong lemon flavour that was backed up with touches of pine. The beer was fruity with some tropical ones sitting in the background and a few bread malts in there too but again it was quite an ordinary beer in my opinion with little else in there to grab your attention.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite flat, something that I always find to be a problem with cask offering. There was no sign of any carbonation and the beer was definitely a bitter one on the palate with some citrus coming through as well and adding a tang to proceedings; beyond that there wasn’t too much going on really.
Overall (8/20): This one proved to be another fairly disappointing offering from Clockwork and in the end it proved to be quite a flat, one-dimensional beer that had little showing to keep me interested. For the most part, there wasn’t a whole lot going on with the beer other than some strong bitterness and plenty of lemon/citrus flavours but it wasn’t enough to allow me to enjoy the beer and it’s not one that I plan on trying again either; poor stuff again from Clockwork.
Brewed In: Mount Florida, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Clockwork Beer Company
Type: American Pale Ale
First Brewed: 2014
Serving: Cask (Pint)
Purchased: Clockwork Beer Co., Mount Florida, Glasgow
Another very highly rated lambic now and what will be the eleventh of the style that I’ll have reviewed here in total, with this particular offering being my second from the Boon brewery in Belgium and one that follows on from their excellent Boon Oude Geuze that I enjoyed in January last year. Like that one before it, this beer also features on the 1001 beers list as one of countless Belgian offerings that I’ve yet to sample but given the relatively good availability of this one in the UK, it’s a bit of a surprise that I’ve not tried this one already. I’ve been closed to picking up a bottle on a number of occasions now but was finally persuaded when I spotted this 2012 Vintage bottle in the Whole Foods Market store in Giffnock just over a week ago. The brewery’s Mariage Parfait is considered their top beer as well as their most complex and it is currently rated at the 34th best Gueze style lambic on the RateBeer website; just one place above their regular Boon Oude Geuze. Made using blends of some of the brewery’s other lambics, this one from Boon uses a higher percentage of three-year old lambics than usual for this type of beer and is usually bottled around March each year, meaning this bottle is likely to be slightly over four years old. As my first lambic since trying Cantillon’s truly excellent Blåbær Lambik in Copenhagen recently, this one is definitely a beer that I’m looking forward to trying and also it’s a different type of lambic to that last Cantillon offering, I can’t wait to see how they compare anyway.
Appearance (5/5): Pouring a very clear, bright golden amber colour with a centimetre tall head that is made up of fine bubbles that hold well around the sides but leaves the start of a patch in the middle of the beer before this eventually disappears as the bubbles mange to fill the head out and complete it. There is a lot of visible carbonation showing with this one early on and plenty of fine bubbles rise to the surface of the beer too; still it’s a nice looking beer in the early going and the head holds a lot better than I thought it would.
Aroma (7/10): Quite sour initially as you’d expect and this was a sharp, tart nose off the back of that with some grapes and white wine like aromas showing themselves. There was some herbal notes and a few touches of lemon towards the middle with some hay coming through as well without anything being particularly pronounced. There was some faint acidity towards the end and a few background fruits feature as well.
Taste (9/10): Thankfully more pronounced and definitely more funky than the nose, this one kicks off with a dry citrus taste that is particularly sour with some lemon and hay off the back of it. There was a strong acidity coming through in the early going with white grapes and further sourness with a sharp taste around the middle. Some apples, pears and a hint of sweetness feature after that with some pineapple and a few nondescript fruits in there at the end too but overall it was an excellent tasting beer and a complex one too.
Palate (4/5): Sour and quite funky with a lot of tart showing, this one was a very dry beer from the start with a fair bit of complexity too and a slight tang from the citrus as well. The beer was well-balanced and quite sharp with fine carbonation and a lively feel to it throughout with almost none of the alcohol showing either.
Overall (17/20): This one was a pretty nice lambic from Boon, it started quite light on the nose with the usual sourness and some tart alongside a few grapes but things definitely picked up come the taste with a lot more acidity and funk coming through. It was quite an easy beer to drink with a nice balance to it and strong carbonation; a slight step up from the regular Boon Oude Geuze and a very nice beer overall.
Brewed In: Lembeek, Halle, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij F. Boon
First Brewed: 1978
Type: Lambic – Gueuze
Serving: Bottle (375ml)
Purchased: Whole Foods Market (Giffnock)