Northern Monk Faith

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

This one is my fifth Northern Monk beer and one that seems to be a new offering for 2017. The beer is one that I picked up from my local bottle shop last month and sampled right at the beginning of September since I wanted to try it fresh. Following on from their Mocha Porter that I tried and wasn’t overly impressed with back in January, this one is my first pale ale from the brewery and it was one that I was quite looking forward to given the brewery’s love of hop-filled, bitter beers. Thankfully the beer was a little better than the last offering from the brewery that I tried but it wasn’t a great one in truth, here’s what I thought of it when I drank it either this month.

Appearance (4/5): Fairly light looking with a light amber to golden body that is slightly cloudy and topped with a two and a half centimetre tall head that is white and holds well initially. There is a little lacing left on the sides of the beer and the head holds for the first couple minutes too; a nice start.
Aroma (6/10): Slightly fresh on the nose with some hoppy touches and a citrus aroma that is complimented by some pale malts. It’s a little basic overall but some grassy notes and lemon come through alongside a faint caramel smell; it could definitely have been a little stronger though.
Taste (6/10): Opening with a citrus and lemon combination, the beer is fresh with some earthy hops and biscuit. It’s a clean and fresh with touches of biscuit and cereal coming through nearer the middle and a faint bitterness to see things out; again it’s a relatively basic offering.
Palate (4/5): Clean and quite crisp, the beer is light-medium bodied and quite fresh too. It’s an easy to drink offering that came through with a nice balance and some floral touches later on.

Overall (13/20): This one was an okay pale ale from Northern Monk, it was a little basic at times and it wasn’t as bitter or hopppy as I’d expected either. It was a drinkable offering with some citrus and touches of sweetness but it’s not one I’d have again I’m afraid and it was a little bit of a disappointment to boot.

Brewed In: Leeds, Yorkshire, England
Brewery: Northern Monk Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Can (440ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.20

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Dorothy’s New World Lager

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My first ever beer from Iowa based Toppling Goliath now and my first ever beer from Iowa as well, this one is a beer that I grabbed in a local bottle shop recently since it was the first beer from the brewery that I’ve seen make it to the UK. I recognised the brewery name thanks to their Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout which is currently the highest ranked beer on the BeerAdvocate website so my thinking was that this was bound to be a good lager that I quickly picked up. Upon looking into the beer further, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was in fact a California Common style beer when I’d been thinking it was a basic pale lager; a nice bonus.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber in colour with a semi-clear body and a thin, bubbly white head that fades to quite a thin lacing after thirty seconds or so; the beer looks quite fizzy though.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a sweet beer with a touch of corn and some hay in the early going, there was touches of sweetness in there as well.
Taste (7/10): Quite a fresh and tangy offering with some decent citrus and hay flavours to open things up followed by some of the honey from the nose making an appearance too. There was a nice combination of background fruits in there as well as faint biscuit. Towards the end a butterscotch taste adds to the sweetness but it’s not an overly complex offering really.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and a lot more sweet than expected, the beer was crisp and lively with a medium body and a nice amount of flavour showing. It was quite a basic but enjoyable beer with a good balance and it was easy to drink too.

Overall (15/20): A nice first beer from the brewery for me and one that’s best feature was the excellent balance to it, although it was more sweet than I’d anticipated going in; especially as I had been expecting a straight-up pale lager when I picked this one up. It was quite a crisp and fresh offering with a lively feel that had some nice honey and butterscotch flavours sitting on top of a standard lager base; easy going and enjoyable stuff.

Brewed In: Decorah, Iowa, United States of America
Brewery: Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2010
Type: California Common
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (473ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.40

Guinness Antwerpen Stout

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.2

The final beer that I picked up on my recent trip to Ireland now and what will be, I think anyway, my thirteenth beer from Guinness and one that I was surprised to see when I stumbled across it in a Tesco supermarket in the north of the country. This one is apparently a beer that has been available to the Belgian market since 1944 and also goes by the ‘Guinness Special Export Stout (Belgian Version)’ name as well. Coming in at 8%, it’s definitely one of the stronger offerings from the brewery that I’ve tried and I was also quite surprised at how cheap it was selling for. Following on quickly from the brewery’s Milk Stout, I went into this one with high hopes and thankfully I was not disappointed.

Appearance (4/5): Very dark ruby in colour with a larger than expected head, it sat about three centimetres tall and was a tan beige colour with a foamy texture that had the odd bubble through it as well. After about a minute or so it starts to lose some of its initial height but it’s got quite good retention given the strength of the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a strong and rich nose initially with some chocolate and plenty of sugars coming through that give the beer a nice sweetness to it. There was definitely a lot more complexity to the beer than expected from the brewery with some rich notes and touches of coffee making an appearance around the middle. Towards the end some darker fruits begin to come through and round things off; raisins and plums with the odd date making up most of the aroma right at the end.
Taste (9/10): Opening with a combination of chocolate malts and further sweetness from the sugars, there was some coffee following on behind and the taste definitely matched the nose in the early going. There was some darker fruits that seemed to appear much sooner than they did with the nose, again there was dates, raisins and some plum which added some complexity to proceedings. Overall it was a rich taste with some roasted malts right at the end and it was stronger than expected too.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite rich with a sweetness to it in the early going that was relatively complex and very smooth. The alcohol content was fairly well hidden with a faint touches showing nearer the end but it was still a strong beer that was well carbonated and quite easy to drink too.

Overall (18/20): This one was a very nice beer from Guinness and easily one of the best, if not the very best, that I’ve tried from the brewery so far. There was a lot more complexity to the beer than anticipated with it coming through quite rich and sweet, plenty of chocolate and darker fruits featuring alongside some nice coffee and roasted flavours. It was a balanced and smooth offering that went down much easier than I thought it would and it’s definitely a beer that I’ll be on the look out for again.

Brewed In: Dublin, Ireland
Brewery: St. James’s Gate Brewery
First Brewed: 1944
Also Known As: Guinness Special Export Stout (Belgian Version)
Type: Foreign / Export Stout
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.68

Boyne Amber Ale

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

The third of the three beers from the Boyne Brewhouse that I managed to pick up while over in Ireland at the end of last month and the start of this one; the beer follows on from Boyne’s Saison that was quite disappointing and their only marginally better Pale Ale. I’m hoping it’s a case of saving the best to last with this one though and hopefully it will prove to be a better beer, otherwise I can’t see this being a brewery that I pick any more beer from up when I’m next in Ireland later this year.

Appearance (4/5): A darker, almost caramel colour that has a half centimetre tall, bubbly head that is a creamy white and slightly foamy looking but manages to cover the surface well. The head retention was okay too, initially sitting well then start to break up a little after about forty-five seconds to a minute later with a patch of lacing holding in the middle.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a malty nose with some sweetness in the early going too, there was some caramel notes with the odd sugar to back them up and hints of bread not too far behind either. A couple of faint biscuit notes featured towards the middle alongside lighter hops and a earthy aroma but it could have used being a little stronger in my opinion.
Taste (6/10): Semi-sweet with a little caramel and the odd biscuit note coming through, there was a touch more sweetness than there was with the nose and I managed to get some earthy flavours coming through soon after. A combination of sugars and some bread malts featured around the middle with a moderate bitterness seeing things out but again the beer wasn’t quite as strong as I’d have liked.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and sweet with a few sugars featuring from the start. The beer was relatively crisp and slightly dry at times whilst the nose in particular was a little weak but the balance wasn’t a bad one and it was easy to drink. Carbonation levels were about average for the style of beer and there was a nice bitterness to see things out as well.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad amber ale and easily the best of the three beers from the brewery that I’ve tried now, although it was still a little weak at times and far from a classic offering. Opening with a nice helping of sweetness that was backed up by pleasant biscuit malts and some caramel flavours, this one was a balanced beer that proved quite easy to drink throughout without being anything special. It was crisp and dry, especially towards the finish with a nice bitterness to see things out as well, although I’d have liked it more had it been a little stronger.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67

Boyne Pale Ale

September 19, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.1

Only my second from the County Meath based Boyne Brewhouse and the second of three beers from them that I picked up when visiting Ireland at the end of August. When visiting a local bottle shop in the north of Ireland I managed to pick this one up along with their previously reviewed Boyne Saison that I found quite disappointing and another beer from them that I’ve yet to review here, their Boyne Amber Ale. This one also goes by the less obvious name of ‘Born in a Day APA’ and is an American pale ale style offering that I was definitely looking forward to trying when I picked it up but given how average and unlike a saison the last beer from them I tried was, I began to have doubts prior to opening this one; here’s what I thought of it anyway.

Appearance (4/5): Quite cloudy to start with a bright amber body that was topped with a thin, half centimetre head that was bubbly and white before fading after about thirty seconds to leave a thin surface lacing that had more build up around the edges.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh and quite lively with some citrus in the early going before the biscuit malts and floral hops start to make themselves known. There was a little sweetness coming through with touches of pine and a few pale, almost earthy malts towards the middle. It’s a relatively clean nose with some bitterness sneaking in but the balance was good and it was a pleasant enough start.
Taste (5/10): Pine hops and lots of biscuit flavours kick things off here, there was some earthy bitterness and touches of citrus not too far behind either though. Whilst seemingly not as fresh as the nose was, the beer was some grassy touches and a nice helping of earthy malts around the middle but towards the end it started to seem a little one-dimensional and boring at times, it proved to be a little basic tasting too.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite fresh with a crisp and floral feel, there was a subtle tang coming through at times too and the beer seemed balanced.  Overall it was a basic beer on the palate with average carbonation levels for the style and some dryness at the end.

Overall (12/20): The better of the two beers that I tried from the brewery so far but this one was still quite an ordinary pale ale that was closer to an English one than the American one advertised, there was more of a biscuit and earthy malt taste than I’d have expected from an American pale ale although some lighter citrus and floral touches did feature. It was well carbonated and crisp but beyond that it was quite an average and not one that I’d seek out again really.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2017
Also Known As: Boyne Brewhouse Born in a Day APA
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67

InishMacSaint Pure Foundered

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.35

A fourth beer from Fermanagh based InishMacSaint here and my first from them since trying their Muck Savage wheat ale on Christmas Day back in 2015. The first beer from the brewery that I ever tried, their self-titled InishMacSaint proved to be quite an enjoyable offering but the Muck Savage as well as their Lough Erne Porter that I have tried since never really excited me much; both were drinkable but nothing special sadly. I picked this one up when I spotted it at a local bottle shop in Fermanagh last month with the hope that it would be an improvement on the last couple from the brewery; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it a couple of weeks ago.

Appearance (3/5): Bright golden to yellow in cloudy with a cloudy body but a head that disappeared quiet quickly, even after an aggressive pour from the bottle. It more of a thin and bubbly white lacing that formed above a few fine bubbles that were rising to the surface of the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Quite light on the nose with some citrus and floral touches opening things up alongside a faint hint of orange and some cloves towards the middle. There was an almost witbier like aroma to this one at times with some background fruits helping to keep things fresh but it was far from the strongest beer out there.
Taste (7/10): Quite fruity and opening with a nice combination of citrus and orange flavours before the cloves from the nose started to come through. There was a little wheat this time around too which lent weight to the beer seeming like a witbier at times as well. There was some floral bursts around the middle with the odd pale malts and some grassy flavours sneaking in too but again it wasn’t an overly pronounced offering from the brewery.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied but perhaps a little lighter than I’d have liked to see, the beer was quite fresh and lively though with above average carbonation and some good floral bursts too. There was a dry and crisp feel to this one that seemed to have a nice balance as well; decent stuff from InnishMacSaint.

Overall (13/20): This one was a slightly better than expected offering from the brewery, I’d not been overly optimistic about this one after the last couple from them weren’t overly enjoyable but this one turned out okay without ever really exciting or hitting the heights of their original InishMacSaint beer. The beer started relatively poorly thanks to its lack of head and weaker than expected aroma but things definitely picked up a little with the nose and some nice citrus flavours started to appear alongside basic fruits. At times the beer was much closer to a witbier than a Belgian pale ale with wheat, cloves and the odd spice all featuring but it proved an easy one to drink whilst staying fresh throughout.

Brewed In: Drumskimly, Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Inishmacsaint Brewery
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Belgian Pale Ale
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.49

Guinness Milk Stout

September 19, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.75

The first of two new Guinness beers that I managed to try on a recent trip to Ireland last month, this one is a new release for 2017 and was only made available some time around March this year; as yet I’ve not spotted it in Scotland so I was quick to pick a bottle up when I spotted it in an Irish Tesco store a couple of weeks ago. Released as part of Guinness’s ‘Brewers Project’, this one follows in the footsteps of their Dublin Porter and West Indies Porter offerings that I tried upon their release a couple of years ago; my hopes going into this one was that it would prove a slightly better beer than either of those two did at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Very dark ruby in colour, bordering on black and sitting with an opaque body. The beer had a thin, centimetre tall head that was bubbly looking and a light brown colour, settling as a thin surface lacing after a minute or so and leaving slightly more build up around the edges of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a light nose with some subtle sweetness and touches of sugar coming through in the early going, there was a lactose aroma that was backed up by the odd darker malt but it could definitely have used being a little stronger. There was some milk notes around the middle with lighter coffee ones too but beyond that it was quite a basic offering with little bitterness to be seen anywhere either.
Taste (7/10): Opening a little sweeter than the nose, this one opened with some milk sugars and touches of coffee which featured much earlier than it did with the nose. There was some touches of chocolate following on behind and thankfully there is more showing here than what there was with the nose too, it’s nowhere near as light this time around. Towards the end there was a further helping of sweet malts and pleasant creamy flavours with a subtle bitterness seeing things out as well.
Palate (4/5): Quite a smooth and balanced offering, this one was a creamy beer that had a touch more carbonation than expected and sat somewhere around moderate. It was a lively offering for the style with plenty of sweetness and it was also a very easy to drink beer into the bargain.

Overall (15/20): A much better beer than I’d been expecting from Guinness here, this one was balanced and very drinkable with some pleasant sweetness in the early going that was coupled with touches of malts and coffee, some fainter chocolate flavours featuring as well. The only downside to this one was that it wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped for at times; although the taste was a slight improvement on the nose, the aroma definitely seemed a touch weak at times.

Brewed In: Dublin, Ireland
Brewery: St. James’s Gate Brewery
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Sweet Stout
Abv: 4.3%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.80