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Bede’s Chalice

December 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

My first new tripel in quite some time and my first beer from the Durham Brewery as well, this one is another that I picked up from the Fenwick’s department store in Newcastle when I visited over the summer months, grabbing it alongside a couple of beers from the Newcastle based Wylam brewery and another from Durham, the next from them I’ll be review will be an imperial stout which should make for a good winter beer. Seemingly first released around ten years ago, this one isn’t a beer that I heard of before and it’s also a rarity in that it’s a fairly high alcohol content beer but it comes in a 500ml bottle which is a nice bonus; it also seems to be an offering that is highly rated online and it’s definitely one that I’m looking to cracking open now.

Appearance (4/5): Slightly bright amber but very clear looking with a thin, half centimetre head on top that was foamy and white but faded to a thin lacing on the surface after thirty seconds or so; it breaks up slightly around the edges but it’s not a bad looking beer given the strength.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a sweet nose and one that opens up with a lot of sugars and a candy-like aroma in the early going with touches of yeast and spice in there as well. This is followed up by some nice fruits that includes some orange, pear and even some pineapple with a hint of coriander and some grapes in there too. It’s a fresh beer on the nose and has a little alcohol showing at times but for the most part the 9% abv. is relatively well hidden. Further on I got some nice touches of bread malt, caramel and some herbal notes too but it was definitely a sweet one on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Not quite as sweet as the nose, the beer starts with some strong alcohol grains that were better hidden with the nose but there is still some caramel and bread malts coming through alongside a few earthy touches. Around the middle the grapes, pears and some apples start to show on the taste with a hint of citrus and orange too before some spice and Belgian yeast featured towards the end.
Palate (4/5): Opening with plenty sweetness on the nose but more of a warming alcohol feel with the taste, this one was definitely a strong beer and the balance could have been better as the alcohol content was quite apparent when it came to drinking the beer; it wasn’t as noticeable with the aroma though thanks to the abundance of sweetness coming through. It was a well carbonated offering that came through with a light-medium body and had a solid kick to it thanks to the high alcohol content but it was still a fairly easy beer to drink.

Overall (15/20): Quite an interesting beer, this one opened with a huge amount of sweetness and fruits on the nose with some caramel malts towards the end but come the taste these characteristics took more of a backseat as the alcohol content of the beer made itself known alongside, although there was still some fruits and sweetness at this point too. It was a strong beer with a light body, still easy to drink but one with a definite kick towards the end too.

Brewed In: Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: West Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2007
Type: Tripel
Abv: 9.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Fenwick’s (Newcastle)
Price: £3.99

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Club of Slaughters

December 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

A fourth Wylam beer now and one that comes after a five-year gap with the last beer from the brewery I tried being their Bohemia pilnser that I sampled back in December 2012. The other two beers from the brewery that I’ve sampled, their Angel and Rocket bitters, were both pretty standard fair but the Newcastle based brewery seems to have upped their game of late and I’ve started to see a few more adventurous offerings from them available. I picked this one up when visiting the city over the summer and also grabbed another couple from them on the same visit that I’ve yet to try. I then spotted yet another imperial stout from Wylam in a Glasgow bottle shop last weekend, a beer that I quickly picked up. This particular offering from the brewery, despite the name suggesting otherwise, is apparently a vegan friendly beer that was first introduced in late 2015 and as yet is not one that I’ve seen available in Scotland but perhaps that is something that will change going forward since last weekend was the first time that I’d spotted any Wylam beers north of the border.

Appearance (4/5): Opaque black and almost oil-like with a foamy brown head that is just under a centimetre tall but holds surprisingly well for a fairly strong beer. The head does slowly fade to leave a thin surface lacing in the middle with a little more build up around the sides but it doesn’t look too bad at all.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a strong beer on the nose with a lot of alcohol showing in the early going as well as a lot of peated malts that gave the beer a type of whiskey aroma. It was slightly sweet towards the middle with some rich and dark fruits coming through alongside some mint that was unusual but enjoyable before the beer was rounded off with some liquorice and alcohol grains.
Taste (6/10): Opening with the same peated malts that featured heavily with the nose, the beer wasn’t quite as strong this time around but there was some strong alcohol grains and smoky flavours present that threatened to overpower at points. I got some roasted flavours around the middle of the beer with touches of mint further on with some more malts seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): A very strong beer with plenty dark and roasted touches that were quite smoky too that’s to the peated malts. The beer was loaded with alcohol and seemed stronger than the 8.8% abv. on the bottle, the balance in particular being a poor one that made it a slow one to get through; not a great one of the style at all and one I’d avoid in future.

Overall (13/20): This one was a very strong beer from the outset and one that was loaded with peated malts, smoky flavours and some wood which all gave the beer a whiskey feel to it in the early going. The alcohol that came through seemed overdone and made the beer seem a lot stronger than the 8.8% advertised on the bottle, it was also a bit of a struggle to finish too, although the surprising addition of some mint to the nose and taste was quite enjoyable but other than that the beer seemed poorly balanced and was a relatively poor imperial stout sadly.

Brewed In: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Brewery: Wylam Brewery
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 8.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Fenwicks (Newcastle)
Price: £3.49

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

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

Beavertown Peacher Man

July 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.55

A reworking of a 2016 Beavertown collaboration here, this was originally a 6.2% abv. beer from the brewery that was made along with California based Heretic Brewing but has since been brought out as a summer seasonal solely from Beavertown and is a 5% abv. beer this time around. I spotted this one in my local bottle shop at the end of last week and was intrigued by the sound of a ‘peach and apricot witbier’ so quickly grabbed myself a can along with a couple other random beers to enjoy over the weekend. The beer will be my ninth from the brewery and follows on from their Lupuloid IPA, the last beer from the brewery that I tried when I had a can back in January of this year so hopefully this one proves to be as good as that one was.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a very thick and cloudy looking yellow to golden colour that is topped with a centimetre tall, foamy white head that covers the surface well and holds not too bad either over the opening few minutes; very much a witbier appearance from this one.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a fresh opening with the obvious wheat notes that are backed up by some early lemon and coriander notes that work well together. It’s slightly floral with a few other citrus fruits coming through alongside some herbs and spices but nothing notable at this stage. There’s some lighter malts towards the end and a few fruits too but I’m finding it hard to detect much in the way of any peach at this stage sadly; there is perhaps a touch showing but it’s difficult to be sure.
Taste (7/10): Fairly tangy and again quite fresh, the beer opens much like the nose with some lemon and citrus flavours before a few lighter malts start to show. There’s a combination of spices and some coriander in the early going to and these are followed by a few fruits that are definitely a little stronger than they were with the nose; at this point I got some hints of sweetness too. There is some peach at this stage with touches of vanilla adding to the sweetness before a few cloves and wheat flavours make themselves known again at the end.
Palate (4/5): Sitting around medium bodied, this one is a little thicker than I’d expected but that’s definitely a good things and the beer is also quite crisp into the bargain. There’s a lot of citrus which give proceedings a nice zesty tang that helps keep it feeling lively along with the sharp, strong carbonation levels. It’s quite an easy oen to drink with an okay balance but the citrus definitely dominated along with the wheat and spices; it was still a very nice beer on the palate though.

Overall (13/20): This one got off to a shaky start with the nose not coming through quite as good as I’d expected but things were turned around slightly come the taste with the beer seeming a little more balanced at this point and the citrus flavours coming through a little stronger and fresher too. The beer was a relatively easy one to drink with some nice touches of wheat coming through from the early going but I’d have like to see more of the peaches that the beer takes its name from showing, there was a some with the taste but almost none on the nose which was a little disappointing.

Brewed In: London, UK
Brewery: Beavertown Brewery/Heretic (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Witbier
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £2.60

Salty Kiss

July 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

A second review of a Magic Rock beer in fairly quick succession now, this one following on from the mid-June review of their Common Grounds porter that I quite enjoyed and my sixth beer in total from the brewery. This one is the first review of a Gose style beer that I’ll have added here and is actually a beer that I first tried a number of years ago but wasn’t particularly keen on, only picking it up again this time around to check another style off my list of reviews really – hopefully I’ll enjoy it more this time around though. I recently spotted the beer in my local shop and given it was one of the cheaper beers on offer, I felt now was as good a time as any to give the beer another try to see how much my palate has changed in the last couple of years.

Appearance (3/5): A fairly light but cloudy golden colour that was bright and topped with a bubbly white head that was just under a centimetre tall, holding well in the early going before losing about half of its initial height after about a minute.
Aroma (6/10): Quite an unusual nose to kick things off, there’s definitely some salty notes coming through with a little bit of hay and some subtle fruits but it’s not really like anything I’ve had before and it’s hard to place. There is a slightly floral aroma with faint citrus and some sourness too but nothing is particularly strong in truth. Towards the end there is some tart and a few herbal notes but nothing is overly pronounced really.
Taste (6/10): More salty and sour than the nose, this one opens with a lot of tart and some solid lemon flavours alongside some tart and slight acidity. It’s more pronounced than the nose was with the citrus to the forefront, I got some berries background fruits not too far behind and further lemon flavours seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied but very well carbonated and quite crisp on the palate. The beer is very much a dry, sharp one that has a nice tang from the citrus and berries. It’s not the easiest beer to drink and it’s definitely on the salty side but I guess that’s to be expected given the name of the beer.

Overall (13/20): Definitely an unusual one from Magic Rock and not the usual type of beer I’d go for, I pretty much picked this one up to check a gose style beer off my list but the beer wasn’t all bad in the end. Opening with a lot of salty flavours and a huge amount to sourness too, there was lemon and some citrus in the early going with a tart and almost acidic backing but it wasn’t exactly a lambic style taste. It was a difficult one to drink at times, mainly due to the sourness and how dry it was but it was probably still worth trying if only for the novelty of it and that it was something different.

Brewed In: Huddersfield, England
Brewery: Magic Rock Brewing
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Gose
Abv: 4.1%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co.Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £2.20

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