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Posts Tagged ‘india pale ale’

144 Roman Heads

February 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

My fourth ever beer from Slovakia now but my first since trying three beers from the country when visiting Bratislava back in 2011; it’s been a while. Amazingly this seems to be a country that doesn’t really export beers to the UK, something that is surprising given how many Czech beers seem to make it into supermarket here. This one follows on from the pint of Zlaty Bazant that I tried in Bratislava as my first Slovakian beer in about seven years, the other two from the same trip that I tried were draft servings of Kelt 10% and Šariš 11% Tmavý so this one will be my first ‘craft’ beer from the country as well; hopefully I won’t need to wait as long before trying another in future.

Appearance (4/5): An almost murky amber colour that was cloudy and topped with an oversized, foamy head that was off-white and started about two inches tall before reducing very slightly in size. It looks like quite a strongly carbonated beer as it’s poured but head retention is quite good at least.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a lot of hops kick things off here and there is definitely some grapefruit and pine opening the show with a solid helping of apricot following soon after. I managed to get some sour touches and a little citrus around the middle before some caramel malts and background fruits came through towards the end; there was some orange and grapes in there with a little pear too.
Taste (6/10): Quite bitter with a lot of pine and grapefruit hops in the early going, the beer is quite a resinous one with some tropical fruits showing as well; there was the apricot from the nose with some mango and peach in there too. It’s a strong beer with some apples, grapes and a little sourness around the middle with some citrus not too far behind. The malts are more hidden with the nose, I did manage to get a little biscuit towards the end but the bitterness drowned out most of the rest.
Palate (3/5): Quite a strong beer that was very hoppy and pungent at times, there was a lot of resinous pine and grapefruit kicking things off and I’d liked to have seen more malts to balance this out a little. The alcohol content of the beer was showing towards the end too, although only slightly and it remained drinkable throughout with a dry feel throughout and moderate carbonation.

Overall (15/20): Nice stuff from Unorthodox initially with a lot of hop bitterness on the nose with pine and grapefruit dominating alongside some background fruits. Further on there was some touches of sourness that I hadn’t expected and some sweeter malts started to come through; this carried over to the taste with more bitterness showing this time but the balance could have used some work in truth.

Brewed In: Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Brewery: Unorthodox Brewing
Full Name: Unorthodox 144 Roman Heads 20°
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.1%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £3.20

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Scuttlebutt Hoptopia

February 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.95

My fourth beer from a Washington based brewery and my second from Scuttlebutt, like the bottle of their Amber Ale that I reviewed last this one is a beer I picked up from Glasgow’s Wee Beer Shop in late January based on the fact that it was an American brewed double IPA and I was quite interested in seeing how it rated. The beers name did seem somewhat familiar when I spotted this one in the shop but it turns out that it wasn’t a beer that I’d ever seen before but just before opening it I was really hoping that it would turn out to be a better offering than the offering I tried from the brewery the day before.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber with a slight haze to the body and foamy head that turns quite bubbly in texture after about thirty seconds but manages to hold relatively well with some good lacing stuck to the sides of the glass as well.
Aroma (7/10): Definitely not as hop-filled as you’d expect from a double IPA but the beer did open with some nice pine and grapefruit bitterness that was backed up by a pleasant sweetness from some biscuit and caramel malts; this also gave the beer a slightly American pale ale style nose in the early going which was interesting. Further on and there was some orange zest and light citrus featuring with a touch of sugar and some bread malts further on before some light bitterness seen things out. It was quite a subdued nose for the style but it came through with a pleasant aroma that I definitely enjoyed.
Taste (8/10): More bitter than the nose for sure with a lot of resinous pine and grapefruit kicking things off that was almost out of the blue when compared to the nose and very welcome. There was some orange and citrus flavours with a lot of pine following on behind which made the beer seem every bit the double IPA that I was expecting. Towards the end some of the caramel malts, biscuit and bread flavours from the nose started to come through and as a result some light sweetness was imparted on the taste, something that definitely helped the balance as things drew to a close.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite resinous with a lot of bitterness coming through from the start, the beer was a very dry offering as expected with a slight citrus tang around the middle and some sweetness further on. The balance was a good one, although the hop bitterness of the taste naturally dominated but it was still an easy one to drink and the alcohol content seemed well hidden too.

Overall (17/20): Great stuff from Scuttlebutt here, this one definitely started a lot more subdued on the nose than expected with only some light grapefruit and pine coming through but these seemed to be fighting to be noticed alongside the sweeter malts and biscuit notes at this point. Things changed with the taste though thanks to a lot of hop bitterness jumping to the front in the form of resinous pine and grapefruit flavours, there was also some orange following on behind before the sweet malts and biscuit seen things out nicely.

Brewed In: Everett, Washington, United States of America
Brewery: Scuttlebutt Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2006
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £3.10

O Brother The Sinner

January 18, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

The second of two beers from the O Brother brewery now, this one follows quickly on from their The Chancer American pale ale that I reviewed here previously and is another I picked up over in Ireland just before Christmas at the end of last year. This particular offering from the brewery comes in slightly stronger than their last, sitting at 6.2% abv. and promising a hop-filled taste, this is another from the brewery that I was looking forward to prior to opening just after Christmas; especially since their The Chancer offering turned out to be a fairly good one.

Appearance (4/5): An almost caramel amber with a foamy head on top that was thick looking before starting to turn bubbly but retention was good at least.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a malty beer with some subtle hops and citrus coming through in the early going, there was some earthy hops showing as well. Around the middle some pine started to make itself known alongside some light caramel which also helped some with the balance of the beer on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Opening with a few biscuit malts and some background citrus, the beer was quite fresh tasting with a light grapefruit flavour towards the middle and some tropical fruits not too far behind. It was quite a bitter beer with some caramel sweetness later on and a few pale malts seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Somewhere around medium bodied and quite a bitter offering, the beer was fresh and strongly carbonated with a smooth mouthfeel. From the middle on the beer was quite dry but definitely easy to drink with a crisp finish that was quite enjoyable.

Overall (15/20): Definitely a fresh and lively beer, this one opened with some pleasant citrus flavours that were backed up by some grapefruit and pine which gave the beer a hop-filled taste in the early going. There was some biscuit and earthy malts further on with some caramel sweetness doing well to provide a nice balance with the beer; a decent effort and one well worth trying.

Brewed In: Kilcoole, County Wicklow, Ireland
Brewery: O Brother Brewing
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Winemart (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.50

Galway Bay Althea

January 16, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

My fourth Galway Bay beer now, this one following on from three that I picked up or tried when in Ireland during the summer of 2016 when I was in Galway for an overnight; the last of them, Of Foam And Fury, finally being reviewed here in October of that year. This one is a beer that I seen a couple of times during that trip but at the time it was quite a new beer and I’d not heard anything about it so decided not to try it at the time in favour of some of the brewery’s more established offerings. I again spotted the beer recently when in a Winemart store in the north of Ireland, sitting alongside a couple other beers from the brewery that I’d already tried so I finally opted to give this one a go and cracked it open on Christmas day at the end of last year. The beer is a 4.8% abv. session ale that is closest to a session IPA in style and hopefully it’ll be the first of a few new Galway Bay beers that I’ll get to review here in 2018 given their beers appear to be more widely distributed of late, I’ve started seeing them in Scotland too now which can only be a good thing.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a cloudy bodied beer, this one was a pale amber colour with quite a large head that sat about two and a half centimetres tall with a foamy texture that left some nice lacing on the sides of the glass and held well too.
Aroma (6/10): Subtly hops with some citrus and touches of hay opened things up alongside a little peach and background fruits. There was some fresh touches around the middle with grapefruit and a couple of tropical fruits but it could have been a touch stronger. Some light malts and biscuit seen things out with it having hints of a golden ale on the nose.
Taste (6/10): Light fruits and some background pine hops kick things off with the taste but there wasn’t any great strength to the beer, something I half expected given it was a session ale but I’d still have liked it to be a touch stronger. There was some orange and peach around the middle with some pale malts and biscuit flavours towards the end before a faint grapefruit bitterness seen things out but there wasn’t too much variety with the taste matching the nose closely.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and quite tangy with a strongly carbonated, hop-filled feel to a beer that was quite bitter throughout. There was a lively feel to this one with a light-medium body and a crisp, well-balanced finish without it ever really exciting.

Overall (13/20): This one was a pleasant enough session offering from Galway Bay, it was definitely lighter than I have wanted but came through with about as much strength as expected given the style. It still seemed a little underwhelming, particularly when compared to a couple of the beers from the brewery that I’ve tried previously but it remained drinkable throughout with some subtle hops and background fruits showing alongside a couple pale malts and biscuit towards the end. At times it hinted at a golden ale type offering but there was enough citrus and hops in the early going to place it as an average session IPA.

Brewed In: Galway, County Galway, Ireland
Brewery: Galway Bay Brewery
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Winemart (Enniskillen)
Price: £3.00

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

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

71 Mandarina Sky

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Seemingly a new beer from 71 Brewing that was only released at the start of December, this was a beer that I had right at the end of the year after picking it up at one of my local bottle shops just before Christmas. This one was the first time I’d seen or heard anything from Dundee based 71 Brewing and it’s a beer that I was persuaded to buy since it’s the first time I’d spotted a New England IPA from the Scotland that wasn’t brewed by Brewdog. The beer will be my fourth of the style, or my fifth if you count Brewdog’s New England IPA v2 which was closer to a double IPA given the alcohol content, I am quite a big fan of the style though and I was definitely excited going into this one.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a medium amber colour with a hazy body, there was the odd bit of sediment coming from the bottle but it settled fast and sank to the bottom. The head was a fluffy white one with a creamy looking on top and wavy, covering the surface well and sitting about a quarter inch tall.
Aroma (7/10): Quite lively and almost pungent, the beer opens with an astringent nose that is loaded with citrus and pine hops that hinted at being slightly resinous too. There some oranges coming through with a little biscuit further on with a few background fruits in there too; I got hints of strawberry and some mango with a little apricot too.
Taste (7/10): Opening with a lot of pine and citrus hops, the beer is again slightly pungent and resinous but it has settled down slightly from the nose. There was some touches of mango and apricot showing early with a few earthy flavours further on whilst the orange from the nose was a little stronger here and worked well with some mandarins and background fruits.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied but definitely a fresh and lively beer that was semi-sweet from the fruits and definitely a bitter offering thanks to the hops and resinous touches. It was a balanced beer that was moderately carbonated and a dry but smooth one.

Overall (15/20): A decent first offering from 71 Brewing, this one was quite a fresh offering that came through with plenty orange, pine and summer fruits but stayed balanced and drinkable throughout. It was lively and easy-going with a smooth feel throughout but it almost seemed like a standard American IPA rather than a New England style offering, something that was a minor disappointment but it was still a very nice beer that was well worth trying.

Brewed In: Dundee, Scotland
Brewery: 71 Brewing
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: 71 Mandarina Sky – MS001
Type: New England IPA
Abv: 5.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.60