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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

Brewdog New England IPA v2

July 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

A new release from Brewdog now and one that was only introduced by the brewery just over a week ago but it was one that I was eager to try so I made a point of visiting one of their bars and sampling it on-tap within a day of its initial release. The beer is a reworking of an early collaboration between Brewdog and Cloudwater brewing based in Manchester, their New England IPA which I consider to be the best beer that Brewdog has ever released so naturally I was looking forward to this one. The beer is an 8.5% abv. double IPA which comes in a fair bit stronger than the 6.8% of the original so I did have the fear going in that the quality would suffer like it did when the brewery increased the strength of their Born To Die beer earlier this year only to reduce it again with the next release in the series. I’ve only tried a few New England style IPA’s so far, mainly because it’s still a relatively new style of beer but it is definitely one that I’m a big fan of and I was hoping that would carry over to my first double IPA in the New England style with this offering; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it last week.

Appearance (4/5): Very hazy golden in colour with a yellow hue to it, the beer was quite bright and opaque looking but sadly there wasn’t an overly impressive head to it, all that was left by the time I placed it on the table was a thin, foamy white lacing that was turning slightly patchy but the colour was a nice one.
Aroma (7/10): Not an immediately strong beer on the nose given it was an 8.5% abv. offering but there was a good combination of citrus and pineapple to kick things off before more touches of tropical fruit appeared nearer the middle. Some subtle hops showed around this point too with a few juicy notes and touches of orange and lemon nearer the end. Overall it was a very fresh offering but one that I’d have preferred came through stronger than it did.
Taste (7/10): Starting in a similar fashion to the nose, the taste kicks off with a combination of citrus flavours that is mainly orange and lemon but with some pineapple not too far behind either. The beer was again very fresh with a subtle bitterness off the back of the hops throughout,  there was some juicy flavours and a few tropical ones sitting in the background too which all seemed slightly stronger than with the nose and as such were a welcome change.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and sitting with a medium body and a nice balance too, the beer definitely wasn’t as strong as anticipated for an 8.5% beer and for the most part the alcohol content was masked behind the subtle hops and the tropical, juicy flavours. There was quite a lively feel this one at times, likely from the citrus in the taste and there was moderate carbonation throughout but it was a little lighter than I’d have liked which stopped it from being as good as the original version in my opinion.

Overall (15/20): Very nice stuff again from Brewdog here and ordinarily this would be a beer that I would have loved but given it’s a reworking of the best beer I’ve ever tried from the brewery the bar is naturally set a little higher for this one. The beer open with a pleasant citrus taste that was backed up by some pineapple and the odd tropical flavour, the balance was good too and surprisingly little of the alcohol content was showing so the beer was easy-going and highly drinkable. The main disappointment for me was the fact that the beer was a lot lighter than expected, the nose in particular coming through weaker than expected and overall the original version of this beer was much better in my opinion.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog/Cloudwater (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Brewdog vs. Cloudwater New England IPA v2
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse (Glasgow)
Price: £4.28

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

Farmageddon Mosaic IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Only my third beer from the Farmageddon brewery based in the north of Ireland and a beer that follows on from their very disappointing White IPA and their Gold Pale Ale, although it should be noted that this is the first of the brewery’s beers that I’ve tried outside of Ireland. I was surprised to find bottles this one available a local Irish bar over the weekend and decided to give it a go despite the fact the other beers from the brewery that I’ve tried have both failed to impress. Coming in at 6.1% abv., this one appears to be one of several mosaic IPA’s that the brewery produces and they do appear to be produces a lot more beers than I remember from when I was last in Ireland at the start of the year; hopefully that means I’ll get to try a couple more from them on my next visit too.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light looking beer, this one is a golden colour that sits semi-cloudy in the glass but is a relatively still looking beer. There is a thin lacing on top of the surface that manages to cover about half of it with a little more build up around the edges of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): The beer was slightly more malty than I’d expected going in and opened with a lot of caramel sweetness coupled with some bread malts in the early going. These were followed by a pleasant burst of citrus and hints of pine as well but it wasn’t an overly bitter beer thanks to the balance which held up throughout. Some floral touches featured down the stretch with some vanilla and butterscotch right at the death which was a nice surprise.
Taste (7/10): The taste was a slightly more sweet one than the nose let on and it opened with some good butterscotch and vanilla flavours before some bread and light floral touches came through nearer the centre. There was some pine around this point too and the grassy flavours make themselves more known too with a subtle burst of hops not far behind. Some citrus and pale malts showed towards the end which helped make this one taste much better than expected before some faint bitterness, a caramel sweetness and the odd herbal touch seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite sweet with some vanilla and caramel helping this in the early going. The beer was smooth and very easy going with a nice balance and the odd citrus burst adding a slightly floral tang. It was a well carbonated beer with subtle bitterness throughout and it was definitely easy to drink, very sessionable too despite the strength of the beer since the alcohol content was well hidden too.

Overall (15/20): This one was a surprisingly good offering from Farmaggedon and miles better than anything I have tried from them before, I almost never ordered this one based on previous beer from the brewery but this one has definitely changed my opinion of their beers and I’ll be on the look out for more of theirs the next time I’m in Ireland. There was a lot of citrus and pine but the biggest surprise with this beer was the sweetness thanks to tonnes of vanilla and butterscotch throughout. It was an easy beer to drink with a great balance and is definitely one I’d have again.

Brewed In: Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.1%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Malone’s, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.50 (approx.)

Pump Action Poet

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

Another Brewdog review now and other limited release from the brewery, this one hot on the heels of their Semi-Skimmed Occultist that I recently reviewed here and quite enjoyed. This time is the turn of their Pump Action Poet stone fruit IPA that was released earlier this summer and is one that I managed to try on-tap at on of their Glasgow bars a couple of weeks ago. The beer is one that I was looking out for (like more Brewdog new releases) but since I couldn’t justify an online order for this alone I decided to stop by one of their bars and give it a go. Coming in at 7.5%, this one seemed like a good summer beer going in thanks to the stone fruit and tropical flavours so I was definitely looking forward to trying it when I finally did mid-June this year; here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber coloured and fairly clear looking, there was a thin and foamy white head on top that was very slightly patchy looking towards the middle. There was some touches of lacing on the side of the glass and head retention was about average for the style as well.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a hop-filled offering on the nose, particularly in the early going with some pine and a huge amount of grapefruit coming through alongside a sharp alcohol aroma and of the advertised stone fruits as well. It’s definitely a fresh beer on the nose with some orange and mango nearer the centre, I got touches of citrus and pineapple in there as well before a few lighter malts rounded things off nicely.
Taste (7/10): Like the nose, this one was again quite a fruity offering with some touches of alcohol coming through in there early going but they were toned down slightly from the nose. There was a little spice from some chilies around the middle which provided plenty of heat but thankfully didn’t overpower. Towards the end there was a nice combination of mango and citrus with the odd tropical flavour pushing through which made for fairly strong but enjoyable taste.
Palate (4/5): Strong and quite fresh, this one was showing more alcohol than expected as well as being more spicy than usual for the style but neither seemed to overpower and they both worked well together. It was also quite a juicy beer with touches of tropical fruits throughout and the odd lighter malt to help with the balance which made it easier to drink than usual for a 7.5% beer.

Overall (16/20): Quite a strong beer throughout with more heat than anticipated and a subtle alcohol kick that was apparent throughout but somehow the beer seemed to work and the balance wasn’t too bad either. Opening with a nice burst of fruits to give the beer quite a fresh feel, there was some mango and pineapple alongside the usual orange and citrus flavours. The beer was fairly bitter in the early going to thanks to a pleasant combination of pine and grapefruit as well as the stone fruits, although these seemed to have disappeared come the taste. Definitely an interesting and enjoyable beer from Brewdog but I’m not sure I’d rush back to have it again were it on their permanent roster of beers.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.5%
Serving: Keg (Schooner)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.56

Montseny Aniversari IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

The second of two Montseny beers that I managed to try when in Barcelona recently, this one being the third I’ve tried in total from the brewery and follows on from lasts years Malta as well as their Lupulus pale ale that I tried just before this one. I originally grabbed this one over another beer from the brewery’s roster after being misled by the anniversary part of the name and incorrectly assuming that it was a one-off, limited release from the brewery but it has in fact being available since 2012. Formerly known as CCM Anniversary IPA, the beer appears to be a year round offering from Montseny and managed to win a silver medal at the Barcelona Beer Challenge last year in the American IPA category so in hindsight it is still a beer that I’d have picked up had I known more about it; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it earlier this summer.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a medium amber colour with a fairly clear body, this one didn’t have much in the way of a head but there was at least a thin white lacing on top that just about managed to cover the surface of the beer but it could have been a little better.
Aroma (6/10): Herbal hops and a few citrus notes open things up here, there was a little malt coming through in the early going too but nothing overly strong. Towards the middle the grassy flavours started to come through and I managed to get some lemon in there but other than that it was quite a standard beer on the nose; it could definitely have been a little more varied though.
Taste (7/10): Quite a bitter offering in the early going with the taste, the beer was fresh and had a lot of citrus showing along with a few basic fruits and a very slightly tropical taste at times. Towards the middle there was some pine and the odd floral flavours, some grassy hops showing too before the malts from the nose started to come through from the middle on. It was quite a fruits and easy-going beer with some further fruits near the end that made it a slight improvement on the nose.
Palate (4/5): Fairly bitter on the palate thanks to the strong malt presence but also quite fresh at point with plenty of fruits and citrus coming through which in turn provided a nice tang in the early going. It was definitely a more malty beer than expected but it seemed easy-going and the fruits helped the balance a lot, as did the good carbonation levels.

Overall (14/20): This one was quite a nice offering from Montseny and definitely the best of the three beers from them that I’ve tried thus far, surprising given it is the only one of the three not to feature in the 1001 beers list. The beer opened up with quite a malty taste but there was enough fruits and citrus flavours backing them up to keep things balanced and interesting throughout. That being said, the balance could perhaps have been a touch better but for the most part it was a nice beer and one that I wouldn’t be against having again; it’s probably not one to go hunting for though but it is worth trying at least.

Brewed In: Sant Miquel De Balenyà, Catalonia, Spain
Brewery: Companyia Cervesera del Montseny
First Brewed: 2012
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.4%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour (Barcelona, Spain)
Price: €1.99 (£1.75 approx.)