One woman's ale journey

A beery boozy journey with delightful snacks along the way and a book in my hand.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Black Sheep Yorkshire Square Ale


Pouring a beautiful golden amber, Black Sheep's Yorkshire Square Ale looks like molten toffee in my glass.  It has a small but robust cream coloured head that retains a thin layer while you drink.

The aroma is quite light for this one.  There's a bit of malt and hops but nothing else that stands out for me.  Thankfully, it redeemed itself in the flavour!  It's deliciously malty with a lovely dry finish.  There's also a hint of sweetness (from the addition of demerara sugar) which tastes quite treacly when blended with the malt.  To please bitter fans, there's a slight metallic bitter taste to the dry finish that rounds it all off nicely.

It's quite a fizzy medium bodied ale but the bubbles aren't harsh so it's very easy to drink.  As the bubbles burst on my tongue, I did feel like I could detect a little fizz of demerara sugar.

It's not up there with my favourite Black Sheep ales but it's a decent ale nonetheless.  Being sweet, dry and bitter, it has a bit of everything to appeal to many palates.  I would have it again, but I wouldn't actively seek it out; I'd definitely recommend you give it a try if you see it (you can also find it in Sainsbury's labelled as Yorkshire Bitter).

Brewed by Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.5/5

Monday, 11 January 2021

Banks Caribbean Lager


I'm taking a virtual trip to Barbados today with Banks Caribbean Lager.  It's a golden yellow traditional looking lager with a large frothy off-white head that not unexpectedly disappears quite rapidly.  I served this one cold so there is some condensation on the glass but it's a lovely clear lager.

The aroma isn't strong and I don't know if it was auto-suggestion that made me pick up Caribbean hints of tropical fruit and spices in addition to hops.  It's quite weak in flavour too and I couldn't detect any flavour other than hops, although after a few sips it seemed to get sweeter and more creamy.  It's thin bodied, watery and very fizzy which gives it a spring water like taste and mouthfeel, no doubt due to the Barbados' water that has been naturally filtered through limestone rock.

It's a lager so I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary and although it's very drinkable Banks Caribbean Lager isn't one I'd recommend.  It's a forgettable lager that's just ok; it's too fizzy, too watery and doesn't have enough flavour.  Ale NOT Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Banks Brewery, Barbados
4.7% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3/5

Monday, 4 January 2021

Brasserie D'Achouffe La Chouffe


I'd wanted to try La Chouffe for quite some time as I couldn't resist the cute elf on the label so I added one to my BeerWulf order.  There are quite a few Chouffe beers to collect, each with the own individual named elf on the label, but La Chouffe Blonde (with Marcel the elf on the label) seems to be a good one to start with.

This stunning blonde ale pours a delicious golden colour with a frothy and tight off-white head.  It's well carbonated as evidenced by the abundance of bubbles rushing to the surface to maintain the head, which leaves excellent lacing on the glass.

What a mouthwatering aroma it has.  It has the most amazing smell of fruit such as pineapple, banana, mango and citrus along with an underlying aroma of hops and a hint of spiciness.  The flavour is equally amazing and surprisingly complex with notes of straw, biscuit, caramel and hops as well as floral and spicy hints followed by a slightly bitter citrus finish.  I was so impressed that there wasn't even a hint of raw alcohol in the taste despite it's relatively high ABV of 8%.  It's absolutely delicious!

This award winning, full bodied, strong blonde ale is definitely a top Belgian beer and it's one I'd consider a staple in my beer stash.  Ale Be Seeing You again, La Chouffe.

Brewed by Brasserie D'Achouffe, Belgium
8% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.5/5

Monday, 28 December 2020

Black Sheep My Generation


A bright golden yellow, slightly hazy session pale ale, My Generation is a collaborative brew between Black Sheep and My Generation Beer Co.  As we have come to expect from Black Sheep, it has an amazing thick tight frothy head that leaves excellent lacing.

The aroma is very fruity with underlying hoppiness and a little malt.  It's definitely a citrus fragrance but seems a little sweeter more like pineapple.  The hops gives it a slightly sour aroma too.

The taste of tangy hops and citrus blended with sweet malt give a lovely fresh, bitter finish.  The bitterness is slightly metallic at first but transforms to more palatable citrus as you drink.  Although you can see bubbles, which maintain the head beautifully, it is quite softly carbonated and medium bodied.

With just the right level of citrus for me, this is an easy drinking pale ale and I'd have one again; it's a lovely refreshing beer to drink during the day in Spring/Summer.  Yet again, award winning brewers Black Sheep can do no wrong in my eyes.  Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire
4.7% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Friday, 25 December 2020

Mordue Howay in a Manger

A beauty to behold, Howay in a Manger is a nutty brown colour with a HUGE frothy Mr Whippy style head.  It was quite excitable on opening and came whooshing out of the bottle but I was ready for it and didn't spill a drop.  As Yoda would say, 'Lively one, this is'. 

The aroma is deliciously malty with a hint of sweet caramel, spice, fruity orange and hops.  The smell seems to evolve as it smells of sweet malt and caramel at first, followed by a whiff of slight citrus bitterness and then another hit of malt.  I couldn't wait to dive in for a sip.

Wow!  My eyes closed in ecstasy when I took my first sip and it felt like there was a Christmas party in my mouth as flavours of malt, sweet spice, toffee and dark fruit combine to create a taste explosion.  It's quite fizzy with a decent body and has a lovely creamy mouthfeel.  This really is an amazing winter ale, and just like Wizzard, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day so I could have a pint of this delicious ale.

More malty than a bag of Maltesers, this is an outstanding winter ale with a huge malty kick and I hope Santa puts a bottle of Howay in a Manger in my stocking this Christmas.  Although, just like a puppy, Howay in a Manger isn't just for Christmas and I could happily drink this all year round.  Ale Be Seeing you Again!

Brewed by Mordue Brewery, North Shields
4.3% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.75/5

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Leffe Biere de Noël/Kerstbier


Leffe Biere de Noël is a stunning beer; it's a mid-brown colour with a lovely amber hue and a bubbly cream coloured head.  The head is quite loose so it's not surprising to see it disappear but it does retain a thin foam layer. 

The aroma is so malty with a huge hit of spicy mixed fruit and a hint of smooth, sweet toffee.  It's not a terribly strong smell but it is so appealing and I knew I was in for a real treat as I leaned in for my first sip.  The taste is HEAVENLY; tangy toffee, sticky treacle, sweet malt and a slight hint of cinnamon - this is a dark ale lover's dream.

It's medium bodied and well carbonated which gives the feel of champagne bubbles bursting on the tongue, however, I would have preferred the bubbles to be a little less harsh.  It's a shame it's so fizzy as it was looking like it would score full marks across the board.

An absolutely delicious malty ale with sweet toffee notes and a pinch of festive spice, I'd be more than happy to drink a Biere de Noël again so Ale Be Seeing You!

Brewed by Leffe, Belgium
6.6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.5/5

Monday, 21 December 2020

Uiltje F*ck The Christmas Tree Is On Fire


Dutch brewers, Uiltje have given their festive stout such a brilliant name I just had to grab a bottle from the fabulous online beer shop, BeerWulf.  F*ck The Christmas Tree Is On Fire is an orange and coffee oatmeal stout with a stonking 10% ABV.  Just as well it's only in a 330ml bottle or I'd have been Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.

It's a stout so it's no surprise that it's a very dark brown, almost black coloured ale but the head is so disappointing.  There's almost no head at all, just a tiny bit of froth around the circumference of the beer.

The aroma is exactly what it says on the label: coffee and orange but there's also a hint of spice and a sprinkling of chocolate.  The orange smell is beautiful, it's more like freshly squeezed sweet orange juice than zesty bitter orange peel.

It's a lovely flavoured stout, predominantly coffee and chocolate but the added orange gives a hint of sweetness that balances the bitterness perfectly.  The bitterness comes full circle with a slightly bitter chocolate/coffee finish.  There is also no mistaking the 10% ABV with a hint of raw alcohol in the aftertaste.

With no head from the start, it's has a surprisingly fizzy mouthfeel and it gave my tongue a good tingling.  It has a medium to full body and the oatmeal gives it a creaminess that makes it a little too easy to drink (remember that high ABV!).

It's a very unusual stout; I loved the addition of orange which takes a lot of the bitterness off the coffee and the oatmeal smoothly blends the different flavours.  It's a shame there was no head as the appearance is quite off-putting and although I wouldn't have one again, I'd definitely give it a try if you're a stout lover.

Brewed by Uiltje Brewing Co, Haarlem, the Netherlands
10% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5