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Asahi Red Eye

November 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 1.65

The final beer from those that I managed to try on my recent trip to Japan now and one that I tried on my last morning in the country before heading home; I do at least have a couple more Japanese beers to review though after picking some up on my final day in the country. This beer isn’t really one that I was holding out much hope for when I first picked it up but it was a new an unusual beer so I decided to give it a go given I’d likely never see it outside of Japan. Described as part tomato juice and part beer, this one was my fifth Asahi beer and follows on from their Super Dry Black offering that I reviewed here recently but sadly this one wasn’t anywhere near as good as that one.

Appearance (2/5): A light tomato red colour that was pretty much what I’d expected, there was a small foamy lacing on top for a head but this disappeared completely after about twenty seconds though and the beer was an opaque looking one that looked pretty much like a glass of tomato juice after the head vanished.
Aroma (3/10): Opening with tonnes of tomato notes initially, there wasn’t really much to this one beyond that in the early going but further on some background malts did feature, they were very faint though.
Taste (3/10): The initial taste was a very close relation to the nose with tonnes of tomatoes opening and dominating the early going before some basic sweet malts and a tiny bit of citrus started to come through towards the end with subtle grassy flavours too.
Palate (2/5): Surprisingly this one was quite a thin bodied beer with a lot more carbonation than expected too, it was quite a lively but ultimately a basic beer on the way down. There was some touches of sweetness towards the end thanks to the malts but that was about it really.

Overall (5/20): Not a great beer at all, this one was basically an alcoholic tomato juice that was miles behind even a poor Bloody Mary. The beer did have some basic sweet malts and hints of citrus and grassy flavours further on with the taste but it was almost completely dominated by tomato juice flavours and was a struggle to drink. Definitely one that I’d avoid in future, even if you’re usually a tomato juice fan because I can’t see how anyone would enjoy this when the real stuff is probably miles better as well.

Brewed In: Tokyo, Japan
Brewery: Asahi Breweries
First Brewed:  circa. 2012
Type: Fruit/Vegetable Beer
ABV: 3.5%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Don Quijote (Sihinbuya, Tokyo)
Price:¥153 (£1.01 approx.)

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Joshuaku Plum Ale

October 20, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.15

The first of two beers from the Ichijoji brewery that I managed to try in their Kyoto taproom when I visited late last month on a trip to the city; this one appearing to be an autumn seasonal from the brewery. I opted for this particularly offering as my first beer in the taproom since it was a rare chance to try a Japanese fruit beer on-tap and because it was a seasonal offering; it’s also very possibly my first ever plum beer too.

Appearance (4/5): Cloudy, medium amber with a half centimetre, foamy white head that turns to a fine surface lacing after a minute or so but leaves some nice lacing on the sides of the glass in the process.
Aroma (5/10): Fairly light with some background fruits initially, there was some plum in there (or at least that’s what I assumed it to be) followed by some earthy hops and a touch of bread malt. The beer was semi-sweet around the middle with a little honey coming through but not too much else really which made it seem weak at times, although a tiny bit of tart did see things out.
Taste (6/10):
Slightly more pronounced than the nose, the taste kicked off with some basic malts and honey before the plum from the nose made a brief appearance. There was some citrus towards the middle with biscuit and bread malts following on behind; an improvement on the nose but still not great.
Palate (3/5):
Opening with some tart and a medium body and plenty of funk alongside a slight citrus tang, this was a medium bodied beer that was slightly fresher than expected but definitely far too weak; there was at least some sweetness at the end though. The balance seemed okay but that was partially down to the fact that nothing was particularly strong coming through which in turn made it easy on the way down but not overly enjoyable.

Overall (13/20): This one was definitely a weak offering but also one that took a while to open up so it didn’t end up being as bland or poor as I’d initially feared; it still wasn’t the strongest but some nice funk and tart flavours did feature further on. The plum advertised in the beer’s name was relatively light and difficult to detect but there was some background fruits and a light sweetness to the beer but it wasn’t great really; still it’s likely the only Japanese fruit beer I’ll try for a while.

Brewed In: Kyoto, Japan
Brewery: Ichijoji Brewery
First Brewed: circa. 2017
Also Known As: Ichijoji Sumomo Ale
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.3%
Serving: Keg (270ml)
Purchased: Ichi-Ya Bar, Kyoto, Japan
Price: ¥648 (£4.29 approx.)

Taiwan Long Chuan Beer Peach

Rating: 2.05

Following very quickly on from the lemon version of this beer from the same brewery, I’ll now be sampling the Taiwan Long Chuan Beer Peach flavours which will be my second from the Taiwan Tsing Beer Co. and my third in total from Taiwan, the other being the can of Taiwan Beer Gold Medal that I tried and hated a number of years ago. Thankfully the lemon version of this beer wasn’t quite as bad as the first Taiwan beer I tried and although it wasn’t exactly one to write home about, the beer was drinkable and I’m hopeful that this one will be too. It’s not often I get to pick up a peach flavoured beer and I’m also hoping it is more fruit beer than radler this time but given the fact that it is another 2.5% abv. beer, I’m not exactly holding my breath for it.

Appearance (2/5): Even lighter than the lemon version, this one is incredibly light straw coloured that isn’t too far away from water in appearance. There is again a lot of fine bubbles rising to the surface but this time the head is much better, it’s a white and foamy one that sits about a centimetre tall in the glass and holds a lot better than expected too, lasting the opening minute or so before slowly reducing in size.
Aroma (5/10): Plenty of peach in the early going, the nose was again quite artificial but not overly so at least. There was some sugars adding to the sweetness initially with some apricot and floral notes in there too which meant this was a little bit more to it than the lemon version. It’s overly sweet at times and there isn’t much in the way of the traditional beer notes to this one really with the nose rounded off with what was a very sweet, syrupy type aroma to see things out.
Taste (4/10): Sweet with an opening combination of peaches and apricot, there was some oranges and a syrupy type, artificial sweetness to the beer in the early going. It has no bitterness or any of the usual beer flavours coming through, I got a tonne of sugar and a couple of summer fruits and white grapes nearer the middle but that was about it really; again it’s not much like a beer at all.
Palate (2/5): Light bodied but very sweet and with a slightly syrupy feel, the beer was quite smooth for the most part though but could have been a little stronger at times. There was some summer fruits at times but it was fairly one-dimensional for the most part and not very beer like either.

Overall (7/20): This one was another fairly poor offering from the brewery overall although if pushed I would say it was a very slightly worse that the lemon version at times but it was also overly sweet throughout. There was some peach and apricot with a white grape flavour in there too but there wasn’t a whole lot beyond that and it didn’t seem quite as version as expected either which was disappointing.

Brewed In:  Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Brewery: Taiwan Tsing Beer Co.
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 2.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Chung Ying Supermarket (Glasgow)
Price: £1.28

Taiwan Long Chuan Beer Lemon

Rating: 2.15

This one is only my second ever beer from Taiwan and follows on from the can of Taiwan Beer Gold Medal that I tried back in the summer of 2013 in travelling around southeast Asia and picking up a can of the stuff in Singapore on night. That last beer from the country is one that can only be described as terrible and it’s not an experience I want to repeat so hopefully this fruit beer offering that I picked up from a Chinese supermarket in Glasgow a few weeks ago will turn out to be better. I grabbed this lemon flavoured version (despite the fact a lime is shown on the can) alongside their peach flavour since it was an unusual beer and one I hadn’t spotted anywhere before, hopefully it’s not a decision I’ll come to regret. The beer itself comes in at 2.5% abv. so it should be a relatively easy one to drink for what was a 2012 release from the Taiwan Tsing Beer Co. and will be my first from them so far; let’s find out.

Appearance (2/5): A very clear beer, this one is a light golden straw colour that isn’t unlike a pale lager but it’s definitely got a lot more visible carbonation with a lot of active bubbles rising to the surface in the early going. The head is a thin, foamy one that is white in colour but fades to nothing pretty quickly, there is a tiny bit of lace left sitting in the middle of the glass but that is about it really.
Aroma (4/10): It’s not the strongest beer on the nose, there was a combination of lime and lemon coming through but both definitely had an artificial aroma to them with some sugars and sticky sweetness in there too. It’s very much like a lot of radlers I’ve tried when travelling around Europe in the past, there’s not much to it other than some lemonade type notes and a faint touch of corn nearer the end; pretty disappointing stuff really.
Taste (4/10): Starting in a similar vein to the nose, there was some lemon flavours kicking things off and they were at least a touch stronger than with the nose. Towards the middle some lime and various sugars feature with a corn adjunct taste that was a little off. The beer tasted more like an alcopop than anything else with some sticky touches around the middle and basic adjuncts seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): Quite light and artificial on the palate, the beer was definitely well carbonated though and proved quite refreshing on a warm day but it was a touch thin at times. It was generally quite a sticky and very sweet offering with an okay balance that was definitely helped by the fact that the flavours and the nose were both so light.

Overall (7/20): Quite a basic beer overall and one that was more radler than fruit beer despite what the label said, there was also quite a lot of lime showing which seemed to match the picture on the can but not the name of the beer. It was an easy and refreshing one to drink but it was a little light on taste whilst still being miles better than the last beer from Taiwan that I tried. It’s not a classic by any means, it’s not even a good beer really and it’s almost a stretch to call it a beer but it was at least marginally better than expected and hopefully the peach flavour that I’m trying next is slightly better.

Brewed In:  Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Brewery: Taiwan Tsing Beer Co.
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 2.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Chung Ying Supermarket (Glasgow)
Price: £1.28

Abita Blueberry Wheat

September 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.75

One of the more unusual beers that I received as a gift from relatives returning from New Orleans recently, this Blueberry Wheat will be my second Abita beer and follows on from their Wrought Iron IPA that I reviewed here last week. The beer is one that was initially announced in March this year before being released as a summer seasonal from the brewery in June. Falling somewhere between a wheat ale and a fruit beer, this is the first blueberry beer that I’ll have tried and I can’t recall of even hearing about another so this should all be new to me and I’m not really sure what to expect. The beer is part of Abita’s ‘Harvest Series’ of beers, not that it means much to me since it is not a brewery I’m likely see much from in the UK but all the brews in the series are made using local Louisiana grow produce; in this case the blueberries. Despite not known much about this one going in, I did quite enjoy the only other beer from the brewery that I’ve tried so hopefully this one continues the trend; I’m hopeful it will even though the online reviews I’ve read haven’t been overly complimentary.

abita-blueberry-wheat

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light golden colour, it is partially clear bodied but looks very slightly watery. The head is a thin, foamy white lacing that covers the surface well and there’s quite a few fine bubbles rising to the surface as well.
Aroma (5/10): Quite a floral nose with the blueberries from the nose coming through quite early on and the beer also seems sweet too. It’s a juicy beer on the nose with some wheat and pale malts in there too but the fruits and in particular the blueberries dominated. There wasn’t a whole lot else coming through really but the aroma wasn’t a bad one, just a little different.
Taste (5/10): Opening up quite sweet with some blueberries coming through but they’re definitely not as strong as they were with the nose. Some pale, bread malts and a little wheat come through around the middle with a hint of citrus too but again the beer wasn’t the most varied or complex. Towards the end there is a touch of sourness as well but like the nose, the blueberries seemed strongest.
Palate (2/5): Smooth bodied and very softly carbonated without quite being flat. The beer was light-medium bodied and initially quite sweet until nearer the end when touches of citrus added a light tang and some sourness seen things out. Definitely not a complex beer, it actually seemed a little weak nearer the end and was pretty one-dimensional throughout.

Overall (11/20): Quite a disappointing beer on the whole really and one that seemed fairly one-dimensional throughout, only the blueberries that the beer took its name from made themselves known and everything else came through a little too light by comparison. There was an okay sweetness in the early going and the odd floral touch but then things started to fade, the taste was notably weaker than the nose as well and it turned fairly bland towards the end. Overall, not a great one from Abita and not one I’d go back to again.

Brewed In: Abita Springs, Louisiana, United States of America
Brewery: Abita Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Fruit Beer/Wheat Ale
Abv: 4.4%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Price: Gift

Meantime Raspberry Wheat

March 16, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.05

A new Meantime brewery beer for me now, the fourteenth such beer from the brewery that I will have reviewed here and what I believe is my first fruit beer from them. This Raspberry Wheat offering is my first Meantime beer since trying their Fresh Lager in London last summer, on-tap straight from the tank but it will be my first new bottled offering from them since trying their London Porter in May of last year. Like that particularly bottle, this one is a beer that I picked up in Whole Foods Market over the weekend and sampled later the same night after picking it up when I realised it had been quite a while since trying anything new from a brewery that I quite like. This one will be the first bottle from the brewery that I’ll have tried since Meantime was bought by SAB Miller last year so it will be interesting to see if quality has suffered any in that time but I guess that is something that will be hard to tell given this isn’t a beer (or even a style) that I’ve tried from Meantime before.

Meantime Raspberry Wheat

Appearance (3/5): This one is quite unusual looking beer that pours a sort of pink to reddish amber with a cloudy body. There’s not much of a head to it other than a bunch of fine white bubbles sitting to one sides of the glass but there does seem to be quite a bit of visible carbonation at least.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a sweet beer on the nose as expected, there is some nice raspberry notes coming through alongside a fair amount of funk and some sour notes as well. A varied of fruits do start to come through around the middle with some wheat in there as well but it’s fairly minimal to be honest. I got some slight acidity and sourness in there but it does settle down some after a while and the beer wasn’t unlike a lambic in truth and it was better than expected on the nose.
Taste (5/10): The taste starts off with some nice raspberry flavouring and a little bit of funk early one before some of the acidity from the nose comes through as well but it’s definitely a lot more subdued than previously. There is a touch bread in there too and a couple of lighter malts as well which takes away from a bit of the sweetness. Towards the end some cherries and a little tartness come through as well but it’s definitely a less pronounced taste than the nose indicated.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and strongly carbonated with a sour and quite dry feel to proceedings. The beer is fairly one-dimensional with the sourness and funk from dominating from early on and the fruits seemed a touch artificial in places. It’s fairly crisp and sharp without being particularly well-balanced but it was an easy enough beer to drink at least.

Overall (13/20): As you might expect from a beer with a name like this one, the beer was a dominated by strong raspberry flavours but the wheat wasn’t particularly noticeable in truth. There was some nice tart sourness and a little funk coming through from the start but the taste let this one down a little with things seemingly fading a little at this stage. It was a fairly average beer overall and not one I’d pick up again but it was interesting in places and reminiscent of a lambic at times as well without ever really exciting and as such it probably ranks as the least enjoyable of all Meantime beers I’ve tried thus far; not exactly a ringing endorsement for last years takeover.

Brewed In: Greenwich, London, UK
Brewery: Meantime Brewing Company
First Brewed: Brewery since 2000
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Whole Foods Market (Giffnock)
Price: £2.39

Bootlegger Prohibition Beer

January 13, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 1.8

This one was a bottle that I received as a Christmas gift over the holidays and one that I opted to try soon after getting it. It’s actually a beer that I’ve seen a number of times in various supermarkets over the past few months but in truth it’s not one that I’d have picked up myself given it looks to be a gimmick beer but I went in hoping it would prove enjoyable. Labelled as an apple flavoured prohibition inspired beer, it’s one that I’ll put down as a fruit beer although even that is up for debate. Anyway, here’s what I thought of it when I tried it a couple of weeks ago now.

Bootlegger Prohibition Beer

Appearance (2/5): This one is an almost brown-amber colour with a one centimetre head that is foamy and white but fades to leave pretty much nothing other than a few tiny bubbles round the edges after roughly ten seconds.
Aroma (4/10): The nose started with a lot of apples and to a lesser extent some white grapes with a sugary sweetness backing them up and giving the beer an almost artificial, Appletiser like smell that didn’t seem at all like a beer; there wasn’t really anything else on the nose at all.
Taste (3/10): This one again comes through with a lot of sweetness, there was some strong apples and grape flavours that matches the nose closely and were followed by a similar amount of sugars. There was a faint alcohol flavour around the middle that was reminiscent of bourbon but very light and that was about it really, there wasn’t much to this one taste wise either.
Palate (2/5): A sweet but quite light bodied beer that came through overly carbonated and with a tonne of fizz. There was some faint alcohol bitterness towards the end and it seemed quite artificial on the whole but it wasn’t a particularly enjoyable mouthfeel really.

Overall (6/20): Basically an overly sweet and very slightly alcoholic apple juice that has been hit by a tonne of carbonation and isn’t really a beer in the truest sense of the word. Coming through with a flavour that was dominated by apple sweetness and giving off quite an artificial feel, this is an offering that I’ll be staying away from in future; definitely one to avoid.

Brewed In: Chorley, Lancashire, England
Brewery: Dockyard Distillers
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Scotland
Price: Gift

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