Half Acre Deep Space

August 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.3

The second of two Half Acre beers that I picked up recently, this one follows on from their Daisy Cutter Pale Ale that I reviewed here last and is a beer that I was in two minds about picking up, mainly due to the fact that it was quite an expensive can but based on some of the online reviews and the fact that it’s a 10% abv. double IPA, I’m hoping that I’ve made the correct decision in grabbing on while it’s available in the UK. Seemingly a 2016 release from the Chicago based brewery, unlike their Daisy Cutter offering that proceeded this one, this isn’t a Half Acre beer that I was aware of or had seen prior to picking a can up but the online reviews seem to be good and it’s definitely one I’m looking forward to cracking open now.

Appearance (4/5): Copper amber in colour and a little darker an anticipated, the beer is topped with half centimetre tall head that’s a tan tinged white and foamy looking. There’s the odd bubble through the head as well and it holds for about thirty to forty seconds before turning into more of a thin lacing on the surface but it doesn’t look too bad given the strength of the beer.
Aroma (7/10):  Surprisingly light given the strength but definitely not a weak beer, there’s some nice citrus and stone fruit kicking things off alongside touches of grapefruit. A few pine hops bring in the middle with hints of alcohol grain sneaking in but there’s not too much showing before a caramel sweetness shows. It’s hoppy and bitter with the odd tropical fruit a little further on and some dank notes bring things to a close. It’s lively on the nose without being overly pronounced or pungent but it was quite an enjoyable on the nose at least.
Taste (9/10): Opening with quite a bitter taste from the combination of grapefruit and pine hops, the beer also has a little sweetness following on behind thanks to the caramel malts that feature. It’s a slightly dank taste towards the middle with citrus and stone fruits coming through alongside the odd tropical fruit; most notably some apricot and mango with a tiny bit of pineapple in there too. It’s an excellent tasting beer with plenty of bitterness throughout and it turns slightly boozy towards the end which gave it a nice kick to finish things off.
Palate (5/5): Medium bodied and quite well-carbonated with a tiny bit of spice showing in the early going and a lot of bitterness in there too. It’s a lively beer with a fresh feel that is quite dry and as the odd bit of sweetness showing in there too thanks to the tropical fruits and caramel malts. The beer is shows a little of the ten percent alcohol content with it coming through that give it quite a boozy feel towards the end but it was balanced and easier to drink than expected.

Overall (18/20): Really nice stuff from Half Acre and a beer that I thoroughly enjoyed despite it not getting off to the best of starts given the nose wasn’t quite as pronounced as expected for a double IPA, although it definitely wasn’t weak. Opening with some nice grapefruit and pine hops that only got stronger with the taste, the beer was a bitter one with citrus and stone fruits featuring heavily and some nice tropical flavours following on behind alongside a caramel sweetness that helped the balance considerably. The beer was relatively strong and boozy with some of the ten percent alcohol content showing at times but it never overpowered thankfully and is one I’d happily pick up again if it was easier (and cheaper) to get hold of here in the UK.

Brewed In: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
Brewery: Half Acre Beer Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Can (487ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £7.20


Half Acre Daisy Cutter

August 27, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.7

A first beer from Chicago’s Half Acre Beer Company now and one that I was quite excited to see available in the UK after seeing a number of posts about it on Instagram over the years which meant it was a can I instantly recognised when I spotted it here last week. The beer is one of two Half Acre beers I grabbed from one of my local bottle shops recently, the other being a can of their Deep Space double IPA that I hadn’t seen before but it caught my attention none the less. A year round offering from the Illinois based brewery, this one is a well-rated beer online and the can design is a good one too which doesn’t hurt when picking up a new beer so it’s definitely one that I’m excited to try, especially since it’s still quite a fresh can that I’ve managed to pick up.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber and slightly hazy bodied, this one is quite a still beer and is topped with a centimetre tall, foamy white head with excellent retention and a few fine bubbles around the circumference of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly dank on the nose with some subtle tropical notes coming through alongside hints of biscuit malts and faint caramel sitting in the background. There was some light citrus notes coming through with touches of mango and pine in there too, although those two were a little weaker than I’d probably have liked before a hint of bitterness seen things out; it’s a nice smelling beer but definitely one that I felt could have been a little stronger.
Taste (7/10): Kicking off with some grassy hops and a faintly floral taste, it’s definitely not a hop-bomb but has some nice citrus flavours coming through before the caramel and biscuit malts from the nose bring in the middle. The beer is fresh tasting with some subtle tropical touches coming through, mainly some mango but a little pineapple and orange in there as well; again it’s pleasant but slightly subdued.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and medium bodied, there’s some bitterness from the hops but not quite as much as anticipated and it falls a little flat at times sadly. It’s a moderately carbonated offering and there is some nice tropical touches at times and a faint sweetness but nothing was overly pronounced really, although it was quite an easy one to drink at least and the balance was good.

Overall (14/20): A nice beer from Half Acre but definitely an underwhelming one too, the beer opened with a slightly dank nose that got me excited but beyond that it was mainly caramel and biscuit that came through with the aroma, there was the odd tropical note further on but these seemed relatively subdued. The taste was again lacking that burst of pine, citrus or tropical fruits that I’d expected despite the fact that all three feature, it’s just that all three seemed less pronounced than I’d have liked with the biscuit flavours coming through in equal measure with them. It was a drinkable and enjoyable beer but I’d been expecting a lot more from this one only for it to turn out to be a fairly average offering in the end.

Brewed In: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
Brewery: Half Acre Beer Company
First Brewed: 2009
Full Name: Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Ale
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Can (487ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £4.50

La Bête Blanche

August 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

The first of two French beers I received as a gift recently, this one is a relatively new witbier from the Castelain brewery based in the Hauts-de-France region of the country and is one that was picked up for me last month in the south of the country by a visiting family member. The beer will be my first from the brewery and my first review of a French beer since I reviewed a bottle of Secret Des Moines Triple way back in 2014, making this one long overdue. Thankfully I won’t need to wait quiet as long to try other new beers from the country since I have another already waiting to be reviewed and because I’ll be heading back to France later this year and should likely be able to try a few new beers when I visit.

Appearance (4/5): Very pale yellow in colour, the beer was quite cloudy too with it getting lighter towards the bottom too. There was a nice, two centimetre tall head on top that was quite foamy and holds well with a thick looking surface with some sticking to the sides as well; it’s a good start to this one.
Aroma (7/10): Quite peppery with some coriander and lemon open things up, there’s some subtle citrus following on behind and a hint of bitterness in there as well. It’s a relatively fresh nose with some zesty touches and a little spice seeing things out; it’s pleasant but not the strongest.
Taste (7/10): Citrus and orange zest kick things off with some spice a little pepper, both seemingly stronger than the nose at this point. There’s a freshness to the beer with some lemon and coriander coming through followed by a tiny bit of funk to see things out.
Palate (3/5): Somewhere around light-medium bodied and quite zesty, there’s some spice from the middle on and a tiny bit of sweetness coming through as well. The beer was tangy and moderately carbonated but not as lively as anticipated with it turning slightly watery nearer the end too sadly.

Overall (13/20): Quite a zesty and fresh beer without being quite as carbonated as expected, it was easy to drink though started to fade a little towards the end when it turned a tiny bit watery on the palate. It’s not an overly complex beer but it was at least balanced with a nice mix of coriander and citrus dominating for the most part which made for an enjoyable beer but probably not one I’d go for again.

Brewed In: Bénifontaine, Hauts-de-France, France
Brewery: Brasserie Castelain
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Witbier
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: France
Price: Gift

Turia Märzen

August 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

A sixth review of a beer from the Damm brewed based in Barcelona, this time a beer from Valencia that was acquired by Damm a number of years ago. This slightly smaller 25cl bottle is one that I received as a gift from a family member returning home from Valencia recently and is the first märzen style offering that I’ll have reviewed here in some time, the last being the bottle of Schwaben Bräu Volksfestbier that I tried last December after receiving that one as a gift early in the year too. This one will also be my first new beer from the Damm Group since their Bock Damm that I managed to try on-tap last year in Barcelona and was ultimately disappointed with so I’m hopeful this one proves to be a slightly better offering despite the fact that unlike Bock Damm it’s not a beer that features on the 1001 beers list this time.

Appearance (3/5): Medium amber and incredibly clear looking, the beer is topped with a foamy white head that has a few bubbles through it as well. Retention is okay but it eventually fades to turn patchy in the middle with more sitting towards on end of the surface.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a sweet opening with a lot of caramel malts coming through in the early going, there was a few earthy hops in there as well. Towards the middle some toasted notes showed and I managed to get some faint grassy hops a little further on too. It’s not overly complex but I managed to get some grains and toffee notes right at the end too.
Taste (6/10): Much like the nose, this one opens with plenty caramel and toffee flavours kicking off followed by some earthy hops and a little sugar. It’s slightly more sweet than the nose even with some bread and toasted malts towards the middle followed by a little grain. Again it’s not overly complex but there is a few grassy touches and subtle hints of citrus nearer the end with some bitter touches seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and very sweet as expected, there’s a lot of malts opening with some sugars adding to the sweetness too. It’s very carbonated with a nice tang and some fizz throughout and the balance wasn’t too bad, the sweetness never really overpowered despite dominating throughout.

Overall (13/20): Quite a sweet beer as expected, the taste in particularly was dominated by sweet malts and caramel with some toasted flavours following on behind. The beer was definitely a basic and mass-produced one but an enjoyable one to try as a one-off at least with some subtle grassy hops showing at times and the odd  bit of bitterness nearer the end too.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Damm S. A.
First Brewed: 1935
Type: Märzen/Oktoberfest
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Bottle (250ml)
Purchased: Valencia, Spain
Price: Gift

Taras Boulba (389 of 1001)

August 20, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

My third beer from Brussels Brasserie de la Senne now, this one is a beer that follows on from their Bruxellensis and Zinnebir offerings that I managed to try on New Years Day to kick off 2018, and like the later of those two this one is another from the brewery that features on the 1001 beers list. This one will be my 389th offering from the list and is my first since trying a bottle of St. Feuillien Triple in July after bring the bottle home from Belgium with me. Despite this being one of the main beers from this Brussels based brewery, I didn’t see too many of their beers available in Belgium but I assume this is because I was looking for beers that were harder to find in the UK when I was there. Originally beginning live as a brewers’ beer when it was first brewed back in 2004, this one is not a year round offering from the brewery and one of their most popular beers so I’m glad that I’m finally getting to try a bottle and check another Belgian beer of my list at the same time.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a very light, very pale looking golden yellow colour that is close to straw coloured and quite cloudy with a half centimetre tall, foamy white head that has a few bubbles on the surface too but manages to cover it well with good retention.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a fresh and herbal nose with a lot of yeast coming through in the early going alongside some fainter lemon and citrus notes as well as some pear and apples. The beer is somewhat lively with a little pine before the grassy hops start to take over. Nearer the end there is a few light, pale malts showing and touches of spice to round things off along with a pleasant bitterness.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, this one is quite a herbal beer with the yeast from the aroma present alongside some citrus and earthy hops that add a nice bitterness to the beer. It’s a little more pronounced than the nose with some grassy hops and spice coming through from the middle on before a couple more pale malts see things out nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and fairly well carbonated with plenty of spice in the early going too. The beer is fresh and somewhat lively with a nice bitterness coming through from the start with touches of funk nearer the end. It’s very, very dry and smooth with more flavour showing than expected for a 4.5% abv. beer with a lot of yeast showing too.

Overall (14/20): Definitely a fresh and bitter offering, it wasn’t the most complex with the pale malts dominating alongside some herbal flavours and yeast but there wasn’t a huge amount going on beyond that. The beer was a very dry one throughout with some faintly funky flavours following on behind some grassy and earthy hops. It was a pleasant and flavoursome offering that went down fairly well but it wasn’t quite to my liking sadly and it’s not one I’d go for again.

Brewed In: Brussels, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie de la Senne
First Brewed: 2004 (2006 to the public)
Type: Belgian Pale Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £3.10

Must Kuld – El Salvador

August 16, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.95

Currently the 30th best rated porter on the RateBeer website, this one is my second beer in the Must Kuld series from the Talinn based Põhjala brewery now and follows on from the regular Must Kuld that I tried alongside this one as part of a blind tasting recently. Of the two this one was the beer I had most been looking forward to and for that reason I felt I might be a little bias with my reviews so decided to go in blind. This one is also the last of the four beers from the brewery that I picked up recently but they’ve all be enjoyable in their own way and I have seen a couple more from them in beers shops around Glasgow and might end up picking another one or two from them in future now.

Appearance (4/5): Very dark and black coloured, it’s an opaque beer with a fine surface lacing that started about two centimetres tall and settles around a quarter centimetre tall and covers the full of the surface with no break up; it’s perhaps a marginally darker than the other beer in this series from the brewery but they’re very similar on the eye, if not identical.
Aroma (7/10): Again quite dark on the nose with a lot of earthy malts and a roasted bitterness that also has some pleasant coffee touches coming through in the early going. It’s a little more pronounced that the other Must Kuld offering with the malts definitely a little stronger this time around. There’s and sugary sweetness with the odd dark fruit off the back of it come the middle and I got some sticky notes in there too, dates and a little liquorice mainly before a tiny bit of alcohol grain sees things out.
Taste (8/10): Opening with plenty of dark fruits that give the beer a strong sweetness in the early going, there’s some dates and prunes showing alongside a little plum and fig as well as some sugars. There’s a nice roasted bitterness around the middle that wasn’t quite as pronounced as the nose and I got more chocolates and liquorice at this point with a hint of alcohol grain. It’s still a dark one without it overpowering and there was further sweetness at the end to see things out.
Palate (4/5): Very sweet with a medium body and quite a smooth feel for the most part, there was some faint alcohol coming through that gave it quite a boozy feel towards the end too. It’s a dark offering with a strong roasted bitterness throughout and a warming finish to what was a softly carbonated beer.

Overall (17/20): This one is again quite a malty beer with a lot of coffee and roasted flavours coming through too on top of some chocolate malts and cocoa. It’s a sticky sweet beer with some nice dark fruits showing throughout, most notably some prunes and dates with a little plum in there too and a couple of others in the background. It’s a plenty warming and boozy offering with some nice alcohol coming through; nice stuff and one definitely worth tying.

Brewed In: Talinn, Estonia
Brewery: Põhjala Brewery
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Porter
Abv: 7.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.50

Must Kuld

August 16, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.8

The first of two beers from Estonia’s Põhjala brewery that I’ll be reviewing in quick succession here and my third in total from the brewery after reviewing their Virmalised IPA which was a decent enough beer and their quite enjoyable Mets black IPA last month. This, along with the bottle of their Must Kuld – El Salvador edition to follow, are two beers from the brewery I pick up along with the previously review pair at the start of July and are two beers that I actually blind tasted alongside each other to hopefully get an unbiased opinion of which is the better beer after taking cost out of the equation. This one was definitely a beer that I was looking forward to going in and part of the reason I opted for it when my local bottle shop got some in was because it is well received online and is currently rated the 18th best porter on the RateBeer website which is no east feat and means that I’ll have drank six from the list (seven if you include the El Salvador edition that also features on the list as well).

Appearance (4/5): Pitch black and opaque with a two centimetre tall, beige head that is very creamy looking and settles as a thin, quarter centimetre lacing on top but one that covers the entire surface well with a touch of lacing on the sides too. A nice start and the head retention is quite impressive too.
Aroma (7/10): Dark and roasted one the nose, there’s an initial bitterness coming through with some earthy notes a little further on. It’s not overly strong and there is a faint alcohol note somewhere around the middle but not a lot. There is some touches of sweetness following on further towards the end alongside some coffee bitterness and perhaps a little vanilla and the odd dark fruit but the roasted notes are the most noticeable here. It’s definitely a pleasant and solid nose but it wasn’t quite as pronounced as I’d have expected for a 7.8% abv., that being said it wasn’t weak either.
Taste (7/10): Opening with a nice sweetness off the back of some dark fruits that included prunes, dates and a little plum; it’s a sticky sweetness to this one with some nice dark malts bringing in the middle. The beer is definitely a dark beer with some nice roasted flavours and a bit of a coffee bitterness around the middle alongside of alcohol and marzipan with a little caramel and chocolate seeing things out followed by a lingering earthy bitterness.
Palate (4/5): Sweet with a dark, roasted bitterness soon after, this one is a medium bodied beer that is somehow smooth and sticky on the palate at the same time with a slightly boozy and warming feel from the alcohol that came through around the middle. It’s a strong one and shows a lot of its 7.8% abv. without it being too overpowering. It’s a moderately carbonated offering too with a nice balance although the sweetness was probably the most pronounced with this one.

Overall (16/20): Pretty nice stuff here, the beer is definitely a dark and roasted one with a lot of coffee bitterness and chocolate malts coming through from the start with a few dark fruits sitting in the background too. It’s quite sweet thanks to this too with some prunes and dates showing with some caramel in there too. It’s a fairly boozy beer despite only a little alcohol showing around the middle but it’s a warming end to the beer with a lingering earthy bitterness to see things out.

Brewed In: Talinn, Estonia
Brewery: Põhjala Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Porter
Abv: 7.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.50