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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

Wadworth IPA

April 5, 2017 2 comments

Rating: 2.55

This one is a beer that I’m not overly looking forward since it turned out to be a random purchase in a Morrisons supermarket a couple of weeks ago when I noticed it on offer for £1 a bottle. The beer is a fairly weak, 3.6% abv. session offering from Wadworth, a Wiltshire based brewery and it will be the first of theirs that I’ll have tried. After doing a bit of digging online, it would appear that the beer is usually known as Henry’s IPA or Henry’s Original IPA but I’ll go simply with Wadworth IPA since that is what’s listed on the bottle I picked up. Maybe it’s one that will surprise me in the end but I’m not usually a huge fan of these traditional style British beers and I can’t image this one will be a favourite of mine; hopefully I’m wrong.

Appearance (4/5): The beer pours a dark amber colour that is almost copper, there is a fairly large head on top that is foamy and a slightly off white with a cream texture to it. Retention is pretty good with no much movement initially and the head manages to hold most of its height in the early going before eventually leaving plenty of nice and thick looking lacing on the sides of the glass after that.
Aroma (6/10): Quite an earthy hop aroma to this one with a lot of biscuit malts and faint floral touches in the early going, you know straight away that it is an English style beer with the bitterness also seeming quite subdued and earthy. Hints of sweetness come through thanks to a little caramel and touches of vanilla but these are fairly minimal, some further toffee notes do feature further along though before some butterscotch rounds things off nicely.
Taste (5/10): Much like the nose, this one opens with a lot of earthy flavours and some light caramel at the start but it’s certainly not a sweet beer. There’s hints of floral hops coming through but they are fairly subdued thanks to the biscuit malts and earthy hops that balance them out. The beer hints at some citrus but doesn’t really commit and there is a subdued bitterness nearer the end too; it’s pretty much as I’d expected going in.
Palate (2/5): Medium bodied and very earthy with some basic ale bitterness and hints of citrus that added the most subtle of tangs to the middle of the beer. It was quite well carbonated but still seemed a little bland and boring at times; definitely not my style of beer.

Overall (7/20): Not the strongest or the most interesting of beers, this one started relatively weak with little more than some biscuit malts and an earthy bitterness to show for itself. There was some faint sweetness at times that was a mild surprise but for the most part the beer seemed bland and watered down, never really making itself known and as a result it’s one that I’ll be avoiding in future sadly.

Brewed In: Devizes, Wiltshire, England
Brewery: Wadworth
First Brewed: 1992
Also Known As:
Wadworth Henry’s Original IPA
Type: English IPA
ABV: 3.6%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Morrisons (Glasgow)
Price: £1.00

Silver Buckles

July 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.05

My one and only review of a beer that I tried when I was in County Durham recently and it’s a local one that I managed to sample at the pub attached to the Stables Brewery in Beamish. The beer in question is their English IPA style Silver Buckles offering that I sampled on cask while at Beamish Hall for the afternoon. One of roughly nine beers that the brewery makes, this one appears to be one of their most popular offerings but how popular they are I’m not sure considering the brewpub I visited is likely one of only a handful of places that offer any Stables beers on cask. In addition to being the first beer from the Stables brewery that I’ve tried, this one is also the first beer brewed in County Durham that I’ve sampled and brings my total to thirty-three out of forty-six on the RateBeer website; not bad considering it’s not something I’ve been actively trying to finish, although I may have to start now.

Silver Buckles

Appearance (4/5): Light golden in colour and semi-cloudy with a creamy white head on top that looked pretty thick and held very well over the opening couple of minutes.
Aroma (6/10): This nose was a fairly light one here and there wasn’t too much that jumped out or grabbed your attention other than some pleasant malts that gave the beer an almost lager like aroma in the early going. There was some biscuit notes and a few earthy aromas in the early going before some subtle grassy notes and a moderate bitterness came through around the middle and further earthy touches seen things out.
Taste (5/10): Following on in a similar fashion to the nose, the taste is an earthy one with some biscuit and bread malts opening things up alongside some subtle grassy flavours and hops. There was the odd touch of citrus coming through from the middle on wards as well but again it was quite a light and pretty bland tasting beer overall.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and coming through with quite light, soft carbonation and a fairly earthy feel to proceedings, thus one was a semi-dry beer that had some creamy touches to it and was smooth down the stretch as well but was far from being anything special.

Overall (11/20): This one was a fairly poor to average beer on the whole and I can’t see it being one that I’ll remember too much about in a couple of months given how bland it came through for the most part. There was some pleasant biscuit malts and the odd earthy patch but beyond that there wasn’t too much of anything to grab your attention or keep you interested. Some subtle grassy flavours and a bit of citrus helped liven things up but there just wasn’t enough of them to make this one an enjoyable beer that I’d consider having again sadly.

Brewed In: Beamish, Durham, England
Brewery: Stables Brewery
First Brewed: circa. 2010
Type: English IPA
Abv: 4.4%
Serving: Cask (Pint)
Purchased: Beamish Hall, Durham, England
Price: £3.00

Jacobsen India Pale Ale

April 8, 2016 2 comments

Rating: 3.45

Another double in quick succession, this time it’s the turn of another Jacobsen beer from the Carlsberg brewery and this one follows hot on the tail of their Saaz Blonde that I recently reviewed. I actually managed to try this one, the India Pale Ale of the range, later the same day in Copenhagen bar that I managed to stumble across. Since the majority of the bars I visited were craft beer ones, I didn’t actually see too many Jacobsen beers on-tap whilst in Copenhagen so this was the only other beer from the Carlsberg brewed range that I managed to try, a did of a shame I guess but hopefully I’ll get another change to try some more from them at some point. Anyway, this one is their take on the English IPA style of beer and appears to have been introduced for the first time back in 2014 in Denmark but like the rest of the beers in the range, it’s not one that I’ve seen back in the UK and I doubt I will any time soon either; here’s what I thought of it.

Jacobsen India Pale Ale

Appearance (4/5): Bright orange to amber in colour and sitting with good clarity in the glass, this one is topped with a foamy white head that is about a quarter of a centimetre tall and leaves a touch of lacing down the sides of the glass.
Aroma (6/10): Not a particularly pronounced beer on the nose initially, this one was kicked off by some light malts and a few earthy notes along with a citrus and light floral backing. There was a lot of grassy hops showing around the middle as well and some subtle background fruits as things progressed, with oranges being the strongest but it was fairly light overall with only a touch of caramel in there as well.
Taste (6/10): Thankfully the taste of this one came through stronger than the nose but it was otherwise fairly similar with a few nice pale malts and earthy flavours to kick things off alongside some grassy hops. This was quickly followed by a fruity sweetness that came through with touches of citrus, oranges and a few floral flavours as well. There was the odd touch of biscuit malt and spice towards the end with a faint caramel taste and some moderate bitterness but again it was quite light overall.
Palate (4/5): Quite a crisp and fairly dry beer with a light-medium body and a moderate tang off the back of the oranges and citrus flavours. The beer was light and fairly basic but there was some nice floral flavours and a pleasant bitterness towards the end that helped things along.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad English style IPA at all, this one started with some nice citrus flavours and pale malts before a background sweetness and some moderate bitterness came through. The beer was crisp and came with a nice tang & the balance seemed pretty good too. It was fairly easy to drink & similar to the brewery’s Jacobsen Saaz Blonde in a lot of ways, mainly in that it was enjoyable without it really standing out or being one that I’d pick up again; not bad though.

Brewed In: Copenhagen, Denmark
Brewery: Carlsberg Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: English IPA
Abv: 6.6%
Serving: Draught (400ml)
Purchased: Cafe Hvide Lam, Copenhagen, Denmark
Price: 45 Danish Krone (approx. £4.95)

Proper Job (275 of 1001)

December 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.55

One of the first English beers from the 1001 beers list I’ve had in a while now, this one being my second from the St. Austell Brewery based in Cornwall and following on from their Tribute bitter that I was able to try early last year. This particular offering is said to have been inspired by BridgePort IPA from the brewery of the same name in Portland, Oregon after brewery Roger Ryman spent a month there prior to brewing this beer. The beer is mainly available in bottles at 5.5% abv. but can occasionally be found on cask at the more manageable 4.5% abv. from time to time. The beer takes its name from the 32nd Cornwall Regiment and their defence of their garrison during the 1857-58 Indian Mutiny; apparently Queen Victoria rewarded their ‘Proper Job’ by allowing them to become a light infantry regiment.

Proper Job

Appearance (3/5): This one sits a very clear looking and quite bright amber in the glass, topped with a thin looking head at about half a centimetre tall. Retention is about average for the style with it sitting quite bubbly in the glass initially before turning to a patchy surface lacing after about thirty to forty-five seconds, there is the odd bit of sediment kicking about in the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): The aroma kicks of with some earthy, citrus and pine style hops and the odd grassy touch before some biscuit notes come through and a hint of floral. There is some faint citrus as well as some background fruits that are fainter still, earthy malts follow and there are a few more hops than I had been expecting but it seems about standard for an English IPA really.
Taste (7/10): Starting with a fair helping of hops, this one was more bitter than I’d been expecting with some citrus and orange upfront, some biscuit and faint caramel malts to follow and a few earthy, floral flavours following that. Some bread featured towards the end but it was the hops and citrus/pine flavours that came out on top here.
Palate (4/5): Very smooth with a light-medium body and a faint hop bitterness throughout. The beer was fairly well balanced and proved an easy one to drink despite not being the most varied or exciting. Carbonation was also light-medium and there was a dry, slightly bitter tang towards the finish.

Overall (15/20): This one was my second English IPA in quick succession, following on from yesterdays Gladeye IPA and this one was quite a good offering for the style, probably coming out slightly ahead of the Drygate offering. Taste wise the two were fairly similar but Proper Job seemed to have more hops and bitterness to it, going down easily and well. I’m not sure it’s one I’d go back to all that often but it was a nice beer and one well worth picking up if you get the chance.

Brewed In: St. Austell, Cornwall, England
Brewery:  St. Austell Brewery
First Brewed: 2004
Type: English IPA
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Glasgow)
Price: £1.65

Gladeye IPA

December 22, 2014 1 comment

Rating: 3.4

My third review of a Drygate beer now, this one being one of the three beers that were released earlier this year when the brewery was launched, the other two being the previously reviewed Bearface Lager and Outaspace Apple Ale. This particular beer is one that I’ve tried on a number of occasions now with the intention of giving it a proper review but for whatever reason I’ve yet to get around to actually doing that. It’s a beer that whilst I’ve always enjoyed it it has never really blow me away so I’m hoping that when I give it a proper try I’ll be more taken by it but that remains to be seen I guess.

Gladeye IPA

Appearance (4/5): Pours a light, fairly clear amber with a centimetre tall, foamy white head that looks really thick and holds well well with slightly more build up around the circumference of the glass as well as managing to leave a little lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (6/10): This one is quite subdued and subtle on the nose, there is a slight hint of caramel malts and English style hops upfront but nothing jumps out at you straight away. I managed to detect some hints of bitterness and touches of sweetness with what I thought seemed like butter but like I said, this one is definitely not the strongest on the nose.
Taste (6/10): Gladeye tastes much like the aroma indicated, there was some English style hops and caramel malts initially before some earthy flavours and a hint of sweetness started to come through but again it was fairly average and not too strong sadly. I got some background fruity and grassy flavours with some biscuit but not a lot else really.
Palate (4/5): Light medium bodied and smooth but quite weak, the beer hinted at some bitterness throughout with moderate carbonation and an ever so slightly dry finish.

Overall (12/20): Again this one has proved to be quite an average beer from Drygate, it’s certainly drinkable but it just doesn’t seem to have a lot going for it and it definitely doesn’t grab your attention either. I found it hard to pick out much in the way of flavour and it wasn’t much different to countless other English style IPA’s that I’ve tried in the past.

Brewed In: Drygate, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Drygate Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: English IPA
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Glasgow)
Price: £1.59

DNA New World IPA

August 5, 2014 1 comment

Rating: 2.3

I was quite surprised to find this beer in Tesco’s a couple of weeks ago, it’s not often you get anything associated with Dogfish Head in the UK so I quickly grabbed a bottle. The beer is a collaboration between English brewers Wells & Young’s and American craft brewers Dogfish Head; a surprisingly partnership to say the least given the former of the two isn’t even close to being considered a craft brewery in my book. The beer is brewed in England and is apparently a Dogfish Head’s 60 IPA and Wells & Young’s traditional brewing ingredients, a beer that is described as either an American pale ale or IPA but after trying I’ve labelled it an English IPA although an English bitter would be wrong either. As I’ve mentioned it was a beer that I was much looking forward to trying but in the end it failed to deliver and in truth I’m surprised Dogfish Head put there name to such a dismal offering despite the fact that I’ve only tried two of their beers previously.

DNA New World IPA

Appearance (2/5): Amber to light copper in colour with a tiny, bubbly white head on top that turns to a very patchy lacing after a couple of seconds when ends up as a touches of lace around the circumference after that.
Aroma (5/10): Quite a weak beer on the nose with some earthy hops coming through initially, touches of light citrus backing this up and a bitter base. There is the odd grassy note and some subtle hops coming through with toasted malts closing things but in truth the beer is quite a boring smelling one.
Taste (5/10):
 Some citrus up front with a bitter and earthy malt taste that hints at some hops. There is a few background fruits lingering in there but the taste is much like the smell, very basic and almost bland with nothing exciting about it.
Palate (2/5):
Touches of grain with a slight tang from the citrus and the light medium carbonation. There is a slightly oily texture to the beer and it is medium bodied but yet again it is also disappointing.

Overall (10/20): I was really disappointed with this beer, I was expecting so much better down to the fact that Dogfish Head was involved in the brewing of this one and allowed their name to be put on the bottle. After trying it I quickly realised that this one is nothing more that your ordinary, run-of-the-mill English bitter and is in fact probably slightly below average with nothing to grab your attention or keep you interested; avoid this one folks, there are much better beers out there to try first.

Brewed In: Bedford, England
Brewery: Wells & Young’s
First Brewed: 2014
Type: English IPA
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Tesco
Price: £1.65