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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

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

Common Grounds

June 19, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.6

A late 2015 winter seasonal release from Magic Rock now and a beer that I managed to pick up from Brewdog’s Glasgow bottle shop a couple of months ago but am just getting round to reviewing now. The beer is actually one that I managed to try on-tap between picking it up and now, sampling it at a Glasgow bar in late March and quite enjoying it so I thought it about time I finally gave it a proper review. The beer will be my fifth from the brewery and my first since trying their High Wire Grapefruit offering back in February of last year and not enjoying it quite as much as I’d hoped. Common Grounds will also be the first dark beer from the brewery that’ll have reviewed here, the other four from them have been American pale ales or, in the case of their Cannonball, an IPA.

Appearance (3/5): Dark bodied, almost black in colour and with a thin, tan brown head that’s bubbly and fades to a patchy lacing that sits in the centre of the glass after about thirty or forty seconds. The body is opaque and the beer looks relatively still in the glass too; not a bad start but I’d have liked the head to stick around a little longer.
Aroma (7/10): Very strong coffee notes on the nose to kick things off, this one was slightly stronger than expected too with a nice amount of roasted malts and some earthy bitterness in there too. Some touches of chocolate made themselves known as things got nearer the middle but the coffee was definitely the dominate smell, some faint cocoa and vanilla did however add a hint of sweetness as things got closer to the finish. The beer was relatively well-balanced on the nose with a nice variety to it and some milky lactose and further earthy notes seeing things out.
Taste (7/10): Again quite a dark beer and one that follows on well from the nose but the coffee is certainly dialled down every so slightly at this stage without giving too much up to the other flavours. There was some strong roasted malts and a little vanilla off the back of them, the coffee definitely still dominating but there is more room for the lactose and chocolate flavours to come through this time around as well. I managed to detect touches of spice and even a little caramel towards the end but everything worked well and went down easily.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite thick on the palate, the beer is moderately carbonated with a crisp feel that is also quite smooth. There is a nice balance to flavours and plenty of variety to them as well which makes the beer go down very easily. It’s quite a strong tasting beer and is for the most part dominated by the coffee flavours but they don’t overpower and it’s pleasant drinking throughout.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite an enjoyable beer from the outset, there was a huge amount of coffee coming through and plenty of chocolate and cocoa backed it up, there was even some lactose in there to balance it out slightly. The beer had touches of sweetness nearer the middle with the caramel and some sugars grabbing your attention alongside hints of spice and the faintest of vanilla too. I really like this one, the coffee dominated but didn’t overpower and it was quite easy to drink despite the fact it got off to a poor start appearance-wise with the head fading far too quickly for my liking; nice stuff though and one I’d have again.

Brewed In: Huddersfield, England
Brewery: Magic Rock Brewing
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American Porter
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £3.09

Buxton Axe Edge

June 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

A beer that will be my fifth from Derbyshire based Buxton now, this one will be my first since trying their Quadrupel offering over the Christmas holidays at the very end of last year and is quite a similar offering to the first Buxton beer I ever tried, their Ace Edge that I had back in August of 2014. This particular offering is the original version of Ace Edge, a beer that was modified slightly to use Sorachi Ace hops and give the beer more of a lemon taste so it should be interesting to see how this one compares. I picked this one up a couple of weeks ago when placing an order on the Brewdog online shop since they were having quite a decent sale at the time, otherwise this might not have been a beer I was drawn to given I’ve spotted it in a number of bottle shops over the years and never got around to trying it; this being despite the fact that I really enjoyed the bottle of Ace Edge when I tried it a couple of years ago.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a nice looking beer when initially poured, it sits a medium amber to orange colour in the glass but looks quite hazy. The head is a good one, sitting just over a centimetre tall and looking quite thick and creamy with a creamy white colour to it. Head retention is excellent with little movement or reduction in size over the opening couple of minutes and plenty of lacing left on the sides of the glass when I take a drink. 4.5
Aroma (7/10): Fresh on the nose in the early going with some subtle pine and citrus notes kicking things off before the odd grassy note made an appearance. It’s not an overly strong beer initially but I did get the odd touch of caramel sweetness nearer the middle. Floral touches and bread malts appear nearer the end of this one with some light tropical notes sneaking in as well; it’s definitely a pleasant beer on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Starting with plenty of hops, this one is a fresh beer that has a nice combination of pine and citrus to start before a few tropical flavours start to come through; most notably some mango and apricot but touches of orange and grapefruit feature as well. Around the middle the caramel sweetness and a few bread malts start to come through but they don’t seem as pronounced as they did with the nose, the beer was dominated by the citrus flavours at this point. Towards the end there was more of a hop bitterness with floral flavours and a touch of spice coming through as well. 3.75
Palate (4/5): Fresh and balanced with a medium body and plenty of hops showing throughout. The beer was lively with strong carbonation and proved easy to drink as well, the mouthfeel a dry and crisp one down the stretch. 4.25

Overall (17/20): Another really enjoyable beer from Buxton and very much on par with their Ace Edge offering, although this one definitely seemed more balanced and easy to drink. The beer looked fantastic after I poured it and there was a lot of early citrus and pine coming through to get you interested from the start. I liked the touches of sweetness and the tropical flavours were nice but I’d have liked to see more of the later when it came to the nose. Overall it’s a great beer from Buxton and one that I’d happily go back to again at some point in the future.

Brewed In: Buxton, Derbyshire, England
Brewery: Buxton Brewery
First Brewed: 2011
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £3.00