One woman's ale journey

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

Monday, 12 April 2021

Darwin Galapagos

I've been really impressed with Darwin Brewery's ales and Galapagos, their chocolate stout brewed with oats, is no exception.

It's a lovely velvety black colour with a loose, rapidly vanishing tan head.  The head disappears after a few minutes, giving it the appearance of a pint of coke.  I would never judge a book by its cover and the same could be said for beer, so it's what it tastes like that counts.

The flavour is DIVINE!  The taste of chocolate is unmistakable but it's perfectly balanced between sweet and bitter.  I could also pick up notes of roasted coffee, sweet malts and liquorice as I greedily guzzled this easy drinking stout.  The aroma is quite similar to the flavour with wafts of chocolate, treacle and dark fruits over an intensely malty base.

With medium carbonation and a medium body, it's all perfectly weighted to give a smooth stout experience with a few tickly bubbles thrown in for good measure.

Galapagos really is an awesome stout.  It's nothing overly fancy but it's so much more than a bog-standard stout.  It's so malty with a perfect sweet/bitter balance that leaves a sweetness on the lips and bitterness on the tongue.  With a good ABV of 6% it ticks all the boxes of a delicious stout to which I can definitely say 'Ale Be Seeing You again!'

Brewed by Darwin Brewery, Sunderland
6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 5 April 2021

McColl's Suma

One thing I've noticed with McColl's core range of beers is that they are extremely lively.  It doesn't matter how slowly or carefully I pour it, the head is always humungous and it took quite a few pours to get a decent amount in my glass.  I poured a second 330ml can into a pint glass in one go and usually the contents of a can of this size would look pitiful but I actually had to stop pouring as the head had started to overflow!  

Suma is a 5% IPA that pours a hazy golden yellow with a huge frothy, off-white head that lasts right to the end, clinging to the glass and lacing on the way down.  There's no obvious sediment but I left a little bit in the can a) just in case there were any bits and b) because it was so lively it would have overflowed if I'd tried to get any more in.

The aroma is amazing, it's so fruity.  It smells like a juicy fruit salad eaten in the garden on a sunny day; grapefruit, lemon and mango with a hint of fresh pine needles.  The flavour is awesome with citrus and pine blending perfectly to give a crisp and refreshing juicy IPA.  It's not overly citrus so it's not pithy at all but it does have a bitter aftertaste as you would expect from an IPA.

It's not as fizzy as I expected from its lively appearance and the carbonation is just right being in between prickly and tickly bubbles.  It has a decent medium body.

As I'm not overly keen on pithy citrus ales, Suma is the perfect IPA for me especially with the hint of mango adding some sweetness to the bitter citrus.  It's an outstanding ale and I love the pine notes that give an added freshness and really make it something different.  I did have two cans so I can definitely say Ale Be Seeing You again but I would advise drinking Suma as fresh as you can as they can be quite explosive when they're within a few months of their best before date.

Brewed by McColl's Brewery, Co.Durham
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 29 March 2021

S43 You're Not You When You're Thirsty

I bought two cans of You're Not You When You're Thirsty and drank them 10 months apart.  Whilst both experiences were quite similar, I do feel that the nutty flavour was intensified in the can I'd kept for a while.

This boozy 9% imperial peanut butter fudge stout pours a very dark brown with a small, loose tan head.  The head does shrink quite rapidly but it leaves a decent foam layer.  There doesn't appear to be much sediment in the can but I did leave a little bit behind just in case.

Oh my goodness the nutty aroma is simply mouthwatering.  The aroma of nuts coupled with chocolate and caramel does actually make it smell like a Snickers bar.  The taste is where I found the biggest difference between my two cans.  My first impression (of the fresh can) was that it was lovely but not really nutty enough whereas the second can was perfect and tasted like it said on the tin.

It's a lovely imperial stout with flavours of chocolate, bonfire toffee, treacle, and fudge with a sprinkling or good handful of nuts, depending on how fresh you drink it.  It's well balanced, with chocolate and toffee tipping the scales towards sweet at first but bringing it back to the centre with the added nuttiness.

Well carbonated with sweet sticky bubbles of fudginess, it's so full bodied that it's almost syrupy and it actually clings to the glass leaving a brown pearlescent sheen behind - if only I could have got my tongue right in!

This is an amazing imperial stout from S43 and I've loved everything I have had from them so far.  It's really something special and there is absolutely no hint of alcohol in the taste which is unusual for such a high ABV.  It's so very moreish that it's surprisingly easy to drink and if it's brewed again (under a different name so Mars don't get upset), Ale definitely Be Seeing You.

Brewed by S43 Brewery, Durham
9% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.75/5

Monday, 22 March 2021

Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropica

Oh wow!  This is sunshine in a glass, it's just missing a little cocktail umbrella and a slice of orange on the rim.

Clwb Tropica is a hazy sunshine yellow IPA with a small tight off-white head that disperses slowly to leave a thin, patchy layer.  

The aroma is AMAZING.  Juicy pineapple, mango and peach leap out of the glass in a very alluring concoction.  It's a lovely, strong, distinct aroma of a tropical fruit punch.  All of this transfers to the flavour with an added citrus note.  I got a mouth-watering taste of pineapple cube sweets at first, followed by a tropical/citrus mix that gives it a zingy bitter finish.

It's not harshly carbonated so it's more of a tongue tickler but it's relatively fizzy which maintains the head and leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass.  It has a thin to medium body, but it's not watery at all.

So if the sun is shining, or you want to be reminded of sunny days, Clwb Tropica is the perfect year-round drink.  I love the tropical taste that really sets it out from the crowd in the oversaturated IPA market.

I loved it and Ale Be Seeing You again, Clwb Tropica!

Brewed by Tiny Rebel Brewing, Newport, Wales
5.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 15 March 2021

Twickenham Red Rye IPA

Brewed for Aldi by Twickenham Brewery this is a lovely deep amber coloured ale with a small, tight beige head.  There might not be much of a head but it stays really tight and laces the glass.

It has a bit of a strange aroma; it's definitely malty but it almost has a hint of sour cherries mixed in with the underlying aroma of citrus and hops.  I found the flavour equally odd; roasted malt and caramel with a bitter citrus and spicy rye aftertaste.  The whole effect is quite understated really and I felt like I had to hunt for the flavours.  It's also quite harshly carbonated with a thin body and feels a little oily on the tongue.

This is a beer that looks a lot better than it tastes.  I didn't like the lingering aftertaste of citrus and rye and felt like I needed to brush my teeth in between sips.  Unfortunately, Ale not Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Twickenham Brewery, London for Aldi 
4.7% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 2.75/5

Monday, 8 March 2021

Ursus Timisoreana

Timisoreana is a lager from Romania and it has a traditional light yellow appearance with a small but frothy bright white head.  It looks like the head will disappear quickly but it's actually surprisingly robust.

Mainly smelling of hops, it has quite a sweet and sour aroma.  It's a lager so there's nothing complex in the smell but it does smell appealing.  It's actually a lot tastier than I thought it would be with a tangy hoppy sourness and a slight metallic bitter aftertaste giving it more of a beery taste than a bog-standard lager.  It also has a lovely crisp and dry finish that I really liked.

Body-wise, it is unsurprisingly thin bodied and it does have quite harsh carbonation with hard little bubbles that grated across my tongue.

It's a lightly flavoured, tangy, crisp, dry lager and is very refreshing so it would be a perfect tipple for a hot, sunny day.  I don't buy a lot of lager so Ale probably not Be Seeing this one again, however, I'm sure that seasoned lager drinkers will love it.

Brewed by Ursus Breweries, Romania
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.25/5

Monday, 1 March 2021

Corsendonk Agnus

Agnus is a lovely deep golden slightly hazy Belgian Tripel with a tight frothy off-white head.  It's quite lively on opening so it needs a slow and steady pour to get it out of the bottle in one go.  The head lasts well and laces the glass.

The aroma isn't strong but it has hints of honey, caramel, hops, biscuit and sweet fruit.  The overall smell reminds me of bananas drizzled in honey.

It really twanged my taste buds when I had my first sip.  Lashings of caramel over ripe banana provide a big hit of sweetness followed by tangy hops and a slight spiciness before finishing with a lovely dry lingering bitterness.  It's pretty fizzy with champagne-like prickly, tingly bubbles and has a medium body.

It's a very refreshing, fruity and well-balanced ale, especially if you have a sweet tooth as it leans more towards the sweet side of the scale and it seems to get sweeter as you drink it.  With the distinctive hoppy, spicy tang of a Belgian Tripel, it's very moreish but at 7.5% ABV you can't glug it too quickly.

Another one that's cracking value, purchased for £6.99 for 4 from Lidl.  You can't go wrong for £1.75 a bottle and it's a quality Belgian ale to boot.  Look out for these hitting the shelves again and Ale Be Seeing You!

Brewed by Corsendonk Brewery, Belgium
7.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5