Archive

Posts Tagged ‘united states’

Victory Headwaters Ale

June 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.05

A beer I picked up from an Asda supermarket just over a month ago after seeing it on a previous visit to one of their stores, this one will be my sixth from Victory but is surprisingly only my first since October 2014 when I tried their Golden Monkey tripel offering and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve had quite a few great beer from this brewery so I was excited when I first say this was available in the UK, it was probably the sole reason for me picking the beer up but it turned out to be quite a disappointing beer in the end; the best before on this one wasn’t until early 2018 but that was something that I had to double check after trying the beer and finding it a particularly weak and bland offering. I’ve noticed a few other new Victory beers seem to be available in the UK now but after this one I’m not too sure I’ll be rushing out to grab anymore for a while sadly.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber but pouring with a surprisingly clear and light body that is topped with a large, three or four centimetre tall head. The head texture is quite bubbly and it sits a white colour in the glass and looks relatively thick, just about halving in size over the opening couple minutes and leaving light lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a hop-filled nose in the early going with some grassy notes and the odd tropical fruit but the aroma seems to fade far to quickly and after a couple seconds the beer seems more like a pale lager with some pine and citrus coming through which was somewhat disappointing. There was touches of bread malt in there and the odd touch of bitterness too that’s got a few earthy hops in there too; it’s pleasant enough on the nose but could definitely have been stronger and a little more varied in truth.
Taste (5/10): Quite a lot like the taste sadly, this one starts well with some solid pine and citrus nose before some tropical fruits come through but they all disappear in an instant to leave a basic grassy hop taste that wasn’t unlike more pale lagers out there, albeit a fresh one. Towards the middle there was a slight tang while the bread flavours and earthy bitterness from the nose made an appearance but there wasn’t a whole lot to the beer and it seemed quite weak. The odd floral flavour and hints biscuit make a fleeting appearance but there definitely wasn’t enough variety to this one; very disappointing.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and quite light, perhaps even bordering on thin with an initial burst of flavour that soon passed to leave quite a basic and weak beer with very little going for it. I’d been expecting a lot more from this one but the beer seemed quite bland although it was fairly well carbonated. I managed to detect a light bitterness nearer the end and some earthy touches too but it was a massive let down for me and not at all what I expect from Victory.

Overall (11/20): Disappointing stuff here from Victory, the beer opened well with nice tropical fruits and a lot of pine with some citrus in there as well but in both the nose and the taste these all passed quickly and left little more than a bland, basic beer that was more lager than pale ale. There was the odd touch of earthy bitterness, a faint hint of floral and some biscuit malts but none of these was overly pronounced and the beer just seemed boring and weak throughout; I’d expected much better.

Brewed In: Downingtown, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Brewery: Victory Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2011
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Asda (Glasgow)
Price: £1.82

Anchor Go West! IPA

April 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.0

Lucky number thirteen from Anchor now, this one will be my first new offering from the California based brewery since I picked up a bottle of their California Lager back in December of 2014 and I can’t believe it’s been so long, especially considering this is usually one of my go-to American breweries; I guess not that many of their beers that I’ve not already tried are making it to the UK in any great numbers. Despite being my first new beer from the brewery in well over a year, this one pushes Anchor into my top ten most tried brewery’s now and is one that I’m quite looking forward to trying. I actually spotted the beer for the first time in an Asda supermarket a few weeks ago now but opted instead to pick up a can Lagunitas’ 12th of Never Ale over this one; hopefully this one turns out to be a better beer though.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber coloured and slightly brighter than expected, this one pours with a fairly cloudy body and is topped with an impressive, centimetre and a half tall head that is bubbly and very slightly off-white in colour but manages to hold relatively well for the style over the opening minute or so.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh on the nose initially but far from as hoppy or bitter as I’d expected going in, the beer was more of a hybrid-lager type nose with some grassy hops and citrus in the early going. There was the odd floral touch with some basic malts making an appearance too. After a minute or so the nose starts to fade a little and begins to become difficult to detect, I got some light bitterness and a hint of sweetness from the malts but beyond that there wasn’t too much coming through sadly.
Taste (6/10): Ever so slightly more bitter than the nose, there was some earthy flavours coming through in the early going of the taste and a few basic malts again backed them up. I got a combination of hay and grassy flavours with a light citrus feel nearer the middle but the beer definitely struck me as quite a basic tasting one. Towards the end some faint yeast and floral touches came through but like the nose it was quite a disappointing one.
Palate (2/5): Sitting somewhere around light-medium bodied, the beer wasn’t as fresh or lively as I’d anticipated but there was a strong tang to proceedings despite the fact the citrus flavours and yeast weren’t particularly strong. There was an odd, almost off-taste to the beer at times with the bitterness not coming through too nicely and the balance could have been improved as well. I got hints of sweetness in the early going, mainly with the nose in truth but I felt the beer was a poor one and more difficult to drink than it should have been.

Overall (12/20): Quite a poor offering from Anchor in truth, I’d been expecting a lot more from a brewery those beers I’ve quite enjoyed over the last couple of years but this one is easily one of the worst from the California based brewery that I’ve tried. Things didn’t start particularly well with the nose being far too weak, particularly after it was given time to settle a little, and the taste was disappointing too; the balance was terrible too. It’s probably not quite as bad as the bottle of the brewery’s Summer Beer that I tried back in September of 2014 but it’s not much better either and it’s not one I’d have again.

Brewed In: San Francisco, California, United States of America
Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American IPA
Abv: 3.7%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Asda (Glasgow)
Price: £2.02

12th Of Never Ale

March 30, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.4

My seventh Lagunitas beer now and one that I hadn’t spotted in the UK before when I stumbled across a can in a local supermarket over the weekend, the beer in question being a 2016 release from the brewery and one that I quickly picked up based on the quality of some of the Lagunitas beers that I’ve reviewed here in the past. This one is an American pale ale from the California brewery and it will be the first beer of theirs introduced since their takeover by Heineken that I will have tried, I’m hoping it will still be a good one though.

Appearance (4/5): The beer pours a lot lighter than I had been expecting, it settles as a light yellow to amber colour with a fairly clear body, only a slightly touch of haze comes through. The head was a half centimetre one that was quite bubbly looking and white in colour with the surface well covered initially. Eventually it starts to break up a little and turn slightly patchy in the middle but it’s not a bad effort really.
Aroma (7/10): The beer opens with a lot of floral hops that give it a fresh nose, there was some citrus bursts in the early going as well. Some tropical notes started to make themselves known nearer the middle of the beer with a combination of mango and pineapple being the most notable but some resinous pine featured as well. Towards the end the beer seemed quite oily with some malts starting to appear and add to the sweetness.
Taste (6/10): The taste was kicked off with a good combination of citrus and pine flavours but the floral hops weren’t too far behind. There was a freshness to the beer that carried on from the nose and a few lighter malts showed themselves nearer the middle. To be honest, the beer wasn’t really anything special and turned out to be far from the best that I’ve tried from the brewery but some lemon and zesty flavours alongside a few biscuit malts rounded things off.
Palate (3/5): Quite a light offering really, this one maybe just manages to sneak in as a light-medium bodied beer that carried a subtle citrus tang with it. The beer was fairly dry with a moderate bitterness and some pleasant enough floral touches from the hops. It was fresh to a point but the balance could have been a little better and there was a slight bitterness showing at the end too.

Overall (14/20): A fairly average offering from Lagunitas and as I’ve already said, this one was far from the best that the brewery has to offer; perhaps the Heineken takeover is starting to have a negative effect on the quality of beer after all. The beer did manage to start well thanks to some citrus and pine flavours in the early going but it was perhaps a touch thinner than I’d have liked, the appearance being somewhat lighter than expected too. It wasn’t a bland or boring beer thankfully, the tropical flavours doing their part to prevent this but I’d have liked to see more malts showing other than the faint biscuit flavours right at the end; it’s an okay beer but definitely not as good as I’d expected.

Brewed In: Petaluma, California, United States of America
Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Asda (Glasgow)
Price: £2.02

Speedway Stout (338 of 1001)

January 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.55

Another very special beer now, a bottle of AleSmith’s classic Speedway Stout and a beer that I’ve been on the lookout for since spotting it on Brewdog’s online shop a couple of years ago only to discover it was completely sold out. This has happened a few times now so when I spotted it was available in mid-October of last year I decided to quickly order some before they were gone. The beer will be my fourth in total from AleSmith, the second of which that also features on the 1001 beers list and amazingly it will also be my second Speedway Stout offering; I managed to find myself in a Brewdog bar in Glasgow in February and the Vietnamese Coffee version of Speedway Stout was on-tap that day so naturally I ordered myself a glass and it only made me want to try the original version all the more. This one will be my first bottled AleSmith beer since trying and thoroughly enjoying their excellent Horny Devil around Christmas 2014 (although I took a while uploading the review here as I recall). I’ve also been lucky enough to try a bottle of their AleSmith IPA in the past (also featured on the 1001 beers list) and that was another that I loved so I’m sure Speedway Stout will continue the trend and be another excellent AleSmith beer; here’s hoping anyway. The beer is probably the one of those I have cellaring that I’ve been most looking forward to trying and I was actually in two minds about opening it up, with part of me considering keeping it for another year or two before trying but temptation got the better of me. In addition to aging well, the beer is another highly rated one online with it currently ranked as the 8th best imperial stout and the 11th best beer overall on RateBeer whilst BeerAdvocate has it as the 97th best American double stout as well as naming it as their 225th best beer overall.

alesmith-speedway-stout

Appearance (5/5): Jet black with an opaque body and quite a creamy looking head that was part foamy, sitting a medium brown colour. Retention was a lot better than might have been expected for a 12% abv. beer with it starting about a centimetre tall before halving in size over the opening minute then eventually turning slightly patchy without breaking up completely; a very impressive looking beer overall.
Aroma (9/10): Quite a strong beer on the nose as expected, this one opened with some solid coffee notes and plenty of darker malts coming through alongside some roasted one and a few hints of roasted bitterness too. It’s not quite an overpowering aroma but it doesn’t let up either, there is some strong chocolate smells around the middle with brown sugars in there to add a little sweetness as well. Further on I got some background vanilla notes with touches of cocoa and the odd darker, almost ripe fruit showing itself too; most notably some raisins and dates. Right at the death some of the alcohol starts to show as well but it’s hidden better than I’d been expected.
Taste (9/10): Matching the nose well, this one opens with plenty of coffee alongside a solid malts bitterness and roasted flavours.  There was the cocoa from the nose with some earthy malts backing it up before some of the vanilla started to show itself nearer the middle and worked well alongside the sugars to add some sweetness to proceedings. Touches of butterscotch also made an appearance with the taste, coupled with some oak and light, smoky flavours before a bit of the alcohol started to show nearer the end but it definitely didn’t dominate. The taste was rounded off by some darker fruits, the raisins and dates again present alongside some figs and plum this time too; excellent stuff.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied, this one had quite a rich, thick feel to it and it was slightly sweeter than anticipated without it becoming sickly. There was a lot of darker malts that added to the roasted bitterness of the beer and there was a lot of depth and complexity to this one too. The mouthfeel was quite a crisp, semi-dry one that had fine carbonation and went down very well, the alcohol content being well masked until right at the end.

Overall (19/20): Great stuff from AleSmith again here and a beer that was every bit as good as I’d hope for going in; it was definitely worth the wait in cracking this bottle open. The beer was kicked off by a lot of darker, roasted malts and coffee flavours but it was also a touch sweeter than expected thanks to the sugars and chocolate, but also the darker fruits and vanilla that featured too. The beer was quite rich and complex with good carbonation and only a little of the 12% abv. showing nearer the end of the nose and taste, something that helped the beer down very easily. The beer was very much a moreish offering with some dry touches nearer the end and some subtle darker fruits coming through to keep things interesting at times.; I really enjoyed drinking this one and it seemed to go down slightly better than the Vietnamese Coffee edition that I tried on-tap last year; an excellent beer that you definitely need to try, it’s one that I’ll be on the hunt for again now.

Brewed In: San Diego, California, United States of America
Brewery: AleSmith Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2002
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 12.0%
Serving: Bottle (750ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £15.25

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard

January 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

A bit of an odd one now for what will be my first beer from Arrogant Brewing but one that follows on from the Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale I had in March 2013 as well as the Arrogant Bastard Ale I reviewed the next month. The reason this is my third Arrogant Bastard beer but only my first from the brewery is because the beers were originally brewed under by Stone in California but since 2015 this line of beers has been brewed independently from Stone. Although still based in California, Arrogant Brewing is somewhat of a gypsy brewery and the beers are now brewed in collaboration with other breweries around the world, including Brewdog in Scotland which is the reason I was able to grab a bottle of this one recently. The beer is one of about three year-round Arrogant beers and is actually one that I tried earlier this year in a Brewdog bar but wasn’t to sure about which is one of the reason I decided to order a bottle online when last placing an order.

bourbon-barrel-aged-arrogant-bastard

Appearance (4/5): This one pours a dark caramel to mahogany brown colour and it’s slightly hazy into the bargain, although it did look a touch lighter towards the bottom of the glass. The head was a nice one though, sitting just under a half a centimetre tall and foamy with a few bubbles sitting on the surface too. It was a light tan colour with a bit of break-up towards one side of the surface but on the whole it was a nice looking beer with decent head retention given the abv. of the drink.
Aroma (8/10): This one opens with quite a strong, sticky-sweet nose that features a lot of toffee and caramel aromas alongside some darker fruits; mostly figs, dates and plums featuring at this early stage. There was a touch of alcohol coming through that hinted at the bourbon from the barrels this one was aged in and this was followed by a sweet vanilla or butterscotch smell that had some oak notes backing it up. The beer seemed complex on the nose and there was quite a lot going on but thankfully the balance was a good one and there was a faint pine and citrus finish that hinted at a subtle bitterness too.
Taste (6/10): Kicking off from where the nose finished, this one starts quite sweet with a combination of toffee and caramel malts opening things up before being followed by a bourbon taste that was quite a bit stronger than the nose had hinted at but didn’t quite overpower. There was some dark fruits again with the figs and plums from the nose featuring here as well but also some raisins as well. Towards the end of the beer some further sweetness was imparted thanks to the usual sugars but also some of the vanilla from the nose before some pine, oak and citrus touches rounded things off completely.
Palate (4/5): A somewhat thick offering, this one sat somewhere around medium bodied and was definitely quite a strong beer from the start. There was a nice amount of sweetness throughout this one, initially thanks to the caramel and toffee flavours but also from the darker fruits and sugars that followed. There was a good balance to the beer as well, despite the relatively strong abv. and the bourbon flavours it was never a hard one to drink; it went down quite easily in fact and was enjoyable into the bargain.

Overall (14/20): Quite a nice one from Arrogant Brewing here, the beer was definitely stronger than I’d expected going in, despite the fact I knew it was an 8.1% beer when I cracked it open. There was a lot of bourbon and alcohol flavours around the middle of the beer and plenty of darker fruits helped enhance these flavours. I enjoyed the early caramel touches though and the vanilla sweetness that came from the oak was pleasant too. I’m still not convinced it’s a beer I’ll have again but it was a nice one to sip away at and I’m glad I got to try it.

Brewed In: Escondido, California, United States of America
Brewery: Arrogant Brewing
First Brewed: 2009 (Brewery since 2015)
Type: American Strong Ale
Abv: 8.1%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £5.00

Sixpoint Resin

December 6, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.05

A milestone fiftieth double IPA for me now and a fifth beer from the New York based Sixpoint brewery for me now, this one being their flagship double IPA and a beer that I’ve managed to try once already this year when I first discovered JD Wetherspoon pubs were selling it; a place where I’ve found all previous Sixpoint offerings that I’ve reviewed here. This beer is one that I had been wanting to try for some time, it’s one that regularly pops up on my Instagram feed and since I really enjoyed the brewery’s Bengali and Bengali Tiger offerings, I knew this was one I’d have to track down at some point. I grabbed this one last month at Glasgow Airport prior to a trip to Cuba so this one is likely to be one of the last non-Caribbean beers that I’ll be adding here until those reviews are published. Originally released in early 2012 and coming in at 9.1%, I was surprised at just how strong this one was the first time I ordered a can but I went in fully prepared this time and it again proved to be an excellent beer.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a bright amber colour, this one is thick looking and topped with a thin, foamy white head that’s thinner around the edges but that was to be expected given the abv. of the beer; there is an odd bit of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a resinous nose as you would expect given the name of the beer but it was one that also opened up with some nice pine and grapefruit too. There was some nice tropical notes that features early on as well and the alcohol seemed to be well hidden initially. The beer was definitely a strong one with some decent bitterness coming through but it managed to hold a good balance thanks to some semi-sweet notes nearer the end with a little mango and peach too; great stuff.
Taste (8/10): Quite a strong pine and grapefruit opening with plenty of citrus flavours coming through as well before a few lighter tropical fruits started to appear. There was some mango and peach from the nose alongside a little passion fruit and the beer was more pronounced that it was with the nose. There was further pine bitterness towards the end with a touch of sweetness from some caramel in there too which helped it down nicely.
Palate (4/5): A very strong but surprisingly well balanced beer, this one starts with a tangy pine bitterness and plenty of citrus before being quickly backed up by some sticky sweet touches. There is a thick, full bodied feel to the beer with moderate carbonation coming through and a lingering bitterness down the stretch and towards the finish. It’s definitely quite a dry but fresh beer, more so than expected, and there was a slightly warm finish thanks to the touches of alcohol that did manage to sneak through.

Overall (17/20): Solid stuff from Sixpoint here, this one was a hop bomb with tonnes of pine and grapefruit bitterness in the early going before some tropical fruits and citrus flavours started to come through and level things out slightly. The alcohol was well hidden and only really made an appearance right at the end alongside some of the sweet malts and caramel that also helped with the balance of the beer. It was a relatively easy one to drink despite its strength and the only slight negative was that the nose could have perhaps been a little more pronounced but overall it was an excellent beer with a lot of flavour and it’s definitely one I’ll try again at some point.

Brewed In: Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America
Brewery: Sixpoint Brewery
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 9.1%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: The Sanderling (JD Wetherspoons), Paisley, Scotland
Price: £5.25

Stone Enjoy After Brett IPA

November 7, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

Beer number twenty from Stone Brewing now and one that I’ve been looking forward to cracking open for quite some time now, having purchased the beer around the start of the year but having been forced to wait until after the recommended opening date before doing so; since that was a couple of months ago now, it’s finally time to give this one a go. The beer in question is Stone’s Enjoy After Brett IPA (this bottle being the fourth edition of the beer), its unusual follow-up to their Enjoy By IPA that I tried last summer after picking up a bottle in London. Coincidentally this beer and the Enjoy By that I sampled both had the same date on the bottle, only the year being the difference between the two. Definitely an interesting beer here, this one flips convention on its head and recommends not drinking an American style IPA when it’s as fresh as possible but rather cellaring it for upwards of six months and then cracking it open. The beer uses a strain of wild yeast known as Brett, hence the name of the beer, that is added during bottling and slowly acts to change some of the beers properties which is why the recommended date is added to the bottle. Again this is another Stone release that I’m particularly excited about trying and I’m eager to see if it comes out anywhere close to as good as their Enjoy By offering; I guess I’m about to find out.

stone-enjoy-after-brett-ipa-07-04-16

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light golden colour with an absolutely massive head, this one pours with a huge amount of visible carbonation and looks very active with a hazy body and plenty of fine bubbles rising to the surface. Initially pouring with an average size, centimetre or two tall head before getting overly excited and expanding rapidly to end up about three inches tall and overflowing the side of the glass. The head formed a dome shape at the top and looked quite foamy with a white colour and some bubbles up the side of the glass; retention was good too with no movement over the opening couple of minutes but it was a ridiculously large head anyway. After about four or five minutes the head started to reduce somewhat and there was a lot of lacing left down the sides of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a strong yeast nose to open things up, the beer had a definite farmhouse feel to it in the early going with some earthy hops and a touch of citrus coming through. This was followed by a combination of spices and the odd floral note that hinted at a wild ale type nose. There was some faint sweetness in there before some of the more bitter hops and background fruits started to come through. The beer seemed like a fairly dry one on the nose with some pepper and funky notes seeing things out well.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, the beer is quite a zesty and fresh one that comes through with a lot of wild yeast and funky flavours; in particular some earthy hops and citrus flavours seem most pronounced. The beer isn’t an overly hoppy one but some solid bitterness features alongside the bread malts and background fruits; orange, pineapple and some lemon all featuring.
Palate (3/5): Fresh and lively with good, strong carbonation but not quite as much as I’d expected after seeing how active the beer was upon opening the bottle; although that was definitely a positive in this case. There was a lot of zesty and funky flavours with plenty of citrus and spice that gave the beer quite a dry, sharp feel. There was some nice tangy touches at times but the beer was fairly easy to drink, all things considered, but it did seem a lot more like a saison than the American IPA that I expected.

Overall (13/20): This one was definitely an unusual offering from Stone and not exactly what I was expecting from a beer labelled as an American IPA; there was some hop bitterness coming through but for the most part the wild yeast and funky flavours seemed to dominate. There was some background fruits and spice coming through, in particular some citrus flavours and the odd touch of pineapple with quite a dry finish but it was an interesting beer nonetheless. While it’s not one I’m likely to go back to again, mainly due to the price it must be said, it was an enjoyable beer but their Enjoy By IPA still a much better offering than this one.

Brewed In: Escondido, California, United States of America
Brewery: Stone Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2014
Full Name: Stone Enjoy After 07-04-2016 Brett IPA
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (750ml)
Purchased: BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £15.00