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Montseny Lupulus (353 of 1001)

June 30, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.35

My second beer from the Montseny brewery now and another that I tried on a visit to Barcelona, this one coming a year after I tried their Malta beer in the city back in 2016 and I actually have review of another of their beers to follow this one; thankfully both of which were better than the first from the brewery I tried last year. This one is what I think will be my first ‘Iber’ beer, basically a beer that uses top fermenting yeast alongside lager malts so that’s another type check off at least. The beer is one that I had been looking for on last years trip to Barcelona but I was unable to pick up a bottle, I did however find it a couple of weeks ago in one of the shops I tried at the same time last year so I guess I was just unlucky in finding it last year. This one will be my ninth Spanish beer from the 1001 list as well and leaves me with only two more from the country to try, one of them being another Montseny beer but sadly I was unable to find it on my last trip so I’ll have to wait a little longer I guess.

Appearance (3/5): Pale golden coloured and a touch cloudy looking, this one was topped with a thin white head that sat about half a centimetre tall and left a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Semi-fresh on the nose with some pine and citrus hops opening up proceedings, there was some orange notes and a couple of lighter, summer fruits as well but nothing overly strong. Around the middle some floral notes and a bit of zesty citrus fruit came through before the malt bitterness seen things out; not overly complex but pleasant.
Taste (6/10): Opening like the nose, this one was zesty and quite fresh with touches of lemon and citrus to kick things off before a few herbal notes started to appear around the middle. It’s quite a basic tasting beer in truth but there was slightly more malts than with the nose, I also got a few grassy hops and pine too but it wasn’t really anything special sadly.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and crisp, the beer was lively and had a bit of a bite to it as well. It was a well carbonated offering that was well-balanced too with a subtle tang nearer the end and a basic malt bitterness to round things off.

Overall (13/20): Quite a nice beer and one that was drinkable throughout without going through as overly complex and unusual, this being despite the fact that it was probably my first ‘Iber’ beer. It opened well with some nice zesty flavours and a little pine, the malt bitterness wasn’t too far behind and stayed with you until the end. It was relatively easy to drink and the balance was a good one which made it quite sessionable and miles better than the only other beer from the brewery that I’ve reviewed here so far, their Malta offering.

Brewed In: Sant Miquel De Balenyà, Catalonia, Spain
Brewery: Companyia Cervesera del Montseny
First Brewed: 2007
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour (Barcelona, Spain)
Price: €2.15 (£1.89 approx.)

Monteith’s Southern Pale Ale

June 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 1.9

My seventh beer from New Zealand now and my first in quite some time, the last from the country that I tried was a can of Three Boys Porter back in early 2015 so this one is well overdue. The beer is from the Monteith’s Brewing Co. based on South Island and although it is a brewery that I’ve heard of at some point, I’ve never actually tried anything from them and for that reason I was excited when I spotted this one for sale in a local Home Bargains store the other week; it was pretty cheap too so I quickly grabbed myself a bottle. Labelled as an American style pale ale, the beer appears to be one of the brewery’s year round offerings and despite the fact this is from a fairly large New Zealand based brewery, I’m excited to see how this one tastes.

Appearance (3/5): A light amber colour that is quite clear as it sits in the glass and is topped with a half centimetre, foamy white head. Head retention is okay and there isn’t too much movement from the beer in the early going whilst the beer itself looks quite still in the glass.
Aroma (4/10): Quite a basic and fairly skunky nose that seemed much closer to a macro pale lager than an American pale ale in the early going, there was some basic malts making the majority of the aroma initially. I managed to get some hay and grassy notes to start with touches of corn and bread following on behind but for the most part is was quite a light, basic and very disappointing offering that was very light on the expected hops; not a great start.
Taste (3/10): Following on in a similar fashion for the nose, this one is again very skunky and comes through with a very basic corn and light malt taste that was absolutely nothing like what an American pale ale should taste like, there was no sign of any hop bitterness and the only thing close to it was some hay and grassy flavours around the middle. Some bread flavours featured and it seemed quite watery at times too; an atrocious tasting beer from start to finish.
Palate (2/5): Light-medium bodied but with a lot more skunk showing in both the nose and the taste than I’d have liked, the beer was also quite watery, bland and unexciting from the start. I’d been expecting quite a hoppy, southern hemisphere style pale ale when I cracked this one open but there was no sign of any hops or bitterness here; a very disappointing effort.

Overall (4/20): This one was a truly terrible beer and one that I barely got close to finishing, it was just far too skunky and basic tasting with a terrible balance and very little in the way of flavour. There was some cheap malts and basic adjuncts with some corn and hints of grassy flavours too but nothing that made the beer interesting or drinkable; it was all over the place really and in hindsight it makes sense that it was so cheap. Definitely a beer to avoid.

Brewed In: Greymouth, South Island, New Zealand
Brewery: Monteith’s Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.6%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Home Bargains (Glasgow)
Price: £0.69

Victory Headwaters Ale

June 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.05

A beer I picked up from an Asda supermarket just over a month ago after seeing it on a previous visit to one of their stores, this one will be my sixth from Victory but is surprisingly only my first since October 2014 when I tried their Golden Monkey tripel offering and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve had quite a few great beer from this brewery so I was excited when I first say this was available in the UK, it was probably the sole reason for me picking the beer up but it turned out to be quite a disappointing beer in the end; the best before on this one wasn’t until early 2018 but that was something that I had to double check after trying the beer and finding it a particularly weak and bland offering. I’ve noticed a few other new Victory beers seem to be available in the UK now but after this one I’m not too sure I’ll be rushing out to grab anymore for a while sadly.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber but pouring with a surprisingly clear and light body that is topped with a large, three or four centimetre tall head. The head texture is quite bubbly and it sits a white colour in the glass and looks relatively thick, just about halving in size over the opening couple minutes and leaving light lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a hop-filled nose in the early going with some grassy notes and the odd tropical fruit but the aroma seems to fade far to quickly and after a couple seconds the beer seems more like a pale lager with some pine and citrus coming through which was somewhat disappointing. There was touches of bread malt in there and the odd touch of bitterness too that’s got a few earthy hops in there too; it’s pleasant enough on the nose but could definitely have been stronger and a little more varied in truth.
Taste (5/10): Quite a lot like the taste sadly, this one starts well with some solid pine and citrus nose before some tropical fruits come through but they all disappear in an instant to leave a basic grassy hop taste that wasn’t unlike more pale lagers out there, albeit a fresh one. Towards the middle there was a slight tang while the bread flavours and earthy bitterness from the nose made an appearance but there wasn’t a whole lot to the beer and it seemed quite weak. The odd floral flavour and hints biscuit make a fleeting appearance but there definitely wasn’t enough variety to this one; very disappointing.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and quite light, perhaps even bordering on thin with an initial burst of flavour that soon passed to leave quite a basic and weak beer with very little going for it. I’d been expecting a lot more from this one but the beer seemed quite bland although it was fairly well carbonated. I managed to detect a light bitterness nearer the end and some earthy touches too but it was a massive let down for me and not at all what I expect from Victory.

Overall (11/20): Disappointing stuff here from Victory, the beer opened well with nice tropical fruits and a lot of pine with some citrus in there as well but in both the nose and the taste these all passed quickly and left little more than a bland, basic beer that was more lager than pale ale. There was the odd touch of earthy bitterness, a faint hint of floral and some biscuit malts but none of these was overly pronounced and the beer just seemed boring and weak throughout; I’d expected much better.

Brewed In: Downingtown, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Brewery: Victory Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2011
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Asda (Glasgow)
Price: £1.82

Disco Forklift Truck

Rating: 3.8

An eleventh review of a Drygate beer now and surprisingly this will be my first new one from the brewery since I tried their collaborative Raspberry Saison offering that they done with North Brewing around this time last year; hard to believe considering how local this brewery really is but it’s usually the same couple beers from them that I see when I’m out and about. This is actually a beer that I’ve tried a couple of times since it was released around April last year but I’ve not properly reviewed it, previously trying it one various nights out or straight from the can. The beer is a mango flavoured tropical pale ale that was released as part of the breweries ‘studio’ range of beer but now seems to be one of their more readily available offering, I picked this can up in a Tesco supermarket earlier this month so hopefully they’ll start stocking a few more from the brewery in the near future.

Appearance (4/5): Light amber in colour with an almost apricot coloured tinge to the beer which also had a very cloudy body. There was a thin, centimetre tall head on the beer that was bubbly and held well over the opening minute with no reduction in size whilst managing to still cover the surface well.
Aroma (7/10): Quite fruity initially with some tropical apricot and citrus notes kicking things off with some pine hops in there too which give it an IPA-like nose in the early going. There was some resinous pine leading to the middle of the beer and I got some of the promised mango and orange too before some of the malts came in and the beer started to seem more like a pale ale at this point too. It’s a fresh and lively smelling beer with touches of tropical fruit and a subtle bitterness seeing things out nicely.
Taste (7/10): Quite fresh and fruity with a combination of resinous pine and mango kicking things off, both coming through slightly stronger than they did with the nose but without totally dominating. There was a nice variation of tropical fruits towards the middle of the beer with some apricot and citrus featuring before some fainter malts appear nearer the end of proceedings.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium to medium bodied and very fresh on the tongue, this one was quite well balanced and quite hop-filled as well, with a definite oily feel to it. There was a subtle tang from the citrus and the beer was quite easy to drink with a nice variety to the flavours coming through but it seemed more IPA than pale ale at times, that’s not necessarily a bad thing though I guess.

Overall (16/20): Fresh and lively the plenty of tropical fruits and an oily hop bitterness, this one was as promised with the mango mentioned on the can coming through quite early with the taste but thankfully not overpowering or dominating proceedings, whilst the beer remained an easy one to drink throughout. Towards the end some of the expected sweet malts and subtle touches of bitterness started to come through as well and the hops started to subside but this one definitely a beer that I enjoyed and one that I’ll be having again soon.

Brewed In: Drygate, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Drygate Brewery
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Glasgow)
Price: £1.85

Lemke 030 Berlin Pale Ale

May 1, 2017 2 comments

Rating: 3.75

Beer number three from the Berlin based Lemke brewery now and my third in a row from them after trying five of their beers when visiting the city recently; this one follows on from their Hopfen Weisse and Original offerings already reviewed here. This one is an American pale ale that was introduced in early 2015 from them and is another I picked up a bottle of when leaving one of the brewpubs in the Alexanderplatz area of the city earlier this month. Again not a beer I was familiar with prior to visiting the brewpubs, this one doesn’t appear to be particularly well liked when going by the online reviews but at the same time it is far from the lowest rated of the brewery’s beers either and it is one that I went into with an open mind; thankfully I wasn’t really disappointed.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber and fairly bright looking, this one has a half centimetre tall head on top that is foamy and holds better than it looked like it might, hanging about for the first minute or so before turning slightly patchy and thin.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a hop-filled beer on the nose initially which was somewhat surprising for a German brewed pale ale, even a craft one. The beer opened with lots of hop bitterness and some lemon before some faint mango and orange notes started to come through nearer the middle. The beer was fresh with some touches of grapefruit too before an earthy aroma and further bitterness started to show towards the end, with some spices and grassy notes backing it up nicely before the odd floral smell rounded things off.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose and again coming through with a lot of hops, this one is quite a fresh beer but it does seem to come through with a slightly more earthy taste than what the nose had hinted at. The beer opened with a nice combination of lemon and orange flavours before touches of grapefruit came through stronger than they did with the nose. It wasn’t quite as sweet this time round though, there was no sign of the mango from earlier but some grassy flavours and a little spice did feature. Towards the end some caramel malts and biscuit showed themselves to add a little variety to proceedings and finish things off nicely though.
Palate (4/5): Well carbonated and coming through with a medium body, this one was quite a lively beer that featured a solid citrus tan in the early going and plenty of bitterness at times too. It was fresh and crisp with some dry touches nearer the end and a good balance but it definitely seemed different to most German beers I’ve tried to this point, it’s so unusual to see a beer of this style from the country.

Overall (15/20): Quite a nice pale ale an unlike most of German offerings I’ve tried so far, this one was bitter and came with a lot of hops showing which was unexpected but enjoyable. The taste seemed to have a slightly more earthy bitterness to it rather than being loaded with hops but some good fruits did feature, particularly with the nose which was nice to see. I definitely enjoyed this one but part of that was because of how unexpected it was for a German brewed beer so I’m not sure it’s one I’d rush back to without tasting the rest of the brewery’s  beers beforehand, still it is quite a nice one and well worth seeking out if you are in Berlin.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Brauerei Lemke
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brauhaus Lemke am Alex (Berlin)
Price: €2.18 (£1.85 approx.)

Artezan Pacific Pale Ale

April 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.4

Another beer from one of the biggest craft breweries in Poland, this one is my second beer from the Artezan brewery based just outside of Warsaw and is another that I tried whilst visiting the city last month. I grabbed this one on keg at the Drugie Dno bar on my last night in the country having made a point of stopping by the bar on my travels and being influenced by the good online reviews this beer received, it looks like it previously featured in the list of the fifty best American pale ales on RateBeer (although it no longer appears on the list today). Following on from the brewery’s Mera IPA that I had tried a day or two before this one, I was particularly looking forward to seeing how this one would turn out when I ordered it last month; here’s what I thought.

Appearance (4/5): A bright amber coloured beer with a cloudy body, it has quite a foamy head that is white and starts about half a centimetre tall before fading to leave a bubbly lacing after about a minute, but one that still manages to cover the surface well.
Aroma (6/10): Hop-filled with a lot of floral notes and some citrus to kick things off, there was some bitterness off of the back to these too. The beer wasn’t overly strong on the nose sadly but some pineapple and lemon notes did some through and were easily detectable. These were followed by some lighter pine notes and then some biscuit malts that added a little to the sweetness before a few tropical fruits seen things out. It was a nice beer on the nose with enough going on to keep it interesting but it seemed a little weak for my liking I’m afraid.
Taste (7/10): The taste was slightly more malty than the nose had been but the pine and tropical fruits did carry through well. These were followed by some pleasant orange and lemon flavours too but neither seemed overly pronounced, a few touches of peach and grapefruit did back them up though. Towards the end there was the biscuit malts from the nose making an appearance alongside an earthy bitterness before the faintest of caramel touches seen things out.
Palate (3/5): Not as fresh or as lively as I’d hoped going into this one, the beer was sweet with a nice combination of tropical fruits and biscuit sweetness working well together. The body was light medium with average carbonation levels for the style and there was a slight tang at the end on top of what was a fairly dry beer overall.

Overall (14/20): This one turned out to be a slightly underwhelming offering from Artezan and not as good as their Mera IPA that I reviewed here previously, particularly considering the fact that I ordered this one based on how good some of the online reviews of it had been. The beer opened with some biscuit malts and the odd tropical fruit flavours but I was expecting more in the way of a juicy hop taste and nice bitterness, neither of which materialised. It was definitely a beer that could have used being a little stronger and carbonation levels could have been increased too but as it stands the beer was quite an average one and probably not a beer I’d go for again.

Brewed In: Błonie, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
Brewery: Browar Artezan
First Brewed: 2013
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Keg (300ml)
Purchased: Drugie Dno, Warsaw, Poland
Price: 10PLN (appox. £1.96)

Pinta A Ja Pale Ale

April 5, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.25

Another beer from my trip to Warsaw last month that has left me with a bit of a backlog of reviews to get through, this one being a beer that I managed to try on my second day in the Polish capital at one of the city’s Piw Paw craft beer locations, an establishment with around 60 beers on-tap at any one time. I’d been looking forward to my visit and opted for what would be my first beer from one of the few Polish craft breweries that I’d actually heard of, Pinta, playing it safe and going for a pale ale from the brewery that appears to be one of their rotating offerings. As it turned out the beer was far from the best that I managed to try in Warsaw that weekend and wasn’t really a great introduction to Pinta’s beers but I did luckily manage to try a Sahti from the brewery later that day, of which a review will follow this one.

Appearance (4/5): A slightly darker than average amber coloured beer with a cloudy body that is topped with a quarter of a centimetre tall head that is foamy and comes with a bit of lacing on the sides of the glass too; retention was pretty good as well, with little movement over the first few minutes.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some bitter hops and a touch of pine, this one was a relatively floral beer that had some hay coming through nearer the middle as well. I managed to detect some biscuit malts further on with a bit of bread as well but it was fairly light overall and didn’t really seem that fresh sadly; it was subtle and a disappointment really.
Taste (6/10): Slightly fruity to begin with, the taste had some faint tropical flavours and a bit of orange coming through before some light grapefruit featured. There was a floral bitterness that carried on from the nose and some biscuit malts showed themselves nearer the middle as well but there wasn’t really any sweetness sadly. Some bread malts made an appearance and then some pine flavours rounded things off at the end to make it a definite improvement on the nose but it could have been a lot stronger too.
Palate (3/5): Light medium bodied with soft carbonation and a semi-bitter mouthfeel that had a slight tang from the citrus and floral hops. Sadly it wasn’t an overly fresh offering and fell short of being lively as well, I’d have liked to see something a bit more carbonated and with at least some of the sweetness I’d expect from this style of beer; definitely not the best.

Overall (13/20): Sadly this one was a beer that turned out to be quite a disappointing offering from the Pinta brewery, especially considering it was my first beer from the brewery. The beer featured some nice floral touches in the early going with faint citrus and pine in there as well but I felt it was far from a fresh beer and one that was under-carbonated into the bargain. I was definitely looking for something a little stronger when I sampled this one and as such I never really enjoyed the beer, there was no sign of any sweetness that I’d associate with this type of beer and it could have been far more lively with a better too; definitely not one I’d go back to I’m afraid.

Brewed In: Żywiec, Poland
Brewery: Browar Pinta
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Keg (300ml)
Purchased: Piw Paw Parkingowa, Warsaw, Poland
Price: 10PLN (approx. £2.02)