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Boyne American Pale Ale

April 5, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.35

A beer that I got as part of a Beer52 delivery recently, this one formed part of their St. Partick’s Day offering for the month of March and is a beer hailing from County Meath. This particular offering will be the fourth that I’ve tried from the Boyne Brewhouse and follows on from three that I tried last year when visiting Ireland; it’s not to be confused with their Pale Ale offering that also goes by the Born In A Day moniker though as this one is a different beer entirely. Last year I also managed to try the brewery’s Amber Ale and Saison offering but in truth neither were anything special so I’m hopeful this newer offering will prove to be a slightly better beer; it also comes in a can which is nice to see as it’s not often I’ve come across an Irish craft beer in a can previously.

Appearance (4/5): Light and hazy amber with a decent sized head that sits about two fingers width tall and looks quite foamy. The head itself is a white one that has a few bubbles through it and slowly fades to settle as a thin lacing that breaks up slightly in the centre.
Aroma (7/10): Opening relatively fresh and hoppy, there is definitely some lemon and citrus notes coming through with a touch of pine in there as well. It’s a semi-bitter opening that has some floral touches with some orange, mango and even some pineapple showing, as well as hints of grass not far behind without anything dominating; a solid start.
Taste (6/10): Quite a bit more subdued than the nose hinted at, there was still some citrus and orange flavours coming through as expected but they weren’t as strong this time around. I got some subtle tropical flavours with a hint of pine and some lemon towards the middle but I was expecting a little more from it after the aroma. There was also some hoppy malts and grassy flavours towards the end but nothing really excited me with this one I’m afraid.
Palate (3/5): Strongly carbonated which resulted in the beer seeming quite sharp and crisp, it was definitely lively with a medium body and a subtle citrus tang. It seemed fresh, particularly with the nose but the taste was a slight disappointment in that regard with it coming through with an almost session-IPA feel to it.

Overall (13/20): After cracking the can open I started to get excited with this one given the nose that greeted me, it was fresh and lively with some nice hops and fruits showing, all of which seemed balanced in the early going but things changed come the taste sadly and the beer definitely started to fade. There was still some nice fruits and citrus showing but none of them had the initial burst of flavour that I had been expecting after the nose and the balance wasn’t quite the same either. It still turned out to be an okay beer that was on-par with the previous three Boyne beers that I tried last year but I was expecting a lot more from this one really.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2018
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Beer52.com
Price: £0.75 (approx.)

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Brewdog Indie Pale Ale

March 28, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 2.7

The first of two new Brewdog beers that I managed to sample over the weekend now, this one being a free beer that I was emailed about a couple of weeks ago and only remembered about when I was at the bar ordering another beer which a review of will soon follow this one. The reason for this one being free is because when the brewery originally launched this one it got some pretty poor reviews online and wasn’t really a hit, although I never bothered trying it at the time. It was then released at the start of March with a few tweaks to help it out, and to be honest I probably wouldn’t have bothered trying it if it wasn’t free after reading some of the previous reviews online.

Appearance (4/5): Clear golden amber with a thin, foamy white head on top that just about covers the surface and leaves a touch of lacing on the sides as well.
Aroma (6/10): Very subdued, light hops kick things off with some citrus and touches of grass in the early going. There was some hints of hay and lemon before some bread malts came through but it definitely wasn’t a strong beer on the nose.
Taste (5/10): Basic with some bread malts and biscuit notes coming through, it seemed a little lighter than the nose with more of a lager taste coming through. There was some hay and the usual grassy hops but it was definitely lighter than I’d have liked.
Palate (2/5): Light and quite bland, the beer was very disappointing with a watery feel and light carbonation. It was very basic with a touch of dryness towards the end but the balance wasn’t there.

Overall (8/20): This one definitely wasn’t a great beer, it proved to be very disappointing with a basic and cheap feel that had me wondering just how bad the original version was if this was the tweaked recipe. It opened with some subtle hops on the nose but soon turned into more of a pale lager than a pale ale with very little going on really; I’m just thankful it was free and I didn’t have to waste my money on it.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2018
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: Free

Lost in Mosaic

March 8, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.0

My fifth beer from the Loch Lomond brewery now and a first since I was subjected to their Peat Smoked Ale in September of last year, a beer that was definitely one of the worst I have ever tried. This one is a beer that I found on-tap at the Shilling Brewing Company in Glasgow recently and opted to try based mainly upon the name of the beer but it’s probably not one that I’d have went for had I remember how bad the last from the brewery ended up being. Thankfully this one was a lot better and ended up being a beer that I enjoyed when I had it over the weekend; here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (5/5): Dark amber and quite a cloudy beer, this one looks murky with a thick head that sits about a centimetre tall or slightly larger. The head itself looks creamy in texture and wavy on the surface, it’s white in colour and holds very well in the early going too; an excellent start.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh with a lot of citrus in the early going, I got some lemon with the odd biscuit note not too far behind. Around the middle there was a caramel sweetness with touches of bread malts and further subtle hops before some floral touches rounded off what was a balanced but light nose.
Taste (7/10): Fruity hops and some hints of tart kick things off here, there was a fresh taste with some grapefruit and touches of biscuit coming through alongside the bread malts from the nose but they seemed a touch weaker this time around. There was hints of lemon and mango nearer the end with a touch of peach making a brief appearance too.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and fresh with a well carbonated body that was crisp and had good hop bitterness throughout. The beer was balanced and sharp with some lingering floral touches towards the end but it was quite an easy one to drink.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a nice offering from Loch Lomond and a beer that seemed both fresh and balanced with a lively feel that was quite bitter too. There was a nice combination of fruits and citrus hops with touches of malt adding a sweetness to the beer later on, something that was enough to keep it drinkable and interesting throughout.

Brewed In: Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Brewery: Loch Lomond Brewery
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Keg (Pint)
Purchased: Shilling Brewing Co., Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £5.70

Stone Ripper

March 6, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

A beer from my third most reviewed brewery now, this one will be my 22nd beer from California’s Stone Brewing, although this one and one previous offering were actually brewed at their Berlin brewhouse but I’ll keep them all under the same brewery here to make things easier. This one is actually my first new review of a Stone beer since I tried their Little Bastard Ale back in May of last year so this one is long overdue. The beer is one that I stumbled across in an Asda supermarket over the weekend and opted to give it a try since it’s not one I’ve seen in the UK before. An American pale ale from the brewery that was first released in the second half of 2016, this one will hopefully be the first of a few new Stone beers that I’ll get to try this year given their Berlin brewery means that some of the beers are easier to find in the UK now; something that can only be a good thing.

Appearance (4/5): A light but relatively bright amber colour that is fairly clear too and topped with a nice, two centimetre tall head that’s white and foamy looking with a smooth surface. Head retention isn’t too bad with it eventually settling about a centimetre tall, leaving a touch of lace on the sides too.
Aroma (7/10): Not particularly strong on the nose but there was definitely some pine and citrus notes coming through in the early going before a light touches of grapefruit started to come through. It’s not quite as fresh or bitter as expected but it was at least a fruity offering that had some orange zest and peach towards the end but it was definitely lighter than I’d have preferred.
Taste (7/10): Quite a fresh beer with some orange and citrus in the early going, there was a little lemon and grapefruit that featured soon after and helped add to the bitterness. Some bread malts came through around the middle with some pine in there too but I’d have liked it to be slightly more resinous in truth, the mango and peach seeing things out was nice though.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with a fresh feel and moderate carbonation levels, the beer was quite easy to drink with a wet feel until the end where is started to turn slightly drier but overall it was a crisp and enjoyable offering.

Overall (15/20): Enjoyable stuff from Stone, the beer was a nice one that opened lively but perhaps not quite as fresh as I’d have liked. Nice citrus and tropical fruits come through in the early going with peach and mango the strongest before some bread malts make an appearance towards the end. It’s not the best I’ve tried from the brewery but it was a decent enough offering that I’m glad I picked up.

Brewed In: Escondido, California, United States of America
Brewery: Stone Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.7%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Asda
Price: £2.00

Reel Deel Jack The Lad

January 23, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.15

My first beer from Reel Deel, a County Mayo based brewery that is responsible for this one; a beer they label as an ‘Irish pale ale’. The beer is one that I sampled over the holidays after picking the bottle up on Christmas Eve along with a few other Irish beers. Although not from a brewery that I’d heard anything about previously, the beer is one that caught my eye thanks to the label design. This was one of several from the brewery that the shop had in stock as well, so hopefully I’ll be able to try a couple more from Reel Deel when I’m back over in Ireland later in the year.

Appearance (3/5): Copper tinged amber with a slightly hazy body and quite a large, foamy white head on top that threatened to overflow the glass. The beers head was quite a thick looking one that was wavy on top and left plenty of lacing on the sides of the glass too. It was an active looking beer that had tonnes of visible carbonation and the head seemed to constantly be rising, taking an age to finally settle and allow me to start drinking.
Aroma (7/10): Quite strong on the nose with lots of citrus hops and some pine backing them up which gave the beer a fresh and lively feel on the nose. There was some grapefruit and hints of orange coming through with a little biscuit malt further on and some earthy touches towards the middle and end. It was quite a floral nose that finished things off with some spices coming through then as well.
Taste (6/10): Following on nicely from the nose, the beer was again quite fresh and lively with a solid hop bitterness and a few floral touches as well; citra hops were the most pronounced in the early going. Towards the middle there was a nice combination of orange and pine with a few pale malts and biscuit flavours following on behind and the finish seemed more herbal than the nose was but a few of the background spices still showed this time around.
Palate (3/5): Quite an active and fizzy beer that was over-carbonated and resulted in an over-sized head that took an age to settle. The beer was crisp and quite lively though but seemed to be lacking a good balance and sat pretty average on the palate as I worked my way down the beer.

Overall (13/20): Quite lively but definitely over-carbonated, this one was bordering on gassy at times but was still quite a fresh, crisp offering that started with a lot of citrus and pine hops with some grapefruit backing them up. It was definitely stronger on the nose than expected which was nice and further on the taste was a fairly standard one that was a combination of the usual biscuit and earthy malts. It was a drinkable beer that went down easily enough but I’m not sure there was enough going on for it to warrant a repeat visit.

Brewed In: Knockalegan, County Mayo, Ireland
Brewery: Reel Deel Brewery
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Winemart (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.50

Lacada West Bay

January 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.3

My first beer from the County Antrim based Lacada Brewery in the north of Ireland and another beer that I picked up just before Christmas whilst visiting the country. I opened this one a couple of days after Christmas while it was still fresh and although it wasn’t a beer that I’d been aware of previously, I was looking forward to seeing how it turned out given it’s not one that I’m likely to see in Scotland anytime soon. Part of the Irish brewery’s Salamander Series, this one is a new citra pale ale for 2017 from a brewery that only launched back in October 2015 so hopefully I’ll see a few more of the brewery’s beer when I make return trips to Ireland later this year.

Appearance (4/5): A hazy, almost copper amber colour that had a centimetre tall, bubbly white head on top that started to turn foamy on the surface but managed to hold well initially without much break up.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a lot of hops open things up with some citrus and pine coming through strong and some touches of grapefruit not too far behind. The beer was definitely a fresh and zesty one with some lemongrass and a few pale malts towards the middle before some biscuit malts rounded things off.
Taste (6/10): Quite a zesty tasting beer with strong citrus/lemon flavours initially, there was some strong hops and grapefruit at this point too. Towards the middle I got some pale malts that seemed a touch stronger than they were with the nose and a hop bitterness started to appear towards the end alongside some lighter fruits.
Palate (3/5): Light bodied and a touch watery at points, the beer was moderately carbonated with a slight citrus tang and some hop bitterness but seemed quite basic and weak at points too sadly.

Overall (12/20): Quite an underwhelming beer that was interesting on the nose but faded come the taste with only some basic hops and citrus flavours coming through. At times it seemed closer an IPA than a pale ale but it started to fade towards the middle and end, seeming weak and bland at points; it’s not one I’d go for again.

Brewed In: Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Lacada Brewery Co-Op
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Lacada Salamander Series #5: West Bay Citra Pale Ale
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.6%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Winemart (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.39

O Brother The Chancer

January 18, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.65

The first of two beers from the Wicklow based O Brother brewery now, both of which were beers that I picked up just before Christmas whilst over in Ireland. The brewery wasn’t one that I’d heard of previously but I was taken by the names and labels on these beers and decided to pick this America pale ale up alongside their The Sinner American IPA when visiting an off license in the Fermanagh area. This one appears to be a late 2014 release from the brewery going by online reviews and gets quite a good rating for an Irish brewed American pale ale so it was one that I was looking forward to trying when I cracked it open just after Christmas at the end of last year.

Appearance (4/5): Golden amber with a hazy body and a centimetre tall, foamy white head that was wavy on top and left some nice lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Floral with a relatively fresh nose initially, this one had some citrus and pine with a little grapefruit following on behind. Around the middle I got some tropical fruits with mango being the most dominant before a few biscuit malts and earthy touches started to come through. It wasn’t an overly pronounced offering on the nose but it was a pleasant aroma and the balance seemed good as well.
Taste (7/10): Quite bitter-tasting to start, the beer had a lot of grapefruit and pine coming through with some touches of citrus in there as well. It was a floral and tangy beer with a few background summer fruits coming through alongside some peach and mango. Towards the end the beer was quite zesty with a few pale malts to balance things out and there was an earthy bitterness right at the death.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite lively with a fresh feel coming through from the start. There was some dryness towards the end of the beer with a floral bitterness and some tangy touches as well but it remained balanced and drinkable throughout,

Overall (15/20): Quite a fresh and lively offering from O Brother, this one was an easy beer to drink thanks to the hop bitterness at the start and tropical flavours around the middle. There was some lighter malts and biscuit flavours at points to help with the balance too but I would have liked to see a little more sweetness to back these up; it was still a very enjoyable beer and one that I wouldn’t mind having again.

Brewed In: Kilcoole, County Wicklow, Ireland
Brewery: O Brother Brewing
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Winemart (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.50