One woman's ale journey

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

Monday, 20 January 2020

Wadworth Treacle Treat

Wadworth's Treacle Treat looks like my kind of beer!  It's a deep mahogany red/brown colour with a tight but small beige head.

It scores full marks for aroma with mouthwatering smells of treacle (naturally), burnt caramel, sweet molasses, dark fruit and malt.  I couldn't wait to dive in but unfortunately the mouthwatering aromas weren't replicated in the taste.  It has a flavour of caramel, burnt toffee and slight citrus bitterness but I couldn't detect any treacle at all.  It was so disappointing that it didn't quite live up to, not only my expectation, but its very name.  

Watery and thin-bodied, it has average carbonation and the bitterness even tasted kind of soapy.  Although by no means a bad beer, it was very disappointing based on what I expected it to be.  It's definitely a Halloween beer and I think I've been tricked as I definitely wasn't treated to any treacle 😢.

Brewed by Wadworth, Wiltshire 
4.2% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Wadworth Brewery

Monday, 13 January 2020

Birra del Borgo KeTo

KeTo is a porter from my Birra del Borgo variety pack of ales.  KeTo is a very dark brown almost black colour with a frothy light brown head that disperses rapidly, leaving a thin layer.  

Oh what a mouthwatering aroma!  It's VERY malty with hints of liquorice, chocolate and coffee; it's almost like you get a different aroma with every sniff.  Just like I was surprised with the taste from Cortigiana, KeTo also had a big surprise up its sleeve, namely a distinct smoky flavour.  Now usually this would make me retch as nobody likes to experience what I can only describe as licking an ashtray, but with KeTo it mixes surprisingly well with the sweet malt and hint of bitter chocolate.  The tobacco flavour is definitely there but it's not overpowering and works well with the complex flavours.  I also detected a slight spiciness that reminded me of cola.

It's very smooth and full bodied, as you would expect from a porter and it's so softly carbonated that each mouthful gives your tongue a little tickle.  Although it feels like quite a light porter, it packs a surprising punch at 6.5% ABV.  With the adventurous mix of flavours, it's something quite different and one I'd definitely recommend trying.

Brewed by Birra del Borgo, Italy
6.5% ABV

My rating:

Monday, 6 January 2020

Great Newsome Frothingham Best

Now this is just the kind of colour I like my ale: a deep amber reminiscent of molten toffee.  It's a shame it has so little head to complete the perfect picture; the head that is there is very small. consisting of a few beige bubbles that disappear rapidly, leaving just a whisper of foam.

The aroma of malt and sweet caramel gets a big thumbs up for me and there is a slight whiff of sour hops to follow.  The malt aroma transfers on into the taste but the maltiness is very subtle and not as strong as I expected.  The strength of bitterness caught me by surprise with a huge kick of citrus and a metallic tang that lingers far longer than anything I have tasted before.  With such a watery appearance, it's unsurprising a rather thin bodied ale and with little carbonation, feels quite smooth on the palate.

Overall it's a pretty decent English bitter, but it's such a shame that it appears flat and headless.  The lingering bitterness both surprised and delighted me, especially as I'm not a fan of citrus flavours but in this bitter it just seems to work.  Although it's not a beer I'd keep in stock, I'd certainly have another pint if I saw it on draught.

Brewed by Great Newsome, Yorkshire
4.3% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Great Newsome Brewery

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Tyne Bank Down Drury Lane

I recently downloaded the Real Ale Finder app and spotted that one of my favourite local breweries had released a gingerbread stout.  I absolutely love ginger spices and it's not just for Christmas in my house!  The very next day I made my way down to The Steamboat in South Shields to try Tyne Bank's Down Drury Lane for myself.

It's a lovely dark chocolate brown colour but very opaque, more milky than cloudy due to the use of oat milk in the brewing process.  The light brown head is amazingly tight and it's one that Guinness would be proud of.  I was almost quivering with anticipation to get my first mouthwatering whiff of ginger, but sadly couldn't detect anything remotely ginger-like in the aroma.  The smell is hard to describe, it's perhaps most reminiscent of sweet raisins and bitter chocolate.

Ok, so no ginger in the smell...on to the taste.  The first thing I noticed is that there is NO GINGER!  Oh no, I could have cried.  My only concern before tasting it was whether it would be gingery enough; I didn't expect it to not be gingery at all.  The taste is very odd indeed, tangy, sour and bitter but no spiciness.  If I had to describe it, I'd say it was a chocolate milkshake that had been made with sour milk and had a dash of coffee added to it then mixed into a stout.  Rather thin-bodied but very smooth, as a funky stout experiment it's not bad by any means but it was just not what I expected.

Not one I'd recommend or Ale Be Seeing Again, unfortunately.  I desperately wanted to detect some ginger but I don't think even Sherlock Holmes could have detected it.

Brewed by Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle
5.4% ABV

My rating:

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Birra del Borgo Cortigiana

As it's New Years Eve, I thought there was no better time to pay some attention to my severely neglected beer blog.  I am still alive and drinking beer so I'm making a New Year's resolution here and now to blog more in 2020.

I bought a variety pack of Italian brewery Birra del Borgo ales and first up is Cortigiana.  This ale is a cloudy golden yellow colour with a very frothy tight white head.  There is quite a bit of sediment so it needs a careful pour, if you can, but mine burst from the bottle with such force that I didn't quite get it all out of the bottle and ended up with a huge frothy head.

At first I thought that it smelled strangely of vinegar but this soon disappears to be replaced by a strong citrus and hops aroma.  Now normally I'm not a fan of citrus but this has such a delicious aroma of orange, grapefruit and lemon that I found it very appealing.  

The taste surprised me as I was expecting a huge blast of bitter lemon citrus but instead tasted a greater proportion of sweet sun-ripened oranges and zesty grapefruits than bitter lemons.  Blended with the sourness of the hops and a hint of herbal notes, the lingering bitterness is very pleasant indeed.

It's a full bodied ale which is very fizzy with relatively harsh bubbles, which tickle rather than tingle the tongue.  I was surprised how much I liked it and found it a very crisp and refreshing continental pale ale.  It hasn't converted me to pales but Ale definitely Be Seeing You again, Cortigiana.

Brewed by Birra del Borgo, Italy
5% ABV

My rating:

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Adnams Lighthouse

Oh this gets top marks for beauty: a light amber, toffee coloured ale with a perfect creamy head, but will it taste as good as it looks?

It has a very hoppy aroma and smelling predominantly sour and metallic, it doesn't really smell very appetising but on to the taste...

The blend of malt and hops makes this a crisp, dry and refreshing ale; I was surprised that I didn't pick up any metallic taste with it featuring so much in the aroma.  It's quite fizzy and a little oily in the mouth with a subtle citrus bitterness in the aftertaste.

With just enough malts scraping through to make it quite an enjoyable bitter but, at a paltry 3.4% ABV, it wouldn't be one I would necessarily recommend to bitter lovers, however, I think it would be a perfect crisp, refreshing and thirst quenching drink on a summer's day more suited to pale ale fans.

Brewed by Adnams, Suffolk
3.4% ABV

My rating:

Sunday, 20 January 2019

St Austell Proper Job

A traditional looking IPA; deep golden yellow with a slightly off-white frothy head.  There is a bit of sediment in the bottle so you have to pour it slowly and carefully to get a lovely clear ale.  The head is amazingly robust and lasts right down to the last drop.

There isn't a strong aroma but what comes through are yellow fruits; predominantly lemon, grapefruit and pineapple.  As you know, I'm not a fan of the very citrussy beers so this is nice and subtle and not off-putting at all.

I was really surprised with the taste as it is a lot sweeter than I expected.  It's an IPA so it is citrussy but the sweetness takes the edge off it perfectly.  The aftertaste is also quite pleasant; it's bitter as expected but is more juicy grapefruit than lemon squeezy washing up liquid, so that gets a thumbs up from me.  It's quite fizzy in the mouth; tickling the tongue like sherbet.

It's not often I really enjoy an IPA but I really liked this one.  As St Austell have used American hops instead of the traditional Citra hops, the sweetness counteracts the bitterness and blends perfectly to create a very palatable drink for this dark ale lover.

Brewed by St. Austell Brewery, Cornwall
5.5% ABV

My rating: