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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

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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

Rascals Ginger Porter

August 9, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.3

My first beer from the Rascals brewery based just outside of Dublin now, this one being a beer that I’d read a little about before I arrived in Ireland and it was one that I was quite looking forward to hunting down. I eventually managed to find the beer in the McCambridge’s Of Galway store thanks to an overnight stay in Galway and was pleased to see it was available as canned offering, something I’ve not seen much from Irish brewery’s before. The beer appears to be one of the brewery’s most popular offerings, having been first introduced in late 2013 but as is often the case for Irish beers it’s still not one that I’ve seen anywhere and I doubt it’ll make it to Scotland anytime soon so it’s always nice to grab these types of beer when I can.

Rascals Ginger Porter

Appearance (3/5): Pitch black in colour and sitting with an opaque body, this one has quite a thin, foamy head that’s fairly disappointing looking and disappears quite quickly after pouring. There wasn’t much trace of the head left after about fifteen seconds save for a tiny bit of foam around the circumference of the glass but it wasn’t a great looking beer sadly.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a deep chocolate nose with some sweetness coming through in the early going, there was a couple of sugars coming through as well before a touch of coconut came through, There wasn’t much sign of the ginger promised on the can though, all I got was some roasted malts and a few hint of coffee towards the end and it was a relatively subdued nose on the whole.
Taste (6/10): Like the nose, the taste opened up as quite a subdued one with a few chocolate malts and some hints of coffee getting things started but it could definitely have been a little stronger. There was some lactose showing alongside a touch of sugar before some faint caramel flavours and a couple of toasted oats appears. Finally some of the promised ginger made an appearance around the middle but there definitely didn’t seem to be enough of it to justify naming the beer after it. Towards the end there was a light bitterness and a few spice appeared too.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite crisp with strong, fine carbonation and a fairly sharp feel to the beer. There was a moderate sweetness coming through thanks to the coconut and the beer seemed quite rich with a faint bitterness and light spices towards the end too.

Overall (14/20): The beer was quite a dark one with plenty of malts and more chocolate coming through than I’d expected. There was a nice sweetness to proceedings as well though thanks to the touches of coconut that made a brief appearance around the middle of the beer. The much promised ginger was absent with the nose though but some did appear come the taste, although not quite as much as I’d have expected from a beer with the same name as this one. There was some nice spices coming through towards the end, particularly after the beer had settled some but it still felt more like a chocolate porter than a ginger one.

Brewed In: Rathcoole, County Dublin, Ireland
Brewery: Rascals Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Porter
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: McCambridge’s Of Galway (Galway)
Price: €2.95 (approx. £2.47)

Blackjack The River

August 3, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.9

The last of the four beers that I picked up in Manchester now, after a recent visit to the city in late May of this year. The beer follows on from the bottle of Squawk Porter I had recently as another offering that I picked up from the Beermoth bottle shop in Manchester are it was recommended that I visit. The reason for picking up this beer is because I was down in the city for a Bruce Springsteen concert on his The River tour and it would have been a shame not to grab a beer sharing a name with the tour. Described on the bottle as being a ‘Farmhouse Brown Ale’, I was quite intrigued when I spotted this on the shelf and to be honest I’m not really sure what to expect. Of the few mentions of the beer I’ve since looked at online, it appears to be leaning more to the bitter/brown ale side of things but it should be interesting to see if it resembles a saison or farmhouse ale any when I crack it open; either way, it’s a new type of beer and one that I’m definitely looking forward to sampling now.

Blackjack The River

Appearance (3/5): Caramel brown in colour and quite dark looking with some amber touches running through it and a cloudy appearance. The beer had quite a large head that sat several inches tall and initially seemed to grow some, sitting as quite a foamy, dome shaped one on top of the beer that managed to leave nice lacing on the sides of the glass.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a strong nose to this one and plenty of earthy notes to open things up alongside some grain and a very nutty base to proceedings. There was a slightly odd aroma around the middle that I couldn’t quite put my finger on but assumed it was the brewery’s attempt and getting some of the promised saison qualities in there and it was a failed attempt at some funky notes; if there was any then the malts definitely drowned them out. There was a lot of bitterness towards the end and the beer certainly seemed like an English style brown ale on the nose, no sign of anything else really.
Taste (6/10): Following on from the nose, the taste was quite malty too but there was a touch more variety at least with some faint funk in there and a few roasted flavours. It definitely wasn’t anything special but it was nice to see the odd biscuit malt around the middle and some faint citrus down the stretch.
Palate (3/5): A medium bodied beer that wasn’t particularly interesting really, it was quite dry though and generally had a fairly nutty feel to it with some grain and rough patches in there too. The finish was also a dry one that came through with quite a bit of bitterness as well.

Overall (10/20): This one was quite an average beer overall and definitely one that disappointed me personally given that fact I was looking forward to a nice saison/brown ale hybrid beer but in fact was greeted by a basic brown ale that featured a touch of funk around the middle. The beer was dominated by English style malts and a strong nutty taste with little else save for some basic funk and citrus to vary things; a poor effort and not one that I’d go back to.

Brewed In: Denton, Greater Manchester, England
Brewery: Blackjack Beers
First Brewed: circa. 2012
Type: Brown Ale/Farmhouse Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Beermoth (Manchester)
Price: £2.40