Clockwork Pacific Pale Ale

Rating: 2.6

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).

Clockwork Pacific Pale Ale

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
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Cask (Pint)
Purchased: Clockwork Beer Co., Mount Florida, Glasgow
Price: £3.60

Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait (331 of 1001)

April 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.25

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.

Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait

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
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (375ml)
Purchased: Whole Foods Market (Giffnock)
Price: £4.49

De Molen Op & Top

April 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.15

On of the last new Beers from a Beer52 variety box that I ordered a couple of months ago now, this one was the only De Molen offering in the box and will be my ninth beer from the Amsterdam based brewery. The beer follows on from the brewery’s Hop & Liefde which was an American pale ale that I sampled back in December after receiving it in as part of another Beer52 box that I was gifted for Christmas. I quite enjoyed that previous De Molen effort and as a result, this one is another beer from the brewery that I’m looking forward to trying; the fact that it’s currently ranked as the 38th best bitter on the RateBeer website only sweetens the deal. This particular offering is an American influenced bitter that I’m expecting to be more hop filled and hopefully more interesting that some of the more traditional British offerings of the same style. Bitters are a style that I no longer try as many beers from as I used to and that’s mainly down to the fact that there are so many poor ones out there but I’m optimistic that this will prove to be a good one, based mainly on the fact that De Molen beers rarely disappoint; fingers crossed that this one is more of the same from them.

De Molen Op & Top

Appearance (5/5): Quite a hazy amber colour that was darker than expected and came close to sitting a copper colour in the glass. The head was a large, three centimetre tall one that looked quite active and foamy with a slight dome shape forming at the top and retention was quite good initially as I let the beer sit in the glass and open up some; this one was a very nice looking beer.
Aroma (7/10): This nose is kicked off with some subdued, American style hops and citrus in the early going that likely comes from the Amarillo hops mentioned on the bottle. There was some pleasant biscuit notes coming through as well and the beer had a nice balance initially. Some earthy notes and a hint of caramel start to come through soon after with a few background fruits as well; most notably some orange and peach but there is also some faint tropical notes too. This was definitely an interesting bitter on the nose with some darker fruits in there towards the end and the American influence on it was noticeable from the start with the beer a better one for it; good stuff so far without it being a particularly strong one.
Taste (8/10): The taste follows on well from the nose with the Amarillo hops providing some nice citrus bitterness and a little pine in the early going. It’s not an in your face hop presence but it was more than I’d been expecting for a bitter I guess. There was a good amount of biscuit and caramel taking things forward after that and I managed to detect some tropical fruits as well but, like the nose, these weren’t particularly strong. Some toasted malts and an earthy sweetness featured around the middle and the hops made themselves known again towards the end giving some grassy, almost floral flavours and a little spice a chance to make itself known too.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and well-balanced with the citrus tops providing a nice tang and the earthy malts and caramel sweetness contrasting and complimenting it nicely. The beer was easy to drink and carbonation levels were about average, made a touch stronger than the norm for a bitter but then again this wasn’t like most of the English bitters you’re likely to try. Quite refreshing and with a good bitterness towards the end that was very slightly dry and lingering.

Overall (17/20): This one was a really interesting beer from De Molen and one that I quite enjoyed into the bargain given it was unlike the majority of bitters out there and came through with more hops, bitterness and caramel sweetness than any English style bitter I’ve tried in the past. The bottle calls it an ‘American bitter-ish’ and you could definitely tell it was American influenced with the citrus hops, touches of pine and the very nice tropical flavours that featured throughout. The beer was a good one from the start and is definitely one that I’d look forward to trying again at some point; great stuff again from De Molen.

Brewed In: Bodegraven, South Holland, Netherlands
Brewery: Brouwerij de Molen
First Brewed: 2010
Type: American Bitter
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Beer52.com
Price: £1.62 (approx.)

Human Fish Stout

April 25, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

Amazingly this one is my third beer from the Human Fish brewery based in the town of Vrhnika in Slovenia and one that follows on from two other offerings from them that I managed to try whilst in Slovenia in August of last year; namely their Pale Ale and their Combat Wombat session IPA. Of the two I’ve already tried, the Pale Ale was a fairly disappointing one and the Combat Wombat was only marginally better but prior to my trip last summer I had been hoping to try their Stout and even mentioned in one of my previous post how it would be a long time before I got the chance to again. Well that time is now after the Good Spirits Co. beer shop in Glasgow recently got in a few bottles and I managed to grab what looked like the last one on a recent visit to the shop. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it beer all right, the label is a solid black except for the letters ‘HFB’ and the word stout tucked away at the bottom corner of the bottle. The beer is definitely one that I’m surprised to see exported to Scotland and I’m hoping it goes one better than the previous two from the brewery I’ve reviewed here but either way it’s another new one and the first time I’ve seen a Slovenian beer available outside of the Croatia or the country itself and that can only be a good thing.

Human Fish Stout

Appearance (4/5): A black bodied, opaque beer with a dark beige head on top that starts as a half centimetre tall, foamy one before fading a little and settling as a thin, patchy surface lacing after about thirty seconds.
Aroma (8/10): Naturally quite a dark nose, this one opens up with some strong roasted malts and a lot of chocolate which also helps to provide a little sweetness to proceedings. The beer is creamy on the nose with some pleasant, earthy hops and a few darker fruits. There is a few touches of coffee coming through with a burnt sugar backing and further bitterness right at the end.
Taste (7/10): Roasted malts and a lot of chocolate also opens things up with the taste, there’s a nice amount of sweetness too but it doesn’t seem quite as strong as with the nose. There was a few earthy hops and touches of bitterness off the back of that as well as some coffee. The taste definitely matches the nose closely but without the same strength and there was a few earthy malts right at the end.
Palate (3/5): Sitting with what is probably a medium body on the whole, the beer did seem a touch light in areas and almost watery which was quite disappointing but other than that the beer seemed nice enough of the palate. There was plenty of sweetness of the chocolate and the few darker fruits that there was before some earthy bitterness came through towards the end. The beer was quite well balance and easy to drink with fine carbonation and a fairly dry finish.

Overall (16/20): Probably the best of the three Human Fish beers that I’ve tried to date, only just though. This one got off to a good start with some excellent roasted malts and chocolate with plenty of sweetness too, although it did start to fade a touch towards the end and seemed a tiny bit watery in areas which was a disappointment without it being a bad beer. I enjoyed this one more than I thought given the previous two from the brewery and it was went down quite easily; good stuff all round.

Brewed In: Vrhnika, Slovenia
Brewery: Human Fish Brewery
First Brewed: circa. 2012
Type: Stout
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (500ml)
Price: £2.40

Skull King

April 25, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.4

A sixth beer from Beavertown brewery now and my first double IPA from the brewery, this is an annual release from the brewery that I heard a lot about last year but never managed to grab a can of at the time and had been keeping my eyes peeled for this year. It was released a few weeks ago and a local beer shop had a few cans in but I was again unable to grab one before they sold out so it was just lucky I happened to pay them a visit not long after a few more cans arrived meaning I was finally able to get my hands on some. The beer will be my first new review of a Beavertown beer since really enjoying their Bloody ‘Ell blood orange IPA just under a year ago now and this is again one that I’m looking forward to cracking open. A third can on the bounce from the London-based brewery since they started favouring cans over bottles for all of their beers about two years ago now, something I’d definitely like to see more of from other breweries.

Skull King

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a pale golden colour, this one has quite a hazy body with the odd orange tinge. There is a centimetre tall head on top that looks quite creamy and halves in size after about a minute before holding well after that.
Aroma (8/10): Initially quite a fresh nose with some solid fruits to open things up, there was a combination of mango, apricot and pineapple alongside some fainter pine and grapefruit notes. It’s not an in your face aroma but it was quite a juicy one that came through with some nice citrus and orange touches and a few floral hops as well. Towards the end of the nose there was some caramel malts and a subtle sweetness that started to come through and give the beer a pleasant balance on the nose.
Taste (9/10): Opening up with a strong bitterness thanks to the pine hops and tropical fruits that consists mainly of grapefruit, apricot and mango but is backed up by a little citrus lemon and orange. The beer was again very juicy but the malts from the nose were slightly more pronounced and upfront this time around with the caramel malts showing stronger than before and the sweetness backs it up nicely. There was some grassy hops and a few floral flavours with further resinous pine flavours in there too as well as some pineapple and a couple of pale malts too.
Palate (5/5): This one was a hugely bitter beer with tonnes of pine hops and a strong floral feel to proceedings that was particularly enjoyable. The beer was a medium bodied one with moderate to strong carbonation levels and a nice kick to it thanks to the alcohol, and this also gave the beer a slightly warming feel at the end. The bitterness on the finish was a lingering one and overall the beer was quite dry and crisp but the balance was good with some nice caramel sweetness to level things out well; it was an excellent mouthfeel from start to finish.

Overall (18/20): A fantastic double IPA from Beavertown here, this one was loaded with hops and bitterness from the start and came through with a great combination of tropical fruits and citrus. There was some nice caramel malts and sweetness from the middle onwards that helped with the balance and despite the strong abv. and the fact that some alcohol was showing, this one was still a fairly easy beer to drink and one that I look forward to picking up again at some point. Great stuff from the get go and definitely the best I’ve had thus far from Beavertown, they really do know how to make a good IPA.

Brewed In: London, UK
Brewery: Beavertown Brewery
Full Name: Beavertown Skull King Double IPA
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.7%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.20

Sierra Nevada Nooner Pilsner

April 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My ninth beer from Sierra Nevada now and despite this being a brewery that I’m quite a big fan of, particularly their flagship Pale Ale, it will actually be my first new one from them since trying their Porter for the first time back in September of 2014; this one is long overdue then. Their Nooner Pilsner is a beer that I’d initially assumed would be a session IPA given the name (obviously minus the ‘Pilsner’ part anyway) but even after learning it was a pilsner a while back it has been one from them that I’ve been eager to try. It should be noted that one of the reason I likely thought it would be a session IPA for was because the brewery did release a Nooner Session IPA as a limited release in early 2014. Anyway, I finally stumbled across it in both bottles and in cans when I made a recent trip to the Whole Foods Store in Giffnock over the weekend and in the end I opted to try the canned version of the beer as it’ll be the first I’ll have reviewed (or even tried) in a can from the California-based brewery. The beer also appears to be a well-regarded one online and alongside occasionally appearing on my Instagram feed, the beer is currently ranked as the 20th best German style pilsner on the BeerAdvocate website. Hopefully this is another great beer from the brewery that will inspire me to hunt out some more offerings from them that I’ve yet to try, including their Bigfoot Barleywine and Harvest offerings which are two that feature on the 1001 beers list from the brewery that I’ve still to find.

Sierra Nevada Nooner Pilsner

Appearance (4/5): Pouring quite a bright looking, golden amber colour and topped with a large, thumb-sized head that’s white and foamy looking with a few bubbles at the sides. Retention is pretty good for the style with is slowly receding over the opening thirty seconds to a minute and leaving a nice, thick lacing that does eventually turn a tiny bit patchy.
Aroma (7/10): Initially a fresh smelling beer, this one opens up with some nice Saaz hops and a couple of grassy notes along with touches of hay and bread malts. There was a nice balance on the nose with some biscuit and dough smells blending well with the slightly herbal notes and faint citrus that featured from about the middle onwards. Whilst it wasn’t a particularly complex beer on the nose, it was a pleasant enough offering with some touches of spice and a light sweetness seeing things out.
Taste (7/10): Following on from the nose, this one is again quite a fresh beer but with the some biscuit and earthy malts coming through a little stronger here and the Saaz hops showing not too far behind. There was the herbal flavours from the nose and some freshly cut grass as well as touches of dough and grain. There was some citrus flavours down the stretch, in particular some lemon that provided a nice tang before a bit of spice and light bitterness seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and fairly fresh, this was a moderate bitterness running through the beer and I got some nice spice plus a faint citrus tang from about the middle on. The beer was quite well carbonated and lively with a decent balance and a fairly dry second half; nice stuff from the brewery without setting the world alight.

Overall (15/20): This one was a very nice pilsner and one that, if I’m honest, grew on me the more I drank of it, it was fresh, lively and well-balanced with a nice mix of hops and light malts that worked well to give the beer quite a refreshing and easy to drink feel. Whilst being far from the best Sierra Nevada beer that I’ve tried so far, it was a decent beer in its own right and one that went down particularly well as the first beer of the night for me. Not an overly complex tasting (or smelling) one from Sierra Nevada but a well executed pilsner that I’d be happy to pick up again.

Brewed In: Chico, California, United States of America
Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2014
Type: German Pilsner
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Whole Foods Market (Giffnock)
Price: £1.79

Greene King East Coast IPA

April 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.65

A new Greene King beer for me now, this one is another of their attempts to grab a piece of the craft beer market with that seemed more like an American style pale ale but one that was confusingly tasted very little like an IPA but was called an “East Coast IPA”. I ordered a pint of this recently in Glasgow after spotting it on-tap and was surprised when it came as a cask offering, there was no sign of the usual hand pump behind the bar so I’d wrongly assumed it would be a keg offering. Promising lots of bitterness and tropical fruits flavours with some citrus too, you can imagine my disappointment with this one when all I got was some earthy hops, biscuit and basic malts. This one has got to be one of the most disappointing beers I’ve tried in some time so I’ll keep things relatively short here and get straight into telling you what I thought of it.

Greene King East Coast IPA

Appearance (5/5): This one takes a minute to settle but when it does it looks quite nice sitting in the glass as a medium amber colour that has a slightly hazy body. The head is a great looking, creamy white one about a centimetre and a half tall that has excellent retention over the opening few minutes and leaves great lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (5/10): Not a particularly well pronounced beer on the nose really, there wasn’t a whole lot going on initially other than some light, earthy malts and pale notes with some basic hops and touches of citrus. I struggled to detect much of anything at times but there was some biscuit notes and a faint caramel around the middle before some floral notes seen things out. Quite a weak and bland aroma, the beer was pretty disappointing on the nose and could really have done with being stronger.
Taste (4/10): The taste followed on closely behind the nose and again seemed quite weak with very little going on if I’m honest, there was some faint floral touches and an overriding biscuit flavour but beyond that there wasn’t much that was easy to detect. I got some faint citrus and a few earthy hops with some bitterness towards the end and a few pale malts sneaking in but again it was quite a disappointing one.
Palate (2/5): Medium bodied and coming through with very soft carbonation that made it seem like countless other cask offerings before it, basically quite flat. There was some floral touches coming through with a moderate bitterness towards the end but it seemed weak and bland overall.

Overall (7/20): This one was a beer that I ordered assuming it would be a keg offering and was surprised when handed a cask beer which I’m not really a fan of however I went into the beer with an open mind and was left thoroughly disappointed by it. There just didn’t seem to be much going on with this Green King offering save for some basic earthy hops and malts plus few touches of citrus; on the whole it was a bland, very boring beer that I could have done without if I’m honest.

Brewed In: Bury St. Edmunds, England
Brewery: Greene King Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American IPA
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: Cask (Pint)
Purchased: Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.05 (approx.)

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