King Street Pale Ale

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.2

My final review from the relatively small selection of new beers that I tried recently when visiting the south of England, this one being a Pale Ale from the King Street Brewery based in Bristol that I managed to try whilst in the Bath Brew House in Bath last weekend. The beer is one of the few keg offerings that the brewery had on that I hadn’t already tried so naturally it was the one I was going to try first despite the fact it was a fairly steep £5.25 for a pint of the stuff. Coming from a brewery that I know relatively little about, I’ve decided to keep things short here and just get straight into my review.

King Street Pale Ale

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber with a hazy body and a few bubbles rising to the surface, this one was topped with a foamy head that sat about half a centimetre tall and started to turn creamy after a while but retention was excellent throughout.
Aroma (6/10): Semi-fresh on the nose with some hoppy aromas to open things up before some biscuit malts and a touch of lemon started to come through nearer the middle. The beer was loaded with pale malts but a couple of background fruits also featured alongside some moderate bitterness; a pleasant but not overly complex beer on the nose.
Taste (6/10): Quite a bitter opening with some pale malts and biscuit to get things going, there was some nice citrus notes and a touch of orange as well in the early going. Around the middle I got some earthy hops and a few grassy notes as well as the background fruits from the nose but nothing was particularly strong in truth. Towards the end some faint touches of spice and further pale malts seen things out.
Palate (3/5): This one came through with a medium body and was quite well carbonated which gave it quite a crisp and very bitter feel. The beer was semi-fresh on the palate and dry towards the end with a lingering aftertaste but overly the beer seemed a little basic sadly.

Overall (12/20): This one was a somewhat average beer on the whole if I’m honest, it started quite well but faded fairly fast and ended up reminding me of a cask beer, albeit one with good carbonation. There was some biscuit malts and the odd background fruit coming through alongside some earthy hops but it all seemed a tad basic and bland for me really and nothing seemed to keep me interested as I worked my way down the glass; not a great one.

Brewed In: Bristol, England
Brewery: Brewhouse & Kitchen (Bristol)
First Brewed: circa. 2016
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewhouse & Kitchen, Bristol, England
Price: £5.25

LIVE Dead Pony Club

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

Yet another new Brewdog beer now and like the Ace of Citra I reviewed last, this is another that I managed to try when visiting Brewdog’s Bristol bar over the weekend. I knew I’d have to hit up one the brewery’s bars sooner rather than later because this particular offering is one that I was eager to try when I heard they were launching it not too long ago. LIVE Dead Pony Club is the brewery’s take on a cask beer that uses a ‘KeyKeg’ to keep the beer fresh and they promise it should be an improvement on cask beers of old. The beer is a reworking of their ever-popular Dead Pony Club beer that was originally launched back in 2012, but this time new technology is used in the brewing and serving of the beer. I was excited by the prospect of this one since one of my biggest complaints when trying cask beers is that they are usually flat and quite bland at times so I was hoping this one would offer something different. The beer is currently only available at UK-based Brewdog bars due to the fact that the beer has to be drunk relatively fresh; anyway, here’s what I thought of it.

LIVE Dead Pony Club

Appearance (4/5): Pouring with a slightly hazy body, this one is quite a bright beer in the glass and is topped with a thin, white head that just about manages to cover the surface of the beer and leaves a touch of lace on the sides too.
Aroma (6/10): This one was surprisingly weak on the nose if I’m honest, I was expecting a little bit more from it but it opened up with some bitter hops and touches of pine. Nothing was particularly strong about the aroma with some citrus notes and a faint acidity coming through before touches of spice appeared nearer the end; this one was disappointing and could definitely have been a lot stronger.
Taste (6/10): The first thing you notice about the task is that it was surprisingly warm initially, it was also quite bitter too with a combination of pine and citrus hops opening things up. The taste definitely came through a little stronger than with the nose but it was still a long way short of being a strongly flavoured beer sadly, although some background fruits did feature too. The taste seemed quite fresh with touches of apricot and orange coming through but not a whole lot else really and the taste suffered as a result.
Palate (4/5): Quite a warm offering initially, surprisingly so even when compared to other cask beers I’ve tried in the past. This one came through with slightly more carbonation and a generally fresher taste than the majority of cask beers I’ve tried but it was quite a weak, almost bland tasting beer that didn’t come through with anywhere near enough variety or flavour to it sadly.

Overall (13/20): This offering from Brewdog was a bit of strange one really, mainly due to the fact that I was slightly taken aback by the fact that the pint was quite warm soon after being poured but also because it lacked a lot of the flavour and aroma that I’ve come to expect from this beer in keg and can form, all of which was lacking with this take on a real ale cask beer. There was some nice citrus hops and bitterness coming through early but in truth they were a little too subdued and hard to detect at point with parts of the beer seemed weak and watered down. It definitely seemed fresher than most cask offerings though and the carbonation was better too but I doubt it’s one that I’d go back to when there is are perfectly good keg, can and bottle version of the beer already available.

Brewed In: Fraserburgh, Scotland
Brewery: BrewDog
First Brewed: 2016 (Original beer 2012)
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 3.8%
Serving: Cask (Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog, Bristol, England
Price: £3.61

Ace Of Citra

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

This third Brewdog’s latest single-hop series, this is a beer that follows on from their Ace Of Simcoe offering that I reviewed back in March and much like that one, I managed to sample the Citra version a mere two days after its Thursday night release a Brewdog bars in the UK. There also happens to be an Ace Of Chinook beer in the series, one that was released at some point over the summer and I actually have a bottle of that in the house, waiting to be tried soon. As for this Citra version, given how much I liked the Simcoe edition, I was looking forward to trying this one a great deal and managed to find it on-tap at Brewdog Bristol when I was visiting the city over the weekend and decided to make it my first pint in the bar.I believe this Citra offering is the penultimate in the ‘Ace Of’ series that has replaced their ‘IPA is Dead’ series this year but I wouldn’t bet against a couple more being release next year as well, especially if this one is deemed to have been a success.

Ace Of Citra

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber in colour with a semi-clear body and quite a lively look to the beer with a few bubbles rising to the surface. The head was a foamy white one that sat about half a centimetre tall in the glass and left some touches of lacing on the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): As expected, this one opens up with some citrus hops and quite a lively nose with some fresh notes and touches of fruit but it initially doesn’t seem to be too complex sadly. There was some acidity showing and a few astringent notes with surprisingly little sweetness coming through. The citrus and orange aromas were definitely what dominated from the start here, although some further background fruits did show but I was expecting a lot more from this one and certainly more variety in the early going.
Taste (6/10): Citrus and slightly subdued pine hops open things up here before some touches of grapefruit start to some through; there was a bit more going on here than there was with the nose but again it’s not as complex a taste as I’d have liked really. I got a strong bitterness and some pleasant enough grassy hops around the middle with touches of hay before some mango and orange came through towards the end. It was an easy enough beer to drink and it didn’t seem bad at any point, it’s just that I was expecting a lot better going in.
Palate (3/5): Strongly carbonated and sitting with a light-medium body, this one was quite a gassy beer in truth but it was also fairly crisp and bitter as well. The balance wasn’t particularly great here either and I struggled to detect much variety from it thanks to the citrus hops that seemed to dominate from the start.

Overall (13/20): This one was a beer that I was quite disappointed with in truth, especially considering how much I enjoyed the brewery’s Ace Of Simcoe offering which was the first in the series. This one started okay with a nice appearance and some citrus hops opening things up but things quickly faded after that with not enough variety coming through to keep me interested sadly. I would also have liked to see some sweetness coming through at point but the hops and citrus completely masked any there might have been so I doubt very much that this one would be a beer that I’d try again; thankfully it’s only a limited release.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog, Bristol, England
Price: £4.35

Arbor Shangri-La

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

A first local beer from my recent trip to the south of England now, this one being a Bristol brewed beer from Arbor Ales that I managed to try whilst in the city over the weekend. The beer is my first from the brewery but it is a brewery that I had at least heard of prior to my visit and for that reason I decided to try it first when I visited the King Street Brew House in the city. The beer is a new one from the brewery and was only introduced a couple of months ago, sometime around March this year and judging by some online reviews it does appear to have made it up to Scotland but it’s not one that I’ve noticed in any of my local shops as yet. Going in, I was hopefully this would be a good one and I was expecting a nice burst of tropical fruits and bitter hops but I’d take anything as long as it was a good beer; here’s what I thought of it in the end.

Arbor Shangri-La

Appearance (4/5): This one sits with quite a hazy body in the glass and is a medium amber with some yellow tinges coming through. There is a foamy white head on top that is fairly thin looking but manages to cover the surface of the beer at least and leaves some touches of lacing on the sides of the glass to.
Aroma (7/10): Peach and mango notes open this one up before some touches of grapefruit and pine start to come through but everything seemed very slightly subdued in the early going if I’m honest. There was some fresh hops and grassy notes around the middle that gave the beer a lively nose with some citrus aromas in there too. It was a pleasant enough smelling beer but it could have benefited from being a touch stronger in the early going.
Taste (7/10): Opening up as quite a bitter-tasting beer, this one start with some pine and grapefruit flavours that come through a little stronger than they did with the nose but still fall short of overpowering. There was some decent grassy flavours and a hint of sweetness not far behind, with a little peach, apricot and mango featuring alongside some citrus flavours. There was some faint herbal touches towards the end but I expected to see a few more malts showing as well but these were quite hard to detect beyond the odd bit of sweetness showing.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite a fresh beer, this one was definitely a bitter offering but it came through with a well-carbonated body and a good balance as well. There was some touches of citrus tang coming through and the beer was an easy one to drink, with the finish a lingering bitter one too.

Overall (14/20): My first Arbor beer and one that I was quietly looking forward to going in but one that didn’t get off to the best of starts sadly. Although it wasn’t too bad an opening for the beer, the hops and tropical flavours that I had been looking forward to seem quite subdued and light in areas without coming through entirely weak. There was some grassy flavours and a few burst of citrus as well but I had been expecting some more sweetness than was forthcoming and there didn’t seem to be any sign of the malts. It was still a pleasant enough beer and one that was easy to drink but I couldn’t help thinking that it could have been a lot better than it was.

Brewed In: Bristol, England
Brewery: Arbor Ales
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American IPA
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: King Street Brew House, Bristol, England
Price: £5.20

Brewdog Kingpin

August 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

The first review from the latest batch of beers that I ordered from the Brewdog online shop now, this one being their latest attempt to brew a popular lager and as such it follows on from the likes of their 77 Lager, Vagabond Pilsner, Fake Lager and This. Is. Lager offerings that have come and gone over the last couple of years. The beer will be the 110th from Brewdog that I will have reviewed on this blog, and roughly my 105th unique beer from the brewery given I’ve tried more than one version of the same beer a couple of times in the past. This is a beer that I tried to pick up not long after it first appeared in Brewdog bars and shops earlier this summer but it seems to have been quite a popular introduction for it and I was finding it difficult to source any initially, so hopefully that is a good sign of things to come from this one.

Brewdog Kingpin

Appearance (4/5): Quite a bright beer, this one is also pretty clear and sits a medium amber colour in the glass. It is topped with a fairly large, centimetre and a half head that’s a bubbly white once it settles a little but started as quite a foamy one. There was plenty of fine bubbles rising to the surface and the head retention is about average, initially fading to about half its original before finally settling as a fine white lacing atop the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Quite standard fair on the nose in the early going if I’m honest, there was a little grain and the usual grassy hops with a little hay and a faint touch of lemon too. The odd bread malt sneaks through as well before a couple of lager malts see things out. It’s quite a basic nose consider what I’ve come to expect from Brewdog and there wasn’t too much to it really.
Taste (7/10): Opening up with some subtly sweet malts and  a few grassy flavours, there’s thankfully a bit more to it than the nose hinted at, I got some citrus flavours and a little grain but also some background apple flavours and a biscuit taste too. A couple of Czech style hops featured around the middle and a bit of corn followed without anything being overly strong or overpowering.
Palate (4/5): A light-medium bodied beer and with softer carbonation than I’d anticipated although it definitely wasn’t flat. There was quite a sharp, crisp feel to the beer and it was easy to drink with the odd touch of sweetness coming through as well. It’s definitely not the most complex beer out there either though but it was pretty much as I expect from a craft lager I guess.

Overall (14/20): A decent lager from Brewdog and probably better than I thought it would be going in, they’ve released quite a few relatively poor lager/pilsner style beers over the last couple of years so the fact that this one good (not great, just good) is a step in the right direction. It’s probably still not quite as good as their 77 Lager and Vagabond Pilsner offerings of the past but I wouldn’t say no to a second can at least.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Premium Lager
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £1.70

Gallopers Golden Ale

August 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

A little bit of a strange one now and one that I initially wasn’t sure where I should list it under given that it is an Irish owned and based brewery that was founded in Belfast around October 2015 by TV personality Eamonn Holmes and his son Declan. Owned by the Night Cap Beer Co. based in Belfast in the north of Ireland, the beer is currently contract brewed by Sadler’s based near Birmingham in England but they hope to move operation to Belfast in the near future; for these reasons I’ve opted list the beer as one from the north of Ireland for the purposes of this blog. It is a beer that does only appear to be available in the north of Ireland though with most online reviews coming from the Belfast area so I doubt this will be a beer that travels much either. I managed to pick this one up in Fermanagh on my recent trip to Ireland though and it was the first time that I’d spotted the beer which is also the final beer I managed to try on my travels; I do have a couple more bottles that I picked up but haven’t sampled yet so at least you have reviews of them to look forward to next.

Gallopers Golden Ale

Appearance (4/5): A slightly hazy looking beer, this one is a light golden colour with some amber touches and it’s topped with a bubbly white head that borders on foamy. Retention wise the beer does okay with the head slowly shrinking to about half its original size and leaving a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Biscuit malts and the odd earthy aroma open things up here, there is a faint honey sweetness and subtle earthy hops coming through as well though. The beer definitely seems a little stronger than I’d been expecting thanks to this and there is some citrus aromas coming through too before a semi-fresh, almost toasted malt smell and some bitterness see things out.
Taste (6/10): Quite earthy and following on well from the nose, it’s also quite a sweet beer with some biscuit malts and grains opening things up alongside a bit of the honey from the nose. There was some earthy hops coming through and I managed to detect a little butterscotch before some grassy hops and a moderate bitterness started to come through nearer the end.
Palate (3/5): Definitely a sweeter beer than I’d expected going in, this one came through with a harsher than expected feel that wasn’t the most well-balanced either sadly. There was moderate carbonation and a few grains showing but overall the beer was fairly wet and moderately bitter as well but not entirely satisfying really; quite an average offering on the whole.

Overall (11/20): Quite a bitter and very earthy beer, this one started with a lot of biscuit malts and some toasted flavours but there was definitely a lot more sweetness than I’d been expecting thanks to the surprising addition of some honey flavours that also featured in the nose and were definitely welcome. Some butterscotch followed off the back of this and added to the sweetness with some touch of citrus and the odd grassy flavour featuring too but beyond that there wasn’t a whole lot going on and the beer faded fairly quickly I’m afraid. It was certainly a drinkable offering but I’m not entirely sure it is one that I’d opt for again given the choice.

Brewed In: Belfast, North of Ireland (Currently contract near Birmingham, England)
Brewery: Night Cap Beer Co.  (Contract brewed by Sadler’s)
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Golden/Blond Ale
Abv: 4.3%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.29

Farmageddon Gold Pale Ale

August 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

A second beer from the Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op now and a beer that I really had to think twice about before picking up. This one follows from the same brewery’s White IPA that I reviewed last summer on a previous trip to Ireland and at the time I hated the beer, it still ranks as the 25th worst beer I’ve every tried, listed elsewhere on this site but it’s also a beer that a lot of people seem to like so it’s always been at the back of my mind that I might had got a dodgy bottle. For that reason alone, I decided to give the brewery another chance and picked up this one from them, their Gold Pale Ale in the hope that it would prove to be a lot better than the last from them. This one is a beer that was introduced back in 2013, the same year the brewery was founded and I’m hoping that being one of their first beers that it is also one of their best; we shall see though I guess.

Farmageddon Gold Pale Ale

Appearance (4/5): A light, slightly watery looking amber with a hazy body and a two centimetre tall, foamy head that forms a dome shape at the top of the glass and holds remarkably well over the opening couple of minutes. There’s almost no movement initially and the head even looks to have gained a little height after a minute or so.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh and quite zesty on the nose with some orange and lemon notes coming through in the early going, followed quickly by some touches of  coriander too but they were quite light in truth. There was some biscuit notes around the middle with a few grassy touches too before some pale malts and earthy aromas started to appear. A couple of background fruits including some pear and apples followed nearer the end but as I’ve found to be the case with countless Irish beers, this one could have been fractionally stronger on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Quite a fresh and hoppy opening, there is some biscuit malts and touches of lemon in the early going. I got a faint, earthy malt taste coming through with some background fruits carried through from the nose; both the apple and pear featured. There was a slightly dry sweetness towards the end with a grassy taste but it wasn’t overly complex in truth.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and quite dry with a light-medium body, this one was zesty and fairly well carbonated with a nice tang from the citrus and a crisp finish to proceedings. The beer was also quite sharp and towards the end it came through with a moderate bitterness but as I’ve mentioned already, it definitely wasn’t the most complex beer out there.

Overall (15/20): Nice stuff from Farmageddon this time round, this offering proving to be miles better than their White IPA that I really didn’t enjoy at all; thankfully this one wasn’t quite as off-putting or unbalanced. There was a fresh and quite hoppy start to the beer as it came through with subtle bitterness and a few earthy flavours at points. There was a couple of background fruits that appeared around the middle and touches of biscuit featured heavily too. Without being an overly complex beer, there was still enough to keep me interested and I’d be tempted to try more from the brewery now given the vast improvement between this and the last from them that I tried.

Brewed In: Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op
First Brewed: 2013
Type: English Pale Ale
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.29

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