Archive

Posts Tagged ‘seasonal’

Fugli

July 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

My tenth Oskar Blues beer nwo and my first new one of 2017, the last from the brewery that I reviewed here being their Mama’s Little Yella Pils that I sampled back in October of last year when I tried it on-tap at a local Brewdog bar. This one is a fairly new beer from the brewery, having been first launched in early May this year so I’m surprised that it has made it to the UK whilst still relatively fresh. The beer is a summer seasonal from Oskar Blues that uses yuzu and ugli fruits in the brewing process, both fruits that I’d never heard of before picking this one up. Yuzu is apparently a Japanese citrus fruit that is quite similar to a lemon whereas ugli is a Jamaican fruit that was created by crossing an orange, tangerine and grapefruit with the result fitting the name well. Being so new when I picked this beer up meant it wasn’t a beer that I was familiar with but I always like to pick up new beers from the brewery when I get a chance and I’ve since noticed a couple more of their beers making it the UK lately so beer number eleven from the brewery might not be too far behind this one.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber in colour and fairly clear looking, the beer is topped with an excellent looking head that sits about three centimetres tall initially before losing a little of its height. The texture of the head is a foamy looking one with a few bubbles showing, there is some visible carbonation rising through the body of the beer too and eventually the head settles about half a centimetre tall after thirty or forty seconds.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh on the nose with some subtle pine and citrus hops coming through alongside some grassy ones in the early going but it’s definitely not as strong as I’d been expecting for an American style IPA, especially an Oskar Blues brewed one. there was some lighter malts near the middle of the nose but for the most part there citrus dominated, mainly orange and grapefruit but there was also a little mango or apricot too. Nearer the end I managed to detect some sweetness coming off the back of the malts with a few touches of bread sneaking in as well to help keep the beer balanced down the stretch.
Taste (7/10): The taste here was a strange one that opened with a combination of grassy hops and pine ones, naturally there was a lot of citrus flavours backing these up though but the malts from the nose featured a lot earlier than I’d expected and were quite strong this time around too. The beer was still a fresh one with the grapefruit and orange coming through the most pronounced but they were definitely more subdued than they were with the nose. Towards the end some faint caramel malts and a couple of bread ones featured before a further tropical burst of fruits seen things out, although these weren’t overly strong this time around; the beer was a nice one at this stage though.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and quite tangy with a lot of citrus throughout which also made the beer seem quite crisp and sharp. Carbonation levels were good with this one and it seemed lively too but remained balanced thanks to the lighter malts and touches of sweetness that followed them. An easy beer to drink and one that stayed interesting until the end without being a standout offering.

Overall (15/20): Another enjoyable Oskar Blues offering that was dominated by the tangy hops and citrus flavours, particularly in the early going and with the nose but there was some balance to the beer thanks to the lighter malts and touches of sweetness that featured from the middle on. The beer was fresh and quite lively too, thanks mainly to the good carbonation levels also the citrus touches again too. It’s an interesting beer and probably the first I’ve tried with either yuzu or ugli fruits in it and both seemed to work well and impart a little flavour on the beer along the way too; decent stuff and well worth trying too.

Brewed In: Longmont, Colorado, United States of America
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
First Brewed: 2009
Type: American IPA
Abv: 5.8%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £3.10

Saku Porter (345 of 1001)

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

Only my second ever beer from Estonia now, this one follows on from the bottle of Viru from the country that I reviewed here way back in June 2013 having been impressed with the nice bottle design but ultimately being disappointed with the beer itself so I was hopeful this one would be better. The beer is a Baltic porter that appears in the 1001 beers list as one of only two Estonian offerings featured so I fully expected this one to be a decent offering when I picked it up on my last day in Warsaw when visiting the city last month. Brewed once a year as a winter seasonal, this one was originally brewed in the town of Saku before production was moved to the Aldaris brewery in Latvia in the winter of 2009/10, since both are now owned by Carlsberg but naturally I’ll still list this one as an Estonian beer. It was at this point that the beers alcohol content was reduced from the original 7.5% to its current 7.0%, although the bottle I picked up came in just under that at 6.9% abv. for the winter 2016/17 edition of the beer.

Appearance (4/5): An opaque offering that was a dark brown to mahogany colour and came with a few red tinges running through the body as well. There was a light beige head on top that started off quite bubbly, sitting about a centimetre tall before fading to leave a slightly patchy lacing after about thirty seconds or so with the odd bubble rising from the base of the beer too.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a malty offering with a lot of chocolate notes coming through in the early going alongside some vanilla sweetness and touches of caramel. It was a sweet beer but some earthy bitterness featured early too which helped to give the beer a nice balance on the nose, some coffee smells featuring too but they were definitely more subtle. It was quite a strong beer on the nose with some grain and hints of alcohol coming through nearer the end but overall it was a pleasant smelling beer.
Taste (7/10): Starting with a combination of sweet malts and chocolate in the early going, there was some dark malts and caramel sweetness too with the odd sticky flavours towards the middle. I could detect some liquorice and an almost cola like taste with plenty of sugars coming through soon after and then a couple of roasted malts down the stretch before some hints of alcohol seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied with quite a creamy, smooth feel to proceedings and plenty of sweetness too. The beer was syrupy and sticky at times with plenty of malt bitterness and the odd touch of alcohol towards the end giving it a slightly warming feel that seemed stronger than the 6.9% abv. of the beer.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a big, strong beer that opened with a lot of sweetness thanks to the chocolate and caramel flavours sitting on top of a sugary base and some warming alcohol nearer the end. There was a nice complexity to this one as well as a good balance, I felt it was slightly stronger than a 6.9% beer should be but it was still highly drinkable and one well worth trying; I’d go as far as to say that I’d have it again if it was more readily available in the UK.

Brewed In: Saku, Harjumaa, Estonia
Brewery: Saku Õlletehas
First Brewed: circa 1990
Type: Baltic Porter
ABV: 6.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Carrefour Express (Warsaw, Poland)
Price: 9 PLN (approx. £0.80)

Brewdog Hop Fiction Pale Ale

March 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

This one was a new release back from Brewdog way back in the summer of 2015 but it was one that almost completely slipped under my radar after I wrongly assumed it was the same beer as the brewery’s Hop Fiction IPA that was released towards the end of 2014. That particular offering was a prototype beer that I reviewed in early 2015 and wasn’t particularly taken by so I opted not to have it again when I’d assumed it was released with a proper label later that year. As it turns out, the beer was tweaked some with its alcohol content reduced from 6.5% to it’s currently 5.2% as well as it changing from an American IPA to an American pale ale in the process. Today the beer is the spring seasonal from Brewdog and when I released it was a beer that I hadn’t actually tried I then made a point of picking up a can from the Glasgow BottleDog on my last visit and seeing how it compared to the original version that I remember, here’s what I thought.

Appearance (4/5): This one is very light bodied and looks more like a lager than a pale ale at times given its light golden colour that is incredibly clear looking as well. There is a few bubbles rising to the surface of the glass and the head was a fairly decent looking one initially with it sitting about a centimetre tall before it roughly halves in size. The texture of the head is a bubbly one with it eventually turning slightly patchy and although it certainly wasn’t as I’d expected colour wise, it wasn’t a bad-looking beer.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh and floral on the nose initially, there was also some nice citrus notes coming through alongside touches of melon and lemon. It’s not an overly complex beer on the nose but some subtle tropical notes some through, most notably grapefruit and peach coming through. Overall it was quite a zesty but there wasn’t much sign of any malts coming through thus far.
Taste (6/10): Citrus and grassy hops with a few floral touches and a solid lemon taste open this one up. There was some slight tropical flavours coming through with touches of grapefruit and peach in there. Like the nose the beer was relatively zesty with a little orange in there too but it was also quite fresh which was a plus.
Palate (3/5): Slightly thinner than I’d have liked, this one sat somewhere around light-medium bodied with a nice tang and quite a crisp feel to it. The beer had a lot of zest on top with a strongly carbonated feel to proceedings and a fairly fizzy body too. There was a nice floral bitterness from the start as well but the balance could probably have been better, the citrus seemed to dominate a little too much at times.

Overall (13/20): This one turned out to be a bit of a strange beer in that it was a modified version of the early Hop Fiction IPA from the brewery but ended up still tasting like an IPA to me really, there was no sign of the malts or sweetness I’d have expected from a pale ale. It was dominated by floral hops and strong citrus flavours that gave it a zesty feel whilst also being quite dry and strongly carbonated. There was some grassy hops and lemon coming through at times and perhaps it turned out a fractional better beer than the original IPA prototype version but it’s almost to close to separate them and I doubt I’d have either beer again; I definitely struggled to tell the difference between the two.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: BrewDog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £2.23

Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte

February 5, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.1

Only my second beer from the Mad Hatter brewery in Liverpool now, this one follows on from their Absolem’s Alt offering from late 2015 that was brewed in conjunction with Brewdog’s Leicester bar as part of the breweries annual #CollabFest day. I’ve also tried 2 Cathedrals Honey Beer which isn’t a Mad Hatter beer but was made at their brewery so this will be my first beer brewed solely by Mad Hatter. I picked this one up just before Christmas based on a recommendation by the staff in the bottle shop, it was described as a ‘Black Forest gateau beer’ which is pretty much what the name translates to from German anyway. The beer appears to be an annual release from the brewery and was originally a 10% abv. offering but the 2016 version now comes in at 7.2% abv. and is the one that I tried in early January.

schwarzwalder-kirschtorte

Appearance (5/5): Pouring a very dark brown to black coloured with an opaque body, this one has a nice, thick looking head that starts about two centimetre tall and is creamy looking. It is a tan brown colour with a slightly creamy texture that holds very well over the opening minutes before eventually thinning out a little but it’s definitely better than I’d expected and looks great.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a sweet nose with an excellent combination of cherries and chocolate alongside touches of sugar. There was a few darker malts and hints of plum alongside something reminiscent of a Christmas pudding or brandy aroma before some spice and a nice combination of dark fruits showed itself. The balance was a good one too, with some caramel malts nearer the end to give the beer a solid and enjoyable start.
Taste (7/10): Initially quite sweet like the nose, there was some nice sugars and cherry coming through in the early going with a bit of chocolate too. The balance was good with nothing dominating and the promised chocolate gateau flavours were present too. Some darker malts and caramel started to come through nearer the end with the odd juicy touch as well but overall it was an interesting beer without being overly complex. Some further fruits also appeared right at the end in the form of some dates and figs; very nice stuff.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite sweet without being overpowering or sickening, there was a few sugars and darker fruits adding to it but the balance remained good. It was an easy-going beer on the way down and seemed well carbonated with some dryness nearer the end. Not an overly complex beer by any means but it remained interesting and enjoyable throughout.

Overall (16/20): Quite a nice beer without blowing you away, the taste of cherries and chocolate was something different and proved quite enjoyable; it definitely reminded you of a Black Forrest gateau without coming through as an overly sweet beer. There was a nice balance to proceedings and although not overly complex, some nice dark fruits and subtle malts did feature. Perhaps not quite as good as I’d hoped for but still a really nice beer and I’d be tempted to look out for this years edition towards the end of the year.

Brewed In: Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Brewery: Mad Hatter Brewing
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Baltic Porter
Abv: 7.2%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.70

Beavertown Stingy Jack

November 7, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 3.25

A seventh beer now from a brewery that seems to be becoming more and more popular by the day, Beavertown. This one will be my first new beer from the London brewery since I tried their Skull King double IPA offering back in April of this year but I am increasingly finding more of their beers available in bars and shops of late and hopefully that’ll give me a chance to pick up a few of their newer beers as well. This one is a an annual winter seasonal from the brewery, released in time for Halloween each year and despite the fact that I’m not usually a huge fan of these type of beers, I opted to grab this one based on how good the last few Beavertown beers I’ve tried have been so hopefully this one will be a decent beer as well.

beavertown-stingy-jack

Appearance (4/5): Copper amber in colour and cloudy looking, the beer is topped with a half centimetre head that is foamy looking and an off-white colour. Head retention is pretty good with little movement in the early going and some touches of lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a spicy nose with a lot of cinnamon opening things up and dominating in the early going before some nutmeg and ginger came through alongside a combination of nondescript spices in the background. There was some faint sweetness with a couple of earthy malts in there too before some cloves and maybe even a little pumpkin featured down the stretch. It was certainly a complex beer with the odd grain in there and some faint caramel to see things out; definitely interesting stuff.
Taste (6/10): Carrying on in a similar fashion to the nose, this one was a very spicy tasting beer that was loaded with cinnamon, ginger and cloves in the early going before some nutmeg and a bit of vanilla featured. The spices were actually slightly more pronounced here than they were with the nose and I got some bread and earthy malts too but these were definitely secondary to the cinnamon. Towards the end some pumpkin and caramel in there with a bit of cardamom too.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied, maybe just a touch lighter but very spicy from the very start with a combination of them coming through from early on. There was some faint sweetness coming through at times but for the most part this was overshadowed by the cinnamon. There was plenty of carbonation and it came through as quite a dry offering but it was drinkable throughout without truly exciting.

Overall (13/20): An interesting beer from Beavertown this one, the beer was incredibly spicy from the start with a cinnamon taste dominating and some ginger, nutmeg and various other spices following on behind. There was a little pumpkin in there too and a few earthy malts but nothing could compete with the spice and as a result it wasn’t up there with the best that Beavertown have to offer sadly. I still felt it was a drinkable offering and one well worth trying but I doubt it’s one I’m likely to go back to again.

Brewed In: London, UK
Brewery: Beavertown Brewery
Full Name: Beavertown Stingy Jack Spiced Pumpkin Ale
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Spice/Herb/Vegetable (Pumpkin Beer)
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.00

Abita Blueberry Wheat

September 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.75

One of the more unusual beers that I received as a gift from relatives returning from New Orleans recently, this Blueberry Wheat will be my second Abita beer and follows on from their Wrought Iron IPA that I reviewed here last week. The beer is one that was initially announced in March this year before being released as a summer seasonal from the brewery in June. Falling somewhere between a wheat ale and a fruit beer, this is the first blueberry beer that I’ll have tried and I can’t recall of even hearing about another so this should all be new to me and I’m not really sure what to expect. The beer is part of Abita’s ‘Harvest Series’ of beers, not that it means much to me since it is not a brewery I’m likely see much from in the UK but all the brews in the series are made using local Louisiana grow produce; in this case the blueberries. Despite not known much about this one going in, I did quite enjoy the only other beer from the brewery that I’ve tried so hopefully this one continues the trend; I’m hopeful it will even though the online reviews I’ve read haven’t been overly complimentary.

abita-blueberry-wheat

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light golden colour, it is partially clear bodied but looks very slightly watery. The head is a thin, foamy white lacing that covers the surface well and there’s quite a few fine bubbles rising to the surface as well.
Aroma (5/10): Quite a floral nose with the blueberries from the nose coming through quite early on and the beer also seems sweet too. It’s a juicy beer on the nose with some wheat and pale malts in there too but the fruits and in particular the blueberries dominated. There wasn’t a whole lot else coming through really but the aroma wasn’t a bad one, just a little different.
Taste (5/10): Opening up quite sweet with some blueberries coming through but they’re definitely not as strong as they were with the nose. Some pale, bread malts and a little wheat come through around the middle with a hint of citrus too but again the beer wasn’t the most varied or complex. Towards the end there is a touch of sourness as well but like the nose, the blueberries seemed strongest.
Palate (2/5): Smooth bodied and very softly carbonated without quite being flat. The beer was light-medium bodied and initially quite sweet until nearer the end when touches of citrus added a light tang and some sourness seen things out. Definitely not a complex beer, it actually seemed a little weak nearer the end and was pretty one-dimensional throughout.

Overall (11/20): Quite a disappointing beer on the whole really and one that seemed fairly one-dimensional throughout, only the blueberries that the beer took its name from made themselves known and everything else came through a little too light by comparison. There was an okay sweetness in the early going and the odd floral touch but then things started to fade, the taste was notably weaker than the nose as well and it turned fairly bland towards the end. Overall, not a great one from Abita and not one I’d go back to again.

Brewed In: Abita Springs, Louisiana, United States of America
Brewery: Abita Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Fruit Beer/Wheat Ale
Abv: 4.4%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Price: Gift

BlackLab Black Comedy

June 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Another Barcelona beer now and one that I managed to try at the source when I visited the BlackLab Brewhouse & Kitchen in the Barceloneta area of the city earlier this month and opted for this black IPA from the brewery. The beer is seemingly a new one for 2016 from the brewpub and is a fairly strong offering, coming in at just under 7% abv. and packing quite a punch in the process. Only established back in 2014 as the first brewpub in Barcelona, the brewery offers approximately five year round offerings as well as upwards of sixteen rotating, seasonal offerings of which this particular beer is one. Although no mention of release periods for each seasonal beer is made on the brewpubs website, it does look like the only place to sample their beers is on the premises so this is definitely one that I’m glad to have stumbled across whilst in Barcelona recently.

BlackLab Black Comedy

Appearance (4/5): A very dark mahogany colour that borders on black, the body is an opaque one and it’s topped with a thin, quarter centimetre tall head that is a light tan-brown colour that leaves a little bit of lacing on the sides of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): Dark roasted malts and some coffee notes kick this one off with some subtle hops and touches of pine not far behind. The beer had some faint citrus in the background and a little sweetness showing from the caramel notes running through it. There was the odd bit of tropical fruit making an appearance, with touches of grapefruit on top of the malts at the end to see things out.
Taste (7/10): Starting with some nice pine and grapefruit flavours, the taste of this one was a little more fruity to begin with and this provided a lot of bitterness in the early going with some nice citrus flavours in there too. There was some mango, orange and touches of apricot too before some of the darker flavours started to appear around the middle and give the beer a roasted, almost earthy taste. There was some light coffee flavours coming through around the middle with touches of caramel sweetness and light toffee to give the beer quire a dark, strong finish that held the bitterness well.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite a refreshing beer that came through with a nice citrus tang and plenty of bitterness. The beer was quite a bit darker than I’d anticipated, particularly the nose, and there was some faint alcohol showing in areas but overall it was quite a fresh, strong beer with a solid kick and moderate to strong carbonation.

Overall (15/20): Quite an enjoyable beer from Black Lab and one that got off to a pretty good start thanks to the strong pine and citrus flavours sitting on top of the darker, roasted malts and touches of caramel sweetness. The nose was definitely darker than I’d expected going in but it thankfully wasn’t overpowering with the sweetness helping to balance things out before the tropical fruits started to make themselves known. There still wasn’t quite as many hops and fruits as I’d have liked from the beer but it was a pretty good offering nonetheless and one I’m glad I managed to try.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Black Lab Brewhouse & Kitchen
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Black IPA
Abv: 6.9%
Serving: Draight (500ml)
Purchased: Black Lab Brewhouse & Kitchen, Barcelona, Spain
Price: €5.25 (£4.10 approx.)