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Mangoes on the Run

July 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

An eighteenth review of an Innis & Gunn beer now and one that I stumbled across in a local supermarket recently and quickly grabbed given it is apparently a limited edition offering from the brewery and I wasn’t sure how long it would be available for. The beer is a new from that was released in early summer 2018 by the brewery and is the most fruity offering I’ve seen from the brewery given they usually stick with butterscotch tasting beers as well as their Innis & Gunn Lager Beer that was become quite popular of late. This one will be my first new offering from the brewery since trying their Gunpowder IPA and Blood Red Sky English strong ale back to back in March so it’s not been an overly long wait between beers from the brewery but this was one that definitely intrigued me and it does seem to get good reviews online so I’m quite looking forward to cracking it open now.

Appearance (4/5): A bronze looking beer with a surprisingly clear body and a very nice, two centimetre tall, foamy white head that looked quite thick and creamy at point with a white colour and very good retention with it holding for the first couple minutes with little reduction in size; a great start to the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Quite sweet with some nice sugar notes coming through in the early going, there was some mango as you’d expect but some strawberries and touches of orange and apricot too. The beer is slightly tropical but it was also a little artificial with some sweeteners coming through alongside faint malts and background grassy hops too. It’s a nice and balance nose with some grain and bread like notes at the end too, very nice stuff and on I can’t wait to taste.
Taste (7/10): Fresh with some nice mango and to a lesser extent apricot coming through, the beer was slightly artificial with a few sugars coming through alongside faint citrus and tropical fruits sitting in the background too. It’s balanced with some light malts and bread flavours coming through as well as some grain but the fruits definitely dominate. It’s slightly sweet towards the end with subtle hops seeing things out; very nice stuff.
Palate (4/5): Lively and quite fresh, the beer is well-carbonated with some sugars and a very slightly artificial feel to this one. It’s easy going with a light-medium body and a good balance with the tropical fruit sweetness going with with the light malts, although the former seemed the strongest.

Overall (14/20): Much better than anticipated, the beer was definitely a sweet and fruity one with some nice sugars and apricot but the mango dominated as expected. There was a slightly artificial feel at times but it was balanced with some background light malts and bread ones too with citrus and grassy hops featuring as well. It was a nice beer that proved easy to drink without being anything spectacular, it was slightly grainy nearer the end with some subtle hops coming through as well.

Brewed In:  Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Morrison’s (Glasgow)
Price: £1.50

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Character Assassination

July 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Brewed in collaboration with south London based Gipsy Hill, this one is my first beer from the Electric Bear Brewery based in Bath and is on that I picked up recently alongside a couple of Trappist beers at my local bottle shop, opting for this one given it’s a one-off New England IPA and it’s the height of summer here. A new beer for 2018, this one was canned in late May and should still be relatively fresh so it’s one that I’m looking forwards to cracking open. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gipsy Hill over the last couple of years but surprisingly haven’t tried anything from them yet but this one was the first time I’d seen or heard anything about Electric Bear so I’m interested in finding out more and perhaps picking up something else from them in future if this one is any good.

Appearance (4/5): A lot lighter and clearer than I’d expect for a New England IPA, the beer is a light amber with some golden tinges and a thin, half centimetre head that’s foamy and white but starts turning patchy towards one side more quickly than I’d have liked; not a bad looking beer but I’d place it closer to lager than a New England IPA on first looks.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly tropical on the nose initially with some subtle grapefruit and orange coming through but nothing too pungent or overpowering in the early going at least. There was some citrus notes and a little tangerine further on with a couple grassy hops followed by a moderate bitterness and hints of mango and peach further on; it’s definitely an American IPA aroma but it’s not as dank as anticipated.
Taste (7/10): Opening with some pine and grapefruit bitterness that is followed by some nice orange and tangerine flavours, the beer is again slightly tropical with touches mango, apricot and peach bringing in the middle. It’s a solid IPA taste with some grain and a hint of alcohol nearer the end but it wasn’t a anything special or out of the ordinary with a faint sweetness and further bitter flavours seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with some bitterness showing from the start without it being a dank one really. There was fine carbonation that gave the beer a lively feel and it was quite dry and sharp too. The balance was as you’d expect for the style with the bitter hops and tropical flavours dominating and a touch of the alcohol coming through near the end.

Overall (/20): This was a strange one in the sense that it was a pleasant and enjoyable beer but I feel like there was some false advertising involved where the label states that it’s a New England IPA but it was very much a standard American IPA with very little dank flavours coming through but instead a slightly tropical and bitter beer with the usual grapefruit and pine flavours as well as some mango and apricot further on. It was okay offering overall but one that ultimately left me disappointed given I was expecting something completely different from what I got after reading the label on the can.

Brewed In: Bath, Somerset, England
Brewery:  Electric Bear Brewing / Gipsy Hill (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2018
Full Name: Electric Bear / Gipsy Hill Character Assassination
Type: New England IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.30

Cranachan Killer

Rating: 3.4

A fifth beer from Fierce Beer for me now but only my second from the brewery that isn’t a collaboration with another brewery, the other being their NEIPA Red Rye that I enjoyed back in April when I picked up a couple cans of the stuff to try. This one is a fruit beer from the brewery that caught my eye when I spotted it in the supermarket recently and decided to give it a go, it has been a while since I last had a fruit beer with the very disappointing can of Asahi Red Eye that I had back in Japan last year probably being the last and I’m hopeful this one is a better beer than that one proved to be. I did notice that Aldi seemed to have a few Fierce beers on their shelves as well so with any luck I’ll be able to pick up a couple more the next time I’m in as well.

Appearance (4/5):A cloudy pink to orange colour with a thin, bubbly head on top that was an off-white and faded in the centre after twenty or so seconds to leave a bit of laces around the edges but not much in the middle.
Aroma (6/10): Very sweet and quite fruity too, there’s some raspberry and a little sugar in the early going with touches of strawberry and what seemed like a few more summer berries towards the middle. It’s a little artificial on the nose with some faint tart and funk further on as well as the odd pale malt but the fruits and the raspberries in particular dominate this one.
Taste (6/10): Opening with more tart than the nose and some touches of raspberry quite early on, it’s again quite fruity and fresh as well as being slightly less artificial than the nose seemed. Towards the end some pale malts and subtle grassy flavours seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Very tarty and sweet in the early going with some sugars and funky touches coming through. The beer was quite fruity with a light-medium body and fine, lively carbonation. It’s a dry beer with a sharp feel but it went down well had quite a good mouthfeel for the style.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a nice fruit beer with good raspberry flavours and tart opening things up with plenty sugars too, it did seem a touch artificial on the nose but this settled down and seemed slightly more natural with the taste. It had some strawberries and background berries in there as well but it was the raspberries that seemed strongest; all in all a nice beer for the style but probably not one I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Aberdeen, Scotland
Brewery: Fierce Beer
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Aldi (Glasgow)
Price: £1.49

The White Hag Little Fawn

June 29, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Only my second from The White Hag after seeing their beers a few times in Ireland now but never picking them up. This one follows on from the brewery’s Bran & Sceolan Irish IPA that I tried back in April after getting it as part of a Beer52 order and quite enjoying it, so I was glad to find this one available along with a few others from the brewery when I visited Sligo on a recent trip to Ireland, although this was the only beer from the brewery that I picked up on that occasion. The beer is another that I’d read about some time ago and decided to try if I managed to spot it in Ireland, the other of their beers I was hoping to try was their Black Boar oatmeal stout but sadly I couldn’t find that this time around so this one will have to do for now. The beer is a relatively light 4.2% abv. session IPA which as you know isn’t my favourite type of beer but I’m hopeful that the good reviews are accurate and this one goes down well; I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Appearance (4/5): Pale golden coloured with a thumb-sized, foamy white head on top that has a few bubbles through it and plenty rising to the surface too. Head retention is good for the syle with the texture changing to more of a bubbly one as a little of the height is lost but it still looks quite thick and covers the surface well.
Aroma (7/10): Very fruity and surprisingly strong initially for a session IPA, there’s some mango and pineapple coming through with some touches of apricot and peach too. Towards the middle it settles down ever so slightly with citrus and subtle grapefruit hops coming through at this point with some spice a little further on. It’s zesty and lively on the nose with a couple of juicy notes to round things off without it begin quite as pronounced as it started.
Taste (7/10): Matching the nose well, the beer is fruity with a lot of tropical flavours kicking things off and providing a nice hop bitterness at the same time thanks to the citrus and pine flavours, it even seems ever so slightly dank at this stage too without that taste coming through too strongly. There was a nice combination of mango and pineapple featuring around the middle with some peach and passion fruit too; it hinted at some resinous pine and grapefruit towards the end too but it wasn’t quite strong enough in that respect.
Palate (4/5): Fresh with a light-medium body and quite a lot of tropical fruits coming through to impart a touch of sweetness. It’s faintly dank and resinous but given it’s a session IPA it wasn’t quite strong enough there. There was moderate to fine carbonation level and it seemed quite lively and sharp towards the end, before fading right at the end.

Overall (13/20): Getting off to quite a good start, this one definitely seemed stronger than expected for a session IPA with some nice tropical fruits and citrus flavours coming through alongside a faintly resinous pine; I got some mango and peach alongside pineapple and quite a few other fruits sitting in the background too. The balance was quite good initially, although it did fade ever so slightly towards the end of the taste whilst remaining drinkable. I was surprised by this one a lot and if only it could have been a tiny bit more pronounced, or if it hadn’t faded right at the end then it would have been a must-try; it was still a nice beer though in spite of this.

Brewed In: Ballymote, County Sligo, Ireland
Brewery: The White Hag Irish Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2015
Full Name: The White Hag Little Fawn Session IPA
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Hargadon Bros (Sligo, Ireland)
Price: €3.10 (approx. £2.72)

Boyne Session IPA

June 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.05

My sixth beer from the Boyne Brewhouse now, a brewery that I’ve no idea why I keep picking up beers from given the five I’ve tried already have been poor to average at best. This one is a beer that I picked up alongside the brewery’s very disappointing Vienna Lager whilst in Ireland recently, mainly because I panicked in the shop and grabbed two Boyne beers without thinking but my hoping was that they’d both be a turning point for the brewery in my eyes; the Vienna Lager was terrible so it’s all down to this one now. The beer is a Session IPA, a style of beer that I’m not usually the biggest fan of but I have tried a few good ones of the style and perhaps it’s a style this County Meath brewery can brew well; let’s find out.

Appearance (4/5): Light than expected for the style, this one pours a slightly hazy golden yellow to pale amber colour and is topped with a half centimetre head that is white and bubbly with more build up around the circumference but quite thin nearer the middle.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh and quite hop-filled initially, this one is a dry beer on the nose with some citrus hops and lemon coming through alongside some faint grapefruit and peach. There’s a hind of tropical fruit initially with some orange and apricot before some background biscuit malts and grassy notes start to appear but it’s much better than the last few from the brewery so far and I’m happy with the start despite the fact it could have been a touch more pronounced.
Taste (5/10): More subdued than the nose with less hops showing but still somewhat fresh, the beer kicks off with some grassy hops and hay followed by faint citrus and floral backing. The tropical fruits seem to be missing come the taste though, something that was a little disappointing but not the end of the world; towards the end some lemon, melon and some sweet touches see things out.
Palate (3/5):Light bodied but pushing towards medium bodied and not quite getting there, this one was had some nice hops showing early with the nose but it died down a little soon after and seemed a little bland come the taste sadly. It’s was lightly carbonated but quite crisp and seemed fresh initially before fading towards the end; disappointing in the end.

Overall (11/20): I went into this one with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised in the early going when some nice hops and background tropical fruits started to come through but sadly this was short lived and the beer faded dramatically soon after. There was a freshness initially that subsided all too soon and the tropical fruits all but disappeared come the taste; a beer that could have been so much better but ended up finishing as poorly as the five other Boyne Brewhouse beers that I’ve tried before it; definitely a brewery I’ll try to avoid in future.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: Can (150ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67

Boyne Vienna Lager

June 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.9

A fifth offering from the Boyne Brewhouse in County Meath now, this one is the first I’ve reviewed from them since trying their American Pale Ale back in March when I got it as part of a Beer52 order to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day although the beer itself wasn’t the best, much like the three from the brewery that I picked up in Ireland when I was over at the end of last summer. I grabbed this one alongside the brewery’s Session IPA and I’m hopeful the pair can turn things around for the brewery in my eyes, otherwise these might be the last two that I pick up from them for some time.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a slightly brighter than anticipated light amber colour, the body is a little hazy and the head is a half centimetre, foamy white one that starts to turn patchy in the centre quite quickly but holds around the sides a little longer.
Aroma (5/10): Floral and quite a lot of citrus to begin, this one seems lighter and less sweet than normal for the style with some grassy hops and faintly herbal notes opening things up. It’s got a few earthy hops in the early going with more malts towards the middle and a touch of corn or hay at the end. It’s a basic and quite light beer that’s not at all what I expected for the style either, a poor start here in my opinion.
Taste (5/10): Again quite light with some citrus and faint grassy hops opening things, the taste was floral with some hay and corn coming through but I was again looking for more malts and sweetness. The beer proved itself a basic one with touches of biscuit and a slightly metallic taste towards the end but it wasn’t at all what I wanted from this one sadly.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and with a touch lighter carbonation than expected, it was about right for a Vienna lager but this one definitely didn’t seem like your usual Vienna lager. There was some floral touches and a light citrus tang on what was a semi-dry beer towards the end but one that didn’t have a lot going for it really.

Overall (10/20): Really disappointing stuff again from Boyne Brewhouse, I’m not sure why I keep picking up beers from this brewery because as yet I’ve not had a good one from them in five attempts, maybe the next one I still have to try will be better. I picked this one up expecting quite a sweet and smooth beer with some caramel malts but instead I ended up with a basic lager-pale ale hybrid that had some citrus and grassy hops with not a lot else. The beer seemed basic and uninspired with the odd floral touch coming through but it was a poor effort and definitely one to avoid.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Vienna Lager
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Can (150ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67

Cloudwater Helles Mandarina

June 13, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

A fourteenth beer from Cloudwater for me now, this one is hot on the heels of several offerings from the brewery, including their Chubbles double IPA that I reviewed here last and is a beer that I picked up online from the brewery’s store thanks to their free delivery promotion for May, otherwise it is a beer that I probably wouldn’t have ended up trying. It is one that I’ve spotted in a number of bottle shops of late though and from what I can tell online, it’s a beer that was initially in the first couple of months of the year so it will be interesting to see if it turns out to be a regular release from the brewery given the majority (if not all) of their beers are brewed once and then never seen again.

Appearance (4/5): Very clear amber in colour, this one had a tiny hint of golden straw showing and is topped with a foamy white head that starts about two and a half centimetres tall but looks quite thick, managing to hold quite well in the early going and leaving some touches of lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (7/10): This one opened with quite a standard helles nose initially, there was the usual lager malts and some grassy touches but there was some faint citrus and orange sitting in the background which was a nice addition. The beer had some floral hops towards the middle and these added a light bitterness but it stayed balanced and had some biscuit malts further on as well. A solid offering that was quite a pleasant helles but one that came with a hint of citrus for a nice twist.
Taste (7/10): Lager malts and some subtle orange touches kick things off here, there was definitely a little more showing that there was with the nose and there beer seemed a touch fresher as a result. It was still quite a light tasting beer with some biscuit malts and earthy touches a little further on before some grassy hops seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and quite light on the palate but coming through with some nice orange and citrus touches that gave the beer a subtle tang. It was an easy to drink offering with a subtle bitterness thanks to the floral hops but the balance was great throughout and it was quite refreshing too.

Overall (16/20): Excellent stuff as always from Cloudwater, this one was a beer that had initially confused me into thinking it was going to be a helles with a mandarin kick given the name but there was at least some touches of orange and citrus coming through on top of what was a very fresh and balanced lager. The beer was a pleasure to drink and went down very well with some nice floral hops and biscuit flavours further on as well as the usual lager malts and grassy hops; this one is up there with some the better German brewed helles that I’ve tried and is one that I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Munich Helles Lager
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Can (440ml)
Purchased: Cloudwaterbrew.co
Price: £4.00