I.C.A. Malalts De Malta

June 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.3

The first review of a beer that I managed to try on my recent trip to Barcelona now, this is an 11.5% Sapnish brewed quadrupel from the Instituto de la Cerveza Artesana based in Barcelona and it will be my first beer from them, although the Belgian Rye Fruit APA Citra-Mango that I tried in Barcelona last year was brewed by Piris Beer at the I.C.A. brewery. I ordered this one on-tap at the Abirradero bar in the city on my second day in the city since it’s not everyday that I stumble across a kegged quadrupel, and a Spanish brewed local offering at that. The beer promised a strong malt taste with plenty of cherries which swung it for me over some lighter beers on the menu, many of them also from the I.C.A. brewery but sadly this was the only beer of theirs that I managed to try on this trip; hopefully I’ll pick up a few more on my next visit to the city.

Appearance (4/5): Dark mahogany coloured with a thin, foamy head that is half a centimetre tall and slightly off-white, sitting with a bubbly texture and some faint lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Dark malts and plenty of cherries kick things off here as expected, there was some faint alcohol coming through as well but thankfully it was less pronounced than I’d feared given it was such a strong beer. There was a nice combination of dark fruits near the middle with some raisins and dates both featuring but the cherries from the start still dominated. Towards the end things started to fade a little quickly and at times it seemed lighter and less complex than you’d expect from such a big beer but it was still fairly nice throughout.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, there was again a nice combination of cherries and very dark malts with some dates and raisins coming through slightly earlier this time around. I managed to get some light alcohol again but it seemed a fraction stronger than with the nose, there was some pleasant spices and a touch of bourbon at this stage too. Still not as strong as you’d expect from an 11.5% beer but slightly more complex than with the nose, the beer was fairly sweet down the stretch with some sugars and ripe fruits featuring too.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and lightly carbonated, this one was a strong offering with some alcohol showing but it was still a lot lighter and less pronounced than you’d have expected from the high alcohol content. It wasn’t a particularly complex offering either, besides some early spice and a darker fruits there wasn’t much coming through at all and it bordered on basic at times; it’s definitely not a beer than impressed me much sadly.

Overall (12/20): Quite disappointing overall really, this one wasn’t an overly strong or complex offering and to be honest that’s what you expect when you pick up an 11.5% abv. beer. The promised malts and cherries were in attendance from early on which meant things got off to a decent enough start but there wasn’t much following on from there and it was all a bit underwhelming really. Some alcohol grains and a touch of spice make an appearance nearer the end, there was some further ripe fruits and sugars too but it definitely wasn’t complex and it was one that I just couldn’t get into really.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Instituto de la Cerveza Artesana (I.C.A.)
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Quadrupel
Abv: 11.5%
Serving: Draught (250ml)
Purchased: Abirradero, Barcelona, Spain
Price: €4.50 (approx. £3.93)

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

Hop Rocker

Rating: 3.55

One of  the original three beers Brewdog ever made now, this is one that I picked up over the brewery’s 10th anniversary celebration last month when they released this one alongside their original recipe Punk IPA and another old-school beer of theirs, The Physics. This is a beer that was originally brewed in 2007 and retired within a couple of years so it’s one that I never managed to try at the time but thankfully I’m getting a chance now. The beer is an American style pale lager from the brewery but given the name, I’m expecting at least a decent amount of hops coming through and it should be interesting to see how this one compares to some of their later attempts at pale lagers, particularly their classic 77 Lager and their current Kingpin lager. This one will be my 133rd beer from Brewdog and more than a few of them have been lagers over the years but it’s not a style the brewery are particularly good at in my opinion so it should be interesting to see how this one tastes given it’s ten years old and they tend to rotate their lagers on a fairly regular basis these days.

Appearance (4/5): Golden coloured and fairly clear with a couple of amber tinges through the body and an impressive, three centimetre tall head that is creamy looking and quite thick initially. There’s some nice lacing on the sides of the glass with the head maintaining good retention as well, there’s only a slight reduction in size over the opening minute or so and it’s definitely better than anticipated so far.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a malty aroma to the beer initially, there was some early caramel sweetness with a few hops backing them up earlier than expected. There was some lighter type fruits nearer the middle of the beer with some grassy notes too, I could detect a faint touch of butterscotch and bread malts follow it up. It’s a little more pronounced on the nose than expected too but it seemed fresh and fairly lively too.
Taste (7/10): The taste, like the nose, was again quite a malty offering with some early sweetness coming through from a combination of bread and caramel malts. There was a definite hop presence at this point too with some grassy hops and touches of citrus coming through alongside a combination of basic fruits that add a subtle freshness to proceedings before some malt bitterness sees things out.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and strongly carbonated, the beer is fairly fresh but the balance certainly wasn’t the best, it seemed a touch gassy at times and the grassy hops were more pronounced than you’d expect from this type of beer. It’s a pleasant offering that was relatively easy to drink but it did seem slightly dated at times too.

Overall (15/20): This one turned out to be quite an interesting beer from Brewdog and one that started well with some nice caramel and bread malts to give the beer an early sweetness before some of the grassy hops and subtle bitterness started to come through. It was a very strongly carbonated beer that seemed overly gassy at times but was still pleasant enjoy, my biggest complain however would be the balance of the beer with it seeming a little aggressive at times and definitely a little dated too; that probably explains why Brewdog stopped brewing it in truth. It’s on that I’m pleased I’ve managed to try but I’m not sure I’d go back to it again if it was a permanent offering either.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2007 (2017 re-release)
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £1.28 (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

Bayreuther Hell

Rating: 2.35

The final beer of those that I managed to try when visiting Berlin over the Easter weekend in April of this year, it’s only taken me a month but I’ve finally gotten through my backlog of reviews to upload here and sadly this isn’t a case of saving the best to last. This one is a beer that I tried on my last morning in the city, having initially forgotten it was sitting in the hotel fridge the night before. The beer is one that I spotted in a number of shops over the course of the weekend and I knew I’d end up trying it at some point, especially considering it’s not one that I’ve seen available in the UK before either. Originally a 4.8% offering, the alcohol content of the beer has since been raised ever so slightly to the 4.9% abv. it was when I picked up a bottle near my hotel in the Alexanderplatz area of the city. Since this is the last of the German beers I have to review for the time being, I imagine this one will also be my last review of a helles style lager for a while but you never know I guess.

Appearance (3/5): A very clear looking, golden straw coloured beer with a thin, half centimetre tall head on top that was a foamy white that left the odd touch of lacing on the sides of the glass as the head disappeared to leave a thin surface lacing after the first minute or so.
Aroma (3/10): A terrible smelling beer in truth, this one smelt of cheap corn and basic adjuncts with a faint vegetable aroma to proceedings. There was some skunky notes around the middle but not a huge amount, the beer was fairly bland overall though with some lager malts and hay nearer the end; very poor stuff.
Taste (5/10): Corn and lager malts open things with the taste and there was some fairly light vegetable adjuncts with a touch of skunk imparted on proceedings as well. Around the middle a faint hint of citrus started to come through and I got the odd grassy hops too which was a slight improvement on the nose but overall it was quite cheap and basic tasting.
Palate (3/5): Thin and quite light on the palate, this one was a fairly skunky offering at times and came through as a bland, cheap tasting lager. There was some faint hops and a hint of sweetness around the middle but  with was lightly carbonated and not as crisp as I’d have liked. It was a smooth beer for the most part but it wasn’t particularly easy to drink or enjoyable sadly.

Overall (7/20): This one can only be classed as a terrible lager, the beer was cheap and bordered on nasty at times with only a faint touch of sweetness and basic hops hinting at anything in the way of flavours. There was some skunk and vegetable adjuncts at times which wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for going into this one and it was easily one of the worst beers I tried on my recent trip to German; a definite one to avoid for me.

Brewed In: Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Brewery: Dinkelacker-Schwaben Bräu
First Brewed: Brewery since 1857
Type: Helles Lager
ABV: 4.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany
Price: €1.60 (approx. £1.36)

Dolden Berg Sturer-Bock

Rating: 3.3

Another random beer that I managed to try in Berlin when visiting last month, this one is actaully the penultimate beer from the trip that I’ve still to review here. The beer is one that was picked up for me from a Netto supermarket in the Alexanderplatz area of the city and appears to be one that is brewed exclusively for the retailer and available only at their stores, it is brewed at the Jacob Stauder brewery in Essen though and for that reason I’ll list the beer under that particular brewery. The beer is one that I had in the late afternoon back at my hotel and to be honest I wasn’t expecting a great deal from what was essentially a supermarket own-brand, strong beer but it turned out to be at least slightly better than expected without being one I’d rush back and pick up again; here’s how it turned out.

Appearance (4/5): A malty looking, almost caramel amber coloured beer that was semi-clear and had quite a nice and thick looking head sitting on top of it. The head was a foamy looking one, sitting a creamy white colour with some nice lacing on the sides of the glass and looking much better than I’d expected.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a strong beer on the nose, this one kicked off with a lot of caramel malts and some early sweetness as well, it seemed relatively thick on the nose too with some solid sugars and darker fruits featuring nearer the middle. I managed to detect a combination of plums, raisins and some dates with a few sticky grains in there too. Towards the end some of the alcohol starts to show and it did seem stronger than the 7.5% abv. listed on the bottle but it fell short of being overpowering at least.
Taste (6/10): A very malty beer with a lot of sweetness in the early going, there was some strong hops coming through as well with a touch of warming alcohol backing it up. Towards the middle there was some citrus before darker fruits started to come through, I got touches of plum and raisins with some dates rounding things off nicely but it wasn’t an overly complex really.
Palate (3/5): Quite a thick, almost full-bodied beer that was very malty and strong, opening with a lot of sweetness before some touches of warming alcohol and grain showed up. It definitely seemed stronger than the 7.5% listed on the bottle but remained drinkable, it’s definitely not one to rush though. There was an abundance of sugars in there too, coupled with the fruits and this one was quite a sweet offering that was light on bitterness and perhaps just a touch too strong for my liking at times.

Overall (14/20): Quite a boozy and strong offering with a lot of sweetness throughout, it’s probably not the best beer to kick off the night with but it was drinkable and enjoyable at times without ever threatening to be a classic. There was a lot of dark malts and fruits coming through, most notably plums and dates but nothing out of the ordinary for the style really. It’s one that’s worth trying if you stumble across it, mainly because it’s not as bad as you’d expect from the price but it was probably just marginally better than average and not one I’d be likely to pick up again.

Brewed In: Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Brewery: Privatbrauerei Jacob Stauder
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Doppelbock
ABV: 7.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Netto (Berlin)
Price: €0.69 (approx. £0.60)