One woman's ale journey

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

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Greene King IPA

I loved the colour of this one but unfortunately that's all I loved.  It's a beautiful copper toffee colour but it has a very loose head that disappeared in a matter of seconds.  It also has a very strange aroma: at first it is hoppy and metallic but then it reminded me of smelly stagnant water, like I often experience with Shepherd Neame ales.

It tastes a little bit malty, quite fresh and with a bitter aftertaste.  I was surprised that there was no hint of citrus as you would normally expect with an IPA, making me think that this should be labelled as a bitter rather than an IPA.  Despite its flat appearance the carbonation is quite harsh and it was an overall disappointing experience.

Brewed by Greene King, Bury St Edmunds
3.6% ABV

My rating:

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Adnams Broadside

Adnams Broadside is the first beer listed in World Bottled Beers by Adrian Tierney-Jones, and you can find out more about this bottle-shaped book here in my beer books section.

This ale is my kind of colour: a deep ruby red with a reasonably tight beige head.  It smells mouthwateringly malty along with the kind of aroma you get when you first open a dark fruit cake.  I didn't smell it for long as I couldn't wait to take a sip!

The taste is predominantly fruity and bitter chocolate but more flavours are apparent as you drink it.  It's quite fizzy and I could taste some spiciness and liquorice, which is very reminiscent of dandelion and burdock, followed by a metallic copper coin bitter aftertaste.  It's a strong one at 6.3% so just aswell the metallic taste is there so you don't mistake it for dandelion and burdock pop.

It definitely tingled my tastebuds and I can see why it is such a popular beer.  I think it would have been a 5 pint rating for me if the metallic taste had been toned down a notch or two; I'm not averse to metallic bitterness but I don't want to feel like I am licking all the copper coins in my purse.

I wouldn't mind another pint of Broadside, perhaps on a chilly winter's evening beside the fire to accompany a slice of fruit cake.

Brewed by Adnams, Southwold, Suffolk
6.3% ABV

My rating:

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Portobello Star

I bought a mixed real ale pack from Laithwaites and found THE HOLY GRAIL OF BEERS.  As I was drinking it I could hear Obi Wan Kenobi saying: 'This is the beer you are looking for.'  Just look at it!  It's a perfect crystal clear amber colour with a thick, tight cream coloured head.

Mouthwatering aromas are released on pouring: sweet malts and fruity hops combined with a hint of floral spice and nutty bread.  I just couldn't wait to dive in and I was not disappointed.

This really is delicious!  It is sweet and bitter with an ever so slight metallic bitter aftertaste at first.  It is perfectly smooth with extra soft bubbles that caress your tongue as you partake in the amazing experience of Portobello Star.  The head remains right to the last drop whilst lacing the glass and I loved every second of this.  Talking of seconds...I wish I could have had seconds but there was only one in the pack.  

If you follow my book blog, The Book Magnet, you will know that I often refer to Disney's Cinderella to identify something extra special.  When I was a very young child, my parents took me to the cinema to see Cinderella.  As we came out of the cinema I was in floods of tears and my Dad asked me why I was crying.  My answer was: 'Because I didn't want it to finish.'  That's exactly how I felt about Portobello Star.  As much as I was loving it and could have greedily gulped it down, I savoured every mouthful as I didn't want it to finish.  I have found my Cinderella beer, although it is proving as elusive to find as the owner of the famous glass slipper who Prince Charming was searching for.  I will wear out my F5 button soon, Laithwaites!

Ale DEFINITELY Be Seeing Portobello Star again and like Prince Charming, I will never give up searching for my Cinderella beer.  

Brewed by Portobello Brewing, London
4.3% ABV

My rating:

Friday, 2 February 2018

Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger

This is my kind of colour: chestnut brown with a frothy, reasonably tight beige head.  As you'd expect from the appearance, it smells so fruity and malty with just a hint of the trademark Shepherd Neame sour hops smell that can sometimes be a bit unappealing.  I was definitely not put off by the aroma in this case as the experience so far invited me to dive right in.

This tastes deliciously malty with a fruity tanginess, sour hops and a hint of liquorice toffee, followed by a bitter chocolate aftertaste.  It is quite fizzy but not too harsh and each bubble leaves a fruity burst of flavour in your mouth.

Bishops Finger is one of the better Shepherd Neame ales and you can often pick it up quite cheap.  It's one I have drank many times so I can definitely say that Ale Be Seeing it Again.

Brewed by Shepherd Neame, Kent
5.4% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Shepherd Neame

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Ringwood Red Boar

Just look at this beauty!  Red Boar is Ringwood's first red ale, it is a delicious mahogany red with a loose beige head that disappeared to a thin foam.  There isn't much of an aroma, nothing I could really identify except perhaps faintly malty and nutty.

First taste was a bit disappointing; it feels very thin without much flavour and it's quite watery with medium carbonation.  After a couple more sips I found it had a very nutty taste and it leaves a surprising bitter aftertaste.  I was disappointed that I didn't really get any hint of the 'subtle roasted malt undertones'; I like my reds more malty than this, but it's only 3.9% ABV so it's more of a light 'day beer'.

It's interesting that Red Boar isn't listed on Ringwood's website but I have had some brilliant ales from them in the past including Boon Doggle and my favourite, Old Thumper.  Red Boar isn't bad for a first red ale, but I'm hoping that version 2.0 is more to my liking.

Brewed by Ringwood Brewery, Hampshire
3.9% ABV

My rating:

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Beer Advent Calendar - Door 24

Well that's all folks!  I've really enjoyed the Morrisons beer advent calendar this year - I've got new beers to try as well as getting reacquainted with some old favourites and, although I think it is a little overpriced at £30 for such small bottles, I would definitely get one again (especially if it's reduced to half price).  

Opening the final door sees a bottle of Williams Joker IPA being revealed.  It is 5% ABV in a 330ml bottle and is described as:

Created from a complex later of malts and blended hops, this well balanced IPA delivers satisfaction every time.  Golden in the glass, fruity on the nose with hints of cedar, Joker IPA is bittersweet, full of flavour and is sure to put a smile on your face.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Beer Advent Calendar - Door 23

The penultimate door has a bottle of St Edmund's Golden Beer hiding behind it.  This beer by Greene King is 4.2% ABV in a 330ml bottle and is described as:

St Edmund, the first Patron Saint of England, lends his name to this fresh golden beer with a citrus finish.  Brewed using pale malt and Cascade and First Gold hops, it's a refreshingly crisp ale.