One woman's ale journey

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

Monday, 28 September 2020

Guinness Rye Pale Ale

Created for the innovative Brewers Project, Guinness brewers created Rye Pale Ale as a gift for their families but it was so popular that they very kindly decided to share it with everyone.  I've always been a big fan of Guinness; they can do no wrong in my beer-goggled eyes so let's have a look at their Rye Pale Ale.

It pours a deep golden colour with a white head that has the tight, milky appearance of the Guinness head we know and love.  Unfortunately, the head does disappear to a thin foam despite the ale appearing quite fizzy with bubbles reminiscent of a fast-flowing lava lamp.  What head remains tries its best to lace the glass.

The aroma isn't terribly strong but it's predominantly grapefruit and hops with a hint of spicy pepper.  I didn't really get any peach smell but my nose tends to get overpowered by citrus aromas.

A lovely malty flavour comes through on my first sip and then a little kick of grapefruit but there is no citrusy bitterness at all.  It has a very subtle fruit flavour that is perfectly balanced with the malt to produce a crisp, dry and refreshing ale.

It has a good, medium body and bubbles I noticed at first glance are quite harsh at first but they do settle down and it becomes a lot smoother, leaving a nice fuzzy feeling on the tongue.  

A very easy drinking ale that feels light enough to drink by day and strong enough to drink by night.  It's a good all rounder from Guinness, which is nothing less than I'd expect.  Although I remain firmly planted on the dark side, this is one pale to which I'd say Ale Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Guinness Brewery, Dublin
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Monday, 21 September 2020

Loose Cannon Scottish Smokehouse Ale


I set up my blog as a record of all the beers I've tried over the years, good and bad.  Unfortunately, this post is a bad one, although not quite a drain pour it just wasn't to my taste at all and I'm not surprised to find that it is no longer in production.

A deep amber colour with a loose beige head, it looks like my kind of beer.  The head does disappear quite quickly, leaving a thin foamy layer.  It has a reasonably appetising aroma of fruit and malt with the unmistakable aroma of smoke.  

All I could taste in my first sip was smoke and a woody bonfire type smoke at that.  It's very weird, bordering on unpleasant and the aftertaste is awful, leaving a mouthful of smoke lingering on the tongue.  I couldn't taste anything but smoke, smoke and more smoke.  

Thin bodied and watery it has very harsh bubbles filled with yet more smoke that burst their evil contents over every part of my mouth.  Of course, not one to throw in the towel, I kept drinking it and although I got used to the weird flavour I was glad to polish off the last drop.

Like drinking a beer soaked ashtray, Ale NOT Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by Loose Cannon Brewery, Oxfordshire
4.2% ABV

My rating:

Monday, 14 September 2020

Coopers Sparkling Ale


Sparkling Ale from Coopers Brewery in Australia has been in production since 1862 and little has changed in the brewing process.  It's naturally conditioned in the bottle so there is some sediment visible.  Apparently, you're supposed to roll the bottle gently to mix up the sediment before pouring but I preferred to pour carefully and leave it in the bottle.

My careful pour resulted in a surprisingly clear glass of golden ale with a lovely tight white head that leaves tremendous lacing on the glass.  It does look a bit like a lager but it packs a punch at 5.8% so it's not one to be guzzled too quickly.

It has a traditional beery aroma of hops and malt, with the sour hops smell being quite strong.  Flavourwise, it's definitely more malty than I expected with a dry finish but it's not strongly flavoured.  It has quite a thin body and very soft carbonation so I think I maybe should have given that sediment a swirl to get the full sparkling experience.

Crisp, dry and refreshing with the added bonus of a lovely malt flavour, this was much nicer than I expected for a light coloured ale.  It's definitely worth giving it a try if you see it.

Brewed by Coopers Brewery, Australia
5.8% ABV

My rating:
My Untappd score: 3.5/5

Monday, 7 September 2020

Black Sheep Pathmaker


I am a huge fan of North Yorkshire brewery Black Sheep and consider their bitter to be one of my favourite beers of all time.  I don't hesitate to pick up anything new that they brew as you're always guaranteed a quality beer.  

Pathmaker is an American style pale ale, it's a slightly hazy golden colour with a loose frothy head. Unfortunately, it's not a standard Black Sheep head as it does dissipate to a thin layer.  It has a very strong citrus aroma but with a sweet malty edge and a hint of hops and some floral notes coming through.

I was a little worried this would be too much of a citrus flavour for me but it's not as citrusy as the smell would suggest.  It is predominantly citrus flavoured but there is a sweet malt flavour that adds a caramel sweetness to balance out the citrus.  It's fizzy with a decent body and has a dry/bitter finish.

It hasn't quite tempted me over from the dark side, but it's a lovely full-flavoured pale ale in keeping with the quality you expect from Black Sheep.

Brewed by Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire
5.6% ABV

My rating:
My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 31 August 2020

Allendale Pennine Pale

Pennine Pale is a traditional looking pale ale from Northumberland brewers, Allendale.  It's a lovely golden yellow colour with a thick, bright white head that leaves thick lacing on the side of the glass.

It has an intensely fruity aroma, mainly citrus but with some tropical fruit notes and a hint of hops too.  The flavour is unsurprisingly citrus initially but it combines with the hops and malt flavours to take the edge off the bitterness. It's zesty and refreshing without being too pithy and is one of the few citrusy ales I find palatable.

Quite softly carbonated, it has a smooth mouthfeel with little bubbles of bitterness bursting on the tongue.  Pennine Pale is another quality ale from Allendale and a cold one would be perfect to quench your thirst on a hot summer day.  When I fancy something a bit zesty, Ale Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Allendale Brewery, Northumberland
4% ABV

My rating:
My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Monday, 24 August 2020

Darwin Original Flag Porter


When I read the story behind Darwin's Original Flag Porter, I just had to try it.  This porter is brewed to a 19th century recipe using yeast salvaged from a sailing barge that sank in the English Channel in 1825.  The barge was carrying bottles and casks of porter and as the bottles were sealed with wax, many of them remained intact when they were brought to the surface in 1988.  The yeast contained in the porter was cultured and brewed to produce Flag Porter. 

It does make a stunning looking porter when poured into a glass.  It's a very dark brown ale with a ruby tinge and a small, loose beige head.  The head disperses quickly to leave a patchy foam that congregates around the side of the glass.

The smell is absolutely amazing: it is very malty with notes of liquorice and treacle.  It's definitely what I would call a dark and delicious smell and it's right up my street.  All of the aromas transfer to the flavour with the malt, liquorice and treacle combining along with a slightly spicy flavour to produce a light, refreshing ale with a dry finish.  It's a very well balanced ale that just nudges over into the sweet category but doesn't feel over-sweet as the liquorice flavour develops.  

I was torn between wanting to guzzle it all and savouring the small (330ml) quantity I had in my glass.  I ended up savouring it and really felt the liquorice flavour developing with each sip, the only downside being it ended up feeling a bit flat and watery as it's very softly carbonated to begin with.  

I wasn't surprised to see it stated on the label that Original Flag Porter is featured in the book 300 Beers to Try Before You Die and deservedly so; it's not just a lovely porter, it has such an unusual story behind it's conception.  Original Flag Porter, Ale Be Seeing You again and I wholeheartedly recommend other beer lovers to try it.

Brewed by Darwin Brewery, Sunderland
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 17 August 2020

Otter Brewery Otter Ale


I have never had a bad Otter Brewery beer and Otter Ale is no exception.  Just look at how beautiful Otter Ale is.  It's a vibrant amber colour with a loose, frothy cream coloured head; although the head doesn't last long, leaving a thin, patchy layer.

It has a very traditional beery smell of hops, caramel, dark fruits, malt and a hint of spice.  The caramel and dark fruits give the aroma a more sweet than bitter balance.  It's so deliciously malty that I couldn't wait to have a sip.

What a fabulously balanced flavour!  It is very malty with a burnt caramel taste and a dry and bitter finish.  The bitterness is only slightly citrus flavoured so it's not overpowering at all.  I also got some warming spices coming through as the flavour developed.  Mouthfeel is distinctly average with a medium body and medium carbonation.

With the warm, spicy notes it reminded me of a winter ale so you just need a cold night and a roaring fire to get the best out of Otter Ale.  I loved it so Ale Be Seeing You all year round.

Brewed by Otter Brewery, Devon
4.5% ABV

My rating:
My Untappd score: 4/5