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Star Lager (Nigeria)

July 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.0

A very rare African beer for me now, I can’t remember the last beer I had from the continent but I know it’s been some time. This one will be only my third Nigerian beer and follows on from the bottles of Guinness Foreign Extra and Gulder Lager from the country that I tried back in 2013 and like Gulder this one is also brewed by Nigerian Breweries. I stumbled across this one in a local Home Bargains store in Glasgow recently and was intrigued by the fact that it was the first new African beer I’ve seen available in a while so I quickly decided to grab a bottle despite not holding out much hope of it being a great beer. Currently one of Nigeria’s best-selling lagers and having been first brewed in 1949, the beer isn’t one that I’m expecting much from but it’s always nice to try a new random beer wherever you get the chance; hopefully it’s an improvement on the bottle of Gulder Lager I had previously as well.

Appearance (2/5): This one is a very light amber colour that is clear and looks almost watered down. The beer is topped with a centimetre tall, bubbly white head that holds on better than IO’d expected but it’s still not a great looking beer given how light it is; there is a few bubbles rising to the surface as well but it definitely looks basic.
Aroma (4/10): Initially quite a sweet beer on the nose, this one opens with some grassy hops and corn but is generally quite light. There is a few lager malts coming through and touches of hay around the middle but as expected it is quite a basic smelling beer that has a light bitterness near the end to see things out.
Taste (4/10): Mirroring the nose quite well, the beer is a sweet one in the early going again and starts with a nice combination of corn and lager malts but is naturally quite basic like the rest of the beer too. There is some vegetable adjuncts and a faint taste of skunk around the middle but for the most part has a light bitterness running through it thanks to the subtle hop presence.
Palate (2/5): Light-medium bodied and fairly smooth throughout, the beer was semi-sweet but came through with soft, almost weak carbonation which meant it wasn’t as fresh or crisp as I’d have liked for the style. There was a subtle bitterness nearer the end and while is was both sessionable and drinkable, it was far from a good beer and it became a little bit of a struggle nearer the end.

Overall (8/20): This one was a very basic tasting beer that had a little skunk running through it but for the most part was quite a light beer with a combination of lager malts and corn making up most of the taste along with some vegetable adjuncts. It was lightly carbonated which was disappointing and it wasn’t as refreshing or crisp as a result and as such I doubt it will be one I have again unless I find myself in Nigeria at some point.

Brewed In: Lagos, Nigeria
Brewery: Nigerian Breweries
First Brewed: 1949
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Bottle (600ml)
Purchased: Home Bargains (Glasgow)
Price: £1.49

Bintang Pilsner (351 of 1001)

June 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.7

My first ever Indonesian beer now and one that I’ve actually been looking for since I first started working through the beers in the 1001 book. This is a beer that I assumed would be relatively straight forward and easy to pick up in southeast Asia but on my last trip there a couple of years ago there was no sign of it in Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand; I’d didn’t search too hard but I’d thought it would be available everywhere and sadly it was not. The beer is the main one brewed in Indonesia and yet I only managed to pick it up recently when Morrison’s started stocking but it’s better late than never I guess. Brewed in the country since 1930 when Indonesia was still under Dutch rule, the beer is effectively a localised version of Heineken and the brewery is still owned by them so the taste is said to be quite similar so I’m not as hopeful for this one as I was before finding that out.

Appearance (3/5): Medium to light amber in colour but probably not as light as I’d be expecting given it’s a macro pale lager hailing from Asia. The head was a relatively thin, bubbly one that sat a white colour in the glass and initially covered the surface well before starting to turn a little patchy around the edges after thirty seconds or so; there was a touch more build up around the edges through and the beer was a clear one. 3.5
Aroma (4/10): Fairly standard on the nose for the style in the early going, there was some basic grassy notes and a little skunk coming through in the early going whilst some citrus notes were hinted at but never really materialised. The beer was somewhat fresh with the odd lager malt and some earthy hops going but there wasn’t a whole lot going on. Around the middle and towards the end of the beer a hay aroma and faint biscuit started to come through but it was hard to distinguish between smells at times and the grassy notes seemed to dominate for the most part. 2.25
Taste (5/10): Again a basic lager taste that matches the nose closely, there was some grassy flavours and a little corn to open things up before some of the faint citrus touches from the nose started to come through but again they were weak. There was some background biscuit and hay nearer the middle with a bit of vegetable adjunct in there as well but thankfully the skunky flavours were kept to a minimum. The beer was faintly hoppy, mainly from the grassy flavours and the odd bit of grain showed as well but it was nothing to write home about. 2.25
Palate (3/5): This one can only be described as a very light bodied beer that bordered on thin and bland, although it was relatively well carbonated and had a crisp feel that you could easily imagine being refreshing in the Indonesian sun. It’s not got a whole lot going for it and there wasn’t much variety coming through but it was easy to drink with the skunky flavours appearing only briefly and there wasn’t much in the way of offensive flavours beyond them. 2.5

Overall (12/20): This one is pretty much what I’d been expecting when I picked it up, it was an easy going and somewhat refreshing pale lager that could easily be described and basic and bland but definitely not offensive. It was easy to drink without much in the way of flavour showing, some lager malts and the odd grassy flavours were about it really but I won’t complain too much since the beer serves a purpose. I can’t imagine it will be a beer I’d pick up again unless I manage to visit Indonesia, and if I do then I’ll probably end up drinking it 24/7 over there; it’s also not the worse Asian beer I’ve tried which has to count for something.

Brewed In: Surabaya, Central Java, Indonesia
Brewery: PT Multi Bintang
First Brewed: 1930
Full Name: Bir Bintang Pilsner
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Bottle (620ml)
Purchased: Morrison’s (Glasgow)
Price: £1.67

Hop Rocker

May 28, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.55

One of  the original three beers Brewdog ever made now, this is one that I picked up over the brewery’s 10th anniversary celebration last month when they released this one alongside their original recipe Punk IPA and another old-school beer of theirs, The Physics. This is a beer that was originally brewed in 2007 and retired within a couple of years so it’s one that I never managed to try at the time but thankfully I’m getting a chance now. The beer is an American style pale lager from the brewery but given the name, I’m expecting at least a decent amount of hops coming through and it should be interesting to see how this one compares to some of their later attempts at pale lagers, particularly their classic 77 Lager and their current Kingpin lager. This one will be my 133rd beer from Brewdog and more than a few of them have been lagers over the years but it’s not a style the brewery are particularly good at in my opinion so it should be interesting to see how this one tastes given it’s ten years old and they tend to rotate their lagers on a fairly regular basis these days.

Appearance (4/5): Golden coloured and fairly clear with a couple of amber tinges through the body and an impressive, three centimetre tall head that is creamy looking and quite thick initially. There’s some nice lacing on the sides of the glass with the head maintaining good retention as well, there’s only a slight reduction in size over the opening minute or so and it’s definitely better than anticipated so far.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a malty aroma to the beer initially, there was some early caramel sweetness with a few hops backing them up earlier than expected. There was some lighter type fruits nearer the middle of the beer with some grassy notes too, I could detect a faint touch of butterscotch and bread malts follow it up. It’s a little more pronounced on the nose than expected too but it seemed fresh and fairly lively too.
Taste (7/10): The taste, like the nose, was again quite a malty offering with some early sweetness coming through from a combination of bread and caramel malts. There was a definite hop presence at this point too with some grassy hops and touches of citrus coming through alongside a combination of basic fruits that add a subtle freshness to proceedings before some malt bitterness sees things out.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and strongly carbonated, the beer is fairly fresh but the balance certainly wasn’t the best, it seemed a touch gassy at times and the grassy hops were more pronounced than you’d expect from this type of beer. It’s a pleasant offering that was relatively easy to drink but it did seem slightly dated at times too.

Overall (15/20): This one turned out to be quite an interesting beer from Brewdog and one that started well with some nice caramel and bread malts to give the beer an early sweetness before some of the grassy hops and subtle bitterness started to come through. It was a very strongly carbonated beer that seemed overly gassy at times but was still pleasant enjoy, my biggest complain however would be the balance of the beer with it seeming a little aggressive at times and definitely a little dated too; that probably explains why Brewdog stopped brewing it in truth. It’s on that I’m pleased I’ve managed to try but I’m not sure I’d go back to it again if it was a permanent offering either.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2007 (2017 re-release)
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £1.28 (approx.)

Bayreuther Hell

Rating: 2.35

The final beer of those that I managed to try when visiting Berlin over the Easter weekend in April of this year, it’s only taken me a month but I’ve finally gotten through my backlog of reviews to upload here and sadly this isn’t a case of saving the best to last. This one is a beer that I tried on my last morning in the city, having initially forgotten it was sitting in the hotel fridge the night before. The beer is one that I spotted in a number of shops over the course of the weekend and I knew I’d end up trying it at some point, especially considering it’s not one that I’ve seen available in the UK before either. Originally a 4.8% offering, the alcohol content of the beer has since been raised ever so slightly to the 4.9% abv. it was when I picked up a bottle near my hotel in the Alexanderplatz area of the city. Since this is the last of the German beers I have to review for the time being, I imagine this one will also be my last review of a helles style lager for a while but you never know I guess.

Appearance (3/5): A very clear looking, golden straw coloured beer with a thin, half centimetre tall head on top that was a foamy white that left the odd touch of lacing on the sides of the glass as the head disappeared to leave a thin surface lacing after the first minute or so.
Aroma (3/10): A terrible smelling beer in truth, this one smelt of cheap corn and basic adjuncts with a faint vegetable aroma to proceedings. There was some skunky notes around the middle but not a huge amount, the beer was fairly bland overall though with some lager malts and hay nearer the end; very poor stuff.
Taste (5/10): Corn and lager malts open things with the taste and there was some fairly light vegetable adjuncts with a touch of skunk imparted on proceedings as well. Around the middle a faint hint of citrus started to come through and I got the odd grassy hops too which was a slight improvement on the nose but overall it was quite cheap and basic tasting.
Palate (3/5): Thin and quite light on the palate, this one was a fairly skunky offering at times and came through as a bland, cheap tasting lager. There was some faint hops and a hint of sweetness around the middle but  with was lightly carbonated and not as crisp as I’d have liked. It was a smooth beer for the most part but it wasn’t particularly easy to drink or enjoyable sadly.

Overall (7/20): This one can only be classed as a terrible lager, the beer was cheap and bordered on nasty at times with only a faint touch of sweetness and basic hops hinting at anything in the way of flavours. There was some skunk and vegetable adjuncts at times which wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for going into this one and it was easily one of the worst beers I tried on my recent trip to German; a definite one to avoid for me.

Brewed In: Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Brewery: Dinkelacker-Schwaben Bräu
First Brewed: Brewery since 1857
Type: Helles Lager
ABV: 4.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany
Price: €1.60 (approx. £1.36)

Rothaus Tannenzäpfle (349 of 1001)

Rating: 3.1

A new beer from the 1001 list now and the last of the relatively few on there that I tried when visiting Berlin last month, I had been hoping to check a few more off but it seemed that it was the same ten or fifteen beers in most shops I visited over the course of my weekend in the city. This one will be the 349th from the list that I’ll have reviewed here and is the second Rothaus offering from it, it follows on from their Hefeweizen that I tried back in November and quite enjoyed. My second in total from the brewery, this is a beer that I almost reviewed twice as it is sold under two different names in German with Rothaus Pils and Rothaus Tannenzäpfle seemingly used interchangeably (the 330ml bottles are Tannenzäpfle and the 500ml ones are Pils), hence the reason the photo attached to this post doesn’t use the Tannenzäpfle name. The beer itself is another that I picked up from a local shop in the Alexanderplatz area of Berlin when I visited over Easter last month, although I do believe that I’ve spotted it on occasion back in the UK so it probably shouldn’t have taken me this long to get round to finally trying it.

Appearance (3/5): This one was quite a light looking beer that sat a straw gold colour in the glass with a very clear body and a half centimetre head that was white and bubbly; not the greatest of starts but far from the worst too.
Aroma (6/10): Fairly light on the nose with some corn and a faint sweetness kicking things off before some touches of hay and the odd grassy hop started to come through. The nose was quite balanced and some freshness appeared with clean lager malts nearer the end but it was definitely edging closer to the basic side of things.
Taste (6/10): Corn and light malts again open things up here, there was some grassy hops that carried on from the nose but some touches of citrus also made an appearance here as well. I managed to detect some bread malts and a faint sweetness towards the end but again it wasn’t exact a complex pilsner.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied with quite a fresh but ultimately light feel to proceedings, there was a nice earthy bitterness to the beer with moderate carbonation and a nice balance that made it an easy one to drink for the most part but it definitely wasn’t anything special.

Overall (14/20): This one was quite an average pilsner overall, definitely nothing special but quite an easy-going and sessionable one that went down quite quickly despite not being a stand out in the style either. It was quite a fresh offering with a lively feel and a basic sweetness that kept things ticking along. It’s probably not a memorable offering and I much preferred their Hefeweizen but it was an okay lager and it’s always nice to check off another beer.

Brewed In: Grafenhausen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Brewery: Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus
First Brewed: 1956
Also Known As: Rothaus Pilsner
Type: German Pilsner
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany
Price: €1.40 (£1.21 approx.)

Lemke Bohemian Pilsner

Rating: 3.75

Now for the last of the five beers from the Lemke brewery that I managed to try while in Germany last month, this one a Czech style pilsner from the brewery that I found on keg at one of their Berlin brewpubs and managed to try on my second night in the city. This one follows on from the brewery’s 030 Berlin Pale Ale, Hopfen Weisse, Imperial Stout and Original offerings which all turned out to be pretty enjoyable beers. Overall the brewery is one that I’ve been fairly impressed with and I’ll definitely be on the look out for more from them in future, although finding their beers in the UK will likely prove to be problematic at best but maybe I’ll get lucky at some point.

Appearance (4/5): Light golden to amber in colour and quite a clear looking beer that was topped with a foamy white head sitting about half a centimetre tall. There was some nice lacing on the sides of the glass and head retention was fairly good for the style, managing to hold well in the early going and get the beer off to a good start.
Aroma (7/10): More hoppy than I’d initially anticipated, there was a nice combination of lemon and citrus to kick things off an provide a decent tang to proceedings. The beer definitely wasn’t the strongest on the nose though, there was some grassy hops and touches of lager malt with a faint spice nearer the end but for the most part it was a fairly standard smelling pilsner.
Taste (7/10): Quite a tangy offering with plenty of lemon and citrus carried over from the nose to give the beer a somewhat fresh taste that was complimented by some nice grassy flavours and subtle hops. Towards the middle some biscuit and a faint sweetness started to make itself known but nothing overpowered and again it was quite a light beer; a pleasant lager taste with some corn and earthy hops seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Light medium bodied with a fairly fresh feel to proceedings and a subtle tang from the citrus in the early going too. The beer had a pleasant bitterness to it but nothing overly pronounced, there was a semi-dry feel as well and the beer was moderately carbonated throughout. It turned out to be a fairly easy beer to drink with a nice balance but it could have been a little stronger, particularly with the nose.

Overall (15/20): This one was a fairly enjoyable offering from Lemke again but probably not quite as good as some of their previous offerings that I’ve tried recently, mainly down to the fact that the nose was quite subdued and could definitely have been stronger. There was some pleasant citrus flavours throughout the beer and I enjoyed the earthy bitterness coming through around the middle with touches of spice in there too. It was quite a fresh and easy to drink beer with some dryness and a solid lager taste throughout without it ever really exciting; nice stuff but probably not the best from the brewery.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Brauerei Lemke
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Brauhaus Lemke am Alex, Berlin, Germany
Price: €5.00 (£4.30 approx.)

Cloudwater Motueka Pilsner

May 12, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.4

My sixth in total from the Cloudwater brewery and I’m pleased to report that their beers seem to be more readily available north of the border than was previously the case; always a good thing. This one follows quickly one from the can of their DIPA v13 that I reviewed here recently and is actually another can from the brewery that I picked up alongside that one, the other being the can of their Seville Orange Sour that I reviewed a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t particularly impressed with so hopefully this one turns out a little better. This one is a limited release pilsner from the Manchester based brewery and part of their Spring/Summer series of beers and I’ll be keeping my eyes open for a couple more of their beers in the near future; hopefully they will be slightly more reasonably priced than this one was though.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring quite a light and very clear golden colour that isn’t too far off of a straw colour, the beer is topped with a fairly nice looking head that is white and foamy, sitting just over a centimetre tall and holding quite well into the bargain. There is a lot of visible carbonation with the beer and the clarity of the drink is excellent, the head also looks to leave some nice lacing on the sides of the glass as well when I start drinking it; nice stuff so far.
Aroma (6/10): Quite fresh on the nose but definitely not the strongest in the early going, this one opens with some subtle grassy notes and a little citrus lemon which makes it seem lively initially. There was some faint herbal touches around the middle and I got a hint of biscuit as well before the odd hop makes an appearance around the middle. Towards the end some hay and light sweetness feature with it seeming quite refreshing at this point as well but it could have been a bit stronger really.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, this one is a fresh and lively beer in the early going with some lemon coming through again but the hops from the nose come through a lot earlier this time around. There was some herbal touches with a little citrus and hints of grassy hops around the middle, a subtle hint of hay is also present before the malts start to make themselves known. Towards the end there is a combination of sweet malts and biscuit flavours to see things out but it still feels like a lager to me, albeit it a fairly good one but certainly nothing outstanding.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and fresh, the beer was a relatively crisp and lively offering that was well carbonated and balanced but could definitely have been stronger. It was a nice lager on the palate and it’s always nice when none of the usual skunk flavours are present but it certainly wasn’t anything spectacular from Cloudwater and I’m not sure it’s one that would grab anyone’s attention really.

Overall (14/20): Nice stuff for a lager from Clouwater, this one was quite a lively and fresh offering that was pretty easy to drink thanks to the decent balance but in truth I was somewhat disappointed by the fact that it wasn’t a little stronger, particularly in the early going with the nose. There wasn’t too much to the beer that stood out either, I got some light malts and biscuit flavours coming through alongside the usual grassy hops and hay plus some pleasant enough lemon and citrus flavours but there was nothing to really grab my attention and I’m not sure it’s a beer I’d go back too, especially not at the same price as what I paid for this can; it was okay but could definitely have been better.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Pilsner
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Can (440ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.10