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Posts Tagged ‘bottle’

Cloudwater DDH Ella Ekuanot Pale Ale

July 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

A seventh Cloudwater beer for me now and my first since having a can of their Motueka Pilsner back in May, a beer that was fairly average at the time. I was looking forward to trying this one last week when I ordered it in my local Brewdog beer, mainly because I’ve had some great Cloudwater beers in the past and this one was only my second keg offering from the brewery; the other being their excellent DIPA v11 that I tried towards the end of January this year. This particular offering is a spring/summer offering for 2017 from the brewery and is another of their double dry-hopped beers that I’ve been hearing so much about of late. From what I’ve been reading online, this one seems to be a keg only offering from Cloudwater so it’s one that I’m glad I managed to try while it was still available and here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): A semi-bright looking beer that was amber in colour and came with a cloudy body, topped with a somewhat disappointing head that was little more than a thin white lacing around the sides of the glass. There was a faint bit of lacing on the side wall of the glass too but beyond that there wasn’t a whole lot going on and the surface of the beer was quite patchy too sadly.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh with some pine coming through early on the nose, there was some touches of grapefruit and the odd tropical smell too, a combination of passion fruit, pineapple and orange all making an appearance at this point. A few solid floral hops followed towards the middle and the nose seemed balanced initially, I managed to get some citrus and a little sweetness coming through though before some mango and further floral touches seen things out.
Taste (7/10): The taste of this one matches the nose well and opens with some citrus and floral hops, there was a nice touch of pine showing around this point as well and the beer was definitely a fresh one. There was plenty of tropical flavours showing with mango, peach and pineapple all coming through along with some orange in there too. Following this I managed to detect a hint of further sweetness from some of the malts and there was the odd grassy flavour to see things out nicely.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and quite crisp, this one was a lively beer that came through with solid, fine carbonation and a nice tang in there from the citrus too. Throughout it was a relatively bitter beer with some dry touches nearer the end but for the most part it was a juicy, balanced beer that went down well.

Overall (16/20): Another enjoyable beer from Cloudwater, this one was a great sessionable offering that went down well and was both crisp and lively throughout. There was solid carbonation levels to the beer and the balance was good as well, a combination of tropical fruits working well with the sweeter malts and floral bitterness; excellent stuff and one that’s well worth trying if you get the chance.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.40

Star Lager (Nigeria)

July 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.0

A very rare African beer for me now, I can’t remember the last beer I had from the continent but I know it’s been some time. This one will be only my third Nigerian beer and follows on from the bottles of Guinness Foreign Extra and Gulder Lager from the country that I tried back in 2013 and like Gulder this one is also brewed by Nigerian Breweries. I stumbled across this one in a local Home Bargains store in Glasgow recently and was intrigued by the fact that it was the first new African beer I’ve seen available in a while so I quickly decided to grab a bottle despite not holding out much hope of it being a great beer. Currently one of Nigeria’s best-selling lagers and having been first brewed in 1949, the beer isn’t one that I’m expecting much from but it’s always nice to try a new random beer wherever you get the chance; hopefully it’s an improvement on the bottle of Gulder Lager I had previously as well.

Appearance (2/5): This one is a very light amber colour that is clear and looks almost watered down. The beer is topped with a centimetre tall, bubbly white head that holds on better than IO’d expected but it’s still not a great looking beer given how light it is; there is a few bubbles rising to the surface as well but it definitely looks basic.
Aroma (4/10): Initially quite a sweet beer on the nose, this one opens with some grassy hops and corn but is generally quite light. There is a few lager malts coming through and touches of hay around the middle but as expected it is quite a basic smelling beer that has a light bitterness near the end to see things out.
Taste (4/10): Mirroring the nose quite well, the beer is a sweet one in the early going again and starts with a nice combination of corn and lager malts but is naturally quite basic like the rest of the beer too. There is some vegetable adjuncts and a faint taste of skunk around the middle but for the most part has a light bitterness running through it thanks to the subtle hop presence.
Palate (2/5): Light-medium bodied and fairly smooth throughout, the beer was semi-sweet but came through with soft, almost weak carbonation which meant it wasn’t as fresh or crisp as I’d have liked for the style. There was a subtle bitterness nearer the end and while is was both sessionable and drinkable, it was far from a good beer and it became a little bit of a struggle nearer the end.

Overall (8/20): This one was a very basic tasting beer that had a little skunk running through it but for the most part was quite a light beer with a combination of lager malts and corn making up most of the taste along with some vegetable adjuncts. It was lightly carbonated which was disappointing and it wasn’t as refreshing or crisp as a result and as such I doubt it will be one I have again unless I find myself in Nigeria at some point.

Brewed In: Lagos, Nigeria
Brewery: Nigerian Breweries
First Brewed: 1949
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Bottle (600ml)
Purchased: Home Bargains (Glasgow)
Price: £1.49

Drake’s IPA (354 of 1001)

July 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

The first beer from Drake’s Brewing that I’ll have tried here and another American beer from the 1001 beers list that I can check off as well, bring my total to 354 beers tried from the list. This one isn’t the first Drake’s beer that I’ve seen available in the UK but usually their beers are only available in bombers and priced quite high so when I spotted this one for a more reasonable price recently I decided to finally grab a bottle from them. The beer itself was originally brewed in 2002 as a reworking of an earlier beer brewed by the Lind Brewing Company, the name Drake’s went by before the original owner was bought out. An instant hit, the beer was probably considered quite bitter and hoppy when first brewed and it managed to win a gold medal at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival as well as countless other awards in the years since. I picked this bottle up from my local bottle shop in Glasgow and I’m interested to see how the beer holds up today when compared to modern American IPA’s and it’s one I’m looking forward to cracking open.

Appearance (4/5): Golden amber with a slightly orange hue to it, the beer is quite still looking and topped with a very nice, half centimetre head that is foamy and holds well in the early going.
Aroma (7/10): Definitely more malty and sweet than is the norm for an American IPA, there is a good amount of caramel and some sweet malts in the early part but some juicy notes and a few floral hops feature as well. It’s a strong nose that hits you as soon as the bottle is opened and I enjoyed the burst of pine towards the middle. It’s not as got as many hops showing as expected but I enjoyed this one and it was a nice change of pace with some pineapple and citrus at the end too.
Taste (7/10): Quite a sweet tasting beer as you’d expect given how strong the caramel and the sweet malts were with the nose, it is toned down a little by the taste though but some caramel is definitely still present along with some good floral touches and a bit of citrus too. There was a touch of oily pine around the middle with some grapefruit in there too, the pineapple from the nose then shows itself a little earlier this time along with some juicy fruits; towards the end some grassy hops and a further burst of sweetness see things out.
Palate (4/5): Definitely a sweet beer with more of that showing than there was hops for the most part, there was some subtle bitter touches coming through though and the beer had quite a nice balance throughout thanks to the variety of flavours on offer. Today I’d place this one closer to an American pale ale than an IPA but it was still as nice beer on the palate with light-medium carbonation but quite a dry feel throughout, save for some oily pine touches around the middle.It was an easy beer to drink despite the 7% abv. since the sweetness managed to mask most of the alcohol content but there was still a subtle kick to it, especially nearer the end of the beer.

Overall (16/20): Very nice stuff from Drake’s here and an unexpected taste from the beer given I was expected a tonne of hops before cracking the bottle open. The beer was definitely closer to an American pale ale of today than it was an IPA but it was first brewed 15 years ago and a lot has changed since then, still the beer was excellent with a lot of caramel flavours and a strong, malty taste in the early going. The nose in particular was a sweet one with only a few pine hops and floral notes backing them up, the balance was still maintained though and the beer went down very easily indeed; good stuff and one I wouldn’t mind cracking open again at some point.

Brewed In: San Leandro, California, United States of America
Brewery: Drake’s Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2002
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.80

Farmageddon Mosaic IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Only my third beer from the Farmageddon brewery based in the north of Ireland and a beer that follows on from their very disappointing White IPA and their Gold Pale Ale, although it should be noted that this is the first of the brewery’s beers that I’ve tried outside of Ireland. I was surprised to find bottles this one available a local Irish bar over the weekend and decided to give it a go despite the fact the other beers from the brewery that I’ve tried have both failed to impress. Coming in at 6.1% abv., this one appears to be one of several mosaic IPA’s that the brewery produces and they do appear to be produces a lot more beers than I remember from when I was last in Ireland at the start of the year; hopefully that means I’ll get to try a couple more from them on my next visit too.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light looking beer, this one is a golden colour that sits semi-cloudy in the glass but is a relatively still looking beer. There is a thin lacing on top of the surface that manages to cover about half of it with a little more build up around the edges of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): The beer was slightly more malty than I’d expected going in and opened with a lot of caramel sweetness coupled with some bread malts in the early going. These were followed by a pleasant burst of citrus and hints of pine as well but it wasn’t an overly bitter beer thanks to the balance which held up throughout. Some floral touches featured down the stretch with some vanilla and butterscotch right at the death which was a nice surprise.
Taste (7/10): The taste was a slightly more sweet one than the nose let on and it opened with some good butterscotch and vanilla flavours before some bread and light floral touches came through nearer the centre. There was some pine around this point too and the grassy flavours make themselves more known too with a subtle burst of hops not far behind. Some citrus and pale malts showed towards the end which helped make this one taste much better than expected before some faint bitterness, a caramel sweetness and the odd herbal touch seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite sweet with some vanilla and caramel helping this in the early going. The beer was smooth and very easy going with a nice balance and the odd citrus burst adding a slightly floral tang. It was a well carbonated beer with subtle bitterness throughout and it was definitely easy to drink, very sessionable too despite the strength of the beer since the alcohol content was well hidden too.

Overall (15/20): This one was a surprisingly good offering from Farmaggedon and miles better than anything I have tried from them before, I almost never ordered this one based on previous beer from the brewery but this one has definitely changed my opinion of their beers and I’ll be on the look out for more of theirs the next time I’m in Ireland. There was a lot of citrus and pine but the biggest surprise with this beer was the sweetness thanks to tonnes of vanilla and butterscotch throughout. It was an easy beer to drink with a great balance and is definitely one I’d have again.

Brewed In: Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.1%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Malone’s, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.50 (approx.)

Montseny Aniversari IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

The second of two Montseny beers that I managed to try when in Barcelona recently, this one being the third I’ve tried in total from the brewery and follows on from lasts years Malta as well as their Lupulus pale ale that I tried just before this one. I originally grabbed this one over another beer from the brewery’s roster after being misled by the anniversary part of the name and incorrectly assuming that it was a one-off, limited release from the brewery but it has in fact being available since 2012. Formerly known as CCM Anniversary IPA, the beer appears to be a year round offering from Montseny and managed to win a silver medal at the Barcelona Beer Challenge last year in the American IPA category so in hindsight it is still a beer that I’d have picked up had I known more about it; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it earlier this summer.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a medium amber colour with a fairly clear body, this one didn’t have much in the way of a head but there was at least a thin white lacing on top that just about managed to cover the surface of the beer but it could have been a little better.
Aroma (6/10): Herbal hops and a few citrus notes open things up here, there was a little malt coming through in the early going too but nothing overly strong. Towards the middle the grassy flavours started to come through and I managed to get some lemon in there but other than that it was quite a standard beer on the nose; it could definitely have been a little more varied though.
Taste (7/10): Quite a bitter offering in the early going with the taste, the beer was fresh and had a lot of citrus showing along with a few basic fruits and a very slightly tropical taste at times. Towards the middle there was some pine and the odd floral flavours, some grassy hops showing too before the malts from the nose started to come through from the middle on. It was quite a fruits and easy-going beer with some further fruits near the end that made it a slight improvement on the nose.
Palate (4/5): Fairly bitter on the palate thanks to the strong malt presence but also quite fresh at point with plenty of fruits and citrus coming through which in turn provided a nice tang in the early going. It was definitely a more malty beer than expected but it seemed easy-going and the fruits helped the balance a lot, as did the good carbonation levels.

Overall (14/20): This one was quite a nice offering from Montseny and definitely the best of the three beers from them that I’ve tried thus far, surprising given it is the only one of the three not to feature in the 1001 beers list. The beer opened up with quite a malty taste but there was enough fruits and citrus flavours backing them up to keep things balanced and interesting throughout. That being said, the balance could perhaps have been a touch better but for the most part it was a nice beer and one that I wouldn’t be against having again; it’s probably not one to go hunting for though but it is worth trying at least.

Brewed In: Sant Miquel De Balenyà, Catalonia, Spain
Brewery: Companyia Cervesera del Montseny
First Brewed: 2012
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.4%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour (Barcelona, Spain)
Price: €1.99 (£1.75 approx.)

Marks & Spencer Jester IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

The second Marks & Spencer beer I’ll have reviewed in quick succession now, this one is another brewed exclusively for their UK supermarkets and this time it comes from the Adnams brewery, making it the eighth beer of theirs that I’ll have sampled. I used to pick up a lot more of Adnams beers, mainly because they were so easy to find in supermarkets but also because they were often good beers, their Broadside strong ale in particular was one that went down well but this will be the first of theirs that I’ll have reviewed here since trying one of their disappointing attempts at a ‘craft’ beer when I tried their Dry Hopped Lager back in August 2015. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’m not overly fond of these supermarket exclusive beers but every now and again one surprises you and although not great, the bottle of Marks & Spencer Citra IPA from Oakham Ales that I tried last wasn’t too bad at all so I’m hoping for more of the same with this one.

Appearance (4/5): Light amber to copper coloured, this one took quite an aggressive pour to form a bubbly white head that’s a about half a centimetre tall but it managed to hold relatively well and leave a tiny bit of lacing on the glass as well; not too bad in the end I guess.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some earthy hops and a few biscuit notes, this one sadly isn’t as fresh as I’d been hoping for on the nose and is most definitely an English style beer with some subtle bitterness coming through early on. It’s a more sweet beer towards the middle with some caramel malts showing before the odd light fruit and slightly floral aroma start to come through.
Taste (6/10): Again quite earthy with some subtle hops coming through not far behind but they’re not overly strong at any point. The beer is fairly subdued throughout with a hint of sweetness showing on top of the earthy bitterness at times, a few touches of caramel and perhaps some vanilla are showing. Towards the end a few lighter fruits feature but nothing stands out and they all seem to merge into one before some light spices see things out.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied with a solid earthy bitterness coming through from the start but one that is backed up with a little bit of sweetness too which helps to balance the beer out nicely. It’s smooth but fairly basic with a semi-dry feel, soft carbonation and a lingering bitterness at the end.

Overall (13/20): This one turned out to be a fairly standard English style beer that is apparently a taste that I’m no longer a fan of if this one is anything to go by sadly. The beer opened with some earthy bitter flavours that were a little one-dimensional but the sweetness around the middle was a nice touch and a step in the right direction, sadly it wasn’t maintained and there wasn’t much towards the end of the beer to really keep me interested; definitely not a beer that I’ll pick up again.

Brewed In: Southwold, England
Brewery: Adnams
Full Name: Marks & Spencer Single Hop Variety Citra IPA
First Brewed: 2015
Type: English IPA
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Marks & Spencer (Glasgow)
Price: £2.50

Marks & Spencer Citra IPA

July 10, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.55

The first of two Marks & Spencer branded beer that I’ll be reviewing in quick succession now, this is one that I picked up a couple of weeks ago from the shop when trying to use up the last few points of a gift card I received; the beer will however be my sixth of this time from the shop. The beer itself is brewed by Oakham Ales and that was part of the reason I picked a bottle up, part of me was hoping that it would be a similar offering to their excellent Oakham Citra that I’ve enjoyed on a number of occasions since first reviewing it year roughly five years ago. The last Marks & Spencer exclusive beer that I tried was a bottle of Sambrook’s Battersea Rye in September 2015 but since it is not a shop that I regularly visit then that’s not really too surprising I guess. A single hop variety beer, this one is my fourth Oakham brewed beer and follows on from their Jeffrey Hudson Bitter that I checked off the 1001 beers list early last year and I’d be happy if this one was just as good as that was.

Appearance (3/5): An orange tinged amber that is semi-cloud and topped with a somewhat disappointing, quarter centimetre head that is foamy and white in colour but it does manage to cover the surface at least.
Aroma (7/10): Starting with a nice burst of, you’ve guess it, Citra hop that give the beer quite a fresh nose in the early going, this one is surprisingly strong in the early going and had a few fruits and citrus notes backing the hops up. There is a couple of grassy hops coming through with a touch of straw before the odd tropical notes came through around the middle. There was quiet a few juices showing with this one and that was a pleasant surprise too; most notably some pineapple and grapefruit came through nearer the need of what was a good beer on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Again quite juicy and following on well from the nose, there was a good helping of citrus and tropical fruits in the early going with the mango from the nose coming through before the odd earthy hop showed itself. There was a light bitterness as you got nearer the end but these didn’t manage to drown out the fresh and juicy fruits which were here in abundance. Around the middle some pale malts made themselves known as well but it was the juicy flavours that seemed to dominate.
Palate (4/5): Sitting somewhere around light-medium to medium bodied, this one was surprisingly crisp and not as dry as I’d expected either. There was plenty of bitter hops in the early going and there’s a nice citrus tang coming through as well at times. There’s a nice balance to the beer and it’s quite easy to drink as well, although it fades ever so slightly right at the end but it’s still a good one.

Overall (15/20): Surprisingly good stuff for what is essentially a supermarket beer, albeit one that’s from Oakham Ales. The beer is quite enjoyable from the start, the strong citrus flavours and bitter hops kick things off well and the beer manages to hold its own until the end with some earthy hops and a few pale malts showing at times. It’s not quite good as Oakham Citra from the same brewery but it was an enjoyable one that went down better than I’d expected.

Brewed In: Peterborough, England
Brewery: Oakham Ales / The Brewery Tap
Full Name: Marks & Spencer Single Hop Variety Citra IPA
First Brewed: 2013
Type: American IPA
Abv: 4.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Marks & Spencer
Price: £2.50