One woman's ale journey

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

Sunday, 12 November 2017

La Trappe Dubbel


As with all trappist ales, this one burst out of the bottle and I found it quite difficult to keep the head under control whilst pouring.  The frothy beige head does settle to a more manageable tight thick layer after a while.  This dark brown ale has a beautiful ruby glow and you can buy this for around £2.69 at Beer Hawk, so it's quite a reasonable price for a trappist ale.

The caramel malt smells amazing; it oozes treacly sweetness with a slightly sour nose.  First sip is one to savour as the sweetness of the malts give way to a slightly metallic bitter aftertaste.  The overall impression is one of a succulent malt loaf sprinkled with brown sugar as I could taste dark fruits baked in a mouthwatering loaf.  Despite the evident carbonation resulting in the huge initial head, it feels very smooth and would be quite easy to drink quickly but for the high alcohol content.

It's one of those beers that results in you licking your lips long after you've finished it to make sure that you savour every last drop.  Those monks sure knew a thing or two about brewing and Ale definitely Be Seeing this one Again.  

Brewed by De Koningshoeven Brewery, Holland
7% ABV

Pint rating:





Find out more at De Koningshoeven Brewery

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Durham Brewery Bede's Chalice


I've neglected my beer blog of late, so what better way to storm back online than with a 9% Belgian Tripel from my local Durham Brewery.

This is a bottle conditioned beer so I made sure to pour it carefully and managed to get a lovely clear pint, leaving the little bit of sediment in the bottle.  It's a traditional 'beery' coloured ale, being deep golden/light amber with a thin but very very tight off-white head.  The head is so tight that it looks like you've poured a layer of milk on top of your beer - very impressive.

There is quite a complex aroma - at first it just smells of malt and hops but it seems to develop into a smell of fruity peaches with a slightly floral edge as it lies in the glass.  So let's dive in and see what it tastes like.

It tastes exactly as I would expect from an abbey ale with the distinctive sweetness of fermented fruits but with a surprisingly bitter aftertaste.  You can't disguise the high ABV as the strong alcohol content is very apparent in the taste but it doesn't overpower the other flavours, as I've found with some other strong ales.  An added hint of caramel makes it feel initially very smooth until the zingy orange citrus aftertaste tingles your tongue.

A lovely beer for a treat and one Ale Be Seeing Again but I wouldn't have too many or I'd be dancing on the tables...with an empty purse at £4.49 per bottle!

Brewed by Durham Brewery, Durham
9% ABV

Pint rating:





Sunday, 17 September 2017

Consett Ale Works Red Dust


This is one of my old favourites after being introduced to it by a real ale loving ex-boss who used to buy it by the case.  It is named after the red coloured clouds of dust that were formed during the steel making process in the famous Consett Steel Works.

Red Dust is a beautiful deep rich mahogany colour with a frothy beige proper Northern head, although the head does disappear quickly there is enough left to lace the glass.  It smells deliciously fruity on opening with a strong malty aroma which left my mouth watering in anticipation.

Despite the strong aroma, the flavour is not terribly strong but it is absolutely sublime with hints of toffee and biscuit but a definite taste of malt and bittersweet hops.  There is a slight citrus bitter aftertaste that rounds it off nicely.  It is softly carbonated to give a pleasant tickly tongue feeling.

I really like this one, it's easy to drink and not overpowering in flavour; it won't give your tastebuds a work out, it's just a damn fine ruby ale.  Of course, Ale Be Seeing You Again.

Brewed by Consett Ale Works, County Durham
4.5% ABV

My rating:





Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Salute Gold Rover


Salute Brewery is a North Eastern brewery which offers job opportunities to ex-servicemen with a passion for beer.  I love their statement that they make beer brewed with military precision and the poppy logo on the label is absolutely spot on.  As a fan of ruby beers, I really wanted to try their Dragmaster ruby bitter but, when it wasn't available, I picked up Gold Rover at the North Shields Christmas Market 2016.

Gold Rover is a beautiful deep golden colour with a thin loose head that disappears very quickly.  I could smell fruit, hops, malt and some delicious sweet golden honeycomb so I couldn't wait to have a sip.  My first taste impression is one of sweet toffee and caramel but with a hint of sourness.  It's definitely not too sweet; like Goldilocks, it's just right.  Despite the appearance in the picture, it's more smooth than fizzy once the initial burst of bubbles dies down.  It does feel rather thin and watery in the mouth, though.

It's a shame the head disappeared so quickly as it's definitely a decent ale.  Perfectly balanced to be slightly more sweet than bitter, I'd really recommend you give this a try.

Say cheers with beers to those guys and gals who selflessly served our country by supporting Salute Brewery.  Ale Be Seeing it Again!

Brewed by Salute Brewery, North Shields
4.2% ABV

My rating:





Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Shepherd Neame Spitfire Gold


A deep gold fizzy beer with a thin white head giving it the look of a traditional beer.  It smells very strongly of hops, as I've found with all Shepherd Neame ales.  Once my nose got through the strong smell of hops, it is replaced with a fresh pine and tropical fruit aroma.

There is an initial lovey taste of sweet malts but it is quite fizzy which enhances the fruity bitterness that follows.  The aftertaste is creamy rather than bitter which makes it one of the better Shepherd Neame ales.  The head is non-existent after a few minutes which is a shame, but it's very easy to drink and not bad at all for a mass-produced beer.

Definitely one Ale be happy to See Again.

Brewed by Shepherd Neame, Kent
4.3% ABV

My rating:





Find out more at Shepherd Neame

Monday, 31 July 2017

Adnams Dry Hopped Lager


A light straw yellow lager with an almost non-existent head.  It has a lovely fruity pineapple aroma and lots of hops.  It tastes so light and refreshing and it's definitely on the dry side - I almost felt as if it needed a squirt of lime to give it a bit of sweetness and some flavour.

It is different from standard lagers, although it feels quite thin and watery in consistency. It has a slightly sour and bitter taste but is so crisp that it's definitely well labelled as 'DRY'.   Despite the lava lamp appearance, it is surprisingly lightly carbonated and would be a perfect thirst quencher on a sunny day, should we ever get one in the North East of England.

Brewed by Adnams, Southwold, Suffolk
4.2% ABV

My rating:





Find out more at Adnams

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Hogs Back T.E.A.


I can't start my day without a nice cup of tea, so a beer named TEA feels like it was made just for me.  In this case TEA stands for Traditional English Ale, aka bitter.  It's even the beautiful russet/deep amber colour of a good cuppa, but I'm not a fan of cold tea so I'm hoping that's the only similarity.  There's a thin tight beige head that laces beautifully and a delicious aroma of sweet malts tinged with copper coins.

As refreshing as my morning cup of tea, Hogs Back T.E.A. is a smooth, malty, fruity bitter with hints of caramel and a dry finish.  There is no metallic aftertaste that you often get with bitters, making it very palatable indeed.  I'll definitely be looking out for more fantastic brews from Hogs Back.

As an all round bitter person 😉, Hogs Back T.E.A. is most definitely my cup of tea and Ale Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by Hogs Back Brewery, Surrey
4.2% ABV

My rating: