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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

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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.)

Ichijoji Destroy Angel

October 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.3

Following on from the previous review of their Joshuaku Plum Ale, this one is my second beer from the Ichijoji brewery and another I had at one of their Kyoto taprooms a few weeks ago. This one was a beer that was freshly kegged when I tried it and one of the stronger beers available across the 10 or so taps in the bar, a 6.6% offering that I was hoping would be more pronounced than the last beer from the brewery that I tried on my visit.

Appearance (4/5): A bright, cloudy amber to orange with a half centimetre had that’s slightly bubbly at points but for the most part sits as a foamy white before starting to break up slightly in the middle after about forty-five seconds or so.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with a lot of lemon and a solid floral aroma, the beer is fresh with some orange and citrus notes but none are particularly strong sadly. There was some perfume like notes around the middle with a herbal backing and some touches of bread malt nearer the end; again one that could have been stronger but it was a pleasant enough nose despite this.
Taste (6/10):
 A touch weaker than the nose and almost bland at times, there was some lemon and citrus but it was definitely toned down sadly. There was some pale malts and a subtle bitterness towards the middle with touches of fruits sitting in the background; most notably some pine hops.
Palate (3/5):
Light-medium bodied and semi-fresh without ever really being strong enough for my liking; it was definitely lighter than expected from a 6.6% abv. beer. There was a hop bitterness around the middle with a dryness towards the end and the body was smooth for the most part but it needed to be stronger in my opinion.

Overall (14/20): This was a beer with a pleasant enough taste and it was definitely the better of the two beers from the brewery that I tried during my time in Japan but like the Joshuaku Plum Ale before it, this one just wasn’t strong enough at any point and almost seemed weak and bland at times too. There was some hop and pine bitterness at times and the nose wasn’t quite as bad as the taste but it never really got going sadly.

Brewed In: Kyoto, Japan
Brewery: Ichijoji Brewery
First Brewed: 2016
Type: English IPA
Abv: 6.6%
Serving: Keg (270ml)
Purchased: Ichi-Ya Bar, Kyoto, Japan
Price: ¥648 (£4.29 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.)

Shiga Kogen IPA (359 of 1001)

October 16, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.65

The second review of a beer that I managed to try in Japan recently, this one is the first of the beers on the 1001 list from the country that I managed to find as well. I stumbled across this one at the Two Dogs Taproom in the Roppongi area of Tokyo on my second night in the city and it was the first I ordered on my visit. Brewed by Tamamura Honten (itself a well established sake brewery) in the Nagano area of the country, this was I believe the only beer from the brewery that I tried during my time in Japan but I did see a few of their other beers in a bottle shop towards the end of my trip but never picked any new ones up; instead I opted for bringing a bottle of this one home with me to the UK.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber in colour with a still body and a quarter centimetre head that was about double that initially but had settled by the time it reached my table. The surface was well covered on the beer though, only a slight break up showed at one side and it was a decent start.
Aroma (7/10): Hoppy to start with, the beer opened with some grapefruit and a light citrus aroma that was coupled with some faint earthy notes towards the middle. There wasn’t anything overpowering on the nose but a slight malt bitterness further on was a nice touch.
Taste (6/10): The taste of this one matches the nose quite closely with some grapefruit and pine in the early going but it wasn’t quite as malty as the nose was. There was some citrus notes and a few earthy flavours as things progressed before some biscuit and bread malts started to show; a few subtle spices and fruits rounding things off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and fairly bitter with some resinous pine bitterness in the early going before turning to a more malty, earthy bitterness further on. The balance of the beer was a good one which made it quite easy to drink and it was well carbonated too.

Overall (15/20): This one was a decent first beer from the brewery for me and one that got off to a good start with a solid pine and grapefruit bitterness. Things remained balanced thanks to the earthy malts and touches of sweetness that appeared further on which made it an easy beer to drink; I looking forward to trying this one again with the bottle I brought home with me.

Brewed In: Yamanouchi, Nagano, Japan
Brewery: Tamamura Honten
First Brewed: 2004
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Keg (473ml)
Purchased: Two Dogs Taproom (Roppongi, Tokyo)
Price: ¥950 (£6.29 approx.)

Native Son IPA

August 30, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.2

Another new Brewdog IPA here, this one a July 2017 release that I managed to try earlier this month when I spotted off for a quick beer at one of their Glasgow bars. Going in at 8% abv. and loaded with Columbus, Centennial, Citra, Chinook, Comet and Simcoe hops, the beer should be as American as an IPA can get. Following on from their The Physics and Hazy Jane offerings, this beer is my 139th from Brewdog and it was actually one that I was hoping to sample when I visited their pubs, mainly because IPA’s are definitely the brewery’s speciality and I was eager to see how this one compared to previous offerings from them; here’s what I thought at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light and surprisingly clear beer that is a light amber colour with excellent clarity. The head is a fine, white coloured one that sits about a quarter of a centimetre tall in the glass and holds on quite well considering the strength of the beer, keeping its height over the opening couple minutes and leaving some nice lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some tropical fruits and a faint sweetness, the beer definitely wasn’t as strong on the nose or as bitter as I’d anticipated going in. There was some resinous pine towards the middle with a few touches of spice as well but it was quite light and basic with some pineapple and mango coming through further on.
Taste (6/10): Quite a similar taste to what the nose hinted at, the beer was still a lot lighter than I’d expect from an 8% abv. offering but there was some pleasant dry hops and pine to kick things off and thankfully both were at least a touch stronger than with the nose. I managed to get some mango and faint citrus around the middle of the beer with touches of spice not too far behind. Towards the end there was some floral flavours coming through but it wasn’t a typical IPA taste or one that I was a huge fan of really.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied, perhaps a touch thicker but definitely a spicy offering that was less bitter than anticipated. The beer had a nice tang at points and hints of alcohol featured throughout without ever overpowering,although it still wasn’t the easiest beer to drink and I felt that some of the flavours could have been a little stronger too.

Overall (12/20): This one proved to be a fairly average beer overall from Brewdog and one that was surprisingly unlike a typical American IPA with the bitterness a little lighter than expected but the floral flavours coming through a touch stronger. There was some alcohol showing throughout with plenty of spice nearer the middle of proceedings but it seemed a little basic at times too, pineapple and mango were about the only fruits worth mentioning and there wasn’t a whole lot beyond them to keep you interested.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American IPA
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog Doghouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.04