Fallen Grapevine

December 6, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 4.15

M y first ever beer from Stirling based Fallen Brewing, this being despite the fact that it’s a fairly local brewery and their beers are regularly available in my area but for some reason I’ve never tried anything from them before. This one is an American pale ale that I found on-tap at the Schilling Brewing Co. bar in Glasgow recently and enjoyed the sample that I had of it so opted to give it a proper try. Launched around the same time the brewery opened back in 2012, this one is apparently one of the brewery’s core offerings and as good a beer as any for my first one from them; although a further review of an imperial stout from Fallen should follow shortly after this review.

Appearance (5/5): Bright and cloudy looking, the beer is an orange to caramel amber colour that has a centimetre tall, foamy white head with good retention sitting on top. The head holds well over the opening minutes and looks quite thick with some bubbles around the sides as well; an excellent start indeed.
Aroma (7/10): Not a huge nose to this one really, there was some nice pine and grapefruit notes kicking things off with a slight hint of perfume further on. There was a few citrus notes and some biscuit malts towards the middle alongside subtle floral hops. Towards the end I got a nice sweetness with some caramel in there too and a few background fruits rounded things off; most notably some peach and apricot.
Taste (8/10): Following on well from the nose and opening with some grapefruit alongside a pleasant caramel sweetness, the beer definitely wasn’t as bitter and didn’t have as many hops showing as the nose but it still seemed fresh with some pine and subtle fruits coming through; the peach and apricot from the nose both featuring along with some orange and lemon flavours too. Further on and some stone fruits and a floral bitterness made themselves known with touches of mango to see things out at the end.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and very fresh with a consistently bitter feel throughout, this one was lively with some solid floral hops and a nice citrus tang in there as well. The beer seemed quite balanced as well with the caramel providing a nice sweetness that worked well with the hop bitterness and tropical fruits. It wasn’t the strongest beer in the world but there was nice varied and everything seemed to work well together too.

Overall (17/20): This one was a surprisingly good first beer from Fallen for me and one that was a lot more varied and bitter than I’d anticipated when I ordered it. The beer opened with some good grapefruit and pine bitterness with a few floral hops not too far behind and some nice caramel that helped keep the balance of the beer and prevent the hops from overpowering further on. Falling somewhere between a pale ale and an IPA given the hops that featured, the beer was an easy on to drink and I’d happily have it again.

Brewed In: Kippen, Stirling, Scotland
Brewery: Fallen Brewing
First Brewed: 2012
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Keg (Pint)
Purchased: Schilling Brewing Co., Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.80 (approx.)

Advertisements

Deaf Mermaid

December 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

A free birthday beer from Brewdog here, although I opted only for a half pint rather than a full one since I was in a hurry. This offering from Brewdog is a re-release of a beer that previously came in at 5.2% but was made available again earlier this year as a keg-only offering available at their UK bars for a short time. My first review of a new Brewdog beer since trying their Mandarina Lager offering back in August, this one wasn’t a beer that I was holding out much hope for but thankfully it turned out to be a fairly enjoyable offering, here’s what I thought of it when I tried it at the end of October.

Appearance (5/5): Very clear golden in colour with a foamy white head that was about a centimetre tall and quite thick looking with good lacing left on the sides and excellent head retention.
Aroma (7/10): Quite fresh on the nose with some light hops and citrus kicking things off alongside a few lager-type malts. Towards the middle some earthy hops started to make an appearance with touches of pine and mango coming through as well, and there was some zesty lemon not too far behind those. It was a juicy and fresh nose with some floral hops seeing things out nicely.
Taste (7/10): Not quite as fresh or lively as the nose but there was some tropical fruits and hops kicking things off alongside some grassy flavours and pale malts which seemed more dominant but fell short of overpowering. It was almost a hybrid pale ale/lager offering that reminded me of Caesar Augustus from Williams Brothers at times. Further on and there was some nice grapefruit flavours alongside touches of pine but the nose was definitely a little stronger and better, it was still a nice tasting beer though.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied, perhaps slightly lighter but balanced and fresh with the nose in particular coming through relatively strong. There was a zesty feel to this one and it was well carbonated with a smooth body and dry finish that made it quite sessionable too.

Overall (14/20): Surprisingly good stuff from Brewdog, particularly because I wasn’t overly optimistic about this one on the way in but it was a fresh and enjoyable beer from the outset. It was almost a cross between a pale ale and a lager with some nice citrus and floral touches working well with the earthy hops and grassy flavours. It was sessionable and easy to drink too with a few subtle tropical fruits coming through further on and the head retention was excellent as well.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: Free

Trash Soda

December 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

My first non-Japanese beer in a while now and one that I tried a few weeks back on a return visit to the Drygate brewpub in Glasgow, opting for a new beer from the brewery that I hadn’t seen previously. This one is a rotating (or perhaps one-off) release from the brewery that appears to have been introduced in September this year and was definitely one of the better beers from the brewery that I’ve tried, coming through quite strong and with plenty hops. The beer will be my twelfth review of a Drygate beer and is my first since enjoying another of their American pale ale’s when I had their Disco Forklift Truck back in May this year. A beer that I really enjoyed, this is one that I had a couple of times at Drygate until eventually the keg was done but hopefully it is a beer that becomes a regular for them in future since it’s one I’d definitely have again.

Appearance (4/5): Quite cloudy with an amber to yellow body that was topped with a thin, quarter centimetre head that was white and foamy looking, leaving a touch of lacing on the sides and covering the surface of the beer well.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with some nice hops and plenty of citrus, the beer was fresh without being overly strong and there was some nice resinous pine sitting in the background too. It was a fresh and lively nose with some grapefruit towards the middle and a few background fruits further on which made for a good start to the beer.
Taste (8/10): Fresh tasting with some nice citrus and pine coming through, the later being slightly less pronounced than with the nose but still remaining noticeable. I managed to detect some grapefruit that carried over from the nose with some floral bitterness and orange flavours further on and some lemon rounding things off nicely too.
Palate (4/5): Medium and quite fresh, the nose in particular being a lively one with a nice tang coming through from the citrus as well. The beer was balanced well and quite easy to drink with a floral bitterness seeing things out nicely.

Overall (16/20): Very nice stuff again from Drygate and definitely one of their better beers, this one had quite a fruity feel with a lively body that was well carbonated and some nice resinous pine kicking things off. It was balanced and very easy to drink with plenty of citrus too; definitely one that I’d have again.

Brewed In: Drygate, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Drygate Brewery
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Drygate FT002 – Trash Soda
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.6%
Serving: Keg (Pint)
Purchased: Drygate Brewery, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.70

Fitzbräu Hop Chocolate

December 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.1

Following on from the last homebrew offering that I reviewed here, this one is my second attempt at making a dark beer and my first ever stout; well second, I also tried making an imperial stout recently too. I brewed this one a couple of months ago and am down to my last few bottles now but as yet haven’t properly reviewed it here, hopefully it’s still fresh enough and I can gauge how it compares to the El Gran Jefe Porter that preceded it. Brewed with sorachi ace, amarillo and magnum hops and American influenced, this is one that I’ had been wanting to brew for a while but ended up delaying it whilst I had a stab at an Imperial Stout that I will likely review soon after this one.

Appearance (3/5): A very dark ruby to black colour that is opaque and topped with quite a disappointingly small head that is well under half a centimetre tall and fades to leave a thin bit of lace around the circumference after twenty seconds or so; likely since this one was bottled a good couple of months ago but I was still hoping for better.
Aroma (6/10): Quite dark with some nice caramel and chocolate flavours in the early going as well as some background hops that hint at some bitterness. There’s a few spiced showing but nothing overly strong before being drowned out by cocoa and an earthy bitterness. It could have been fresher and a little stronger but it wasn’t a bad one on the nose really.
Taste (7/10): Opening with some chocolate and caramel flavours that provided some nice sweetness too, the beer seemed fresher than it smelled with some subtle citrus hops coming through but I’d have liked them to be a little stronger, something I’ll consider if I decide to make a variation of this one again. There was some cocoa and milk like flavours further on with the odd spice sneaking through as well towards the end.
Palate (3/5):
Somewhere around medium bodied and very smooth, the beer was softly carbonated and quite easy going although it could have been a little fresher and more lively, the lack of hop bitterness was also an issue at times for me but it was still a drinkable beer that seemed sweet and creamy at times too.

Overall (12/20): Definitely not as good as some of my previous efforts, partially due to the fact that it was a couple months past its best when I finally got around the reviewing it but I was still hoping for a little better from this one. The beer was smooth and creamy with some nice chocolate malts and caramel at times with a few hints of lactose too but there wasn’t enough hop bitterness other than a subtle touch of citrus featuring around the middle of the taste. It remained a drinkable beer and one that I finished quite easily but it wasn’t as good as I hoped and it will need some tinkering with before I decide to make this one again.

Brewed In: Wishaw, Lanarkshire Scotland
Brewery: Fitzbräu
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Stout
Abv: 5.38%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Homebrew
Price: N/A

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.)

Sapporo That’s Hop Mosaic & Citra

November 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.2

The second beer in Sapporo’s Innovative Brewer That’s Hop series now, this one a Mosaic and Citra pale ale that follows on from their Nelson Sauvin version that I reviewed here last after picking both up on the same day from a Tokyo Family Mart store while nearer the end of my time in the city. To be honest, this one wasn’t a beer that I was expecting a lot from but like its predecessor I picked it up because it was one of the few Japanese beers left in the store that I hadn’t already tried at some point over the previous two weeks so I thought I’d give it a go.

Appearance (3/5): A touch lighter than the brewery’s Nelson Sauvin offering in this series but only just, the beer is a golden amber colour that has a half centimetre, bubbly white head with some foamy areas but it holds relatively well initially and covers the majority of the surface too, with only a tiny patch missing at the side too.
Aroma (4/10): Opening with some nice citrus notes and quite a resinous, almost pungent nose that has quite a lot pine coming through in the early going as well. It’s a somewhat skunky offering that seemed slightly unbalanced in the early going, although there was some biscuit and earth notes towards the middle as well. It was lighter and more basic than anticipated and there really wasn’t a lot to the nose in truth.
Taste (4/10):
Subdued citrus flavours with the pine and resinous notes from the nose taking more of a backseat this time around, it also seemed a lighter beer than the nose indicated. Around the middle there was again some biscuit and earthy malts with some grassy hops coming through as well but not much else until some grapes and the odd tropical fruit flavour featured at the end.
Palate (2/5):
Medium bodied, perhaps a little lighter at times with some citrus showing and a floral bitterness throughout as well. The beer was basic and didn’t have the best balance with it seeming gassy at times, although it did remain drinkable for the most part but it’s not one I’d go back to.

Overall (8/20): Quite a basic beer and one that sadly wasn’t that enjoyable either, the beer was actually a lot like the Nelson Sauvin in this Sapporo series that came before it and one that was more difficult to drink than I’d have liked. It was an unbalanced offering with some citrus and pine flavours but little else coming through for the most part expect the usual grassy hops and biscuit malts; a cheap and poor offering that I’d avoid in future.

Brewed In: Tokyo, Japan
Brewery: Sapporo Breweries
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Sapporo Innovative Brewer That’s Hop Zetsumyo no Mosaic & Citra
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Family Mart (Shin-Okubo, Tokyo)
Price: ¥262 (£1.74 approx.)

Sapporo That’s Hop Nelson Sauvin

November 23, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 2.35

The first of two Sapporo beers I tried in Tokyo last month that fall under their Innovative Brewer That’s Hop series, this one being a Nelson Sauvin American pale ale from the brewery that I picked up at a Family Mart store near our accommodation in the Shin-Okubo area of Tokyo towards the end of my holiday in Japan. The beer is one that I’d spotted once or twice while in Japan but had overlooked in favour of most well-known offerings but with only a day or two left in the country I opted to give it a go and see how it compared to other Japanese craft beers that I tried when in the country. The beer looked to be quite a new offering from Sapporo and the first reviews online are only dated from around the time I tried the can so I can only assume it was a new release when I picked it up and I can’t be sure if it’s a seasonal, limited release or year-round offering either but it’s definitely not one that I’m glad I picked up sadly.

Appearance (3/5): This one sits a golden amber in the glass with a large, centimetre and a half tall head that is frothy looking and white but it took quite an aggressive pour for it to reach such heights. There was okay retention that followed with the beer topped with a thin surface lacing after a minute or so with a tiny bit of break up at this point too.
Aroma (4/10): The beer opens with strong, almost pungent citrus and pine hops that seemed a little harsh and uneven but at least it wasn’t a weak offering. There was some grape and lemon with lighter grassy notes towards the middle and some fusty notes as well sadly. Towards the end I got some biscuit malts and a few more earthy hops which made for quite a strange nose overall.
Taste (5/10):
Following on in a similar vein to the nose, although thankfully a little better tasting, this one opened with some citrus and a couple of pines hops with an almost resinous taste but one that was less pungent than the nose seemed to be. There was some background fruits with touches of grapefruits, some tropical flavours and a hint of grape but none really seemed to jump out at you. The taste was rounded off with some biscuit flavours and a floral bitterness and although an improvement on the nose, it still wasn’t all that good of a beer.
Palate (2/5):
Light-medium and quite hoppy to start, the beer was fresh initially too but soon faded towards the middle and seemed slightly weaker at this point too. There wasn’t much in the way of balance with a pungent hop nose kicking things off and lots of resinous pine dominating the taste early on too, sadly it was also a little gassy with the carbonation levels almost seeming overdone which made it quite a disappointing beer overall.

Overall (9/20): An interesting change up from the usual pale lagers and dark lagers that I’ve tried from Sapporo but ultimately this one ended up being another poor offering from the brewery and one that seemed unbalanced, cheap and a little basic at times. It started with some citrus and pine but both seemed overdone and didn’t help the balance of the beer much either. There was some background fruits and basic malts adding a little sweetness towards the end but it was over-carbonated and hard to drink at times; definitely not one that I’d pick up again I’m afraid.

Brewed In: Tokyo, Japan
Brewery: Sapporo Breweries
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Sapporo Innovative Brewer That’s Hop Nelson Sauvin no Shinzui
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Family Mart (Shin-Okubo, Tokyo)
Price: ¥262 (£1.74 approx.)