Archive

Archive for July, 2017

Cloudwater DDH Ella Ekuanot Pale Ale

July 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

A seventh Cloudwater beer for me now and my first since having a can of their Motueka Pilsner back in May, a beer that was fairly average at the time. I was looking forward to trying this one last week when I ordered it in my local Brewdog beer, mainly because I’ve had some great Cloudwater beers in the past and this one was only my second keg offering from the brewery; the other being their excellent DIPA v11 that I tried towards the end of January this year. This particular offering is a spring/summer offering for 2017 from the brewery and is another of their double dry-hopped beers that I’ve been hearing so much about of late. From what I’ve been reading online, this one seems to be a keg only offering from Cloudwater so it’s one that I’m glad I managed to try while it was still available and here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): A semi-bright looking beer that was amber in colour and came with a cloudy body, topped with a somewhat disappointing head that was little more than a thin white lacing around the sides of the glass. There was a faint bit of lacing on the side wall of the glass too but beyond that there wasn’t a whole lot going on and the surface of the beer was quite patchy too sadly.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh with some pine coming through early on the nose, there was some touches of grapefruit and the odd tropical smell too, a combination of passion fruit, pineapple and orange all making an appearance at this point. A few solid floral hops followed towards the middle and the nose seemed balanced initially, I managed to get some citrus and a little sweetness coming through though before some mango and further floral touches seen things out.
Taste (7/10): The taste of this one matches the nose well and opens with some citrus and floral hops, there was a nice touch of pine showing around this point as well and the beer was definitely a fresh one. There was plenty of tropical flavours showing with mango, peach and pineapple all coming through along with some orange in there too. Following this I managed to detect a hint of further sweetness from some of the malts and there was the odd grassy flavour to see things out nicely.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and quite crisp, this one was a lively beer that came through with solid, fine carbonation and a nice tang in there from the citrus too. Throughout it was a relatively bitter beer with some dry touches nearer the end but for the most part it was a juicy, balanced beer that went down well.

Overall (16/20): Another enjoyable beer from Cloudwater, this one was a great sessionable offering that went down well and was both crisp and lively throughout. There was solid carbonation levels to the beer and the balance was good as well, a combination of tropical fruits working well with the sweeter malts and floral bitterness; excellent stuff and one that’s well worth trying if you get the chance.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.40

Star Lager (Nigeria)

July 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.0

A very rare African beer for me now, I can’t remember the last beer I had from the continent but I know it’s been some time. This one will be only my third Nigerian beer and follows on from the bottles of Guinness Foreign Extra and Gulder Lager from the country that I tried back in 2013 and like Gulder this one is also brewed by Nigerian Breweries. I stumbled across this one in a local Home Bargains store in Glasgow recently and was intrigued by the fact that it was the first new African beer I’ve seen available in a while so I quickly decided to grab a bottle despite not holding out much hope of it being a great beer. Currently one of Nigeria’s best-selling lagers and having been first brewed in 1949, the beer isn’t one that I’m expecting much from but it’s always nice to try a new random beer wherever you get the chance; hopefully it’s an improvement on the bottle of Gulder Lager I had previously as well.

Appearance (2/5): This one is a very light amber colour that is clear and looks almost watered down. The beer is topped with a centimetre tall, bubbly white head that holds on better than IO’d expected but it’s still not a great looking beer given how light it is; there is a few bubbles rising to the surface as well but it definitely looks basic.
Aroma (4/10): Initially quite a sweet beer on the nose, this one opens with some grassy hops and corn but is generally quite light. There is a few lager malts coming through and touches of hay around the middle but as expected it is quite a basic smelling beer that has a light bitterness near the end to see things out.
Taste (4/10): Mirroring the nose quite well, the beer is a sweet one in the early going again and starts with a nice combination of corn and lager malts but is naturally quite basic like the rest of the beer too. There is some vegetable adjuncts and a faint taste of skunk around the middle but for the most part has a light bitterness running through it thanks to the subtle hop presence.
Palate (2/5): Light-medium bodied and fairly smooth throughout, the beer was semi-sweet but came through with soft, almost weak carbonation which meant it wasn’t as fresh or crisp as I’d have liked for the style. There was a subtle bitterness nearer the end and while is was both sessionable and drinkable, it was far from a good beer and it became a little bit of a struggle nearer the end.

Overall (8/20): This one was a very basic tasting beer that had a little skunk running through it but for the most part was quite a light beer with a combination of lager malts and corn making up most of the taste along with some vegetable adjuncts. It was lightly carbonated which was disappointing and it wasn’t as refreshing or crisp as a result and as such I doubt it will be one I have again unless I find myself in Nigeria at some point.

Brewed In: Lagos, Nigeria
Brewery: Nigerian Breweries
First Brewed: 1949
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Bottle (600ml)
Purchased: Home Bargains (Glasgow)
Price: £1.49

Brewdog New England IPA v2

July 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

A new release from Brewdog now and one that was only introduced by the brewery just over a week ago but it was one that I was eager to try so I made a point of visiting one of their bars and sampling it on-tap within a day of its initial release. The beer is a reworking of an early collaboration between Brewdog and Cloudwater brewing based in Manchester, their New England IPA which I consider to be the best beer that Brewdog has ever released so naturally I was looking forward to this one. The beer is an 8.5% abv. double IPA which comes in a fair bit stronger than the 6.8% of the original so I did have the fear going in that the quality would suffer like it did when the brewery increased the strength of their Born To Die beer earlier this year only to reduce it again with the next release in the series. I’ve only tried a few New England style IPA’s so far, mainly because it’s still a relatively new style of beer but it is definitely one that I’m a big fan of and I was hoping that would carry over to my first double IPA in the New England style with this offering; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it last week.

Appearance (4/5): Very hazy golden in colour with a yellow hue to it, the beer was quite bright and opaque looking but sadly there wasn’t an overly impressive head to it, all that was left by the time I placed it on the table was a thin, foamy white lacing that was turning slightly patchy but the colour was a nice one.
Aroma (7/10): Not an immediately strong beer on the nose given it was an 8.5% abv. offering but there was a good combination of citrus and pineapple to kick things off before more touches of tropical fruit appeared nearer the middle. Some subtle hops showed around this point too with a few juicy notes and touches of orange and lemon nearer the end. Overall it was a very fresh offering but one that I’d have preferred came through stronger than it did.
Taste (7/10): Starting in a similar fashion to the nose, the taste kicks off with a combination of citrus flavours that is mainly orange and lemon but with some pineapple not too far behind either. The beer was again very fresh with a subtle bitterness off the back of the hops throughout,  there was some juicy flavours and a few tropical ones sitting in the background too which all seemed slightly stronger than with the nose and as such were a welcome change.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and sitting with a medium body and a nice balance too, the beer definitely wasn’t as strong as anticipated for an 8.5% beer and for the most part the alcohol content was masked behind the subtle hops and the tropical, juicy flavours. There was quite a lively feel this one at times, likely from the citrus in the taste and there was moderate carbonation throughout but it was a little lighter than I’d have liked which stopped it from being as good as the original version in my opinion.

Overall (15/20): Very nice stuff again from Brewdog here and ordinarily this would be a beer that I would have loved but given it’s a reworking of the best beer I’ve ever tried from the brewery the bar is naturally set a little higher for this one. The beer open with a pleasant citrus taste that was backed up by some pineapple and the odd tropical flavour, the balance was good too and surprisingly little of the alcohol content was showing so the beer was easy-going and highly drinkable. The main disappointment for me was the fact that the beer was a lot lighter than expected, the nose in particular coming through weaker than expected and overall the original version of this beer was much better in my opinion.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog/Cloudwater (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Brewdog vs. Cloudwater New England IPA v2
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse (Glasgow)
Price: £4.28

Beavertown Peacher Man

July 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.55

A reworking of a 2016 Beavertown collaboration here, this was originally a 6.2% abv. beer from the brewery that was made along with California based Heretic Brewing but has since been brought out as a summer seasonal solely from Beavertown and is a 5% abv. beer this time around. I spotted this one in my local bottle shop at the end of last week and was intrigued by the sound of a ‘peach and apricot witbier’ so quickly grabbed myself a can along with a couple other random beers to enjoy over the weekend. The beer will be my ninth from the brewery and follows on from their Lupuloid IPA, the last beer from the brewery that I tried when I had a can back in January of this year so hopefully this one proves to be as good as that one was.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a very thick and cloudy looking yellow to golden colour that is topped with a centimetre tall, foamy white head that covers the surface well and holds not too bad either over the opening few minutes; very much a witbier appearance from this one.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a fresh opening with the obvious wheat notes that are backed up by some early lemon and coriander notes that work well together. It’s slightly floral with a few other citrus fruits coming through alongside some herbs and spices but nothing notable at this stage. There’s some lighter malts towards the end and a few fruits too but I’m finding it hard to detect much in the way of any peach at this stage sadly; there is perhaps a touch showing but it’s difficult to be sure.
Taste (7/10): Fairly tangy and again quite fresh, the beer opens much like the nose with some lemon and citrus flavours before a few lighter malts start to show. There’s a combination of spices and some coriander in the early going to and these are followed by a few fruits that are definitely a little stronger than they were with the nose; at this point I got some hints of sweetness too. There is some peach at this stage with touches of vanilla adding to the sweetness before a few cloves and wheat flavours make themselves known again at the end.
Palate (4/5): Sitting around medium bodied, this one is a little thicker than I’d expected but that’s definitely a good things and the beer is also quite crisp into the bargain. There’s a lot of citrus which give proceedings a nice zesty tang that helps keep it feeling lively along with the sharp, strong carbonation levels. It’s quite an easy oen to drink with an okay balance but the citrus definitely dominated along with the wheat and spices; it was still a very nice beer on the palate though.

Overall (13/20): This one got off to a shaky start with the nose not coming through quite as good as I’d expected but things were turned around slightly come the taste with the beer seeming a little more balanced at this point and the citrus flavours coming through a little stronger and fresher too. The beer was a relatively easy one to drink with some nice touches of wheat coming through from the early going but I’d have like to see more of the peaches that the beer takes its name from showing, there was a some with the taste but almost none on the nose which was a little disappointing.

Brewed In: London, UK
Brewery: Beavertown Brewery/Heretic (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Witbier
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £2.60

Fugli

July 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

My tenth Oskar Blues beer nwo and my first new one of 2017, the last from the brewery that I reviewed here being their Mama’s Little Yella Pils that I sampled back in October of last year when I tried it on-tap at a local Brewdog bar. This one is a fairly new beer from the brewery, having been first launched in early May this year so I’m surprised that it has made it to the UK whilst still relatively fresh. The beer is a summer seasonal from Oskar Blues that uses yuzu and ugli fruits in the brewing process, both fruits that I’d never heard of before picking this one up. Yuzu is apparently a Japanese citrus fruit that is quite similar to a lemon whereas ugli is a Jamaican fruit that was created by crossing an orange, tangerine and grapefruit with the result fitting the name well. Being so new when I picked this beer up meant it wasn’t a beer that I was familiar with but I always like to pick up new beers from the brewery when I get a chance and I’ve since noticed a couple more of their beers making it the UK lately so beer number eleven from the brewery might not be too far behind this one.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber in colour and fairly clear looking, the beer is topped with an excellent looking head that sits about three centimetres tall initially before losing a little of its height. The texture of the head is a foamy looking one with a few bubbles showing, there is some visible carbonation rising through the body of the beer too and eventually the head settles about half a centimetre tall after thirty or forty seconds.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh on the nose with some subtle pine and citrus hops coming through alongside some grassy ones in the early going but it’s definitely not as strong as I’d been expecting for an American style IPA, especially an Oskar Blues brewed one. there was some lighter malts near the middle of the nose but for the most part there citrus dominated, mainly orange and grapefruit but there was also a little mango or apricot too. Nearer the end I managed to detect some sweetness coming off the back of the malts with a few touches of bread sneaking in as well to help keep the beer balanced down the stretch.
Taste (7/10): The taste here was a strange one that opened with a combination of grassy hops and pine ones, naturally there was a lot of citrus flavours backing these up though but the malts from the nose featured a lot earlier than I’d expected and were quite strong this time around too. The beer was still a fresh one with the grapefruit and orange coming through the most pronounced but they were definitely more subdued than they were with the nose. Towards the end some faint caramel malts and a couple of bread ones featured before a further tropical burst of fruits seen things out, although these weren’t overly strong this time around; the beer was a nice one at this stage though.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and quite tangy with a lot of citrus throughout which also made the beer seem quite crisp and sharp. Carbonation levels were good with this one and it seemed lively too but remained balanced thanks to the lighter malts and touches of sweetness that followed them. An easy beer to drink and one that stayed interesting until the end without being a standout offering.

Overall (15/20): Another enjoyable Oskar Blues offering that was dominated by the tangy hops and citrus flavours, particularly in the early going and with the nose but there was some balance to the beer thanks to the lighter malts and touches of sweetness that featured from the middle on. The beer was fresh and quite lively too, thanks mainly to the good carbonation levels also the citrus touches again too. It’s an interesting beer and probably the first I’ve tried with either yuzu or ugli fruits in it and both seemed to work well and impart a little flavour on the beer along the way too; decent stuff and well worth trying too.

Brewed In: Longmont, Colorado, United States of America
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
First Brewed: 2009
Type: American IPA
Abv: 5.8%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £3.10

Drake’s IPA (354 of 1001)

July 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

The first beer from Drake’s Brewing that I’ll have tried here and another American beer from the 1001 beers list that I can check off as well, bring my total to 354 beers tried from the list. This one isn’t the first Drake’s beer that I’ve seen available in the UK but usually their beers are only available in bombers and priced quite high so when I spotted this one for a more reasonable price recently I decided to finally grab a bottle from them. The beer itself was originally brewed in 2002 as a reworking of an earlier beer brewed by the Lind Brewing Company, the name Drake’s went by before the original owner was bought out. An instant hit, the beer was probably considered quite bitter and hoppy when first brewed and it managed to win a gold medal at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival as well as countless other awards in the years since. I picked this bottle up from my local bottle shop in Glasgow and I’m interested to see how the beer holds up today when compared to modern American IPA’s and it’s one I’m looking forward to cracking open.

Appearance (4/5): Golden amber with a slightly orange hue to it, the beer is quite still looking and topped with a very nice, half centimetre head that is foamy and holds well in the early going.
Aroma (7/10): Definitely more malty and sweet than is the norm for an American IPA, there is a good amount of caramel and some sweet malts in the early part but some juicy notes and a few floral hops feature as well. It’s a strong nose that hits you as soon as the bottle is opened and I enjoyed the burst of pine towards the middle. It’s not as got as many hops showing as expected but I enjoyed this one and it was a nice change of pace with some pineapple and citrus at the end too.
Taste (7/10): Quite a sweet tasting beer as you’d expect given how strong the caramel and the sweet malts were with the nose, it is toned down a little by the taste though but some caramel is definitely still present along with some good floral touches and a bit of citrus too. There was a touch of oily pine around the middle with some grapefruit in there too, the pineapple from the nose then shows itself a little earlier this time along with some juicy fruits; towards the end some grassy hops and a further burst of sweetness see things out.
Palate (4/5): Definitely a sweet beer with more of that showing than there was hops for the most part, there was some subtle bitter touches coming through though and the beer had quite a nice balance throughout thanks to the variety of flavours on offer. Today I’d place this one closer to an American pale ale than an IPA but it was still as nice beer on the palate with light-medium carbonation but quite a dry feel throughout, save for some oily pine touches around the middle.It was an easy beer to drink despite the 7% abv. since the sweetness managed to mask most of the alcohol content but there was still a subtle kick to it, especially nearer the end of the beer.

Overall (16/20): Very nice stuff from Drake’s here and an unexpected taste from the beer given I was expected a tonne of hops before cracking the bottle open. The beer was definitely closer to an American pale ale of today than it was an IPA but it was first brewed 15 years ago and a lot has changed since then, still the beer was excellent with a lot of caramel flavours and a strong, malty taste in the early going. The nose in particular was a sweet one with only a few pine hops and floral notes backing them up, the balance was still maintained though and the beer went down very easily indeed; good stuff and one I wouldn’t mind cracking open again at some point.

Brewed In: San Leandro, California, United States of America
Brewery: Drake’s Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2002
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.80

Salty Kiss

July 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

A second review of a Magic Rock beer in fairly quick succession now, this one following on from the mid-June review of their Common Grounds porter that I quite enjoyed and my sixth beer in total from the brewery. This one is the first review of a Gose style beer that I’ll have added here and is actually a beer that I first tried a number of years ago but wasn’t particularly keen on, only picking it up again this time around to check another style off my list of reviews really – hopefully I’ll enjoy it more this time around though. I recently spotted the beer in my local shop and given it was one of the cheaper beers on offer, I felt now was as good a time as any to give the beer another try to see how much my palate has changed in the last couple of years.

Appearance (3/5): A fairly light but cloudy golden colour that was bright and topped with a bubbly white head that was just under a centimetre tall, holding well in the early going before losing about half of its initial height after about a minute.
Aroma (6/10): Quite an unusual nose to kick things off, there’s definitely some salty notes coming through with a little bit of hay and some subtle fruits but it’s not really like anything I’ve had before and it’s hard to place. There is a slightly floral aroma with faint citrus and some sourness too but nothing is particularly strong in truth. Towards the end there is some tart and a few herbal notes but nothing is overly pronounced really.
Taste (6/10): More salty and sour than the nose, this one opens with a lot of tart and some solid lemon flavours alongside some tart and slight acidity. It’s more pronounced than the nose was with the citrus to the forefront, I got some berries background fruits not too far behind and further lemon flavours seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied but very well carbonated and quite crisp on the palate. The beer is very much a dry, sharp one that has a nice tang from the citrus and berries. It’s not the easiest beer to drink and it’s definitely on the salty side but I guess that’s to be expected given the name of the beer.

Overall (13/20): Definitely an unusual one from Magic Rock and not the usual type of beer I’d go for, I pretty much picked this one up to check a gose style beer off my list but the beer wasn’t all bad in the end. Opening with a lot of salty flavours and a huge amount to sourness too, there was lemon and some citrus in the early going with a tart and almost acidic backing but it wasn’t exactly a lambic style taste. It was a difficult one to drink at times, mainly due to the sourness and how dry it was but it was probably still worth trying if only for the novelty of it and that it was something different.

Brewed In: Huddersfield, England
Brewery: Magic Rock Brewing
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Gose
Abv: 4.1%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co.Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £2.20