Posts Tagged ‘english ipa’

The Spitting Llama

July 5, 2018 2 comments

Rating: 3.65

My third Hillstown Brewery beer now, this is another that I picked up from a Tesco store when in Ireland and follows on from their Squealing Pig English IPA and their Horny Bull imperial stout from around Christmas time last year, although I wasn’t a huge fan of either of those offerings so hopefully this one will be better. I was attracted to this one as it’s labelled as a tripel which is an unusual style of beer from an Irish brewery and I’m interested to see how that turns out, part of me has a feeling that it will end up closer to a golden ale but the 7% abv. of this one is reassuring and I’m quietly optimistic that this could be a good one

Appearance (4/5): Quite a clear amber colour with a few orange tinges and a white head on top that’s foamy but quite thin, sitting a millimetre or two tall before turning patchy after twenty seconds or so.
Aroma (6/10): Disappointingly subdued on the nose for the style and the strength of the beer, there’s some light grassy notes and a touch of yeast in there early going but not too much else sadly. I got some apple with a faint sweetness that had touches of butter and background spice coming through. Towards the end some pear and a hint of alcohol shows but it was underwhelming for the most part without being a bad smelling offering.
Taste (7/10): A touch more pronounced and variety with the taste, there was some yeast and spices in the early going as well as some banana that I’d been expecting with the nose but that was sadly missing. There’s some apple and pear coming through as well with a slightly floral taste that has some butterscotch sweetness backing things up; a definite improvement on the nose with a touch of warming alcohol at the end.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and spicy with a lot of Belgian yeast upfront that works well with the citrus to provide a nice tang to proceedings. The balance wasn’t the best with the nose far too weak and bland but the banana and butterscotch sweetness around the middle was a welcome one. Overall the beer is quite boozy and warming, especially towards the end of what was a moderately carbonated but fairly crisp offering.

Overall (15/20): Good stuff in the end, the beer definitely didn’t get off to the best of starts with an average appearance and an underwhelming nose that was too weak and bland for a 7% abv. tripel but thankfully the taste turned things around with some good banana sweetness and background fruits. There was a good butterscotch backing with some apple and touches of pear in there, both of these working well with the moderate carbonating and the subtle citrus tang. A nice offering that went down well in the end but isn’t really a patch on some of the better Belgian offerings that I’ve tried of late.

Brewed In: Randalstown, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Hillstown Brewery
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Tripel
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.75



April 5, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.5

My first beer from the Cairngorm brerwery in quite some time, I think I’d have to go back to 2013 when I tried their Wildcat offering to find the last time I had one of their beers. This particular offering is one that was launched sometime around 2012 by the Loch Ness Brewery but the recipes and names of several of their beers were then bought by Cairngorm towards the end of 2016 when the Loch Ness Brewery’s parent company went bust. Previously Cairngorm were responsible for bottling these beers but I can’t say that I’d ever seen any of them available in the Glasgow area until the end of last year but since then quite a few of these Loch Ness themed beers have started appearing on supermarket shelves in my area and I guess this won’t be the last of them that I end up trying.

Appearance (4/5): A light amber colour that has a brightness to it and is topped with a thin, foamy white head that sits a millimetre or so tall, covering the surface well at least.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a sweet nose with some earthy malts and butter coming through in the early going, there was touches of biscuit and the odd hop in there as well. It was a balanced nose with creaminess to it and so touches of honey a little further on but it was a lot sweeter than anticipated with a couple of background fruits in there at the end too.
Taste (6/10): Kicking off with some earthy hops and a few biscuit flavours, the beer was again quite sweet but not quite as sweet as with the nose. There was some butter and vanilla flavours coming through in the early going with a few bread malts as well before background fruits and grassy hops seen things out.
Palate (4/5):  Medium bodied and very sweet, the beer was moderately carbonated and seemed quite creamy at times with a wet feel that was surprisingly refreshing and easy to drink without being the most varied or interesting offering out there.

Overall (12/20): Not a bad one here from Cairngorm, it was definitely more sweet in the early going than I’d anticipated with plenty of butter and vanilla flavours kicking things off. Towards the middle there was a few earthy hops and biscuit malts alongside the odd background fruit to help keep things interesting and balanced. It’s definitely not a classic and probably not even one that I’d be likely to pick again but it was drinkable and came through better than expected which is all I can ask for really.

Brewed In: Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Brewery: The Cairngorm Brewery Company
First Brewed: 2012
Type: English IPA
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Asda (Glasgow)
Price: Gift

Gweilo IPA

April 5, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.3

The first of two beers I recent received as gifts from someone returning from Hong Kong, both beers coming from the country’s Gweilo Beer brewery and brewed at the Hong Kong Beer Co. on Hong Kong island. The brewery’s beers are apparently European/English in style and the brewery itself was first launched back in the summer of 2015 so neither of these were available when I visited the country several years before that. This one will be only my second beer from Hong Kong that I’ll have reviewed here and follows on from the awful bottle of Sun Lik Beer that I tried back in 2011; a beer that still ranks as one of the very worst that I’ve ever tried so I’m confident this one will at least be slightly better than that one was.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a lively looking beer, I had to slowly pour this one and it still managed to form a respectable head that sat about two centimetres tall initially and looked quite creamy on top with a few bubbles through it as well. It’s has a lot of visible carbonation showing through the beer in the form of tonnes of small bubbles rising to the surface and the head actually gains some height forming a dome shape at the top of the glass and it managed to hold its height very well over the opening few minutes.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with an earthy aroma that had a few subtle hops sitting in the background, the beer was definitely fresher than expected with some touches of citrus and orange in there alongside a few biscuit malts. There was a sweetness towards the middle with faint caramel showing and some grassy hops as well; a good start.
Taste (6/10): Matching the nose well, the beer kicked off with some earthy malts and biscuit flavours with a nice combination of citrus and orange following on behind and adding a freshness to the beer. It’s not quite as strong as with the nose but there was some touches of hay and grassy hops towards the end as well as some bread malts and floral touches; the only down side was that a few vegetable adjuncts and touches of corn did manage to sneak in towards the end once the beer had been left for a while which was disappointing but other than that it was a nice beer.
Palate (3/5): A light-medium bodied beer that was very strongly carbonated and lively with a sharp, almost tangy feel towards the end. It was perhaps a little too strongly carbonated which meant it started to seem gassy towards the end but the balance was a good one and it proved relatively easy to drink without being an overly complex offering.

Overall (12/20): This one turned out to be quite but enjoyable beer that opened with a nice combination of orange and citrus flavours that were backed up by some earthy malts and biscuit flavours, some faint sweetness not too far behind either. It wasn’t the most varied or exciting tasting beer but it was a pleasant and easy-going one that’s miles better than the only other beer from Hong Kong that I’ve reviewed here; the awful Sun Lik Beer from a few years ago.

Brewed In: Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
Brewery: Gweilo Beer
First Brewed: 2015
Type: English IPA
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Hong Kong
Price: Gift

Innis & Gunn Gunpowder IPA

March 9, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.6

One of two new beers from Innis & Gunn that were released last year and are now stocked in Asda supermarkets where I picked them up over the weekend. This particular offering is an English style IPA from the brewery that will go down as my sixteenth review of a beer from the Edinburgh based brewery. I wasn’t too sure about this particular offering, I’d assumed it to be another run-of-the-mill IPA but I was excited about the bottle of Blood Red Sky from the brewery that I picked up at the same time so decided to give this one a go too. The beer will be my first review of a new Innis & Gunn beer since I tried their American IPA in July of last year and to be honest, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if the two are derived from the same recipe with just enough tweaking to make them different beers; both do come in at 5.6% abv. but this one seemed more English in style than the bottle I reviewed here last year so hopefully they’re not too similar.

Appearance (4/5): A fairly bright amber with a clear body that was quite still looking and topped with a thin, foamy white head that turned to a patchy surface lacing after thirty seconds or so; it was a basic looking beer but it seemed about what you’d expect for the style I guess.
Aroma (6/10): Quite malty with a lot of biscuit in the early going and some earthy hop and floral touches further on. The beer had some light citrus in the background then a few grains towards the end but it wasn’t quite as fresh as I’d have liked.
Taste (7/10): Biscuit malts and earthy flavours kick things off here with some bread malts a little further on and touches of bitterness bringing in the middle of the beer. Again it’s not an overly fresh offering but there was some pine and citrus coming through before some toasted malts and caramel seen things out.
Palate (4/5):  Lively and well carbonated, this one wasn’t quite as fresh as I’d have liked but it was pleasant enough with some malts featuring heavily throughout and adding to the sweetness at points too. The finish was a clean, dry one and the bitterness wasn’t too bad but I’d have liked to see some of the floral touches feature more strongly than they did.

Overall (14/20): This one was a beer that started to grow on me after a subdued and basic start, there was some earthy malts and biscuit in the early going but things started to improve with the pine and citrus flavours that came after without it ever really seeming too lively or fresh. It was a balanced and easy to drink offering that was well worth trying but I’m not sure it’s a beer that I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2017
Type: English IPA
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Asda (Glasgow)
Price: £1.50

Hillstown Squealing Pig

January 16, 2018 2 comments

Rating: 3.15

The first of two Hillstown beers that I picked up recently when over in Ireland, I managed to grab this one in a Tesco store alongside a bottle of the brewery’s Horny Bull Stout and tried both just before Christmas at the end of last year. This one is an English style IPA from a brewery that I’ve not tried anything from before but it was one I was excited to pick up. The beer is brewed in Antrim and like all the brewery’s beers, this one features an animal in the title but sadly the two I picked up were the only from the brewery that Tesco seemed to have in stock, although I did visit late on Christmas Eve so hopefully I’ll have the chance to grab some more from Hillstown when I’m back in Ireland later this year.

Appearance (4/5): A light, golden amber colour that is semi-cloudy looking and topped with a half centimetre, bubbly white head that leaves a little lacing on the sides but covers the surface well; it was a nice start from this one.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some subtle hops and touches of citrus, the beer had a faint biscuit aroma that was backed up by touches of lemon and a couple of grassy hops. It wasn’t a very varied offering sadly and came through somewhat basic with a couple of lighter fruits at the end to round things off.
Taste (6/10): Quite light and definitely not an overly pronounced offering, the beer stated with some grassy hops and basic biscuit malts but there wasn’t a whole lot after that. I got some citrus and lemon flavours around the middle with some hay and a light sweetness further on but it was very light and basic throughout I’m afraid.
Palate (3/5): Falling somewhere between light-medium and medium bodied, this one was lightly carbonated with a faint citrus tang and not much going on beyond that really. It was fairly easy to drink but quite basic and bland at times with nothing special about it to report really.

Overall (11/20): Coming through more like an English pale ale than an IPA at times but definitely quite a light and basic beer, this one was predominantly made up for biscuit malts and citrus with likely else beyond that. The beer was quite easy to drink with some lighter fruits towards the end and the odd pale malt showing but it’s not exactly an enjoyable beer I’m afraid.

Brewed In: Randalstown, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Hillstown Brewery
First Brewed: 2017
Type: English IPA
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.59

Merchant City IPA

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.1

A new beer from a new brewery now, this one is my first time trying a beer from the newly launched Merchant City Brewing Co. after they started releasing beers towards the end of 2017. The beer is one that caught my eye given the name of the beer and is one I picked up from a local bottle shop for that reason alone but I was also quietly hoping decent beer too. This one appears to be one of around six beers that the brewery currently makes and I did notice a few others from them in the shop when I grabbed this one but I felt I should probably see what this one was like before committing to any more from them.

Appearance (4/5): Caramel amber with a hazy body and quite a large, four centimetre tall head that was creamy white and faded to leave a patchy surface lacing over the opening few minutes with some touches of lacing left on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (5/10): Quite a bitter and earthy beer on the nose initially, there was some nutty notes and a slightly dark aroma that had some nice roasted malts in the background too. It was somewhat fruity further on but it definitely seemed basic and wasn’t a great start at all.
Taste (5/10): Tangy with some citrus in the early going before the nutty flavours that the nose hinted at started to take over alongside a background sweetness and some light fruits. Again it was a basic beer with some toffee and the odd earthy hop showing but I definitely wasn’t impressed with this beer sadly.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with a subtle citrus tang coming through on top of what was quite a smooth beer. It was a dry offering towards the end with an earthy feel throughout and moderate carbonation that made it seem slightly fresh at times.

Overall (10/20): Quite a disappointing one this, it was a very basic and earthy tasting beer that did have a slight tang showing early on with the taste but there definitely wasn’t much going on with it beyond that. The nutty flavours seemed to dominate and there was a subtle sweetness from some fruits at times too but it’s not a great one; it remains to be seen if I decide to give the brewery another chance or avoid them completely in future.

Brewed In: Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Merchant City Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: English IPA
Abv: 5.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.60

Knockout Middleweight IPA

September 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.4

My second beer from my recent trip to Ireland now and also my second from Belfast based Knockout Brewing, this one following on from their Hefeweizen Max that I reviewed here previously. Their Middleweight IPA is another that I picked up from a local bottle shop, mainly due to the fact that I wasn’t a beer that I’d seen before and it came from a brewery that I’d never heard of either. An English IPA by style, I was hoping this offering would prove itself to be a little better than the last from the brewery that I tried and here’s what I thought of it when I tried it late last month.

Appearance (5/5): Quite a fizzy and active beer, this one wasn’t as foamy as the previous from the brewery but it managed to form a two and a half centimetre head that was dome shaped and quite foamy looking. There was a thick and cloudy look to the body of the beer and head retention was good too, there was almost no movement at all over the opening couple of minutes.
Aroma (6/10): Citrus notes and some faint pine opening things up here, I got a little orange and some lemon with the odd biscuit note not too far behind. Some subtle background fruits and juicy aromas feature around the middle of the beer, I managed to detect some grapefruit too but it could definitely have been a touch stronger at times as well; towards the end some earthy malts and bitterness seen things out nicely though.
Taste (6/10): Following on well from the nose, the beer starts with citrus and orange flavours that were backed up by a few pine hops and touches of grapefruit but neither were particularly strong initially. There was some biscuit and earthy malts around the middle before some hints of sweetness made a brief appearance too; towards the end there was a nice bitterness to round things off.
Palate (3/5): Quite crisp and fresh with lively carbonation and a nice tang to proceedings, the beer was semi-sweet and had a nice floral touch at points thanks to the background fruits and hops. There was a faint bitterness from the middle on and although it could have been stronger, the balance of the beer was a good one and I enjoyed it more than expected.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a nice IPA from Knockout, it was definitely an English style IPA but had leanings towards an American version at points too, particularly when the pine and grapefruit bitterness started to come through but it was just a touch weaker than I’d have liked. The citrus and orange flavours were well received and the beer was an easy one to drink throughout.

Brewed In: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Knockout Brewing
First Brewed: 2015
Type: English IPA
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.49