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Posts Tagged ‘ipa’

Character Assassination

July 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Brewed in collaboration with south London based Gipsy Hill, this one is my first beer from the Electric Bear Brewery based in Bath and is on that I picked up recently alongside a couple of Trappist beers at my local bottle shop, opting for this one given it’s a one-off New England IPA and it’s the height of summer here. A new beer for 2018, this one was canned in late May and should still be relatively fresh so it’s one that I’m looking forwards to cracking open. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gipsy Hill over the last couple of years but surprisingly haven’t tried anything from them yet but this one was the first time I’d seen or heard anything about Electric Bear so I’m interested in finding out more and perhaps picking up something else from them in future if this one is any good.

Appearance (4/5): A lot lighter and clearer than I’d expect for a New England IPA, the beer is a light amber with some golden tinges and a thin, half centimetre head that’s foamy and white but starts turning patchy towards one side more quickly than I’d have liked; not a bad looking beer but I’d place it closer to lager than a New England IPA on first looks.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly tropical on the nose initially with some subtle grapefruit and orange coming through but nothing too pungent or overpowering in the early going at least. There was some citrus notes and a little tangerine further on with a couple grassy hops followed by a moderate bitterness and hints of mango and peach further on; it’s definitely an American IPA aroma but it’s not as dank as anticipated.
Taste (7/10): Opening with some pine and grapefruit bitterness that is followed by some nice orange and tangerine flavours, the beer is again slightly tropical with touches mango, apricot and peach bringing in the middle. It’s a solid IPA taste with some grain and a hint of alcohol nearer the end but it wasn’t a anything special or out of the ordinary with a faint sweetness and further bitter flavours seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with some bitterness showing from the start without it being a dank one really. There was fine carbonation that gave the beer a lively feel and it was quite dry and sharp too. The balance was as you’d expect for the style with the bitter hops and tropical flavours dominating and a touch of the alcohol coming through near the end.

Overall (/20): This was a strange one in the sense that it was a pleasant and enjoyable beer but I feel like there was some false advertising involved where the label states that it’s a New England IPA but it was very much a standard American IPA with very little dank flavours coming through but instead a slightly tropical and bitter beer with the usual grapefruit and pine flavours as well as some mango and apricot further on. It was okay offering overall but one that ultimately left me disappointed given I was expecting something completely different from what I got after reading the label on the can.

Brewed In: Bath, Somerset, England
Brewery:  Electric Bear Brewing / Gipsy Hill (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2018
Full Name: Electric Bear / Gipsy Hill Character Assassination
Type: New England IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.30

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Whitewater Maggie’s Leap IPA

July 5, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 2.9

The first of two Whitewater bottles I picked up recently in Ireland, this one and a bottle of their Ewe Rebel that I quick looking forward to were available together for a discounted £4 so I quickly grabbed the pair since I’d been looking to pick up this particular beer from the brewery for some time now after reading about it online a number of years ago. This one will be my ninth beer from the County Down based brewery with all ten of those being beers that I’ve picked up and tried in Ireland since they brewery doesn’t really appear to export anything over the Irish channel and I have seen a couple more of their beers in supermarkets in the north of Ireland so perhaps I’ll pick up a few more later this year as well.

Appearance (4/5): Pale golden amber and quite a clear body with a lot of fizz showing. The beer is topped with a very foamy, thick looking white head that’s got a few holes through it and sticks to the sides of the glass as well.
Aroma (5/10): Quite fresh and floral in the early going with a few biscuit malts but it starts to fade a little too soon after that. There’s some herbal notes and a touch of earthy hop around alongside some lemon from the middle on. It’s basic on the nose but balanced, nothing jumps out at you either though which was a little disappointing.
Taste (6/10): Biscuit malts and some bread ones too, the beer is floral and has some grassy hops coming through alongside quite an earthy taste. There’s some faint citrus and herbal flavours further on with lemon and background fruits showing before some subtle, almost roasted malts see things out.
Palate (2/5): Medium bodied and quite clean with a crispness to it and a subtle tang from the citrus as well. It’s earthy throughout with a moderate bitterness further on but I definitely found it a little bland and one-dimensional too.

Overall (12/20): Average stuff from Whitewater here, this one opened with some nice sweetness and a few earthy flavours as well as the usual grassy hops and background fruits but it was definitely a basic offering that didn’t offer much in the way of imagination. There was a few floral touches in the early going too and it was a relatively bitter beer but it seemed too weak on the nose and too one-dimensional tasting; it’s not a beer I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Saintfield, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Whitewater Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Dolan Centra (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.00

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

Brewdog Hop Shot

Rating: 3.85

Another new Brewdog beer for me now, this is one that was actually released way back in later 2016 as a one-off from the brewery that I have spotted a few times on the Brewdog website but have continually avoided picking up but since I had a 30% off discount recently I decided to grab a bottle and see how it rates. Coming in at a massive 22%, this eisbock comes in an unusually sized 110ml bottle that’s a third of the standard sized bottles from the brewery but it’s a strong beer so that seems sensible. This one will actually be the second strongest beer that I’ve ever tried and follows on from the similarly styled Watt Dickie offering from the brewery that I tried back in December but didn’t really enjoy; hopefully this one proves to be a little more palatable. Labelled as a quadruple IPA, this one is brewed with grapefruit peel, oranges and yuzu as well as some pine hap and resin so I’m expecting something with a few hops showing despite the fact that the beer was bottled about a year and a half ago.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring as quite a thick beer, this one was a bright amber colour with a clear body and absolutely no sign of a head despite an aggressive pour. It was a still beer with a clear body but that was to be expected given the strength of the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a lot of hops kick things off with some grapefruit and pine coming through too but it definitely wasn’t as resinous as normal for such a strong IPA, it was a super strength offering though so it’s not a total surprise. There was a lot of heavy alcohol notes with some grain around the middle too but some orange and even a little banana showed at this point followed by some peach and background sweetness too. The beer was surprisingly complex on the nose with the alcohol dominating but enough other characteristics showing to keep it interesting.
Taste (7/10): Incredibly strong stuff with a lot of oily hops kicking things off followed by some nice grapefruit and pine. There was a tonne of alcohol and grain in the early going with some sweet malts, I got some caramel and sugars as well as some marzipan too but the alcohol definitely dominated. There was some spice near the end with hints of orange and a couple background fruits, mainly peach and mango but touches of apricot too.
Palate (4/5): Very thick and full-bodied, the beer was an oily effort with a touch of carbonation that made it seem crisp and even tangy at points. It was sporadically sweet too with quite a warming feel further on and some faint spice came through alongside the oily hop bitterness that closed things out.

Overall (15/20): Very thick and strong, the beer is oily with a very hoppy feel and quite a lot of bitterness as well. There’s a lot of alcohol grain that seems to dominate but there was some citrus and even some banana coming through as well, something I hadn’t expected. It’s definitely one to sip and very much a one-off beer but it was more drinkable than anticipated despite the alcohol content and how boozy it was.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Eisbock/Imperial IPA
Abv: 22.0%
Serving: Bottle (110ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £4.55

Kinnegar Crossroads

July 4, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.8

An eighth Kinnegar beer for me now and an American IPA from the brewery that I picked up in Donegal Town alongside their White Rabbit and Swingletree offerings reviewed here previously. The beer is a 2015 release from the brewery that was a special to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the McHughs off-license in Dublin before becoming a year-round offering from Kinnegar. The beer is one that I’ve spotted online previously but never in store anywhere I’ve been in Ireland so I was quick to grab a bottle when I spotted it. Previously known as ‘Roadtrip’, the beer has since been renamed Crossroads and has even been available in the UK via Brewdog’s website so I hope that means it’s a good one given it’s apparently better distributed than most Irish craft beers; fingers crossed.

Appearance (4/5): Quite bright looking and hazy, the beer is an orange amber colour with a large head that sits about an inch tall and looks quite foamy with a few bubbles through it. Head retention is quite good with a slight reduction in size initially but holds around two centimetres tall after that; a nice start.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh and fruity with some good tropical notes in the early going, I got some mango and apricot followed by a few citrus hops and touches of pine. It’s lively but not overpowering, there’s some pineapple towards the middle before a few light malts start to come through and help with the balance thanks to a touch of sweetness near the end. It’s a pleasant nose but it could perhaps have been slightly more pronounced, particularly with regards to the malts but it was enjoyable enough.
Taste (7/10): Tropical and fruity with some nice mango and apricot again followed by a solid sweetness that’s more pronounced than it was with the nose thanks to the caramel and sweet malts. It’s a slightly floral beer with citrus and pine towards the middle with a good hop bitterness backing it up; good stuff again from Kinnegar.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and floral with quite a sharp feel and strong carbonation, the beer is lively and gets more sweet as things progress with a nice citrus and pine bitterness as well as some faint spices.

Overall (16/20): This one is a very nice IPA from Kinnegar and one that went down easily after opening with some nice tropical fruits that included both mango and apricot. There’s some good hop bitterness and plenty of citrus flavours with the sweetness a little light on the nose but present before it started to become more pronounced and noticeable with the taste. It was lively and sharp with a dry finish but it was exactly what I’d expect from an American IPA and one I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Rathmullan, County Donegal, Ireland
Brewery: Kinnegar Brewing
First Brewed: 2015
Previously Known As: Roadtrip
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Paul’s Off License (Donegal)
Price: €3.25 (approx. £2.85)

The White Hag Little Fawn

June 29, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Only my second from The White Hag after seeing their beers a few times in Ireland now but never picking them up. This one follows on from the brewery’s Bran & Sceolan Irish IPA that I tried back in April after getting it as part of a Beer52 order and quite enjoying it, so I was glad to find this one available along with a few others from the brewery when I visited Sligo on a recent trip to Ireland, although this was the only beer from the brewery that I picked up on that occasion. The beer is another that I’d read about some time ago and decided to try if I managed to spot it in Ireland, the other of their beers I was hoping to try was their Black Boar oatmeal stout but sadly I couldn’t find that this time around so this one will have to do for now. The beer is a relatively light 4.2% abv. session IPA which as you know isn’t my favourite type of beer but I’m hopeful that the good reviews are accurate and this one goes down well; I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Appearance (4/5): Pale golden coloured with a thumb-sized, foamy white head on top that has a few bubbles through it and plenty rising to the surface too. Head retention is good for the syle with the texture changing to more of a bubbly one as a little of the height is lost but it still looks quite thick and covers the surface well.
Aroma (7/10): Very fruity and surprisingly strong initially for a session IPA, there’s some mango and pineapple coming through with some touches of apricot and peach too. Towards the middle it settles down ever so slightly with citrus and subtle grapefruit hops coming through at this point with some spice a little further on. It’s zesty and lively on the nose with a couple of juicy notes to round things off without it begin quite as pronounced as it started.
Taste (7/10): Matching the nose well, the beer is fruity with a lot of tropical flavours kicking things off and providing a nice hop bitterness at the same time thanks to the citrus and pine flavours, it even seems ever so slightly dank at this stage too without that taste coming through too strongly. There was a nice combination of mango and pineapple featuring around the middle with some peach and passion fruit too; it hinted at some resinous pine and grapefruit towards the end too but it wasn’t quite strong enough in that respect.
Palate (4/5): Fresh with a light-medium body and quite a lot of tropical fruits coming through to impart a touch of sweetness. It’s faintly dank and resinous but given it’s a session IPA it wasn’t quite strong enough there. There was moderate to fine carbonation level and it seemed quite lively and sharp towards the end, before fading right at the end.

Overall (13/20): Getting off to quite a good start, this one definitely seemed stronger than expected for a session IPA with some nice tropical fruits and citrus flavours coming through alongside a faintly resinous pine; I got some mango and peach alongside pineapple and quite a few other fruits sitting in the background too. The balance was quite good initially, although it did fade ever so slightly towards the end of the taste whilst remaining drinkable. I was surprised by this one a lot and if only it could have been a tiny bit more pronounced, or if it hadn’t faded right at the end then it would have been a must-try; it was still a nice beer though in spite of this.

Brewed In: Ballymote, County Sligo, Ireland
Brewery: The White Hag Irish Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2015
Full Name: The White Hag Little Fawn Session IPA
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Hargadon Bros (Sligo, Ireland)
Price: €3.10 (approx. £2.72)

Martin’s IPA 55

June 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

Yet another beer from those that I managed to sample when visiting Bruges a couple of weeks ago, this one is a beer that I tried on-tap at The Monk bar in the city on afternoon and one that I quite enjoyed. The beer appears to be a similar offering to their Martin’s IPA and is one that the bar had one for a couple of months that overlapped with my visit which is part of the reason I opted for this one. Coming in at 6.5% abv. and slightly weaker that the standard 6.9% version and listed as an American IPA, I felt this one was a cross between an English and a Belgian IPA with it probably leaning closer to the Belgian sides of things so I’ll list it under that for now. The beer is my first from John Martin’s brewery and isn’t to be confused with the brewery that made the similarly named Martens Pils that I tried and hated in Cuba the year before last, something that crossed my mind after ordering this one but thankfully it was a good beer in the end.

Appearance (4/5): Bright orange in colour with some amber tinges and a white, three centimetre tall head that settles about half that after a minute or so. There was some nice lacing on the sides of the glass and the body was quite a clear one with only a touch of haze right in the centre.
Aroma (7/10): Subdued hops and some citrus kick things off here followed by a good orange and floral touches showing on top of what was quite fresh and summery. There was some earthy hops and it definitely seemed English in style at this point but with some Belgian yeast and touches of both caramel and biscuit in there towards the end too.
Taste (7/10): Fresh with some pine and citrus hops with a few earthy ones a little further on alongside touches of caramel which definitely shows a little earlier than it did with the nose. There was some orange and herbal flavours around the middle with the later imparting some bitter flavours as well. It’s quite an earthy tasting beer with some faint spice and yeast towards the end too.
Palate (4/5): Quite refreshing and easy to drink with a lively and well carbonated body that had some nice spices coming through alongside a solid citrus tang and herbal bitterness around the middle. There was a good balance to this one with a dryness and some yeast towards the end but it went down well from the start.

Overall (14/20): Refreshing and pleasant to drink, this one wasn’t quite what I was expecting and came through somewhere in between an English and Belgian style IPA but remained a balanced and easy one to drink with some earthy hops and good citrus flavours. There was hint of herbal bitterness and some nice spices and yeast towards the end which made it a pleasant beer to drink in the sun without it being too complex or varied and I’d happily have it again if it was available in the UK.

Brewed In: Itterbeek, Belgium
Brewery: John Martin’s
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Belgian IPA
Abv: 6.9%
Serving: Keg (330ml)
Purchased: The Monk, Bruges, Belgium
Price: €4.00 (approx. £3.53)