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Asahi Red Eye

November 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 1.65

The final beer from those that I managed to try on my recent trip to Japan now and one that I tried on my last morning in the country before heading home; I do at least have a couple more Japanese beers to review though after picking some up on my final day in the country. This beer isn’t really one that I was holding out much hope for when I first picked it up but it was a new an unusual beer so I decided to give it a go given I’d likely never see it outside of Japan. Described as part tomato juice and part beer, this one was my fifth Asahi beer and follows on from their Super Dry Black offering that I reviewed here recently but sadly this one wasn’t anywhere near as good as that one.

Appearance (2/5): A light tomato red colour that was pretty much what I’d expected, there was a small foamy lacing on top for a head but this disappeared completely after about twenty seconds though and the beer was an opaque looking one that looked pretty much like a glass of tomato juice after the head vanished.
Aroma (3/10): Opening with tonnes of tomato notes initially, there wasn’t really much to this one beyond that in the early going but further on some background malts did feature, they were very faint though.
Taste (3/10): The initial taste was a very close relation to the nose with tonnes of tomatoes opening and dominating the early going before some basic sweet malts and a tiny bit of citrus started to come through towards the end with subtle grassy flavours too.
Palate (2/5): Surprisingly this one was quite a thin bodied beer with a lot more carbonation than expected too, it was quite a lively but ultimately a basic beer on the way down. There was some touches of sweetness towards the end thanks to the malts but that was about it really.

Overall (5/20): Not a great beer at all, this one was basically an alcoholic tomato juice that was miles behind even a poor Bloody Mary. The beer did have some basic sweet malts and hints of citrus and grassy flavours further on with the taste but it was almost completely dominated by tomato juice flavours and was a struggle to drink. Definitely one that I’d avoid in future, even if you’re usually a tomato juice fan because I can’t see how anyone would enjoy this when the real stuff is probably miles better as well.

Brewed In: Tokyo, Japan
Brewery: Asahi Breweries
First Brewed:  circa. 2012
Type: Fruit/Vegetable Beer
ABV: 3.5%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Don Quijote (Sihinbuya, Tokyo)
Price:¥153 (£1.01 approx.)

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Joshuaku Plum Ale

October 20, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.15

The first of two beers from the Ichijoji brewery that I managed to try in their Kyoto taproom when I visited late last month on a trip to the city; this one appearing to be an autumn seasonal from the brewery. I opted for this particularly offering as my first beer in the taproom since it was a rare chance to try a Japanese fruit beer on-tap and because it was a seasonal offering; it’s also very possibly my first ever plum beer too.

Appearance (4/5): Cloudy, medium amber with a half centimetre, foamy white head that turns to a fine surface lacing after a minute or so but leaves some nice lacing on the sides of the glass in the process.
Aroma (5/10): Fairly light with some background fruits initially, there was some plum in there (or at least that’s what I assumed it to be) followed by some earthy hops and a touch of bread malt. The beer was semi-sweet around the middle with a little honey coming through but not too much else really which made it seem weak at times, although a tiny bit of tart did see things out.
Taste (6/10):
Slightly more pronounced than the nose, the taste kicked off with some basic malts and honey before the plum from the nose made a brief appearance. There was some citrus towards the middle with biscuit and bread malts following on behind; an improvement on the nose but still not great.
Palate (3/5):
Opening with some tart and a medium body and plenty of funk alongside a slight citrus tang, this was a medium bodied beer that was slightly fresher than expected but definitely far too weak; there was at least some sweetness at the end though. The balance seemed okay but that was partially down to the fact that nothing was particularly strong coming through which in turn made it easy on the way down but not overly enjoyable.

Overall (13/20): This one was definitely a weak offering but also one that took a while to open up so it didn’t end up being as bland or poor as I’d initially feared; it still wasn’t the strongest but some nice funk and tart flavours did feature further on. The plum advertised in the beer’s name was relatively light and difficult to detect but there was some background fruits and a light sweetness to the beer but it wasn’t great really; still it’s likely the only Japanese fruit beer I’ll try for a while.

Brewed In: Kyoto, Japan
Brewery: Ichijoji Brewery
First Brewed: circa. 2017
Also Known As: Ichijoji Sumomo Ale
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.3%
Serving: Keg (270ml)
Purchased: Ichi-Ya Bar, Kyoto, Japan
Price: ¥648 (£4.29 approx.)

Taiwan Long Chuan Beer Peach

Rating: 2.05

Following very quickly on from the lemon version of this beer from the same brewery, I’ll now be sampling the Taiwan Long Chuan Beer Peach flavours which will be my second from the Taiwan Tsing Beer Co. and my third in total from Taiwan, the other being the can of Taiwan Beer Gold Medal that I tried and hated a number of years ago. Thankfully the lemon version of this beer wasn’t quite as bad as the first Taiwan beer I tried and although it wasn’t exactly one to write home about, the beer was drinkable and I’m hopeful that this one will be too. It’s not often I get to pick up a peach flavoured beer and I’m also hoping it is more fruit beer than radler this time but given the fact that it is another 2.5% abv. beer, I’m not exactly holding my breath for it.

Appearance (2/5): Even lighter than the lemon version, this one is incredibly light straw coloured that isn’t too far away from water in appearance. There is again a lot of fine bubbles rising to the surface but this time the head is much better, it’s a white and foamy one that sits about a centimetre tall in the glass and holds a lot better than expected too, lasting the opening minute or so before slowly reducing in size.
Aroma (5/10): Plenty of peach in the early going, the nose was again quite artificial but not overly so at least. There was some sugars adding to the sweetness initially with some apricot and floral notes in there too which meant this was a little bit more to it than the lemon version. It’s overly sweet at times and there isn’t much in the way of the traditional beer notes to this one really with the nose rounded off with what was a very sweet, syrupy type aroma to see things out.
Taste (4/10): Sweet with an opening combination of peaches and apricot, there was some oranges and a syrupy type, artificial sweetness to the beer in the early going. It has no bitterness or any of the usual beer flavours coming through, I got a tonne of sugar and a couple of summer fruits and white grapes nearer the middle but that was about it really; again it’s not much like a beer at all.
Palate (2/5): Light bodied but very sweet and with a slightly syrupy feel, the beer was quite smooth for the most part though but could have been a little stronger at times. There was some summer fruits at times but it was fairly one-dimensional for the most part and not very beer like either.

Overall (7/20): This one was another fairly poor offering from the brewery overall although if pushed I would say it was a very slightly worse that the lemon version at times but it was also overly sweet throughout. There was some peach and apricot with a white grape flavour in there too but there wasn’t a whole lot beyond that and it didn’t seem quite as version as expected either which was disappointing.

Brewed In:  Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Brewery: Taiwan Tsing Beer Co.
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 2.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Chung Ying Supermarket (Glasgow)
Price: £1.28

Taiwan Long Chuan Beer Lemon

Rating: 2.15

This one is only my second ever beer from Taiwan and follows on from the can of Taiwan Beer Gold Medal that I tried back in the summer of 2013 in travelling around southeast Asia and picking up a can of the stuff in Singapore on night. That last beer from the country is one that can only be described as terrible and it’s not an experience I want to repeat so hopefully this fruit beer offering that I picked up from a Chinese supermarket in Glasgow a few weeks ago will turn out to be better. I grabbed this lemon flavoured version (despite the fact a lime is shown on the can) alongside their peach flavour since it was an unusual beer and one I hadn’t spotted anywhere before, hopefully it’s not a decision I’ll come to regret. The beer itself comes in at 2.5% abv. so it should be a relatively easy one to drink for what was a 2012 release from the Taiwan Tsing Beer Co. and will be my first from them so far; let’s find out.

Appearance (2/5): A very clear beer, this one is a light golden straw colour that isn’t unlike a pale lager but it’s definitely got a lot more visible carbonation with a lot of active bubbles rising to the surface in the early going. The head is a thin, foamy one that is white in colour but fades to nothing pretty quickly, there is a tiny bit of lace left sitting in the middle of the glass but that is about it really.
Aroma (4/10): It’s not the strongest beer on the nose, there was a combination of lime and lemon coming through but both definitely had an artificial aroma to them with some sugars and sticky sweetness in there too. It’s very much like a lot of radlers I’ve tried when travelling around Europe in the past, there’s not much to it other than some lemonade type notes and a faint touch of corn nearer the end; pretty disappointing stuff really.
Taste (4/10): Starting in a similar vein to the nose, there was some lemon flavours kicking things off and they were at least a touch stronger than with the nose. Towards the middle some lime and various sugars feature with a corn adjunct taste that was a little off. The beer tasted more like an alcopop than anything else with some sticky touches around the middle and basic adjuncts seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): Quite light and artificial on the palate, the beer was definitely well carbonated though and proved quite refreshing on a warm day but it was a touch thin at times. It was generally quite a sticky and very sweet offering with an okay balance that was definitely helped by the fact that the flavours and the nose were both so light.

Overall (7/20): Quite a basic beer overall and one that was more radler than fruit beer despite what the label said, there was also quite a lot of lime showing which seemed to match the picture on the can but not the name of the beer. It was an easy and refreshing one to drink but it was a little light on taste whilst still being miles better than the last beer from Taiwan that I tried. It’s not a classic by any means, it’s not even a good beer really and it’s almost a stretch to call it a beer but it was at least marginally better than expected and hopefully the peach flavour that I’m trying next is slightly better.

Brewed In:  Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Brewery: Taiwan Tsing Beer Co.
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 2.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Chung Ying Supermarket (Glasgow)
Price: £1.28

Berliner Kindl Weisse Waldmeister

Rating: 2.1

A third review of a beer from the Berliner Kindl Schultheiss brewery for me now and not entirely a new one, this is actually a beer that I managed to try about three years ago when I first visited Berlin but at the time it was one that I had straight from the bottle and never properly reviewed. I recently managed to try another bottle when visiting Berlin last month though and this time I had it back at the hotel to fully appreciate it rather than just swigging from the bottle as I walked about the city. It’s not exactly a classic beer but it feels right drinking it in Berlin and it’s not one available back home so I ended up having a couple of these over the Easter weekend I was in the city. The beer follows on from the bottles of Berliner Pilsner and Berliner Kindl Weisse from the brewery that I tried three and four years ago respectively as my third from the brewery, I did also manage to try the red Himbeere version of this beer too but it’s not one that I properly reviewed again sadly so a post for that one will likely have to wait until my next visit to Germany.

Appearance (2/5): Quite a ridiculous looking lime green colour that doesn’t look like a beer at all, this one was semi-clear with a thin white head on top that was about half a centimetre tall and bubbly to being before fading to a patchy lacing soon after.
Aroma (4/10): Quite sweet on the nose as I’d expected,this one also had quite an artificial nose to it with a lot of apple and some lime with touches of citrus sitting in the background. There was a lot of sugars in there as well but beyond that and the apple there wasn’t a whole lot to say about the beer really; it was more juice and syrup than beer really.
Taste (4/10): Sweet and very syrupy, this one was a very artificial tasting beer that was dominated by apple flavours but also had some lime coming through as well. There was a lot of sugar coming through from the start as well but that and some faint citrus was about all there was to this one; it didn’t even seem like the usual radler taste that I’d been expecting and seemed to have a very fruit juice like taste at times, along with being far too sweet into the bargain.
Palate (2/5): Light bodied and ridiculously sweet, this one was a dry but not very well balanced beer that seemed artificial and fake at times. There was a slight tang from the citrus coming through around the middle and it was moderately carbonated but it didn’t seem much like a beer to me.

Overall (10/20): This is a strange beer and despite being one I’d tried previously, I was still surprised by just how sweet and sugary it was which is something that was seemingly masked by the fact that usually I would drink this one straight from the bottle. The beer was overly sweet and came through as more like a fruit juice at times, there was some lime and citrus in there but the apples definitely dominated from the start and it wasn’t the most well balanced beer either. It was drinkable and I wouldn’t say it’s a beer that I’d never have again since it is so readily available in Berlin but it is definitely not one to look out for.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery:  Berliner Kindl Schultheiss Brauerei
First Brewed: circa. 2000
Full Name: Berliner Kindl Weisse Mit Schuß Waldmeister
Type: Berliner Weisse
Abv: 3.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany
Price: €1.50 (£1.30 approx.)

Beehive Brae Honey Beer

October 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.4

A truly local beer now, this one is what I believe is the first ever beer from the town where I grew up now, excluding my previous homebrew efforts anyway. The beer is one of roughly three currently brewed by the Beehive Brae brewery in Lanarkshire after they successfully ran a Crowdfunding campaign last year to upgrade their facilities. The beer is a golden ale style offering with honey and is one that a few Aldi supermarkets were stocking earlier in the year, meaning I was able to get my hands on this one after being gifted it by a relative. Despite this one being brewed so close to me, I must admit that it’s not a brewery I had even heard of before getting this bottle and a look at their website might give you an idea why; their beers appear to be incredibly expensive when compared to similar offerings and might explain why nobody I know has ever tried it. The beer does also appear to be available as a cask offering in a few pubs, particularly in the Edinburgh area but not being a huge fan of cask beers means I’d be unlikely to try it by that means either; I can only hope that Aldi start selling the other beers the brewery produces now and give me a chance of trying them as well.

beehive-brae-honey-beer

Appearance (3/5): A very clear looking golden amber colour that has a few fine bubbles rising to the surface and was initially topped with a thin, half centimetre tall head that was foamy but it managed to disappear almost completely after about twenty seconds to leave a little patch in the centre of the glass. It looks to be a well carbonated offering and it’s relatively bright looking as well.
Aroma (7/10): Fairly sweet on the nose to open up, there’s a nice amount of honey in the early going but it thankfully doesn’t overpower. There’s some sweet malts and a few grassy touches alongside some medium sugars and a bit of hay. A couple of citrus notes and a floral backing come through with the second half of the nose and I got some further earthy malts to see things out nicely.
Taste (6/10): Picking up where the nose left off, this is quite a sweet tasting beer with the honey and sugar flavours dominating the early going before some of the background hay and grassy hops start to come through nearer the middle. There is a couple of subtle, earthy type malts and biscuit flavours coming through as well that help balance out the sweetness before some floral touches bring up the rear. It’s fresh tasting with some citrus and lemon in there and it matches the nose very closely indeed.
Palate (4/5): Quite a light body, it’s perhaps a touch thin but nothing major and it did have quite a clean, almost crisp feel to it. There was some sweetness from the start and a few citrus burst that gave it a slight tang nearer the middle. Not much sign of any bitterness really and some further sweetness came through right at the end.

Overall (14/20): Quite a fresh, easy-going beer that opened up with plenty of sweetness like you’d expect from a honey beer but still remained relatively well-balanced throughout thanks to the earthy malts, come nice grassy touches and the odd citrus burst. Without standing out as a classic beer or one you have to track down, the beer was quite enjoyable as a session offering and one worth trying if you stumble across it; that and it was also quite nice to try a truly local beer given it’s brewed in my hometown.

Brewed In: Wishaw, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Brewery: Beehive Brae
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Golden/Blond Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Aldi Supermarket (Scotland)
Price: Gift

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