Ace Of Chinook

August 30, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

The third beer that I’ll have tried in Brewdog’s ‘Ace of Hops’ series now, although this one was actually the second beer they released in the series and follows on from their inaugural Ace Of Simcoe offering that I tried way back in March of this year. I ended up trying the beers in the wrong order due to the fact that I ordered this one online shortly before the Ace Of Citra offering was released and then ended up stopping by the Brewdog bar in Bristol and trying the beer there before opening this one. I opted to crack this one open over the weekend to distract from the massive disappointment that was the Ace Of Citra offering, a beer that seemed particularly bad given how much I enjoyed the first beer in the series, the Simcoe edition. Unlike the previous two, this one will be the first Ace of Hops beer that I’ll have reviewed that wasn’t a keg offering at one of the breweries bars and going in I was definitely hoping it would be more like the first in the series. This one will be the penultimate offering in the series from Brewdog, for this year at least, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see it or something very similar to it reappear again next year if this series proves to be a success; taste-wise it’s probably about on-par with the IPA is Dead series that it is replacing, although the only time I reviewed such a series was back in 2013 so maybe I’m not best placed to make such comparisons.

Ace Of Chinook

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light amber, this one is a little lighter looking than the Citra offering in the series and comes through with a couple of orange tinges throughout the body. The head was a surprisingly large one for the style, initially starting about three centimetres tall before halving in size but remaining quite foamy looking on top of the beer. There’s a touch of white lacing left on the sides of the glass as well with this one and head retention on the whole is pretty good.
Aroma (6/10): Some subtle citrus notes and a slightly more grassy smell comes through in the early going with this one, it’s a semi-fresh one on the nose that is mainly made up of some faint tropical fruits; there was a touch of grapefruit and some mango in there. Around the middle some hints of sweetness started to show but like the rest of the beer they seemed fairly weak and bordered on watery at point before some peach and apricot showed themselves soon after. This one was quite a balanced offering on the whole but it seemed far to light for me to fully enjoy the nose sadly.
Taste (7/10): Following on in a similar fashion to the nose, the taste of this one was a fresh one with some citrus and touches of pine in the early going. Thankfully things came through a bit stronger than with the nose and I could detect some oranges and mango with a few grassy flavours and hay backing them up and stopping things from getting too exciting. There was a faint touch of sweetness sneaking in somewhere around the middle before some floral flavours and a light bitterness rounded things off but again it could have been stronger.
Palate (4/5): Slightly weaker than anticipated, this one was a light-medium bodied beer that seemed quite lively and fresh with touches of citrus adding a nice tang but nothing seeming overly strong really. There was some faint sweetness and it wasn’t quite as bitter as I’d been expecting either but it was fluffy on the palate and fairly easy to drink.

Overall (14/20): This one was a so-so offering from Brewdog if I’m honest, it was miles better than their Ace Of Citra beer in the series but it never really hit the heights of the first in the series either with the Simcoe edition proving to be a far superior beer. There was some nice touches of citrus, pine and some lighter tropical fruits coming through but my biggest complaint was that everything could have been a lot more pronounced really. Definitely a drinkable offering but it’s not exactly one that you’d find yourself hurrying back to and it’s not one I’ll be looking out for to try again either sadly.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Price: £1.80

Książęce Burgundowe Trzy Słody

August 30, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.5

A beer that I didn’t even try to pronounce the name of when I received this as a gift from someone returning from Kraków now, and most surprisingly the beer is only the sixth from Poland that I’ve managed to review on this blog. Despite the number of Polish shops in my local area, it appears that the only beers from the country to regularly appear in bars and supermarkets are the usual Lech, Tyskie & Żywiec offerings but beyond that it’s unusual to see many others. This particular beer was one that was picked up at the airport in Kraków and is unlikely to be one that’s made it to the UK in any great numbers before. I struggled to find much information on the beer before opening it but I had expected it to be another Polish style pale lager, instead I found it to be much darker and it fell somewhere between a Vienna lager and a winter warmer style offering which I was quite pleased about.

Ksiazece Burgundowe Trzy Slody

Appearance (4/5): Pours a slightly copper tinged amber colour that is semi-clear and topped with a thin, half centimetre tall head that’s a foamy texture and slightly off-white. Retention is okay, with it eventually halving in size around about a minute but still covering the surface fairly well; there’s a touch of lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a sweet and very malty nose initially, there was a lot of caramel coming through in the early going with some earthy notes featuring too. I’d opened this expecting a pale lager but it was anything but, there was some nice sugars and a few background fruits coming through alongside hints of toffee and a faint alcohol aroma. A very pleasant beer on the nose, this one was well-balanced but the caramel sweetness was definitely what struck you first; good stuff so far.
Taste (6/10): Opening with some sweet malts and caramel much like the nose suggested, the taste wasn’t quite as strong as the smell but it was far for weak either. There was a sticky sweetness to proceedings and I got a lighter toffee flavour around the middle before some earthy malts and the odd background fruit came through further down the line. Some bread malts and a couple of sugars appeared nearer the end and there was touches of hay alongside some faint grassy flavours to round things off but it wasn’t quite as good as the nose sadly.
Palate (3/5): This one was a surprisingly light beer on the palate, it was thinner than I expected and almost seemed watery straight off the bat. There was a solid sweetness coming through from the start though with some sticky touches and a few sugars as well. Carbonation wise the beer was quite light as well but it didn’t seem flat at any point thankfully and it was still easy to drink, this despite the fact that it had faded slightly from the nose.

Overall (14/20): This one started as an excellent beer thanks to the smell that came through very strong and sweet with plenty of caramel and quite a few sugars too, all of this proved quite appealing given I cracked the bottle open expecting a run-of-the-mill Euro pale lager. Things faded slightly come the taste though, the beer wasn’t quite as pronounced with the sweet malts and caramel coming through slightly weaker than before and the body of the beer proving to be a lot lighter than I’d anticipated. There was still enough to keep me interested though thanks to the background fruits, sticky sweetness and earthy malts that featured throughout. Overall the beer was a good one but I couldn’t help wondering what might have been had it not faded to dramatically come the taste; it was still a decent beer though.

Brewed In: Tychy, Poland
Brewery: Kompania Piwowarska
First Brewed: circa. 2013
Type: Vienna Lager/Winter Warmer
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Kraków
Price: Gift

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)
Price: £1.70


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