Posts Tagged ‘spice beer’

Wabi-Sabi Japan Pale Ale

November 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My sixth Baird offering and one that  follows on from their similar sounding Yabai Yabai Strong Scotch Ale, this one will be my second seasonal offering from Baird and another that I tried at their Harajuku taproom, having been on the look out for the beer before travelling to Japan. Unknown to me at the time, this one is a June seasonal from the brewery that is a cross between a pale ale and an IPA that uses a combination of Japanese wasabi and green tea in the brewing process to create a unique beer that I’m glad was available on my visit to the taproom.

Appearance (4/5): Copper amber in colour with quite a thin, foamy white head on top that fades to a patchy lacing on the surface after a few minutes whilst the beer itself is quite clear and still looking.
Aroma (7/10): Green tea and a few subtle hops kick things off with some biscuit notes and a nice bitterness towards the middle. The beer also had some citrus coming through with a faint spice and touches of wasabi at the end but it could have probably been a little stronger too.
Taste (7/10): Thankfully a little stronger than the nose was and some through slightly fresher too, the taste opens with a pleasant green tea taste that has some match in there and a subtle bitterness towards the middle too. It’s still not an overly strong offering but some spices and wasabi did feature with a few earthy malts and herbal flavours in there as well.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite earthy feeling with some herbal bitterness but it was still relatively fresh as well. The beer had strong carbonation and was easy to drink, although it was more basic and lighter than I expected with some subtle spice seeing things out.

Overall (15/20): Nice stuff again from Baird and one that I enjoyed despite the fact that it was quite a bit lighter than I’d hoped for going in, it was however a fresh offering with good carbonation and some nice green tea, match and wasabi flavours that you don’t find in a beer very often; it’s just a shame that none of them seemed overly pronounced. It was a pleasant enough offering with some hop bitterness at times too and the balance was a nice one but I doubt it’s a beer that I’d be in a rush to try a second time.

Brewed In: Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan
Brewery: Baird Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Herb/Spiced Beer
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Keg (250ml)
Purchased: Baird Tap Room Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan
Price: ¥600 (£3.97 approx.)


Tropical Bandido Cerveza Con Tequila

February 22, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 2.0

A rare beer from a Spanish island now, this one is a beer that was introduced in late 2016 and brewed on the island of Tenerife. The beer is one that I was given as a gift from family returning for Lanzarote recently and by the looks of it, the beer is the Spanish take on France’s Desperados tequila beer. I’m informed that the beer selection on Lanzarote wasn’t really up to much and I’m not really expecting anything great from this one either but it’s always nice to try a new beer that I’d not have found otherwise; I just hope it’s better than the likes of the Amigos Tequila Beer that I tried a while back.


Appearance (2/5): A clear and fairly light looking amber colour that is topped with a foamy white head that sits about a quarter of centimetre tall then fades to leave a little lacing around the circumference of the glass after about twenty seconds or so.
Aroma (4/10): The beer opens with quite a strong and skunky nose that is mainly corn and basic adjuncts but thankfully this subsided a little after a couple of seconds and the lime notes started to come through along with some sweeter malts that definitely made the beer seem quite cheap one the nose but not necessarily off-putting at least. Some lemon and citrus notes start to come through nearer the middle with the odd grassy note in there as well but after the initial skunky notes the lime was what dominated and it definitely wasn’t a great beer on the nose.
Taste (4/10): Opening with the lime and citrus from the nose, there’s not as much of skunk coming through at this stage with the taste thankfully and the beer seems a touch sweeter this time round too. I got some basic malts and vegetable adjuncts with some sharp spice around the middle before an almost lemonade like flavour came through nearer the end. It’s not a strong beer on the taste and again the lime flavours dominate, giving the beer a syrupy taste in the process too.
Palate (2/5): Light bodied but fairly well carbonated and almost gassy at times, the beer was very sweet with a syrupy feel to it from the lime which also seemed artificial. There was some skunk, particularly as I opened the bottle but it settled some after a while but it’s quite a poor beer really.

Overall (8/20): Starting as a very poor beer, particularly on the nose where the skunky notes were very strong in the early going but thankfully it settled down a little by the middle. There wasn’t a whole lot to this beer in truth save for the lime and basic adjuncts that followed the skunk from the nose, there was touches of citrus and a few grassy flavours nearer the middle but it’s definitely a basic beer and one that I’d avoid having again.

Brewed In: Tenerife, Spain
Brewery: Compañía Cervecera De Canarias
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Spice/Herb Beer
Abv: 5.9%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Lanzorote, Spain
Price: Gift

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.


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

Neon Overlord

September 21, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 2.8

A sneaking keg review of one of Brewdog’s latest releases, their Neon Overlord chilli mango IPA that was released towards the end of last week and was initially one that I stopped by their Glasgow bottle shop to pick up a can of. As it turned out, a mere 24 hours after its release, I was already too late and the last can had been sold so instead I opted to try a schooner of the beer on-tap in the bar next door and see how it rated. Released alongside the latest in the brewery’s ‘Hammer Head’ series, their Chilli Hammer beer, I immediately thought the two beers would end up being quite similar and that this release was a quick way of getting rid of the excess chillies the ordered in when making the Chilli Hammer beer. I’m not usually a fan of spice or herb beers and the first thing I think of when someone mentions a chilli beers is how much I hated Cave Creek Chili Beer when I tried that one; still a beer that ranks in top 10 worst beers I’ve ever tried, although I’m assuming this one will be at least a slight improvement on that one.


Appearance (4/5): Quite a bright looking beer that sat medium amber in the glass and had pretty good clarity too. The beer was topped with a thin, foamy white head that done well to cover the surface of the beer but was more of a thin lacing that a head in truth.
Aroma (6/10): A moderate strength beer on the nose and one that opened up with some pleasant American style hops as well as some touches of citrus and a couple of pale malts too. There was hints of mango and a little of the spice that I expect to come through later as well but it definitely wasn’t the strongest aroma I’ve come across. Towards the end some touches of candy and a little sugary sweetness started to come through but the tropical notes seemed strongest without ever really dominating.
Taste (5/10): The spice from the nose is what grabs you first with the taste, there is a lot of it here and it generates an insane amount of heat that hits the lips as well as the back of the throat and immediately gets your attention. This flavour pretty much dominates the entire taste of the beer alongside some peppers and chilli and seemed to overpower for the majority of proceedings; only at the end did things subside slightly once I got more accustomed to the taste but by then it was too late. There was the odd bit of citrus sneaking through towards the end too and the odd fruity hop but the spice and heat is pretty much all you notice.
Palate (2/5): This one probably sat around light-medium bodied and as I’ve already mentioned, it came through with a lot of heat from the chillies and spice which kept up pretty much until the end. It was quite a hard beer to drink and I struggled with it initially but once it had a little time to settle it calmed down slightly and some of the background flavours started to make an appearance and I even got a hint of bitterness towards the end. There was at least an attempt to balance the beer out slightly with some citrus and a hop bitterness but neither of these worked and the spice dominated throughout.

Overall (10/20): This one was quite a strange offering on the whole, taken as a chilli beer it was quite good when comparing it to others of the style but on its own it wasn’t that great an offering and ended up being one I struggled to finish a schooner of. It started off quite interesting and the heat it generated was pretty impressive but this soon turned to overpowering and challenging meaning I came away thinking that a third of a pint or at a push, a half pint of this one would have been more than enough. It’s definitely one I’m glad I tried but it’s not one I’d have again either; it’ll be interesting to see how the brewery’s Chilli Hammer offering released alongside this one compares in the coming weeks.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Herb/Spiced Beer (Chili Beer)
Abv: 7.3%
Serving: Keg (Schooner)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse (Glasg0w)
Price: £3.48

La Meule (316 of 1001)

November 28, 2015 1 comment

Rating: 3.8

My first beer from the Franches-Montagnes brewery now, usually abbreviated as BFM, this is a small brewery based in the canton of Jura which shares a border with Basel which is where I managed to grab a bottle while on vacation there recently. This one is one of the first that the brewery made way back in 1998 (although the recipe has been tweaked slightly since then) and it is a beer that takes some influence from Saison Dupont, a beer I’ve reviewed here previously. This one is another Swiss beer to feature in the 1001 beers list, my sixth such beer and the penultimate one of those I still have to add here. Founded in 1997 by Jérôme Rebetez, the BFM brewery is one that specialises in barrel-aged beers and using unusual ingredients. This particular offering, their La Meule, is labelled as a Swiss golden ale but is probably closer to a spiced or herb ale and it is one of two beers from the brewery that I managed to try whilst in Switzerland, the other being their soon to be reviewed Curvee Alex Le Rouge imperial stout.

La Meule

Appearance (4/5): This one pours a hazy orange colour with a  one centimetre, foamy white head on top that is slightly creamy looking and quite thick. Retention is pretty good with the beer with it managing to hold well for the opening couple of minutes and keep about three-quarters of its original height.
Aroma (7/10): This one opens up with quite a lot of yeast coming through, there is some nice citrus notes as well and I got a few touches of spice into the bargain. The nose featured some oranges and plenty of coriander alongside a hint of sourness. The balance seemed good with fresh and floral notes coming through alongside some herbs and a hint of bitterness right at the end.
Taste (7/10): Light, pale malts and a good helping of spice kick things off here before some coriander, cloves and some citrus flavours start to show themselves; there is a nice mix or orange and lemon flavours with some yeast not far behind. I managed to detect some biscuit malts around the middle with touches of bread before the floral flavours from the nose along with some junipers, pine and grassy touches that sneak in towards the end.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body and quite a lively feel thanks to the strong carbonation levels which helped to give the beer a refreshing feel and made it an easy one to drink. The balance of the beer seemed good throughout with it featuring quite a dry and crisp palate that was sharp towards the end but very pleasing.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a lively and spicy beer with good carbonation as well as being an easy one to drink which helped it to grow on me as I worked my way down the glass. There was some refreshing aspects to the beer and the citrus played its part in balancing out the pale malts and spice whilst adding some to the complexity of the beer making La Meule one of the better spiced beers I’ve tried; great stuff all round.

Brewed In: Saignelégier, Jura, Switzerland
Brewery: BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
First Brewed: 1998
Full Name: BFM La Meule
Type: Herb/Spiced Beer
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Drinks of the World (Basel)
Price: 5.20 CHF (approx. £3.37)

Appenzeller Hanfblüte (313 of 1001)

November 24, 2015 1 comment

Rating: 3.4

This one will be my tenth Swiss beer now and the third from the country I’ll have tried that also features on the 1001 beers list, not bad going considering I hadn’t tried any at the start of the month. This one is another beer from the Appenzeller brewery and following on from the bottle of Naturperle I reviewed here previously, this will be my second from the brewery with both listed in the 1001 Beers To Try Before You Die book. Hanfblüte is a beer infused with hemp leaves and blossom, something I was unaware of at the time of drinking this one but if I knew German then I’d have realised the name translates to ‘hemp blossom’ and that might have tipped me off to the fact. As it stood, this one was quite a surprise when I tried it given I’d been expecting a simple, pale lager but it wasn’t a bad surprise thankfully.

Appenzeller Hanfblüte

Appearance (3/5): Pale golden to straw coloured with a hazy body and a two centimetre tall head that is foamy looking and slowly recedes to sit at about half its original size after roughly thirty seconds.
Aroma (6/10): This one was really spicy on the nose with quite a lot of yeast coming through early on and some citrus notes backing it up. There was quite a few herbal touches to the nose with a strong smell of hemp making itself known alongside bursts of coriander and some pepper. The nose was quite an unusual smelling one, specifically the hemp was not at all what I’d been expecting since I knew little about this one before trying it but it was pungent and quite a bit different.
Taste (7/10): As expected given the nose, this one started off very spicy with a tonne of yeast and plenty of hemp flavours coming through in the early going. There was some strong herbal flavours that featured a little pepper and coriander on top of some pale and light malts. I could detect some fresh flavours with some citrus and floral touches in there before a lingering spicy taste see things out.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and very lively with a lot of strong carbonation and plenty of spice on the palate. This one is a very dry and crisp beer with a light-medium body that had the odd hint of bitterness in places and a fairly noticeable tang to proceedings as well; a nice beer at not at all what I was expecting.

Overall (14/20): This beer was a little bit of a strange one really, I grabbed a bottle without knowing anything about it but having tried others from the brewery but nothing prepared me for the taste really with quite a lot of herbal flavours and tonnes of hemp coming through early on. Having been expecting a pale lager when I bought the bottle, this one was a pleasant surprise and not like anything else I’ve tried previously with tonnes off spice and the hemp definitely started to grow on me as I worked my way through this one and settled down some. It’s probably not one I’m very likely to have again but it was certainly something a little different and one well worth giving a go at least once.

Brewed In: Appenzell, Switzerland
Brewery: Locher Appenzeller
First Brewed: 1997
Type: Herb/Spiced Beer
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Drinks of the World (Basel)
Price: 4.00 CHF (approx. £2.59)

Spicy Devil

February 10, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.0

Time for another beer that I received as a Christmas present now, this one coming from the Hadrian & Border brewery based in the Newcastle area in the northeast of England. The beer was bought in the Fenwicks department store in Newcastle and is labelled as a dark wheat ale but can also be considered a spice beer given that it is brewed using cloves, cinnamon and fresh limes. Coming in at 6.6%, the beer is stronger than I had anticipated prior to opening the bottle but it is one I’m anxious to try, hopefully it won’t turn out to be quite as spicy as the label would lead you to believe.
Spicy Devil

Appearance (3/5): Dark coloured, the beer is a very dark brown that borders on black and is topped with a thin, half centimetre tall head that looks to be foamy and just about covers the surface of the beer. The head is a light brown to beige colour and holds for about a minute before disappearing almost completely. 3.5
Aroma (6/10): Quite spicy on the nose, just as I had feared with a lot of pepper and cinnamon coming through with some cloves backing these up. There is some nice chocolate showing through though which helps balance out the spice a little and some vanilla features as well. 3.25
Taste (6/10): Again quite spicy, not as much as the nose indicated though and thankfully the chocolate from the nose is present here as well to level things out a little. I could detect some spice, cinnamon and cloves coming through with a little grain and sugar, there was some vanilla making itself known too. The taste was definitely an unusual one but it wasn’t as bad as I had initially feared with the spiciness of the beer stopping short of overpowering the rest of the beer. 2.75
Palate (3/5): Smooth with a light-medium body and light to light-medium carbonation levels. There was a definite spiciness to the beer but it remained drinkable with some lingering sweetness towards the end. 3.5

Overall (12/20): Quite an unusual tasting beer, it’s not like many others that I’ve tried and it was quite difficult to put my finger on this one. Thankfully the beer wasn’t quite as spicy as I’d feared, the nose was strong but things settled down a little come the taste and the balance of the beer wasn’t too bad either with the chocolate and dark fruits helping the beer down easily enough.

Brewed In: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England
Brewery: Hadrian & Border Brewery
First Brewed: circa. 2013
Type: Spice Beer (Dark Wheat Beer)
Abv: 6.6%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Fenwicks (Newcastle)
Price: Gift