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Posts Tagged ‘speciality beer’

Mangoes on the Run

July 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

An eighteenth review of an Innis & Gunn beer now and one that I stumbled across in a local supermarket recently and quickly grabbed given it is apparently a limited edition offering from the brewery and I wasn’t sure how long it would be available for. The beer is a new from that was released in early summer 2018 by the brewery and is the most fruity offering I’ve seen from the brewery given they usually stick with butterscotch tasting beers as well as their Innis & Gunn Lager Beer that was become quite popular of late. This one will be my first new offering from the brewery since trying their Gunpowder IPA and Blood Red Sky English strong ale back to back in March so it’s not been an overly long wait between beers from the brewery but this was one that definitely intrigued me and it does seem to get good reviews online so I’m quite looking forward to cracking it open now.

Appearance (4/5): A bronze looking beer with a surprisingly clear body and a very nice, two centimetre tall, foamy white head that looked quite thick and creamy at point with a white colour and very good retention with it holding for the first couple minutes with little reduction in size; a great start to the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Quite sweet with some nice sugar notes coming through in the early going, there was some mango as you’d expect but some strawberries and touches of orange and apricot too. The beer is slightly tropical but it was also a little artificial with some sweeteners coming through alongside faint malts and background grassy hops too. It’s a nice and balance nose with some grain and bread like notes at the end too, very nice stuff and on I can’t wait to taste.
Taste (7/10): Fresh with some nice mango and to a lesser extent apricot coming through, the beer was slightly artificial with a few sugars coming through alongside faint citrus and tropical fruits sitting in the background too. It’s balanced with some light malts and bread flavours coming through as well as some grain but the fruits definitely dominate. It’s slightly sweet towards the end with subtle hops seeing things out; very nice stuff.
Palate (4/5): Lively and quite fresh, the beer is well-carbonated with some sugars and a very slightly artificial feel to this one. It’s easy going with a light-medium body and a good balance with the tropical fruit sweetness going with with the light malts, although the former seemed the strongest.

Overall (14/20): Much better than anticipated, the beer was definitely a sweet and fruity one with some nice sugars and apricot but the mango dominated as expected. There was a slightly artificial feel at times but it was balanced with some background light malts and bread ones too with citrus and grassy hops featuring as well. It was a nice beer that proved easy to drink without being anything spectacular, it was slightly grainy nearer the end with some subtle hops coming through as well.

Brewed In:  Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Morrison’s (Glasgow)
Price: £1.50

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Cantillon Lambic

July 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.4

As mentioned previously when reviewing the bottle of Lindemans Faro that I tried here recently, this one is a review of my first unblended lambic and as a result it means I’ve not tried a least of of every style of beer listed on the RateBeer website after going out my way to try and find on like this in Belgium. The beer is one that I eventually found on cask at one of the Moeder Lambic bars in Brussels on my last full day in the city last month. This one is my fifth review of a Cantillon beer but only my first since trying their Blåbær Lambik when I visited Copenhagen a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to get a bottle. This one is probably not a beer I’d have opted for had it not been to complete my styles list given there was quite a few other beers from the brewery available at Moeder Lambic that I’d have went for instead but it’s definitely one I’m glad I found and here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Bright golden in colour with a clear and still body that was topped with a surprisingly fluffy looking white head sitting about a centimetre and a half tall before losing a third of that after thirty seconds or so. The head itself has a slightly bubbly texture and eventually disappeared after being left to sit for a couple of minutes.
Aroma (6/10): Quite still, almost flat on the nose but with some light citrus and sour notes starting to come through after a few seconds. The beer was definitely light at this stage with some lemon touches and orange notes but I felt it could have been a lot stronger. There was a couple of earthy touches further on but it wasn’t exactly what I’d class as an inviting nose sadly.
Taste (6/10): Opening more sour tasting than the nose suggested, the beer is earthy with some lemon and plenty funk kicking things off. It’s not an overly pronounced beer but it was strong than the nose with some white grapes and bitterness towards the middle before touches of citrus seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Softly carbonated, almost flat but not unexpected for a cask beer despite this being my first Belgian cask and first lambic on cask too. The beer was sour with an earthy tart to it and some hints of acidity as well. The balance wasn’t too bad despite it not being overly pronounced and it was a light-medium bodied beer with a dry feel as well.

Overall (12/20): Definitely an interesting beer from Cantillon, I can only assume this one is a good beer based on the reviews online but it’s definitely an acquired taste and one that I wasn’t quite ready for when I tried this one. The beer was quite light and flat with a light body as well, overall the beer was dry and earthy with a sourness throughout and quite a lot of tart flavours too. A new style that I’m glad to have tried and perhaps I’ll get to sample another like this at some point when I’m next in Belgium but I can’t imagine it’s a type of beer I’d pick up very often sadly.

Brewed In: Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie Cantillon
First Brewed: Brewery since 1900
Type: Lambic – Unblended
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Cask (250ml)
Purchased: Moeder Lambic Fontainas (Brussels)
Price: €3.70 (approx. £3.28)

Kriek De Ranke (387 of 1001)

Rating: 4.2

A review of the last beer from the 1001 beers list that I managed to try over in Belgium recently, although I do still have two more reviews of beers I tried over there to add here as well as still having to try a few bottles that I brought home with me too. This one is a third review of a De Ranke beer for me now with it following on from their Guldenberg and XX Bitter offerings that I had back in 2014 but wasn’t particularly taken by. Like this one, both those beers featured on the 1001 beers list as well but thankfully this one was a beer I definitely preferred to those. I managed to try this one when I stopped by one of the Moeder Lambic on my last full day in Brussels before heading home and was pleased to see it available after previously spotting a bottle in the UK but opting not to buy it given the rather expensive price, so I’m please I got to try it eventually.

Appearance (4/5): Sitting a pinkish red in the glass with rose tinges, the beer was opaque and topped with a pinkish white head that sat about a half centimetre tall and was a little patchy towards on side of the surface.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a fruity nose with some sour notes in the early going too, it opened with a nice combination of tart and cherry with some further sweetness from the sugars towards the middle. Around the middle and towards the end there was some raspberries with a touch of bitterness and funk coming through followed by some acidity and grapes towards the end.
Taste (8/10): Definitely more sour than the nose, the beer opened with a lot of cherries and sugar on the taste buds with some strong bitterness too. It’s a lively tasting beer with a funky middle that has some orange and raspberry flavours backing it up. There wasn’t much alcohol showing at all and it seemed lighter than it was with some funk and further fruity flavours seeing things out.
Palate (5/5): Fresh and strongly carbonated, the beer was quite lively with plenty of funk and sweetness in the early going alongside a tart sourness. It was slightly more bitter than anticipated with a nice balance that hid the alcohol content and made it an easy one to drink.

Overall (16/20): Strong and lively with a lot of tart and cherry kicking things off, the beer was fresh and well-carbonated with some nice sourness in the early going too. I found the beer to be slightly more bitter than expected with the taste but it remained balanced with a nice fruity twist soon after with raspberries, some orange and more cherries featuring alongside a sugar sweetness; excellent stuff and one I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Dottignies, Hainaut, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij De Ranke
First Brewed: 2000
Type: Lambic – Fruit
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Keg (250ml)
Purchased: Moeder Lambic Fontainas (Brussels)
Price: €4.90 (approx. £4.33)

Cranachan Killer

Rating: 3.4

A fifth beer from Fierce Beer for me now but only my second from the brewery that isn’t a collaboration with another brewery, the other being their NEIPA Red Rye that I enjoyed back in April when I picked up a couple cans of the stuff to try. This one is a fruit beer from the brewery that caught my eye when I spotted it in the supermarket recently and decided to give it a go, it has been a while since I last had a fruit beer with the very disappointing can of Asahi Red Eye that I had back in Japan last year probably being the last and I’m hopeful this one is a better beer than that one proved to be. I did notice that Aldi seemed to have a few Fierce beers on their shelves as well so with any luck I’ll be able to pick up a couple more the next time I’m in as well.

Appearance (4/5):A cloudy pink to orange colour with a thin, bubbly head on top that was an off-white and faded in the centre after twenty or so seconds to leave a bit of laces around the edges but not much in the middle.
Aroma (6/10): Very sweet and quite fruity too, there’s some raspberry and a little sugar in the early going with touches of strawberry and what seemed like a few more summer berries towards the middle. It’s a little artificial on the nose with some faint tart and funk further on as well as the odd pale malt but the fruits and the raspberries in particular dominate this one.
Taste (6/10): Opening with more tart than the nose and some touches of raspberry quite early on, it’s again quite fruity and fresh as well as being slightly less artificial than the nose seemed. Towards the end some pale malts and subtle grassy flavours seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Very tarty and sweet in the early going with some sugars and funky touches coming through. The beer was quite fruity with a light-medium body and fine, lively carbonation. It’s a dry beer with a sharp feel but it went down well had quite a good mouthfeel for the style.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a nice fruit beer with good raspberry flavours and tart opening things up with plenty sugars too, it did seem a touch artificial on the nose but this settled down and seemed slightly more natural with the taste. It had some strawberries and background berries in there as well but it was the raspberries that seemed strongest; all in all a nice beer for the style but probably not one I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Aberdeen, Scotland
Brewery: Fierce Beer
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Aldi (Glasgow)
Price: £1.49

Lindemans Faro

July 5, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 4.05

One of several beers I brought home in my bag from Belgium now, this one is a beer that I had been hoping to find in the country as a faro style lambic was one of only two beer styles listed on RateBeer that I hadn’t already tried prior to my visit; the other being an unblended lambic which I managed to tick off in Belgium and will get around to reviewing the cask serving of Cantillon Lambic here soon. This one is definitely one of the most well known faro style lambics, the beer itself even won a Gold at the 2011 Great International Beer Festival and I believe it may be available online from some UK based retailers but I decided to grab a bottle when I spotted it in a Carrefour supermarket at the end of my trip and I’m glad it made it back to the UK in one piece.

Appearance (4/5): Copper amber coloured with quite a few bubbles through the body of this one and has a bubbly, white coloured head on top that fades to a fine lacing and around the circumference after thirty seconds or so.
Aroma (8/10): Quite sweet and fruity, there’s some nice touches of apple and a slight sourness to the beer with apples and a little pear showing followed by some nice sugars as well. There’s a couple floral touches around the middle with some apricot and grassy touches further on; a very nice nose that was sweeter than expected too.
Taste (8/10): Slightly more sour and a little less sweet than the nose but there is still a little of both showing with some sour apples and sugars in the early going. It’s a surprisingly juicy tasting beer with some touches of acidity alongside some cherries and a few floral touches as well; very nice stuff.
Palate (4/5): Very fresh and lively, the beer opened with quite a sweet nose that was backed up with some good sourness as well before the sweetness faded and the sourness got more pronounced with the taste. It was quite a floral beer with strong carbonation and a good balance that made it very easy to drink; excellent stuff from the start. with plenty of tart and funky touches throughout

Overall (17/20): Great stuff from Lindemans and an excellent first Faro style lambic for me, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one without having tried this type of beer before. It opened with some nice sweetness on the nose alongside a couple of sour touches, there was some apple and citrus coming through with plenty of tart and funky flavours too. It’s quite and easy going and balanced offering that I found lively and fresh too with strong carbonation and a few spices towards the end. Great stuff and one I’d happily pick up again if I managed to find it outside of Belgium.

Brewed In: St Pieters Leeuw-Vlezenbeek, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Lindemans
First Brewed: 1978
Type: Lambic – Faro
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (375ml)
Purchased: Carrefour (Brussels)
Price: €1.46 (approx. £1.29)

Cherry Cola Vice

April 23, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.4

A fairly random offering now and the first of the beers that I recently ordered from Brewdog to take advantage of their 30% off offer for their AGM meeting earlier this month. This one is a Berliner Weisse that struck me as quite a strange offering but one that I decided to pick up given I off to Berlin just after I tried the beer. The beer will be my first of the style since about this time last year when I was in Berlin and sampled a couple over there. This particular version from Magic Rock is a collaborative offering with J Wakefield Brewing of Florida and Slim Pickens Cider & Mead and I think it will be the first UK brewed Berliner Weisse I’ll have tried since Brewdog/Brodies Tayberry Berliner Weisse that I tried on-tap back in 2013. At the very least this one should prove to be something interesting and a little different so let’s see how it tastes.

Appearance (3/5): Pouring as expected initially, this one looks like a glass of cola as it settles a dark black cola with some ruby tinges nearer the bottom. There was a centimetre tall, bubbly head to begin that was tan in colour but it faded quickly to leave a patchy lacing around the circumference of what was a surprisingly still looking beer.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with a lot of cherries that definitely made it seem like a cherry cola to begin, there was a slight sweetness coming through on top of the sugars as well before some faint tart made itself known further along. Around the middle some vanilla touches made an appearance too but the cherries definitely seemed strongest, it was an interesting beer on the nose at least though.
Taste (7/10): More tart than the nose, the cherries came through a lot stronger with the nose and there was even some bitterness following on behind alongside some wheat. It was a funky tasting offering that was sour in places and had a light sweetness coupled with plenty of sugars further on. It seemed like a different beer from the nose at times but the cherries held it together with some vanilla featuring at the end as well.
Palate (4/5): Tarty and well carbonated despite the relatively still looking appearance of the beer, there was a nice sourness to proceedings with some tangy touches as well and a sugary sweetness near the end.

Overall (14/20): This one was definitely a beer that could be described as interesting, it was an unusual tasting offering that came through with a lot of cherries, sugars and some vanilla nearer the end but also had a light bitterness with the taste and was slightly sour and with some tart too. The nose was a little one-sided with the cherries dominating but the taste was slightly more balanced and enjoyable but it’s still probably not a beer that I’d have more than the once given the style.

Brewed In: Huddersfield, England
Brewery: Magic Rock Brewing / J Wakefield / Slim Pickings Cider & Mead (collaboration)
Full Name: Magic Rock Engine Engine #9 Cherry Cola Vice!
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Berliner Weisse
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £2.30

Timmermans Framboise Lambicus (374 of 1001)

March 26, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

Another beer from the 1001 list in fairly quick succession, this one is a beer from the Timmermans brewery and follows on from their Pêche Lambicus that I tried all the way back in November 2011 making this one only the second beer from the Belgian based brewery that I’ve ever reviewed here. Despite that previous Timmermans offering being a slight disappointment, this one is a beer that I’ve been looking for in the years since but didn’t think it would take me so long to find; I eventually stumbled across a bottle in Valhalla’s Goat in Glasgow recently and quickly grabbed one to try. First brewed sometime around 1980, this one is a fairly new beer from a brewery that has been brewing lambics since 1781 (or 1702 if you believe the bottle) and it’s one that I’m definitely looking forward to trying; perhaps if it’s a good one it will inspire me to re-review their Pêche Lambicus given it’s been over six years since I first tried it.

Appearance (4/5): A reddish pink colour that was surprisingly clear when poured and topped with a centimetre tall, foamy head that was also a light pink colour with hints of cream through it. The head retention was quite good in the early going too with the most of the height holding well over the opening minutes before eventually fading to a thin surface lacing.
Aroma (6/10): Naturally quite a sweet and has some tart on the nose with a strong raspberry aroma kicking things off as you would expect before some sugars and hints of blackberry started to come through. Thankfully it seems like quite a natural nose with some strawberry and funky notes a little further on. It’s relatively light on the nose with some subtle malts towards the end as well.
Taste (6/10): Following on in a similar fashion to where the nose left off, this one opens with a lot of raspberries and strawberries that are coupled together with plenty of sugars that push the beer towards an almost sickly taste before some subtle malts come through to help balance it out slightly. There was some blackberries and tart showing around the middle that gave the beer a sour feel before some funky flavours seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and very sweet on the palate, this one was sugary with some funk and tart coming through from the start and the carbonation levels were bordering on strong. It seemed like a crisp beer that was a little one-dimensional at times but was also quite easy to drink with nothing offensive coming through at any point.

Overall (13/20): This one was an interesting offering in that it was very sweet throughout but didn’t quite turning sickening, although it threatened too towards the end of the taste but stopped short of it. There was a nice combination of berries featuring with raspberries dominating and some strawberries sitting before some blackberries seen things out. It was a relatively easy beer to drink with fine carbonation and some subtle malts helping the balance slightly but I doubt I could drink more than one of this in a row.

Brewed In: Itterbeek, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Timmermans (John Martin)
First Brewed: circa. 1980
Type: Lambic – Fruit
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Valhalla’s Goat (Glasgow)
Price: £2.99