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Stone Ripper

March 6, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

A beer from my third most reviewed brewery now, this one will be my 22nd beer from California’s Stone Brewing, although this one and one previous offering were actually brewed at their Berlin brewhouse but I’ll keep them all under the same brewery here to make things easier. This one is actually my first new review of a Stone beer since I tried their Little Bastard Ale back in May of last year so this one is long overdue. The beer is one that I stumbled across in an Asda supermarket over the weekend and opted to give it a try since it’s not one I’ve seen in the UK before. An American pale ale from the brewery that was first released in the second half of 2016, this one will hopefully be the first of a few new Stone beers that I’ll get to try this year given their Berlin brewery means that some of the beers are easier to find in the UK now; something that can only be a good thing.

Appearance (4/5): A light but relatively bright amber colour that is fairly clear too and topped with a nice, two centimetre tall head that’s white and foamy looking with a smooth surface. Head retention isn’t too bad with it eventually settling about a centimetre tall, leaving a touch of lace on the sides too.
Aroma (7/10): Not particularly strong on the nose but there was definitely some pine and citrus notes coming through in the early going before a light touches of grapefruit started to come through. It’s not quite as fresh or bitter as expected but it was at least a fruity offering that had some orange zest and peach towards the end but it was definitely lighter than I’d have preferred.
Taste (7/10): Quite a fresh beer with some orange and citrus in the early going, there was a little lemon and grapefruit that featured soon after and helped add to the bitterness. Some bread malts came through around the middle with some pine in there too but I’d have liked it to be slightly more resinous in truth, the mango and peach seeing things out was nice though.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with a fresh feel and moderate carbonation levels, the beer was quite easy to drink with a wet feel until the end where is started to turn slightly drier but overall it was a crisp and enjoyable offering.

Overall (15/20): Enjoyable stuff from Stone, the beer was a nice one that opened lively but perhaps not quite as fresh as I’d have liked. Nice citrus and tropical fruits come through in the early going with peach and mango the strongest before some bread malts make an appearance towards the end. It’s not the best I’ve tried from the brewery but it was a decent enough offering that I’m glad I picked up.

Brewed In: Escondido, California, United States of America
Brewery: Stone Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.7%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Asda
Price: £2.00

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Scuttlebutt Hoptopia

February 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.95

My fourth beer from a Washington based brewery and my second from Scuttlebutt, like the bottle of their Amber Ale that I reviewed last this one is a beer I picked up from Glasgow’s Wee Beer Shop in late January based on the fact that it was an American brewed double IPA and I was quite interested in seeing how it rated. The beers name did seem somewhat familiar when I spotted this one in the shop but it turns out that it wasn’t a beer that I’d ever seen before but just before opening it I was really hoping that it would turn out to be a better offering than the offering I tried from the brewery the day before.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber with a slight haze to the body and foamy head that turns quite bubbly in texture after about thirty seconds but manages to hold relatively well with some good lacing stuck to the sides of the glass as well.
Aroma (7/10): Definitely not as hop-filled as you’d expect from a double IPA but the beer did open with some nice pine and grapefruit bitterness that was backed up by a pleasant sweetness from some biscuit and caramel malts; this also gave the beer a slightly American pale ale style nose in the early going which was interesting. Further on and there was some orange zest and light citrus featuring with a touch of sugar and some bread malts further on before some light bitterness seen things out. It was quite a subdued nose for the style but it came through with a pleasant aroma that I definitely enjoyed.
Taste (8/10): More bitter than the nose for sure with a lot of resinous pine and grapefruit kicking things off that was almost out of the blue when compared to the nose and very welcome. There was some orange and citrus flavours with a lot of pine following on behind which made the beer seem every bit the double IPA that I was expecting. Towards the end some of the caramel malts, biscuit and bread flavours from the nose started to come through and as a result some light sweetness was imparted on the taste, something that definitely helped the balance as things drew to a close.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite resinous with a lot of bitterness coming through from the start, the beer was a very dry offering as expected with a slight citrus tang around the middle and some sweetness further on. The balance was a good one, although the hop bitterness of the taste naturally dominated but it was still an easy one to drink and the alcohol content seemed well hidden too.

Overall (17/20): Great stuff from Scuttlebutt here, this one definitely started a lot more subdued on the nose than expected with only some light grapefruit and pine coming through but these seemed to be fighting to be noticed alongside the sweeter malts and biscuit notes at this point. Things changed with the taste though thanks to a lot of hop bitterness jumping to the front in the form of resinous pine and grapefruit flavours, there was also some orange following on behind before the sweet malts and biscuit seen things out nicely.

Brewed In: Everett, Washington, United States of America
Brewery: Scuttlebutt Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2006
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £3.10

Scuttlebutt Amber Ale

February 3, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.3

My first beer from the Scuttlebutt brewery and only my third beer from Washington state, this one follows on relatively soon after the can of Evo IPA from Two Beers which was the last offering from Washington that I had tried when I reviewed that one towards the end of last year. Like that previous offering, this one from Scuttlebutt is another beer that I picked up from my local bottle shop after noticing it was reduced on a recent visit; opting for it based solely on the fact that it was the first time I’d seen on of the breweries beers available in the UK and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity. Although not an offering that gets particularly good reviews online, this is a beer that I’m looking forward to cracking open given it is the first of two beers from the brewery that I now have to review since I’ll soon be giving their Hoptopia double IPA a go too.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber to copper coloured and quite clear looking, the beer has a nice sized head on top that looks quite creamy and sits as a wavy, off-white that manages to hold well in the early going.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a basic, earthy nose opens things up with some light caramel and subdued hops alongside an earthy bitterness and some nuts. There was less hop bitterness than expected with some honey, spice and basic fruits making up the rest of the nose with some biscuit seeing things out.
Taste (6/10): Following on closely from the nose, the beer again started quite earthy with some caramel touches in the early going too. It was a semi-sweet beer with some nutty flavours and lighter fruits, apples in particular coming through with some basic biscuit malts not far behind. Towards the end there was some funk and sourness starting to come through with a couple of light spices seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and semi-sweet, the beer was earthy and quite dry throughout with a few subtle spices further on. The balance was quite a basic one that bordered on poor with more sourness than anticipated sneaking through with some funk further on but it was certainly interesting at least.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a strange beer in that it started as very much an amber ale with some sweetness and basic malts coming through alongside a few nutty flavours and biscuit but further on there was a lot of sourness and funk coming through, particularly towards the end which made the beer seem a little unbalanced. It was drinkable throughout but definitely not a classic that I’d rush back to, it just seemed a little strange and the sour touches weren’t at all what I’d be expecting.

Brewed In: Everett, Washington, United States of America
Brewery: Scuttlebutt Brewing Co.
First Brewed: circa. 2003
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.50

Spencer Trappist Ale

January 25, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.25

A first new Trappist beer in quite some time now, this one is a beer from the only Trappist brewery in the United States and is a Belgian style pale ale that I picked up from a local bottle shop just before Christmas. This one is a beer that I’ve been aware of since shortly after the brewery was founded within the Abbey, back in 2013 and it’s a beer that I’ve been looking forward to trying ever since. Brewed at the St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts and available since later 2013/early 2014, this is one of several beers that the abbey now produce and it was also the first Trappist beer to be brewed outside of Europe so it’s definitely an interesting beer and I’m glad I’ve finally been able to track a bottle down.

Spencer Trappist Ale

Appearance (5/5): Pale amber in colour with a hazy body and quite a large, foamy head that was a creamy white in colour and looked quite thick. Head retention was quite good as well with the no reduction in size over the opening couple of minutes which was nice to see.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a fresh and lively beer with some Belgian yeast and slightly funky notes kicking things off, there was some light citrus and a hint of pear in the early going too. Towards the middle I got some apple as well as a subtle sweetness thanks to some bananas before bread malts, cloves and light spices seen things out.
Taste (8/10): Opening with a nice combination of yeast and fruit esters, there was a few herbal touches and spices to get things started with the taste before some banana sweetness started to feature nearer the middle The beer was slightly fresh at points with some peaches, apples and pears coming through from the nose alongside a selection of pale malts followed by some bread malts at the end.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and quite lively, this one came through with a lot of spices and a background sweetness thanks to the fruits featured throughout; most notably the banana flavours and to a lesser extent the peaches. It was quite a well balanced and easy-going offering that was moderately carbonated and sat with a medium body that was very enjoyable.

Overall (17/20): Quite an interesting beer that definitely seemed like a Belgian offering as I worked my way down the glass, it was quite a lively and fresh beer that had a fluffy, light feel to it throughout. There was a nice balance to this one with some banana sweetness working well with the background fruits and yeast as well as some touches of funk featuring a little later on. The beer was definitely a good one that I enjoyed and wouldn’t mind picking up again or, better still trying one of the breweries other offerings.

Brewed In: Spencer, Massachusetts, United States of America
Brewery: Spencer Brewery
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Belgian Pale Ale
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £4.20

Two Beers Evo IPA

January 15, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.6

This one is amazingly only my second ever beer from Washington state in the United States and follows one from the bottle of Pyramid Hefeweizen that I tried way back in May of 2013 as the only other beer from the state that I’ll have reviewed here and I was very much hoping that this one would be an improved on the first one from Washington that I tried. Using a variety of hops, including some from the Yakima Valley, this one should be quite a bitter offering and is one that I’m very much looking forward to trying so hopefully it does not disappoint.

Appearance (4/5): Very strongly carbonated and overflowing when I opened the can, this one was a fairly dark looking caramel amber when it was poured and managed to form a relatively small, quarter centimetre head that was foamy looking and a light tan colour but it sat towards one end of the surface of the beer; the body of the drink was a hazy one and it looked quite thick into the bargain.
Aroma (8/10): Quite fresh on the nose with some citrus hops and the odd tropical fruit kicking things off before quite a sweet nose started to develop thanks to some caramel malts and touches of biscuit. The beer seemed more like an American pale ale on the nose with some sweet malts and touches of biscuit although there was a hop bitterness sitting in the background along with faint spices, orange notes and a couple of grassy hops; very interesting stuff.
Taste (7/10): Still quite a sweet beer that was more pale ale than IPA but it was toned down slightly from the nose thanks to the tropical fruits taking more of a front seat; a combination of citrus and pine being more pronounced. There was a lot of biscuit and sweet malts coming through as well though, I got some earthy hops further on with some orange and touches of grapefruit towards the end.
Palate (3/5): Smooth with a medium body and far more sweet than expected thanks to the caramel malts and biscuit flavours, there was some nice tropical fruits adding to this as well. The beer was dry nearer the end and easy on the way down, mainly due to the smoothness I mentioned previously with a subtle hop bitterness seeing things out.

Overall (14/20): An interesting beer in that it came through as more of an American pale ale than an IPA at times but it was still quite a fresh offering with a subtle hop bitterness and some nice citrus with a few touches of pine further on. It was pleasant and balanced, going down easily without grabbing your attention as it did so but it was one that I’m glad I got to try despite it not being one that I’d rush back to.

Brewed In: Seattle, Washington, United States of America
Brewery: Two Beers Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2010
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.2%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.00

West Side Beavo

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

A recent collaboration between California-based Firestone Walker and London’s Beavertown, this one is a beer that was brewed over in California but has now made its way to the UK as well. The beer is one that I picked up in July this year and tried at the start of September but it’s one that I’m just getting around to reviewing here now. Given the two breweries responsible for this one are ones that I’m a fan of, I went into this beer expecting something special and sadly it failed to really deliver; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it last month.

Appearance (4/5): Bright and golden-yellow in colour, the beer is very clear and has a few larger bubbles rising to the surface as well. The head is a bubbly white one that starts about two centimetres tall before fading to a thin, half centimetre one that leaves touches of lacing on the sides of the glass as well as covering the surface of the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Clean on the nose with some lager malts and a few touches of corn, there is some bread and the odd background hop as well as some citrus but it’s a fairly mellow aroma and one that could definitely have been stronger.
Taste (6/10): Corn and light biscuit make up most of the taste with some lager malts and citrus not too far behind. The beer was a fresh one with some lemon and grassy hops around the middle but it was quite weak at point too. Towards the end some floral flavours and a lighter bitterness feature as well but it’s not an overly complex offering by any means.
Palate (3/5): Light and crisp with a fresh and mellow feel to it, the beer was fragrant and had a light tang from the citrus too. It was an easy-going beer with a faint bitterness and the odd bit of spice but there wasn’t a whole lot going on in truth.

Overall (13/20): Quite a light and clean beer with touches of citrus and some floral hops as well but it was definitely basic and not as full-bodied as I’d have liked either. The beer seemed thin at point but it was at least easy to drink without it impressing at any point sadly.

Brewed In: Paso Robles, California, United States of America
Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. / Beavertown (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Type: India Pale Lager
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.70

Dorothy’s New World Lager

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My first ever beer from Iowa based Toppling Goliath now and my first ever beer from Iowa as well, this one is a beer that I grabbed in a local bottle shop recently since it was the first beer from the brewery that I’ve seen make it to the UK. I recognised the brewery name thanks to their Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout which is currently the highest ranked beer on the BeerAdvocate website so my thinking was that this was bound to be a good lager that I quickly picked up. Upon looking into the beer further, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was in fact a California Common style beer when I’d been thinking it was a basic pale lager; a nice bonus.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber in colour with a semi-clear body and a thin, bubbly white head that fades to quite a thin lacing after thirty seconds or so; the beer looks quite fizzy though.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a sweet beer with a touch of corn and some hay in the early going, there was touches of sweetness in there as well.
Taste (7/10): Quite a fresh and tangy offering with some decent citrus and hay flavours to open things up followed by some of the honey from the nose making an appearance too. There was a nice combination of background fruits in there as well as faint biscuit. Towards the end a butterscotch taste adds to the sweetness but it’s not an overly complex offering really.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and a lot more sweet than expected, the beer was crisp and lively with a medium body and a nice amount of flavour showing. It was quite a basic but enjoyable beer with a good balance and it was easy to drink too.

Overall (15/20): A nice first beer from the brewery for me and one that’s best feature was the excellent balance to it, although it was more sweet than I’d anticipated going in; especially as I had been expecting a straight-up pale lager when I picked this one up. It was quite a crisp and fresh offering with a lively feel that had some nice honey and butterscotch flavours sitting on top of a standard lager base; easy going and enjoyable stuff.

Brewed In: Decorah, Iowa, United States of America
Brewery: Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2010
Type: California Common
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (473ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.40