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O Brother The Sinner

January 18, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

The second of two beers from the O Brother brewery now, this one follows quickly on from their The Chancer American pale ale that I reviewed here previously and is another I picked up over in Ireland just before Christmas at the end of last year. This particular offering from the brewery comes in slightly stronger than their last, sitting at 6.2% abv. and promising a hop-filled taste, this is another from the brewery that I was looking forward to prior to opening just after Christmas; especially since their The Chancer offering turned out to be a fairly good one.

Appearance (4/5): An almost caramel amber with a foamy head on top that was thick looking before starting to turn bubbly but retention was good at least.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a malty beer with some subtle hops and citrus coming through in the early going, there was some earthy hops showing as well. Around the middle some pine started to make itself known alongside some light caramel which also helped some with the balance of the beer on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Opening with a few biscuit malts and some background citrus, the beer was quite fresh tasting with a light grapefruit flavour towards the middle and some tropical fruits not too far behind. It was quite a bitter beer with some caramel sweetness later on and a few pale malts seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Somewhere around medium bodied and quite a bitter offering, the beer was fresh and strongly carbonated with a smooth mouthfeel. From the middle on the beer was quite dry but definitely easy to drink with a crisp finish that was quite enjoyable.

Overall (15/20): Definitely a fresh and lively beer, this one opened with some pleasant citrus flavours that were backed up by some grapefruit and pine which gave the beer a hop-filled taste in the early going. There was some biscuit and earthy malts further on with some caramel sweetness doing well to provide a nice balance with the beer; a decent effort and one well worth trying.

Brewed In: Kilcoole, County Wicklow, Ireland
Brewery: O Brother Brewing
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Winemart (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.50

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Two Beers Evo IPA

January 15, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.6

This one is amazingly only my second ever beer from Washington state in the United States and follows one from the bottle of Pyramid Hefeweizen that I tried way back in May of 2013 as the only other beer from the state that I’ll have reviewed here and I was very much hoping that this one would be an improved on the first one from Washington that I tried. Using a variety of hops, including some from the Yakima Valley, this one should be quite a bitter offering and is one that I’m very much looking forward to trying so hopefully it does not disappoint.

Appearance (4/5): Very strongly carbonated and overflowing when I opened the can, this one was a fairly dark looking caramel amber when it was poured and managed to form a relatively small, quarter centimetre head that was foamy looking and a light tan colour but it sat towards one end of the surface of the beer; the body of the drink was a hazy one and it looked quite thick into the bargain.
Aroma (8/10): Quite fresh on the nose with some citrus hops and the odd tropical fruit kicking things off before quite a sweet nose started to develop thanks to some caramel malts and touches of biscuit. The beer seemed more like an American pale ale on the nose with some sweet malts and touches of biscuit although there was a hop bitterness sitting in the background along with faint spices, orange notes and a couple of grassy hops; very interesting stuff.
Taste (7/10): Still quite a sweet beer that was more pale ale than IPA but it was toned down slightly from the nose thanks to the tropical fruits taking more of a front seat; a combination of citrus and pine being more pronounced. There was a lot of biscuit and sweet malts coming through as well though, I got some earthy hops further on with some orange and touches of grapefruit towards the end.
Palate (3/5): Smooth with a medium body and far more sweet than expected thanks to the caramel malts and biscuit flavours, there was some nice tropical fruits adding to this as well. The beer was dry nearer the end and easy on the way down, mainly due to the smoothness I mentioned previously with a subtle hop bitterness seeing things out.

Overall (14/20): An interesting beer in that it came through as more of an American pale ale than an IPA at times but it was still quite a fresh offering with a subtle hop bitterness and some nice citrus with a few touches of pine further on. It was pleasant and balanced, going down easily without grabbing your attention as it did so but it was one that I’m glad I got to try despite it not being one that I’d rush back to.

Brewed In: Seattle, Washington, United States of America
Brewery: Two Beers Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2010
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.2%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.00

Sankt Gallen Yokohama XPA (371 of 1001)

December 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

A final review of from the Japanese beers that I picked in Tokyo at the start of October, just before heading home from Japan and another that features in the 1001 beers list; likely my last review of a Japanese beer from the list for a while now that I’m back in the UK again. After reviewing this one, I’ll be left with only another six Japanese beers from the 1001 beers list to try but one of those appears to no longer be in production so I’m not sure how likely it is that I’ll ever get to try that one sadly. This particular offering is a beer from the Sankt Gallen brewery, the parent company of which used to run a bar in the Roppongi district of Tokyo before opening this brewery in 1997 near Yokohama; initially brewing a golden ale, a pale ale and a porter before expanding in the years to follow

Appearance (4/5): A nice, bright amber colour that had a slightly hazy body topped with a centimetre and a half tall head that was white and foamy with a few bubbles through it and had good initial retention as well; there was a little lacing left on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Relatively light on the nose without being an overly weak offering, this one opened with some initial hop bitterness and a few touches of pine before some nice grassy notes started to come through along with some citrus further on. It was a fresh beer with some bread malts and a couple of floral touches towards the end but it could have been a bit stronger.
Taste (7/10): The taste follows on well from the nose with some nice pine and citrus hops coming through early on, with some grassy hops taking more of a backseat this time around. There was some floral touches towards the middle and the beer seemed more resinous tasting than the nose smelt but it was definitely a fresh offering that had some nice orange and grapefruit flavours nearer the end before some biscuit malts and an earthy bitterness seen things out nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite fresh, the beer started a little lighter on the nose that expected but there was more of a strong, resinous feel to it come the taste and there was plenty of bitterness too. I got a slight citrus tang around the middle and it was well-carbonated, coming through as a lively, balanced beer; if only it had been a little stronger initially.

Overall (15/20): Not a bad beer to finish my run of Japanese beer reviews, this one was quite a fresh and lively offering that had some nice pine and citrus hops with plenty bitterness but my biggest complaint was definitely how light it started on the nose. Initially opening with a pine and grassy hop aroma, the beer was quite light and there wasn’t a whole lot going on until the taste with more of a floral bitterness and some bread malts a little further on. It was an interesting offering and one that I’d glad I managed to pick up in the end but I’m not sure it’s one that I’d put in the 1001 beers list given how many excellent American style IPA’s are out there.

Brewed In: Atsugi-sh, Kanagawa, Japan
Brewery: Sankt Gallen Brewery
First Brewed: 2008
Full Name: Sankt Gallen Yokohama XPA Extra Pale Ale
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Liquors Hasegawa (Tokyo Station, Tokyo)
Price: ¥518 (£3.43 approx.)

Slot Machine

December 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

A second new Brewdog beer from 2017 in quick succession now, this one a American IPA styled rye beer from the brewery that follows on from the recent review of their Make Earth Great Again limited release. This one from the brewery is a seasonal that was introduced something around September and thankfully I was able to grab a bottle a month or so later when I spotted a few in my local Morrison’s supermarket. Opting for a 660ml bomber of the beer, this is one that I’m looking forward to since Brewdog are most definitely at home when brewery American style IPA’s and the rye twist on this one should prove interesting. As the last seasonal for 2017 from Brewdog, this one takes more of a winter feel and is more malty that their last two seasonal beers that preceded this one, their Hop Fiction and Electric India offerings and it should be interesting to see if this one makes a return or is replaced in next years lineup.

Appearance (4/5): Pour a dark copper colour that was edging towards mahogany brown and a lot darker than anticipated, sitting with a large head that was between four and five centimetres tall with a foamy texture. The head looked surprisingly thick and creamy with very good retention as well before slowly losing some of its initial height after a minute or so.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a hop-filled aroma kicks things off here with nice pine and orange hops coming through in the early going before some grapefruit and the odd tropical notes showed themselves further on, the combination of mango, citrus and peach seeming the most pronounced of the fruits. It was definitely a fresh and lively beer with a little caramel coming through as well as some toffee and subtle spices that seen things out.
Taste (8/10): Slightly darker than with the nose, the beer opens with some caramel malts and the odd earthy malt too; both of these featuring much earlier than they had with the nose. There was some hop bitterness towards the middle with the citrus and pine from the nose alongside some rye spices, mango and peach before being rounded off with some grapefruit and finally some caramel sweetness at the end.
Palate (4/5): Medium-bodied and quite well carbonated with a fresh and lively feel to the beer, this one was tangy from the start with nice hop bitterness and a few spices coming through as well. The beer had a nice balance throughout and seemed resinous at points thanks to the pine and grapefruit but despite being relatively complex for the style it was still an easy on to drink.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a nice American IPA that was definitely darker than expected and the rye aspect of the beer was a pleasant one as well. Initially there was some nice citrus and pine hops that kept things fresh and lively before some caramel malts and earthy flavours started to sneak in with the taste. There was a nice balance to the beer and it was well-carbonated too which helped it go down easily; a nice seasonal offering from Brewdog and one that I’d like to see again next year.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American IPA/Rye Beer
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (660ml)
Purchased: Morrisons (Glasgow)
Price: £2.50

Grand Kirin IPA

November 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.4

The second beer in this series from the Kirin brewery now, this one is a new beer from them for 2017 that was released around the same time as their Grand Kirin White Ale that I reviewed here a short time ago. This one is actually a beer that I tried earlier on during my trip to Japan without review it but eventually I got around to it when I returned to Tokyo towards the end of my holiday and was struggling to find new beers in the local convenience stores late at night. This beer will be my sixth review of a Kirin beer here as well, with the majority of those being beers that I found in Japan so I imagine this will be my last new one from the brewery for quite some time too.

Appearance (3/5): A slightly darker than average amber colour for the style that had a clear body and a thin, foamy white head on top that was more of a surface lacing than anything else but it did at least cover the surface of the beer without any patches initially.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with some light hops and citrus, there was some grapefruit and lime in the early going with this one too and it had quite a zesty, fresh feel on the nose with some biscuit and bread malts coming through further on. Around the middle I got some pleasant grassy notes and a subtle tropical sweetness with the odd sugar in there too.
Taste (6/10):
Fresh and quite zesty tasting initially with some citrus, lime and orange flavours coming through alongside a resinous pine taste and some grapefruit. Towards the middle these flavours were backed up by a few tropical fruits; most notably some mango and apricot but neither were particularly strong. Towards the end some biscuit malts from the nose came through to see things out alongside some earthy malts too.
Palate (4/5):
Somewhere around medium bodied with a fresh feel than anticipated for a mass-market beer like this one but it was helped with the zesty touches and citrus that featured in the early going. There was a solid bitterness throughout the beer with a nice balance and a sessionable feel that had some nice sweetness from the middle on which made it a basic but easy-going IPA that I’d happily have again.

Overall (14/20): This one was definitely a better than expected IPA from Kirin , particularly when you consider they are more at home putting out cheap pale lagers but this one wasn’t too bad at all. It was quite a fresh beer with a liveliness about it that went well with a hop bitterness and citrus that featured from the start. It was definitely an easy beer to drink as well, going down nicely thanks to the balance with a subtle tropical sweetness leveling out the bitterness and some nice malts towards the end too; this is one that I’d have again.

Brewed In: Tokyo, Japan
Brewery: Kirin Brewery Company
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American IPA
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Family Mart (Sin-Okubo, Tokyo)
Price: ¥297 (£1.97 approx.)

Coedo Regista IPA

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

My first Codeo beer now and another that I managed to try at the Craft Beer Works Kamikaze bar in Osaka on my last night in the city, this one being a fairly new release from the brewery for 2017 that I managed to try on keg. Sadly this was the only beer from the brewery that I managed to try while in Japan recently despite reading a little about them before travelling; I did however see a couple of their beers from time to time in various convenience stores but for one reason or another never picked any up. This particular offering is an American style IPA that comes in at 6% abv. and was first released in August or September of this year so again it’s a Japanese beer that I got to try while it was still very fresh.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber but a little brighter than usual, the beer had a half centimetre head that was foamy with it looking thick and sitting with slightly more build up around the edges but retention was good throughout.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with a subtle hop bitterness and some pine notes, the beer was fresh and had a little citrus sowing too. Towards the middle I got some bread malts and faint caramel featuring alongside touches of sweetness but it wasn’t quite as pronounced as I’d have liked from the style. There was some spice and light floral bitterness further on with tropical fruits that included some mango and apricot seeing things out.
Taste (7/10): Opening with some pine hops and a little citrus that matched the nose well, there was some tropical fruits that came through earlier than they did with the nose; most notably some mango, peach and apricot. It wasn’t overly fruity or as hop-filled as expected but there was a solid floral bitterness throughout and some bread and caramel malts towards the end to see things out.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and slightly resinous in the early going with a touch of citrus providing a nice tang as well. There was good carbonation to the beer but it wasn’t as strong as expected, something typical of a lot of the Japanese beers I’ve reviewed here recently although there was some touches of spice seeing things out.

Overall (14/20): Definitely a beer that started out well with some pleasant pine and citrus flavours coming through alongside a few tropical fruits that were more pronounced with the taste than the nose; these consisted mainly of mango and apricot with touches of peach at times too. Around the middle some sweetness started to show as well as the odd pale malt and caramel flavour but it wasn’t quite as pronounced as expected for an American IPA which meant I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I’d have liked too.

Brewed In: Kawagoe-shi, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Brewery: Kyodo Shoji Koedo Brewery
Type: American IPA
First Brewed: 2017
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Craft Beer Works Kamikaze, Osaka, Japan
Price:‎ ¥750 (£4.97 approx.)

Yo-Ho Aooni

October 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

My second Yo-Ho beer in relatively quick succession and like the can of Yona Yona Ale from the brewery that I tried before it, this one is another can that I grabbed from a Lawson’s Station in Kyoto on my trip to the city a couple of weeks ago. The beer is one of the more readily available craft offerings in Japan and one that I found at numerous stores across the country but it’s not one that I was aware of prior to my visit. Brewed as an American style IPA, the beer is also the second of four beers from the brewery that I will be review here following my trip.

Appearance (4/5): Medium and clear amber with a fizzy body and a centimetre tall head that is foamy and white. Head retention is okay with the beer settling down with a half centimetre, wavy looking head after a minute or so.
Aroma (6/10): Quite light on the nose with a relatively fresh aroma that comes through with biscuit, earthy hops and a little citrus too. There was some floral touches and a slightly funky aroma further on but in truth there wasn’t a lot to the nose after that other than some lemon and basic hop bitterness seeing things out.
Taste (6/10):
A touch more hoppy than the nose, the beer opened with some pleasant floral notes that was backed up by some citrus and pine. Further on and some light malts came through with a biscuit backing but it was quite similar to the nose for the most part with a couple of background fruits, most notably some grapefruit, seeing things out.
Palate (3/5):
Moderately bitter with a medium body and more of an earthy feel to it than expected. The beer was floral and bitter with a basic feel but it still seemed easy to drink for the most part. There wasn’t a great deal of variety to it and the balance could have been a touch better too.

Overall (13/20): Quite a basic IPA from Yo-Ho and one that wasn’t quite as varied or bitter as anticipated going in, there was some earthy bitterness throughout and touches of pine/grapefruit but nothing seemed particularly strong or adventurous. Some background fruits and citrus towards the end made sure it remained pleasant enough but I feel it was definitely missing something.

Brewed In: Nagano, Japan
Brewery: Yo-Ho Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2008
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Lawson’s Station (Kyoto)
Price: ¥242 (£1.60 approx.)