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Suntory The Premium Malt’s

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.0

Another random Japanese lager that I managed to pick up and try on my recent trip to Japan, this one a first from the Suntory brewery based in Osaka but one that I picked up from a Family Mart in Tokyo early in my holiday. The beer is one that I’d noted down to look out for, for what reason I’m still not sure but as it turned out it was quite an easy beer to find in the country. Available at almost every convenience store I visited during my trip, this is a beer that I only tried once and it is also one that definitely wasn’t as bad as I had feared upon opening the can.

Appearance (3/5): A fairly light beer that was a straw golden colour and topped with a thumb-sized, foamy white head of about two centimetres tall. Retention was a little better than expected with it holding its initial height well over the opening couple of minutes before eventually halving in size.
Aroma (6/10): Very light and basic smelling with a lot of corn and vegetable adjuncts coming through in the early going, this one is definitely a cheaply brewed pale lager that had some rice and cereal coming through at points as well. There was a touch of skunk towards the end but this was a bit lighter than anticipated before a subtle bitterness seen things out.
Taste (6/10): The taste was a little stronger than with the nose, I managed to get some corn and cereal in the early going before some touches bread and basic adjuncts made an appearance. There was some rice around the middle with a slightly earthy taste and some hay following but it was quite basic throughout.
Palate (3/5):Light-medium bodied and definitely a malty beer as the name suggested, this one was fairly clean and very much a mass-market offering. There was some subtle bitterness further on and thankfully the skunky flavours were kept to a minimum.

Overall (12/20): This one was a fairly basic but somewhat drinkable offering from Suntory, it’s not one that I’d go as far as to recommend anyone tries but it was fairly easy to drink lager with a solid malt taste and some subtle bitterness further on. There wasn’t a whole lot to it really but it’s not the worst Japanese lager I’ve tried either.

Brewed In: Osaka, Japan
Brewery: Suntory
First Brewed: circa. 2002
Type: Premium Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Family Mart (Hanzomon, Tokyo)
Price: ¥142 (£0.95 approx.)

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Premium Yebisu

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.35

The first of approximately forty new beers that I managed to review in just over two weeks on my recent trip to Japan, this one being a beer that I picked up from a Family Mart store on my first night in the country and one that I had actually been on the look out for as it was one of the country’s higher rated marco-lagers online. The beer was my third from Sapporo Breweries after reviewing their Premium Lager and Draft Beer offerings back in 2011 and not really enjoying either, the Premium Lager offering in particular being a poor one. I tried my best to avoid beers from this brewery when something different was available but did end up reviewing another Yebisu offering later in my trip so expect that to be added here soon too.

Appearance (3/5): Medium amber in colour with a very clear body and a lot of big bubbles rising to the surface. The head was white and about one centimetre tall with a foamy texture and good retention, fading to a small surface lacing after a couple of minutes.
Aroma (5/10): There wasn’t much in the way of an aroma to this one at all, I managed to get some basic corn and vegetable adjuncts in the early going with some cereal and rice in there too. Definitely a cheap and basic lager with some light earthy touches and subtle bitterness further on towards the end. Thankfully there wasn’t much in the way of any skunk on the nose but it was quite a light and cheap aroma anyway.
Taste (4/10): The taste is quite a close match to the nose with some corn and pale, earthy notes coming through alongside the usual basic adjuncts; namely some rice and vegetable notes. There was some light skunk right at the end but for the most part this was a fairly Asian-style standard pale lager.
Palate (2/5): Light to light-medium bodied but not quite as thin as I’d feared going in, the beer was basic and a little bland at times which in turn made it easy to drink but not overly enjoyable really. It was quite a one-dimensional offering with a slight dryness at the end but it wasn’t as crisp as I’d have liked.

Overall (9/20): A very basic and cheap tasting lager that didn’t have a whole lot going on really, I can now see why this is one of the Japanese lagers that never seems to make it as far as the UK. It was an easy enough beer to drink, mainly down to the fact that it was light and bland for the most part, it was however relatively skunk free expect for at the very end of the taste but it’s not really one that I’d recommend.

Brewed In: Ibaraki, Japan
Brewery: Sapporo Breweries
Type: Dortmunder/Export Lager
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Family Mart (Hanzomon, Tokyo)
Price:‎ ¥242 (£1.60 approx.)

Warka Classic

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.0

Another Polish beer now and what might be my last new one for a while now, this is a beer that I actually drank quite a lot of in Poland on my last visit to the country back in August but it’s not one that I gave a proper review at the times. The fact that I never reviewed it whilst in Poland is actually one of the reasons that I picked this one up recently when I found that Asda supermarkets in the UK were selling it, not because I was a huge fan of it in Poland. It’s pretty much a standard, basic pale lager but here’s what I thought of it when I finally tried a bottle and gave it a proper review.

Appearance (4/5): Clear and golden amber with a nice head that sits just over two and a half centimetres tall and looks quite foamy. It’s a white head that eventually settles around two centimetres tall and looks nice, leaving some good lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (5/10): Quite a clean nose with some biscuit malts and earthy aromas but it’s not a strong one at any point. There was some corn and bread around the middle with a slightly metallic aroma further on but it’s definitely a basic lager smell throughout.
Taste (5/10): Opening with more of the biscuit and corn from the nose, the beer is an earthy tasting one that was again quite light throughout. There was some faint lemon and pepper coming through around the middle with a clean taste and a faint bitterness near the end but it’s nothing to write home about really.
Palate (3/5): Clean but a very basic and light beer, almost weak tasting at times with a faint sweetness coming through as well. It was softly carbonated but easy to drink, likely due to the fact it was so bland.

Overall (12/20): A fairly basic and light Polish lager that was drinkable but didn’t really stand out at any point, although it was a clean and relatively easy-going beer. There was some biscuit malts and corn coming through with a subtle sweetness and some faint lemon at times too but beyond that there wasn’t much to this beer and I doubt it’s one that I’ll have again unless I’m back in Poland.

Brewed In: Warka, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
Brewery: Browary Warka
First Brewed: Brewery since 1478
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Asda (Glasgow)
Price: £1.69

West Side Beavo

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

A recent collaboration between California-based Firestone Walker and London’s Beavertown, this one is a beer that was brewed over in California but has now made its way to the UK as well. The beer is one that I picked up in July this year and tried at the start of September but it’s one that I’m just getting around to reviewing here now. Given the two breweries responsible for this one are ones that I’m a fan of, I went into this beer expecting something special and sadly it failed to really deliver; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it last month.

Appearance (4/5): Bright and golden-yellow in colour, the beer is very clear and has a few larger bubbles rising to the surface as well. The head is a bubbly white one that starts about two centimetres tall before fading to a thin, half centimetre one that leaves touches of lacing on the sides of the glass as well as covering the surface of the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Clean on the nose with some lager malts and a few touches of corn, there is some bread and the odd background hop as well as some citrus but it’s a fairly mellow aroma and one that could definitely have been stronger.
Taste (6/10): Corn and light biscuit make up most of the taste with some lager malts and citrus not too far behind. The beer was a fresh one with some lemon and grassy hops around the middle but it was quite weak at point too. Towards the end some floral flavours and a lighter bitterness feature as well but it’s not an overly complex offering by any means.
Palate (3/5): Light and crisp with a fresh and mellow feel to it, the beer was fragrant and had a light tang from the citrus too. It was an easy-going beer with a faint bitterness and the odd bit of spice but there wasn’t a whole lot going on in truth.

Overall (13/20): Quite a light and clean beer with touches of citrus and some floral hops as well but it was definitely basic and not as full-bodied as I’d have liked either. The beer seemed thin at point but it was at least easy to drink without it impressing at any point sadly.

Brewed In: Paso Robles, California, United States of America
Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. / Beavertown (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Type: India Pale Lager
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.70

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

Boyne Saison

September 14, 2017 2 comments

Rating: 2.55

The first of three beers from the Boyne Brewhouse based in Drogheda, Count Meath that I managed to pick up as part of a multi-buy offer on my recent trip to Ireland at the end of last month. Like the majority of the beers that I usually pick up when visiting Ireland, this one is another from a brewery that I wasn’t aware existed prior to my trip but the fact it was part of a special offer in the bottle shop persuaded me to grab it along with two others from Boyne. This one is an Irish brewed saison, a style that I was never a huge fan of but I’m slowly beginning to enjoy some of the better made beers of the style and picking this one up I was hopeful it would prove to be a decent offering too.

Appearance (3/5): Quite a cloudy looking beer that was golden in colour and topped with a thin white head that sat about quarter of a centimetre tall initially before fading to a patchy surface lacing after about a minute or so.
Aroma (5/10): Semi-funky on the nose with some lemon and touches of sweetness coming through but nothing seemed overly strong to begin with. There was some sugars and background tart coming through with the odd grassy hop but it was definitely a light nose, especially for a saison.
Taste (5/10): Quite a funky taste initially with some tart and citrus in the early going which were thankfully more pronounced that the nose was but again seemed weak for the style. There was some light malts and sugar towards the middle of the beer before some grassy touches and a faint hint of hay seen things out.
Palate (3/5): Sharp and crisp with plenty of carbonation and a good bite on top of a light-medium body. The beer was a lot weaker than expected with the tart and funk seemingly taking a back seat at times whilst the finish came through as quite a dry on.

Overall (7/20): A very basic and poor saison that was much weaker than any other of this style that I’ve tried sadly. Beyond the initial burst of citrus and tart there was nothing to suggest it was a saison, there even seemed to be more sweetness than funk and sourness down the stretch which was disappointing; very basic and one-dimensional as well as being one to avoid.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67

Brackie (358 of 1001)

September 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.5

A beer that I was originally hoping to try earlier this year when I visited Warsaw but despite visits to numerous bars and shops it was one of the few Polish beers from the 1001 beers list that I wasn’t able to find; that was until my recent visit to Krakow when I stumbled across it on-tap in the first pub I visited and right across from my hotel as well. Brewed near the Czech border and taking influence from their beers, this one is a lager that is apparently only available in Poland and it is the 358th beer from the 1001 beers list that I will now have reviewed here. Originally brewed not long after the brewery was founded, this beer dates to the 1850’s and is the first of only three reviews from my Krakow trip that I’ll upload here; here’s what I thought of it when I finally managed to try it last month.

Appearance (4/5): Bright orange in colour with a fairly clear body that was topped with a white head that looked slightly creamy at times. There was good lacing on the sides of the glass and the head retention was decent as well, a nice start to this one.
Aroma (6/10): Quite light on the nose with some subtle hops coming through alongside a slightly earthy middle that had some biscuit and hay showing. There nothing too strong or pronounced coming through sadly but I managed to detect some grassy hops and faint citrus before a light bitterness rounded things off.
Taste (6/10): Saaz hops and some hay like flavours opened things here, there was a good biscuit taste and some grassy hops further on before touches of earthy malts started to come through as well. I managed to get some caramel malts which added a little sweetness nearer the end with hints of butterscotch in there too.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and sitting medium to full bodied, this one was definitely thicker than expected and slightly creamy at times too but the carbonation levels were quite soft sadly. It was well balanced but perhaps a little weak, the sweetness however was a nice touch without being anything special.

Overall (14/20): This one was a decent offering that came through quite balanced and was definitely easy to drink, it was however a little weak on the nose and I was expecting a little more from a beer that featured in the 1001 beers list. It was more sweet than I’d expected and had some creamy touches which I liked but carbonation levels were below average for the style and I was looking for it to be more crisp as well. Definitely one worth sampling if you find it in Poland but it’s probably not one that I’d rush back to I’m afraid.

Brewed In: Cieszyn, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland
Brewery: Browar Zamkowy Cieszyn
First Brewed: circa. 1850’s
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Beer House Pub (Krakow, Poland)
Price: 6 PLN (approx. £1.29)