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Yona Yona Ale (360 of 1001)

October 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

The second of the Japanese beers from the 1001 list that I managed to try on my recent trip to the country, this one following on from the draft serving of Shiga Kogen IPA that I reviewed here recently in that regard. This one was probably the easiest of the beers on the list to find in Japan, it was available at the majority of convenience stores in the country that I visited, usually available alongside a few other Yo-Ho beers that varied by store and region so it was only a matter of time before I gave it a try. Released back in 1997 as an answer to US style pale ales, this one was the first canned craft beer in Japan and one that I was looking forward to trying when I got to the country.

Appearance (4/5): Slightly caramel tinged amber with a clear body and a frothy looking head on top that was wavy looking and about a centimetre tall. The head itself was an off-white colour with a few bubbles through it and it managed to hold on for about a minute or so before receding slightly.
Aroma (6/10): Quite malty with some biscuit and subtle caramel notes to start, there was a few lighter hops coming through as well but it was definitely more of an earthy rather than a hop-bitterness. There was some sweetness around the middle that was backed up by a few sugars and background fruits but nothing too heavy featured at any point.
Taste (7/10):
Quite similar to the nose with an earthy malt base that was backed up by a caramel sweetness and some biscuit touches. I managed to get a few lighter, earthy hops and subtle floral flavours towards the middle but it wasn’t as American in style as expected; it could definitely have been a little stronger too but it was an improvement on the nose at least.
Palate (4/5):
Smooth and medium bodied with a dry feel towards the end and a decent balance throughout. There was some early sweetness alongside the malt bitterness but nothing dominated really, I’d have liked things a little stronger in truth but it was pleasant and easy-going.

Overall (14/20): This one was a fairly decent beer from Yo-Ho but definitely one that I felt could have used being a little stronger and more pronounced, particularly with the nose. It was leaning towards the sweeter side of things but I enjoyed the malt bitterness and earthy hops that did feature, coupled well with some floral flavours further on. It was an easy one to drink and one to try if you’re in Japan but it’s not really anything out of the ordinary I’m afraid.

Brewed In: Nagano, Japan
Brewery: Yo-Ho Brewing Company
First Brewed: 1997
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Lawson’s Station (Kyoto)
Price: ¥242 (£1.60 approx.)

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Northern Monk Faith

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

This one is my fifth Northern Monk beer and one that seems to be a new offering for 2017. The beer is one that I picked up from my local bottle shop last month and sampled right at the beginning of September since I wanted to try it fresh. Following on from their Mocha Porter that I tried and wasn’t overly impressed with back in January, this one is my first pale ale from the brewery and it was one that I was quite looking forward to given the brewery’s love of hop-filled, bitter beers. Thankfully the beer was a little better than the last offering from the brewery that I tried but it wasn’t a great one in truth, here’s what I thought of it when I drank it either this month.

Appearance (4/5): Fairly light looking with a light amber to golden body that is slightly cloudy and topped with a two and a half centimetre tall head that is white and holds well initially. There is a little lacing left on the sides of the beer and the head holds for the first couple minutes too; a nice start.
Aroma (6/10): Slightly fresh on the nose with some hoppy touches and a citrus aroma that is complimented by some pale malts. It’s a little basic overall but some grassy notes and lemon come through alongside a faint caramel smell; it could definitely have been a little stronger though.
Taste (6/10): Opening with a citrus and lemon combination, the beer is fresh with some earthy hops and biscuit. It’s a clean and fresh with touches of biscuit and cereal coming through nearer the middle and a faint bitterness to see things out; again it’s a relatively basic offering.
Palate (4/5): Clean and quite crisp, the beer is light-medium bodied and quite fresh too. It’s an easy to drink offering that came through with a nice balance and some floral touches later on.

Overall (13/20): This one was an okay pale ale from Northern Monk, it was a little basic at times and it wasn’t as bitter or hopppy as I’d expected either. It was a drinkable offering with some citrus and touches of sweetness but it’s not one I’d have again I’m afraid and it was a little bit of a disappointment to boot.

Brewed In: Leeds, Yorkshire, England
Brewery: Northern Monk Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Can (440ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.20

Boyne Pale Ale

September 19, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.1

Only my second from the County Meath based Boyne Brewhouse and the second of three beers from them that I picked up when visiting Ireland at the end of August. When visiting a local bottle shop in the north of Ireland I managed to pick this one up along with their previously reviewed Boyne Saison that I found quite disappointing and another beer from them that I’ve yet to review here, their Boyne Amber Ale. This one also goes by the less obvious name of ‘Born in a Day APA’ and is an American pale ale style offering that I was definitely looking forward to trying when I picked it up but given how average and unlike a saison the last beer from them I tried was, I began to have doubts prior to opening this one; here’s what I thought of it anyway.

Appearance (4/5): Quite cloudy to start with a bright amber body that was topped with a thin, half centimetre head that was bubbly and white before fading after about thirty seconds to leave a thin surface lacing that had more build up around the edges.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh and quite lively with some citrus in the early going before the biscuit malts and floral hops start to make themselves known. There was a little sweetness coming through with touches of pine and a few pale, almost earthy malts towards the middle. It’s a relatively clean nose with some bitterness sneaking in but the balance was good and it was a pleasant enough start.
Taste (5/10): Pine hops and lots of biscuit flavours kick things off here, there was some earthy bitterness and touches of citrus not too far behind either though. Whilst seemingly not as fresh as the nose was, the beer was some grassy touches and a nice helping of earthy malts around the middle but towards the end it started to seem a little one-dimensional and boring at times, it proved to be a little basic tasting too.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite fresh with a crisp and floral feel, there was a subtle tang coming through at times too and the beer seemed balanced.  Overall it was a basic beer on the palate with average carbonation levels for the style and some dryness at the end.

Overall (12/20): The better of the two beers that I tried from the brewery so far but this one was still quite an ordinary pale ale that was closer to an English one than the American one advertised, there was more of a biscuit and earthy malt taste than I’d have expected from an American pale ale although some lighter citrus and floral touches did feature. It was well carbonated and crisp but beyond that it was quite an average and not one that I’d seek out again really.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2017
Also Known As: Boyne Brewhouse Born in a Day APA
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67

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