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Ewe Rebel

Rating: 3.9

A second beer from Whitewater in quick succession, this one following on from their Maggie’s Leap that I reviewed here last and is another I picked up whilst in Ireland; my tenth in total from the brewery. This one is relatively strong from an Irish brewed IPA, coming in at 7% abv. and is one that I picked up pretty much for that reason alone, my thinking being that it would actually be more American in style which can only be a good thing for this type of offering; I’m quite a big fan of the brewery’s Hoppelhammer beer and that’s one I’ve picked up a few times now so hopefully this one turns out to be a similar offering and I can go back to again in future.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a hazy amber with orange and light copper tinges, the head is a centimetre tall one that sits quite foamy and covers the surface completely with little subsidence or reduction in height over the opening minutes which was nice to see.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh and quite fruity on the nose initially with some citrus hops and touches of pine coming through as well. The beer is sweeter than anticipated with a few caramel malts in the early going too, there’s touches of biscuit in there too though. Beyond that some mango and orange shows, as does a little grapefruit to add the the bitterness before some subtle spice and sugars see things out.
Taste (8/10): Opening with some nice citrus hops again, the beer was fresh but probably not quite as sweet at the nose with some orange and mango still coming through alongside a few other background fruits. It’s an balanced taste with the sweet malts and caramel from the nose still featuring with a few sugars further on too but they’re a touch less pronounced than the nose without being weak.
Palate (4/5): A medium bodied beer that was fresh and lively with fine carbonation and a nice tang. It opened very sweet before settling down some with a good combination of background fruits working well with the caramel and sweet malts. It was relatively well-balanced and easy going with a smooth, semi-dry finish as well.

Overall (16/20): Really nice stuff from Whitewater and easily one of their best, this one buck the recent trend from them and is a very enjoyable beer that kicks off with a pleasant sweetness from the caramel and sweet malts followed by some nice citrus hops and subtle tropical fruits. It was a balanced and easy-to-drink beer with a fresh feel and good carbonation levels, definitely one of theirs that I’ll pick up again when I’m back in Ireland.

Brewed In: Saintfield, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Whitewater Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Dolan Centra (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.00

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Whitewater Maggie’s Leap IPA

July 5, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 2.9

The first of two Whitewater bottles I picked up recently in Ireland, this one and a bottle of their Ewe Rebel that I quick looking forward to were available together for a discounted £4 so I quickly grabbed the pair since I’d been looking to pick up this particular beer from the brewery for some time now after reading about it online a number of years ago. This one will be my ninth beer from the County Down based brewery with all ten of those being beers that I’ve picked up and tried in Ireland since they brewery doesn’t really appear to export anything over the Irish channel and I have seen a couple more of their beers in supermarkets in the north of Ireland so perhaps I’ll pick up a few more later this year as well.

Appearance (4/5): Pale golden amber and quite a clear body with a lot of fizz showing. The beer is topped with a very foamy, thick looking white head that’s got a few holes through it and sticks to the sides of the glass as well.
Aroma (5/10): Quite fresh and floral in the early going with a few biscuit malts but it starts to fade a little too soon after that. There’s some herbal notes and a touch of earthy hop around alongside some lemon from the middle on. It’s basic on the nose but balanced, nothing jumps out at you either though which was a little disappointing.
Taste (6/10): Biscuit malts and some bread ones too, the beer is floral and has some grassy hops coming through alongside quite an earthy taste. There’s some faint citrus and herbal flavours further on with lemon and background fruits showing before some subtle, almost roasted malts see things out.
Palate (2/5): Medium bodied and quite clean with a crispness to it and a subtle tang from the citrus as well. It’s earthy throughout with a moderate bitterness further on but I definitely found it a little bland and one-dimensional too.

Overall (12/20): Average stuff from Whitewater here, this one opened with some nice sweetness and a few earthy flavours as well as the usual grassy hops and background fruits but it was definitely a basic offering that didn’t offer much in the way of imagination. There was a few floral touches in the early going too and it was a relatively bitter beer but it seemed too weak on the nose and too one-dimensional tasting; it’s not a beer I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Saintfield, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Whitewater Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Dolan Centra (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.00

Kinnegar Crossroads

July 4, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.8

An eighth Kinnegar beer for me now and an American IPA from the brewery that I picked up in Donegal Town alongside their White Rabbit and Swingletree offerings reviewed here previously. The beer is a 2015 release from the brewery that was a special to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the McHughs off-license in Dublin before becoming a year-round offering from Kinnegar. The beer is one that I’ve spotted online previously but never in store anywhere I’ve been in Ireland so I was quick to grab a bottle when I spotted it. Previously known as ‘Roadtrip’, the beer has since been renamed Crossroads and has even been available in the UK via Brewdog’s website so I hope that means it’s a good one given it’s apparently better distributed than most Irish craft beers; fingers crossed.

Appearance (4/5): Quite bright looking and hazy, the beer is an orange amber colour with a large head that sits about an inch tall and looks quite foamy with a few bubbles through it. Head retention is quite good with a slight reduction in size initially but holds around two centimetres tall after that; a nice start.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh and fruity with some good tropical notes in the early going, I got some mango and apricot followed by a few citrus hops and touches of pine. It’s lively but not overpowering, there’s some pineapple towards the middle before a few light malts start to come through and help with the balance thanks to a touch of sweetness near the end. It’s a pleasant nose but it could perhaps have been slightly more pronounced, particularly with regards to the malts but it was enjoyable enough.
Taste (7/10): Tropical and fruity with some nice mango and apricot again followed by a solid sweetness that’s more pronounced than it was with the nose thanks to the caramel and sweet malts. It’s a slightly floral beer with citrus and pine towards the middle with a good hop bitterness backing it up; good stuff again from Kinnegar.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and floral with quite a sharp feel and strong carbonation, the beer is lively and gets more sweet as things progress with a nice citrus and pine bitterness as well as some faint spices.

Overall (16/20): This one is a very nice IPA from Kinnegar and one that went down easily after opening with some nice tropical fruits that included both mango and apricot. There’s some good hop bitterness and plenty of citrus flavours with the sweetness a little light on the nose but present before it started to become more pronounced and noticeable with the taste. It was lively and sharp with a dry finish but it was exactly what I’d expect from an American IPA and one I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Rathmullan, County Donegal, Ireland
Brewery: Kinnegar Brewing
First Brewed: 2015
Previously Known As: Roadtrip
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Paul’s Off License (Donegal)
Price: €3.25 (approx. £2.85)

Cloudwater IPA Chinook Citra

June 13, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

A new release from Cloudwater that they debuted at the end of April this year and is one that I managed to pick up from the beer shop next to my work on a recent lunch break; this particular offering a slightly lighter abv. offering from the brewery compared to some of those I’ve tried from them recently. This can follows on from their DIPA Citra Enigma double IPA that I really enjoyed when I cracked it open last month and that’s part of the reason I went back to the shop to grab a couple more from the brewery for. The beer itself is a dry-hopped offering and, as the name suggests, uses a combination of Chinook and Citra hops as well as the addition of London Fog yeast in the fermenter to add some sweetness and tropical touches. This IPA Chinook Citra will be my tenth beer from the Manchester based brewery and I can’t imagine that it will take much time to tick of my eleventh and twelfth from them either given how frequent their releases are and how good they tend to be too.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring quite a hazy, yellow gold colour and topped with a white, bubbly head that is about a centimetre tall before fading to a thin and slightly patchy surface lacing after thirty or so seconds. The beer looks quite still but there are a few fine bubbles rising from the bottom and disappearing somewhere in the middle of the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a dank and resinous nose with a lot of citrus hops in the early going as well as some orange and tropical fruits. It’s refreshing on the nose with touches of pineapple and mango coming through alongside a little pine and oily hops.
Taste (7/10): Much like the nose, this one opens with plenty of resinous pine and citrus hops as well as the mango and pineapple from before. There was some grapes and a little spice around the middle with a few background malts and floral touches plus a lot of citrus and orange to finish.
Palate (4/5): Strong and very hoppy with a lot of citrus that give the beer a nice tang and a sharp feel. It’s a well carbonated beer that has a medium body and is very dry at the end too with a resinous and dank feel to proceedings.

Overall (15/20): Very resinous and dank stuff from Cloudwater, this one was loaded with pine hops and citrus flavours as well as the usual tropical fruits that accompany this type of beer. There was a couple of malts showing at points near the middle but they seemed to be drowned out for the most part by the hops and it was a very dry, sharp beer too. I’m not sure it’s one that I’d hurry back to but it was quite drinkable and went down well without reaching the heights of some of their other beers that I’ve tried of late.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2018
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Can (440ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.80

Heidenpeters American IPA

Rating: 3.75

The only new beer that I managed to properly appreciate and review while in Berlin recently, this one is a beer from the Heidenpeters brewery based in the Kreuzberg area of Berlin and one that I tried in their bar located in a local indoor market on my first afternoon back in the city. The bar is one that I’d taken note of prior to my visit and was hoping to visit but it was quite underwhelming in truth and although the beer itself was a good one, I’m not convinced that I’d visit the place again sadly; hopefully I’ll find a couple of their beers elsewhere in Berlin when I’m next visiting.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a pale amber colour, this one is slightly hazy and topped with a half centimetre, foamy white head that has some lacing on the sides as well; not a bad start.
Aroma (7/10): Light on the nose with some citrus hops and a faint touch of caramel, there wasn’t anything too strong coming through but as a result there was a nice balance to the beer. Further on some faint spices and a hop bitterness showed with some caramel rounding things off at the end.
Taste (7/10): Quite a bitter-tasting beer, more so than the nose hinted at and coming through with some pine and grapefruit in the early going. The beer was fresh with some grassy flavours and a touch of orange before the caramel sweetness from the nose came in at the end.
Palate (4/5): Lively and tangy, the beer was a fresh one with some nice hop bitterness in the early going and plenty of caramel sweetness towards the end to keep things balanced and level. There was good carbonation throughout and the beer was an easy one to drink with a dry, bitter finish.

Overall (15/20): A standard American IPA but one that was balanced and proved quite easy to drink, opening with some pleasant hop bitterness and grapefruit flavours before a caramel sweetness started to come through towards the end and keep things interesting. There wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary for the style but it was done well and it’s one I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Heidenpeters
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Keg (250ml)
Purchased: Heidenpeters, Berlin, Germany
Price: €4 (£3.50 approx.)

Brewdog Sonic Boom

Rating: 3.4

A new Brewdog can that was released a couple of weeks ago to coincide with the brewery’s AGM in Aberdeen, this one using German hops in the American IPA style. Following on from their Clockwork Tangerine that I reviewed here a short time ago, this beer will be my 150th review of a Brewdog beer on this blog and one that has already sold out on the Brewdog online shop so I’m hoping that’s a good sign and that the beer turns out to be one of their better limited releases.

Appearance (4/5): Bright golden in colour with a thin, quarter centimetre head that is more of a bubbly white lacing on top of the beer with the majority of it sitting at one end of the glass and a couple of small bubbles rising to the surface as well.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a hop-filled aroma kicks things off here with a pungent pine smell followed by some citrus and plenty of tropical fruits that included some mango and pineapple along with touches of apricot too. It’s definitely a fresh beer with some lighter grapefruit and resinous touches further on as well as some grassy touches and hop oils at the end.
Taste (6/10): Not quite as strong as with the nose, the beer had some tropical fruits coming through in the early going again but they were definitely toned down some; I got a little pineapple and some mango coming through. Towards the middle there was a lot of resinous pine showing with some hop oils and grapefruit backing it up and a few herbal and peppery flavours nearer the end too.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and quite fresh in the early going before fading ever so slightly, the beer was quite resinous and bitter throughout with soft carbonation and a dry, herbal finish that had a touch of spice in there as well.

Overall (12/20): This one got off to a great start with a lot of pine and tropical fruits coming though, particularly with the nose but once it was given a little time to settle and open up it started to fade some with the mango and pineapple becoming less pronounced and noticeable. The alcohol content was at least masked by the tropical fruits but the beer was a little uneven and the balance could have been better so I can’t see this one becoming a regular Brewdog offering or one I’d have again.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2018
Full Name: Brewdog Sonic Boom New-German Hop IPA
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £1.82

Bran & Sceolan Irish IPA

April 5, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.6

My first ever offering from the White Hag brewery now, a can that I got my hands on thanks to Beer52’s recent offer on Irish beers whereby I only paid for delivery so the cost worked out at under £1 per beer; excellent value! This one isn’t one of the brewery’s beers that I’d been on the lookout for on my numerous trips to Ireland over the last few years but I have spotted a couple of their beers before and this one appears to get pretty good reviews so I probably should be been keeping an eye out for it. Coming in at a respectable 7.2%, this American IPA is a rare Irish craft beer in a can and it’s definitely one that I’m looking forward to trying; hopefully it’ll be a good one and I can grab some more from the brewery when I’m over in Ireland later this year.

Appearance (4/5): A pale amber colour that has a light haze to it and is topped with a half centimetre, foamy white head that is patchy in the middle but has more build-up around the edges of the glass; it’s quite a still looking beer too.
Aroma (6/10): Slightly subdued on the nose with some sweet malts coming through in the early going and some light hops following on behind, this one was definitely a disappointment initially and I struggled to get much of anything from it to begin with. There was some background tropical fruits and citrus coming through with a hint of orange and perhaps some mango and pineapple a little further on but it could have used being a lot stronger and probably more juicy too; not that it was a bad beer on the nose, just a subdued one despite it starting to open up a little more after a while.
Taste (7/10): Thankfully the taste was a little stronger than the nose and managed to open with some nice pineapple and mango flavours as well as a few other tropical fruits and touches of pine further on which helped the beer seem a bit fresh too. There was some light malts and touches of citrus towards the middle then some floral touches towards the end but the beer was at least a little more juicy and resinous this time around, definitely something that was completely lacking from the aroma.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite fresh, although it wasn’t as lively or resinous as I’d hoped for given the strength of the beer and the style. It was a balanced offering with some good bitterness, particularly with the taste once it was given time to open up a little but I was still looking for something slightly stronger and more pronounced in truth.

Overall (14/20): Interesting stuff from White Hag but definitely one that was a little disappointing given how subdued the nose in particular was upon cracking the can open. The beer itself was a balanced and pleasant one with some nice tropical fruits and citrus flavours coming through from the start but I’d have liked to see them a little stronger and more pungent given this one was a 7.2% American IPA. It was an easy beer to drink though and the alcohol content was masked completely by the hops and bitterness without them overpowering; I’m now more interest to see what other beers from the brewery are like the next time I’m in Ireland.

Brewed In: Ballymote, County Sligo, Ireland
Brewery: The White Hag Irish Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2014
Also Known As: The White Hag Irish IPA
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.2%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Beer52.com
Price: £0.75 (approx.)