Union Radler Red Orange

August 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.7

My second review of a Union radler beer in fairly quick succession now, this is another Slovenian beer that I managed to try whilst in Zagreb a couple of weeks ago and is one that I actually bought at a local supermarket the day after trying the same brewery’s Grapefruit Radler and enjoying it more than I thought I would. This is another one that comes in at a session friendly 2.5% abv. and one that I’d probably not have bothered picking up if it wasn’t for the warm Croatian weather and the fact I was drinking quite early in the day again. It wasn’t one I picked up thinking it would hit the heights of the previously reviewed grapefruit version but it was one I felt would at least be refreshing, here’s what I thought of it anyway.

Union Radler Red Orange

Appearance (2/5): Reddish orange with some pink tinges and a thin, bubbly white lace across the top that’s quite patchy looking.
Aroma (5/10): Fairly sweet on the nose with quite a lot of sugars coming through early on, this one had some strong orange and citrus notes as well before a touch of lemon and faint tropical fruits made themselves known. The nose was definitely artificial smelling but at the same time it didn’t prove offensive or off-putting, pretty much what I had expected going in.
Taste (6/10): Tonnes of orange and citrus upfront with this one and with some artificial hints of tropical fruit as well but there wasn’t a whole lot to it beyond that really. The beer was reminiscent of Fanta Exotic on the taste buds, partially since no alcohol was showing through and the taste was quite a sweet, sugary one.
Palate (3/5): A very strongly carbonated beer that was also very sweet with not much in the way of bitterness coming through. Balance wise the beer was okay and it was certainly easy to drink as well as being quite refreshing with a soft drink feel to it.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite an easy-going beer and one that came across quite refreshing with more of a soft drink feel to it than a beer, helped by the low alcohol content and the abundance of sugars in the taste. Definitely enjoyable if you are sitting about in the sun one afternoon but I’m not sure I’d go back to it under different circumstances and I also felt the grapefruit version was better so I’d probably go for that one over this anyway.

Brewed In: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Brewery: Pivovarna Union
First Brewed: circa. 2011
Type: Radler/Fruit Beer
Abv: 2.5%
Serving: Can (500ml)
Purchased: Billa Supermarket (Zagreb)
Price: 9.49 kuna (approx. £0.92)

Pan Tamni

August 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

Another new Croatian beer from my recent trip to the country earlier this month, this one is a beer from Carlsberg and my third Pan branded beer. It follows on from the bottle of Pan Zlatni that I reviewed here a couple of years ago after trying it on my first trip to Croatia in 2012. The other beer of theirs I’ve tried is a bottle of Pan Lager on the same trip but this was my first time spotting the dark version of the beer so I thought I better give it a try too. From what I can tell, this one was only introduced around the time of my first visit to Croatia so that might explain why I never got the chance to try it before now but it was one I was looking forward to trying given dark beers seem to be a little better than most of the Croatian pale lagers I’ve picked up thus far.

Pan Tamni

Appearance (4/5): Dark brown and murky looking with a cloudy body and a thin, half centimetre head that is foamy and slightly patchy, sitting a light, creamy white on the surface of the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Dark malts and quite a nutty taste to begin with, there was some earthy notes and touches of caramel before some sugars appeared but it wasn’t an overly sweet beer. I got a few subtle hops coming through and faint coffee in the background but these were minimal.
Taste (6/10): Nutty malts and some sugars along with a taste of caramel kick things off here, there is a subtle taste of hops as well and a basic lager malts taste on top of that. I detected faint skunky flavours and a touch of bitterness before some toffee and a few faint background fruits seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body, some sweetness from the caramel and sugars and a fairly easy-going balance. There was moderate carbonation and a crisp, semi-dry finish as well.

Overall (13/20): This on was an okay dark lager, I’d rate it as an improvement on the Pan Zlatni that I first tried a couple of years ago but it’s by no means a classic beer. Easy to drink without coming through as thin or weak, the beer was enjoyable with a nice balance and is one I wouldn’t be against picking up again if I was ever back in Croatia.

Brewed In: Koprivnica, Croatia
Brewery: Carlsberg Croatia
First Brewed: circa. 2012
Type: Dark Lager (Dunkel/Tmavý)
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: The Loft, Zagreb, Croatia
Price: 18 kuna (approx. £1.74)

Hold’em All In

August 25, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

Time for a review of what was my first ever Croatian craft beer, a bottle of the Hold’em Brewery All In pale ale that I managed to try in Zagreb at the Tolkien’s House pub which had a fairly good craft beer selection, although most offerings were ones that are fairly easy to get hold of in the UK. This is actually a brewery and a beer that I was aware of prior to visiting Zagreb as it was one of the first listed when searching for Croatian craft beers and as such it was one I was particularly keen to try. I thought finding it would have been a little harder but thankfully I grabbed a bottle on my first night in Zagreb and here’s what I thought of it.

Hold'em All In

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light coloured amber but fairly bright looking beer that is clear and sits under quite a thin looking and slightly foamy white head.
Aroma (6/10): Really light on the nose with some background citrus and faint grassy hops but I struggled to detect much of anything from this one really. There was a background bitterness in there with some lemon and a few subtle earthy malts but it wasn’t overly complex or pronounced sadly.
Taste (6/10): The beer starts with some lager style malts a few fruity flavours backed up with some citrus and a touch of grassy hops. There’s some lighter style hops coming through around the middle which add some sweetness too and a few sugars make an appearance as well before some apples and various background fruits see things out.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with only a touch of grain on the palate and moderate bitterness running through the beer which sits on top of a light medium body. The beer was quite dry and crisp but also relatively clean with a nice balance and strong carbonation.

Overall (13/20): This one was a slight disappointment for me and a fairly average beer overall, although that still means it wasn’t too bad when compared to some of the other Croatian beers I’ve tried but in truth I was expecting a lot more from the beer. The was some nice citrus but the hops were far too light for my liking and the drink just seemed a little plain and one-dimensional really.

Brewed In: Zagreb, Croatia
Brewery: Hold’em Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: English Pale Ale
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tolkien’s House, Zagreb, Croatia
Price: 20 kuna (approx. £1.89)

Union Radler Grapefruit

August 25, 2015 1 comment

Rating: 2.85

Only my second ever Slovenian beer now but I have quite a few other reviews from the country to follow this one which follows on from the bottle of Laško Zlatorog I first tried in Split when I first visited Croatia three years ago. This one will be my first beer from the country’s second biggest brewery, Union but as it would happen both brewery’s from the country that I’ve tried beers from are now owned by and fall under the Heineken banner. This particular beer I’m reviewing now is another radler, a style very common in Croatia and I managed to try this one firstly in Zagreb but I also picked it up a few more times whilst in Croatia as well as Slovenia over the course of my trip.

Union Radler Grapefruit

Appearance (2/5): Cloudy lemon yellow with a foamy, white head on top that was slightly larger than expected but disappeared instantly, leaving quite a still looking beer.
Aroma (6/10): Faint citrus, lemon and grapefruit kick things off with this one but nothing came across too strong and there was no sign of any hops or malts in the beer. It came through with plenty of sweetness and quite a lot of sugar too but it definitely wasn’t your typical beer aroma, it was pleasant enough though.
Taste (6/10): There wasn’t much the taste to differentiate it from the nose, there was a lot of lemon and some strong grapefruit coming through early on. The beer had a bit of citrus and came across quite light a lemonade with plenty of sweetness and quite a tangy taste.
Palate (3/5): Smooth with a sticky sweet feel and very refreshing indeed, helped in part by the low alcohol content and the fact that none was showing with the beer. There wasn’t any sign of bitterness coming through either and it was a very easy beer to drink, particularly in the sun although it was quite light bodied.

Overall (13/20): This one proved to be quite an enjoyable beer and an excellent thirst quencher as I sat out in the sun, I doubt it would prove quite as popular in the UK though. There was some nice lemon and grapefruit flavours but it did seem slightly more like a lemonade than a beer (as is often the case with radlers) but I enjoyed it regardless with it proving to be smooth, refreshing and easy to drink; that’s probably why I picked it up on a few occasions over the course of my holiday.

Brewed In: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Brewery: Pivovarna Union
First Brewed: 2010
Type: Radler/Fruit Beer
Abv: 2.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia
Price: 16 kuna (approx. £1.52)

Karlovaċko Crno

August 21, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.2

This one will be my third review of a Karlovačko beer now and follows on from the flagship pale lager and a grapefruit radler from them that I tried a couple of years ago on my first trip to Croatia. This one is actually my first beer from the brewery since then and one that I tried on my first night back in the country when I found it in a small bar/café in Pula. The beer was actually retired back in later 2005 or early 2006 and only reintroduced in late 2012 so the seven year gap is probably the reason I never spotted this one on my last trip to the country.

Karlovacko Crno

Appearance (4/5): A really dark brown coloured beer that is almost black and comes with quite an opaque body. The head is a thin, quarter centimetre tall one that covers the surface a light, tan brown colour.
Aroma (6/10): There is a nutty bitterness to start with some faint roasted malts and a few darker notes coming through plus some coffee and light chocoalte as well. Some grassy notes and subtle hops follow with a touch of bitterness towards the end.
Taste (6/10): Nutty with some dark roasted malts to start things off, there is some faint caramel in there too with a hint of coffee lingering in the background with some earthy flavours accompanying them. There was some sweetness that followed before some subtle grassy hops and corn rounded things off.
Palate (3/5): A light medium body that was just a touch thinner than I would have preferred and there is also some slight skunk coming through too. The was no real off-flavours to this one and the beer seemed quite smooth with soft carbonation but it did seem quite a basic beer.

Overall (12/20): This was a fairly easy beer to drink and nothing really put me off it other than it being slightly thinner than I’d have liked and was expecting but it wasn’t a weak beer at least. Surprisingly there was little sign of an alcohol though but the hints of skunk and the grassy hops reminded me of the pale lager version of the brewery too much for me to fully enjoy this one.

Brewed In: Karlovac, Croatia
Brewery: Karlovaċka Pivovara
First Brewed: Reintroduced in 2012
Type: Dunkel/Tmavý
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Café Bar Cedar, Pula, Croatia
Price: 20.00 kuna (approx. £1.89)

Favorit Pivo

August 21, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.75

My first review of the many beer from my recent trip to Croatia that I managed to try along the way, this one being a beer native to the Istria peninsula and one that I wasn’t aware of prior to my trip. The beer is brewed in the town of Buzet and was one that I only ever seen whilst in Istria although I’m sure I’d have found it in Zagreb too if I’d looked a little harder. This lager comes in at 5% abv. having previously been a 5.2% abv. beer and is one that I opted to sample on only a few occasions, usually when ordering a draft beer and getting a pint of it handed to me but it’s certainly not one of the better Croatian offerings I’m afraid.

Favorit Pivo

Appearance (3/5): Clear with a slightly golden amber body that bordered on straw and was topped with quite a thin looking, foamy white lacing on the surface that was patchy, there was also some signs of visible carbonation with the odd bubble rising to the surface of the beer.
Aroma (5/10): Quite a weak smelling beer with some basic corn and vegtable adjuncts coming through as well as some light sweetness and the odd grassy hop. There wasn’t a whole lot to the nose really but some earthy malts and faint bitterness bit appear towards the end.
Taste (5/10): This one was quite a light and inoffensive pale lager on the tastebuds with some faint grassy hops and a slightly sweet taste plus some corn adjuncts coming through but in truth I struggled to detect much of anything from this one really. There was earth malts and a faint lager bitterness towards the end but that it really.
Palate (3/5): Light bodied and with a slightly sticky-sweet feel to proceedings, the beer is smooth but partially because the body is so light I believe. There was some faint bitterness coming through and it was quite an easy beer to drink without being all the memorable.

Overall (11/20): A very average lager, it wasn’t overly offensive tasting and proved quite easy to drink but that may have been more down to the heat and it being my first holiday beer than anything else. It’s not one I’d opt for again really since there are better Croatian lagers out there, although I did end up having it a couple more times on my trip.

Brewed In: Buzet, Istria, Croatia
Brewery: Istarska Pivovara
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Café Bar Cedar, Pula, Croatia
Price: 20 kuna (approx. £1.89)

Firestone Walker Double Jack

August 21, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.15

Now for a review of the fourth and final new beer from Firestone Walker that I managed to pick up a few weeks ago now, this one follows on from the bottle of Wookey Jack I recently reviewed here and is another big beer, this time a 9.5% double IPA that I’m very much looking forward to trying. The beer itself is definitely a popular one online with it currently ranked at the twenty-sixth best double IPA on RateBeer while BeerAdvocate ranks it at a respectable thirty-six so I’m assuming it’s going to be an enjoyable beer. The beer was the first ever double IPA that Firestone Walker brewed and was launched back in 2009 so it has been around for a while now, thankfully I’m getting a chance to try it now though and see how it rates.

Firestone Walker Double Jack

Appearance (4/5): Bright and clear looking with an orange/amber body and a finger-sized, creamy looking head that is slightly off-white in colour and holds quite well initially with little movement at all.
Aroma (9/10): Strong resinous pine and tonnes of grapefruit come through early on with this one, there is some orange and citrus notes too before quite a lot of tropical fruits make an appearance. I could detect some apricot and touches of mango in there as well as some caramel and sweet malts towards the end but these were definitely secondary to the strong hop presence.
Taste (8/10): Resinous pine and strong hops again kick things off here, there is some good tropical fruit flavours early on with nice grapefruit and citrus too. The caramel malts from the nose are present with the taste as well and give a nice sweetness to things, they seem stronger this time round too and the orange, apricot and mango from the nose feature as well.
Palate (4/5): This one was quite a hop-filled beer with some of pine bitterness coming through along with some touches of alcohol early on. There was  a slight tang to proceedings and the body was a medium one with similar carbonation levels and quite a dry finish.

Overall (17/20): This one from Firestone Walker was quite a hoppy and very strong tasting beer with huge amounts of pine, grapfriut and tropical fruits before some nice caramel sweetness appeared towards the end. Despite the strength and some alcohol showing, it was easier to drink that expected and the balance was good as well with a dry, lingering bitter finish. Another excellent beer from the brewery and some well worth looking out for.

Brewed In: Paso Robles, California, United States of America
Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2009
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 9.5%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £4.40

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