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Posts Tagged ‘english ipa’

Hillstown Squealing Pig

January 16, 2018 1 comment

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

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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

Broughton Clipper I.P.A. (Bottle)

September 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

A sixth beer from Broughton Ales now but only my first since reviewing their Merlin’s Ale back in June of 2017, a fare gap for a brewery relatively close to home but for the most part I’ve tried everything I want to from them that is readily available. This one is a beer that I tried about five years ago as a cask offering in a Glasgow pub but felt it was worth another try as a bottled version when I spotted it travelling from Edinburgh airport recently, picking it up at the JD Wetherspoon bar in the airport on a recent trip to Poland and to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect from it but hoped that it would end up closer to an American style IPA, the bright label on the bottle being a good indication that it might be.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a semi-bright and clear amber, this one was topped with a thin head that was closer to a thin lacing covering the circumference of the beer after about thirty seconds.
Aroma (6/10): Subtly hoppy with some floral touches and the faint hint of citrus not too far behind. There was some basic fruits showing with it sitting somewhere between an English and an American IPA on the nose but either way, it could definitely have been a little stronger. Towards the end some biscuit was showing as well but for the most part it was quite a basic beer on the nose.
Taste (7/10): The beer was quite fresh tasting with some citrus and subtle pine coming through in the early going but neither seemed overly pronounced. There was some grassy hops and a few floral bursts towards the middle with a hint of grapefruit and faint mango featuring before the earthy hops and biscuit from the nose started to take over down the stretch and some pleasant bitterness seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite fresh, the beer was crisp and lively with some tang coming through from the citrus and a nice bite to proceedings as well. It was balanced and easy to drink, if a little weak with regards to the nose but it was still a pleasant and enjoyable offering.

Overall (14/20): Nice stuff from Broughton and definitely up there with the best of the six beers I’ve tried from them so far, only their Old Jock Ale would give it a run for its money. The beer was fresh without be overly hoppy and sat nicely between an English IPA and the American IPA I was hoping it would be when I ordered a bottle. It was an easy to drink offering with light pine and citrus flavours working well with the grassy hops and biscuit that featured around the middle. While not a beer that I’d go out of my way to try again, I would happily drink another if I stumbled across it again at some point.

Brewed In: Biggar, Scotland
Brewery: Broughton Ales Ltd.
First Brewed: circa. 2003
Type: English IPA
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: The Sir Walter Scott (Edinburgh Airport)
Price: £4.80

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