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Buxton Axe Edge

June 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

A beer that will be my fifth from Derbyshire based Buxton now, this one will be my first since trying their Quadrupel offering over the Christmas holidays at the very end of last year and is quite a similar offering to the first Buxton beer I ever tried, their Ace Edge that I had back in August of 2014. This particular offering is the original version of Ace Edge, a beer that was modified slightly to use Sorachi Ace hops and give the beer more of a lemon taste so it should be interesting to see how this one compares. I picked this one up a couple of weeks ago when placing an order on the Brewdog online shop since they were having quite a decent sale at the time, otherwise this might not have been a beer I was drawn to given I’ve spotted it in a number of bottle shops over the years and never got around to trying it; this being despite the fact that I really enjoyed the bottle of Ace Edge when I tried it a couple of years ago.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a nice looking beer when initially poured, it sits a medium amber to orange colour in the glass but looks quite hazy. The head is a good one, sitting just over a centimetre tall and looking quite thick and creamy with a creamy white colour to it. Head retention is excellent with little movement or reduction in size over the opening couple of minutes and plenty of lacing left on the sides of the glass when I take a drink. 4.5
Aroma (7/10): Fresh on the nose in the early going with some subtle pine and citrus notes kicking things off before the odd grassy note made an appearance. It’s not an overly strong beer initially but I did get the odd touch of caramel sweetness nearer the middle. Floral touches and bread malts appear nearer the end of this one with some light tropical notes sneaking in as well; it’s definitely a pleasant beer on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Starting with plenty of hops, this one is a fresh beer that has a nice combination of pine and citrus to start before a few tropical flavours start to come through; most notably some mango and apricot but touches of orange and grapefruit feature as well. Around the middle the caramel sweetness and a few bread malts start to come through but they don’t seem as pronounced as they did with the nose, the beer was dominated by the citrus flavours at this point. Towards the end there was more of a hop bitterness with floral flavours and a touch of spice coming through as well. 3.75
Palate (4/5): Fresh and balanced with a medium body and plenty of hops showing throughout. The beer was lively with strong carbonation and proved easy to drink as well, the mouthfeel a dry and crisp one down the stretch. 4.25

Overall (17/20): Another really enjoyable beer from Buxton and very much on par with their Ace Edge offering, although this one definitely seemed more balanced and easy to drink. The beer looked fantastic after I poured it and there was a lot of early citrus and pine coming through to get you interested from the start. I liked the touches of sweetness and the tropical flavours were nice but I’d have liked to see more of the later when it came to the nose. Overall it’s a great beer from Buxton and one that I’d happily go back to again at some point in the future.

Brewed In: Buxton, Derbyshire, England
Brewery: Buxton Brewery
First Brewed: 2011
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £3.00

Verdant Bloom IPA

Rating: 4.25

The first review of a beer from my latest online order now, this one is a beer that I picked up from the Brewdog online shop last month while they were doing a 30% off offer over the course of their AGM weekend. The beer is an American style IPA from the Verdant brewery that is based in Cornwall, England despite the fact that the name and the design on the can had me thinking that it was actually an American brewed offering. Released in early summer 2016, the beer wasn’t one I had seen prior to picking a can up and I hadn’t heard of the brewery either but this particular offering from them gets pretty good reviews online which was the main reason I picked a can up.

Appearance (5/5): Quite a deep and cloudy looking beer that was an amber colour that looked quite thick in the glass. There was an excellent three or four centimetre tall head on top that was quite foamy to creamy looking with great retention too, there wasn’t much movement over the opening couple of minutes at all and some lacing stuck to the sides of the glass; a great start.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a strong and juicy nose in the early going, there was a nice combination of pine and orange notes coming through with some further citrus not too far behind. Towards the centre some grapefruit and the odd tropical aroma started to show alongside a solid hop bitterness and touches of summer fruits. All of this was followed by further sweetness thanks to some biscuit malts and subtle berries seeing things out.
Taste (8/10): A very fresh tasting beer, this one opens with some excellent citrus flavours and a good helping of the pine that came through in the nose. There was some grapefruit from the nose too and it seemed marginally stronger this time around, I got hints of mango, papaya and some faint pineapple in there as well. The summer fruits and berries from the nose were again present in the taste, some sweetness from bread malts and biscuit coming through nicely alongside them before subtle citrus flavours seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Fresh with a medium body and quite a lively, well carbonated feel to the beer that was quite easy to drink but came through with a good hop bitterness and slight citrus tang. The balance was a good one with some sweetness nearer the end to keep things interesting but the hops dominated; great stuff all round.

Overall (17/20): This one was an excellent beer from Verdant and very enjoyable from the start thanks to the abundance of hops and tropical fruits that featured and gave the beer a very West Coast feel with some nice citrus flavours in there too. The balance of the beer appeared to be a good one and it came through quite fresh and lively too which made it very easy to drink and the addition of some sweeter type malts and biscuit flavours nearer the end were a nice touch too; definitely a beer that I’d have again.

Brewed In: Falmouth, Cornwall, England
Brewery: Verdant Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £2.45

Misty Contemporary IPA

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

Another beer that I sampled on my last full night in Poland last month, this one is my first beer from the Trzech Kumpli brewery based not far outside of Kraków in the south of the country. I managed to try this beer on-tap at the Spiskowcy Rozkoszy bar in Warsaw and was somewhat surprised with it given I was expecting a hoppy IPA but it definitely had hints of a saison coming through at times which was unusual. Coming from a brewery that I’ve never heard of and one that wasn’t even widely available in Warsaw, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this offering but it did turn out to be a nice beer and I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for more of their stuff when I visit Kraków later this year.

Appearance (5/5): A light, almost yellow golden colour that is tinged with amber and topped with a bubbly lacing around the circumference in lieu of a head whilst the beer itself looked quite cloudy and unfiltered; definitely not the best of starts.
Aroma (6/10): Hints of a saison come through early with the nose and are backed up by some yeast and wheat before come citrus hops bring things to the middle. There was a slightly floral aroma to the beer but it was definitely more funky than I’d anticipated with a lot more tart showing than usual for an IPA. Towards the end some orange and lemon notes started to come through as well but for the most part the saison like aromas dominated.
Taste (7/10): The taste of this one was a slightly more subdued version of the nose that came through with some lemon and tart flavours in the early going but it definitely wasn’t as zesty as the nose had been. There was some wheat and hints of banana near the middle with some orange as well before yeast and the odd spice started to bring what was a fairly fruity tasting beer to a close.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and relatively crisp, this one was quite a dry and zesty beer with some funk showing but less carbonation than expected, it sat somewhere around light-medium in that department and could have used more. The balance of the beer was a good one however and it was relatively easy to drink into the bargain without being anything special really.

Overall (15/20): Quite a surprising beer in that it was labelled as an American IPA in the bar I sampled it in but when I actually drank the beer it was more like an IPA/saison hybrid with quite a lot of zesty fruits and citrus alongside some strong yeast and tart flavours. There was a nice balance to the beer with some subtle spices nearer the end as well, even some banana and wheat featured at times too to make it a fairly enjoyable beer without it being a classic.

Brewed In: Tarnów, Poland
Brewery: Browar Trzech Kumpli
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American IPA
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Keg (300ml)
Purchased: Spiskowcy Rozkoszy, Warsaw, Poland
Price: 9 PLN (approx. £1.76)

Bristol/Dark Star Southern Conspiracy

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

A collaborative offering between the Bristol Beer Factory and the Sussex based Dark Star brewery that will mark my first beer from Bristol and only my second from Dark Star, following on from their Espresso stout that I reviewed here back in late 2013 and quite enjoyed. Bristol is a brewery whose beers I’ve spotted a number of times over the years but sadly have never manged to try, although in this instance I’m not exactly sure why that is the case as I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. This offering appears to be a beer that was originally introduced as a one-off back in 2012 then promptly disappeared before being released again this year. I managed to try a half pint of this American style IPA in Glasgow’s Inn Deep bar last month and am only now getting around to adding my review here, this is what I thought of the stuff.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber coloured and slightly hazy, the beer has a thin but foamy white head that is about a quarter of a centimetre tall and doesn’t move much in the early going; there is even some nice lacing left on the sides of the glass which remains until I’m almost finished the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a fresh and hoppy beer with some citrus and floral touches in the early going too, it also featured some oak sweetness in there too. There was a good combination of tropical fruits soon after with some mango and peach making up most of the middle of the beer but some apricot and faint pineapple made an appearance as well. It was quite an enjoyable beer on the nose with a few sugars and a lingering bitterness near the end that had me looking forward to tasting the beer.
Taste (7/10): The beer opens with a lot of floral hops and pine flavours that give the beer quite a sweet feel that is coupled with a strong hop bitterness and plenty of sugars. It seemed quite fresh and lively with a lot of mango carrying through from the nose that was backed up by some peaches and apricot before some oak and vanilla sweetness came through. There was a little yeast and funk nearer the end that hinted at an almost saison like flavours too but overall it was a decent tasting IPA.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and very lively with a surprising amount of funk and tart showing, particularly nearer the end. There was a floral bitterness throughout with some hops adding to this as well and the balance seemed like a good one with a nice tang nearer the end too. The beer perhaps edges nearer to the sweeter side of things at times but it did remain a pleasant and highly drinkable beer with a medium but well carbonated body; great stuff.

Overall (16/20): Quite a nice collaborative effort here from the two English based breweries, the beer was definitely a hop-filled one with a bit more sweetness than I’d anticipated at times but the oak and vanilla flavours were nice to see in this type of beer. For the most part it was the tropical flavours and hop bitterness that dominated proceedings but I was also surprised to see some of tart and funky saison like flavours near the end which were unexpected but welcome additions to the beer. It was a fresh and lively offering that proved quite easy to drink despite its strength; good stuff and one I’d be open to having again.

Brewed In: Bristol, England
Brewery: Bristol Beer Factory/Dark Star
First Brewed: 2012
Full Name: Bristol Beer Factory/Dark Star Southern Conspiracy
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.4%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Inn Deep, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £3.50

Shilling Unicorn IPA

April 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.0

My first beer from the Glasgow based Shilling Brewing Co. and a beer that I managed to try on-tap at the end of March in their brewpub based in the city centre of Glasgow. It was my first visit to their brewpub despite it opening last summer in a very central location, although now I’ve been once I imagine it would be long before  a return visit. I opted for the brewpubs flagship Unicorn IPA on my first visit despite the bar launching two sour gueuze beers on the night I visited, my thinking was that it must be a good introduction to their beers and luckily my suspicions turned out to be correct.

Appearance (4/5): Medium to bright amber with a centimetre and a half tall head that was foamy white and looked quite thick and held very well, sitting on top of quite a clear body.
Aroma (7/10): Starting with some nice citrus notes and a little lemon, the beer had a pleasant biscuit base to proceedings with some earthy malts and a subtle bitterness coming through as well. It wasn’t an overly strong offering but some butterscotch sweetness and a slightly floral aroma did feature further down the line which gave it a nice balance without it being overly complex.
Taste (7/10): The taste was a fairly bitter one to begin with, more so than the nose with some earthy flavours backing it up before some biscuit malts and hints of citrus showed themselves. There was more malts this time around too with some butterscotch and vanilla sweetness seeing things out nicely.
Palate (5/5): Full bodied and quite fresh, the beer came through with a lot of earthy bitterness as well as a slight citrus tang. It was quite an easy-going and smooth beer that was also quite creamy and seemed almost like a cask beer at times; excellent stuff.

Overall (16/20): Quite a nice one overall, it was a smooth and creamy offering with a full body that had me thinking it was closer to a cask than a keg offering at times. This coupled with the nice sweetness and the good balance to the beer made it quite an easy one to drink without it being overly complex or a standout offering; it’s one I’d have again though.

Brewed In: Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Shilling Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: Drygate Brewery, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.20

Antybrowar Prowodyr

April 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Yet another Polish beer here, this one being my first from the Łódź based Antybrowar and one that I picked up in the Piw Paw Beer Heaven bar in Warsaw last month, a bar with roughly 91 taps and thankfully it as quite busy on the Sunday night that I visited so I felt like no one beer would have been lying in the keg for too long (unlike one of their other locations I visited earlier that day). This particular beer was one that caught my eye because it was listed as a Belgian style IPA but when I actually tried it, it seemed much closer to an American IPA with plenty of tropical flavours and a floral bitterness; it was still quite a nice offering though and here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber with some bright tinges throughout, the beer also had quite a large head that was a foamy white and managed to leave some nice lacing on the sides of the glass as I worked my way through it; the body was a cloudy one as well.
Aroma (7/10): Floral hops and some pine open things up initially, there was a few bursts of citrus in the early going too. Further on and I could detect some grapefruit and subtle pineapple notes along with touches of mango and apricot that gave the beer a fresh, tropical nose; towards the end some lighter malts and sweetness started to come through as well.
Taste (7/10): Opening with some nice floral hops and a pleasant citrus flavour that carried on from the nose, this one was a fresh beer with more of a tropical feel to it this time around. There was some pineapple and orange nearer the middle but the mango flavours seemed most pronounced and I managed to get some lemon and peach too. Nearer the end some grassy hops and a light hint of spice started to come through and see things out quite nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium body and fresh, this one was a fairly dry offering that was quite floral in the early going too. It had quite a tropical feel to proceedings, particularly when it came to the taste and I managed to get some spice right at the end which was a nice change up. It was definitely a lively and well carbonated offering with a slight tang from the citrus in there and overall the balance seemed to be a good one.

Overall (15/20): Quite a nice beer but one that definitely seemed more like an American style IPA than a Belgian one despite the fact that’s what it was listed as in the bar. There was a very nice combination of floral hops and tropical fruits that worked well and was backed up by some decent citrus bursts too. I enjoyed the sweetness in the middle and the beer was definitely an easy one to drink, although it was probably on the basic side of things; pretty nice stuff on the whole but not one that I’d go hunting for I guess.

Brewed In: Łódź, Łódź Voivodeship, Poland
Brewery: Antybrowar
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.7%
Serving: Keg (330ml)
Purchased: Piw Paw Beer Heaven, Warsaw, Poland
Price: 12PLN (appox. £2.40)

Anchor Go West! IPA

April 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.0

Lucky number thirteen from Anchor now, this one will be my first new offering from the California based brewery since I picked up a bottle of their California Lager back in December of 2014 and I can’t believe it’s been so long, especially considering this is usually one of my go-to American breweries; I guess not that many of their beers that I’ve not already tried are making it to the UK in any great numbers. Despite being my first new beer from the brewery in well over a year, this one pushes Anchor into my top ten most tried brewery’s now and is one that I’m quite looking forward to trying. I actually spotted the beer for the first time in an Asda supermarket a few weeks ago now but opted instead to pick up a can Lagunitas’ 12th of Never Ale over this one; hopefully this one turns out to be a better beer though.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber coloured and slightly brighter than expected, this one pours with a fairly cloudy body and is topped with an impressive, centimetre and a half tall head that is bubbly and very slightly off-white in colour but manages to hold relatively well for the style over the opening minute or so.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh on the nose initially but far from as hoppy or bitter as I’d expected going in, the beer was more of a hybrid-lager type nose with some grassy hops and citrus in the early going. There was the odd floral touch with some basic malts making an appearance too. After a minute or so the nose starts to fade a little and begins to become difficult to detect, I got some light bitterness and a hint of sweetness from the malts but beyond that there wasn’t too much coming through sadly.
Taste (6/10): Ever so slightly more bitter than the nose, there was some earthy flavours coming through in the early going of the taste and a few basic malts again backed them up. I got a combination of hay and grassy flavours with a light citrus feel nearer the middle but the beer definitely struck me as quite a basic tasting one. Towards the end some faint yeast and floral touches came through but like the nose it was quite a disappointing one.
Palate (2/5): Sitting somewhere around light-medium bodied, the beer wasn’t as fresh or lively as I’d anticipated but there was a strong tang to proceedings despite the fact the citrus flavours and yeast weren’t particularly strong. There was an odd, almost off-taste to the beer at times with the bitterness not coming through too nicely and the balance could have been improved as well. I got hints of sweetness in the early going, mainly with the nose in truth but I felt the beer was a poor one and more difficult to drink than it should have been.

Overall (12/20): Quite a poor offering from Anchor in truth, I’d been expecting a lot more from a brewery those beers I’ve quite enjoyed over the last couple of years but this one is easily one of the worst from the California based brewery that I’ve tried. Things didn’t start particularly well with the nose being far too weak, particularly after it was given time to settle a little, and the taste was disappointing too; the balance was terrible too. It’s probably not quite as bad as the bottle of the brewery’s Summer Beer that I tried back in September of 2014 but it’s not much better either and it’s not one I’d have again.

Brewed In: San Francisco, California, United States of America
Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American IPA
Abv: 3.7%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Asda (Glasgow)
Price: £2.02