One woman's ale journey

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

Friday, 30 June 2017

United Dutch Breweries Oranjeboom Premium Strong

A 7.5% lager beer with a traditional golden yellow body and a bright white head.  It pours crystal clear and has an aroma of hops and sweetness.

Now for a 7.5% ABV beer, I was expecting strong tastes to come through but it's all very subtle.  The initial taste is sour and sweet but this is replaced by a metallic aftertaste and an almost wooden whisky cask or cheap vodka flavour.  Due to the high ABV, you can actually taste the raw alcohol but I would have preferred a bit more beery taste.

I bought it half price from the local shop, so it's not bad for £1.25 but I wouldn't buy another one.

Brewed by United Dutch Breweries, Holland
7.5% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Oranjeboom

Friday, 23 June 2017

Isle of Arran Guid Ale

Although not a particularly eye-catching or attractive label, I was pleasantly surprised to see a gorgeous deep golden ale pour out of this bottle.  It has a thick frothy off-white head that does disperse after a while and there is a slight cloudiness due to a bit of sediment escaping the bottle as I struggled to squeeze out every last drop.

There is a subtle aroma of hops and bitter fruit, slightly floral and sweet but it's not overpowering at all.  So with my eyes and my nose giving the thumbs up, it's time for my tongue to do the tasting.  Again, I was really surprised at the taste explosion I experienced: it's very fruity with a slight bitter aftertaste with a mixture of floral, nutty and lightly malted flavours also coming through.  It's so lightly carbonated that it does feel a little oily in the mouth but it's not unpleasant by any means.  The frothy head lasts quite some time as it leaves lacing down the side of the glass.

At only 3.8%, it doesn't taste like a low alcohol beer: it's soft, creamy, pleasant and refreshing; a pretty 'guid ale'.  Ale be happy to See You Again!

Brewed by Isle of Arran Brewery, Strathclyde
3.8% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Isle of Arran Brewery

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

St Peter's Organic Ale

I love the shape of this bottle - you can't really tell from the picture but its circumference is an ellipse shape and it reminds me of old medicine bottles, the only thing missing is an instruction on the label to "Drink full bottle slowly with feet up."

It is a lovely deep golden ale with a copper hue and a substantial tighter than tight cream head.  The elliptical shape of the bottle did an amazing job of trapping the sediment in its broad shoulders, resulting in a crystal clear ale.  The aroma is one of hops and apples, giving it an enticing cider-like smell.

I was really impressed with the flavour, the hops and malt are superbly blended with a huge kick of bitter marmalade aftertaste.  The bitter aftertaste was a bit too harsh at first but I quickly got used to it.  The carbonation is pretty perfect, neither too harsh nor too soft and it managed to sustain the head to the very last drop.

I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, so Ale be more than happy to See You Again!

Brewed by St Peter's Brewery, Suffolk
4.5% ABV

My rating:

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Bath Ales Dark Side

Time to head over to the dark side.  As black as Darth Vader's helmet, this stout from Bath Ales has a delicious aroma of dark chocolate, treacle and liquorice on opening.  The dark beige head is quite small and loose so rather disappointingly it doesn't last long and leaves no lacing on the glass.

It has an absolutely perfect intense malty flavour that left my mouth watering, followed by a fruity burst and a coffee aftertaste.  It is very fizzy, with harsh coke-like bubbles, but is a very nice experience when the dark chocolate bitter bubbles burst all over your tongue.

All beer drinkers are going to compare every stout with Guinness and none will every match up to the perfection that is the black stuff but, drinking this without comparison, it's a very nice stout indeed.

Brewed by Bath Ales, Bristol
4.0% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Bath Ales

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Dark Star Sunburst

Sunburst by name and sunburst by nature, it's like you have captured the sun in your glass as you pour this pint of golden ale with a thick frothy white head.  More hoppy than the Easter Bunny, it smells of hops, malt, more hops, a bit of citrus and even more hops.  

This is a very crisp and refreshing ale with a thirst quenching hit of citrus followed by a dry, bitter aftertaste.  It has lovely carbonation which sees bitter bubbles bursting on your tongue and leaves fabulous lacing down the side of the glass.

One to sup under the parasol as the sun blasts down on a Summer's day.  I wouldn't mind seeing it again!

Brewed by Dark Star Brewing, West Sussex
4.8% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Dark Star Brewing

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Brutal Pistonhead

I was really surprised with this one.  I'm not usually a fan of golden yellow ales, never mind lagers, so I put off drinking this for a while; a can with a skull on the front can't be good - how wrong I was!  It's a crystal clear traditional looking lager with a bright white loose frothy head and a delicious aroma of hops followed by sweet pineapple.  

It is not at all what I expected.  I can only describe it as sweet and sour and lip-smackingly good.  It is so bubbly, like a glass of champagne but very easy to drink and so refreshing. For a lager, it is full of flavour and so very unusual.  Top marks!

Brewed by Brutal Brewing, Sweden
4.6% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Brutal Brewing

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Schwaben Bräu Das Schwarze

It's so unusual to see a beer with a bottle top these days and you get a satisfying pop like a champagne cork as you lift the bar to release the lid.  There is a lovely malty chocolate aroma as this jet black beer is poured into the glass.  It has an initial substantial frothy beige head that changes to a thin later of foam but it isn't really strong enough to cling to the glass and result in any lacing.  

The malty taste is the first thing I notice and ticks the flavour box for me.  There is a rather pleasant sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste, almost like burnt toffee, caramel and dark chocolate.  As with all pilsner style beers, it is very fizzy and leaves you with a tingly, prickly tongue.  Due to the intense carbonation, it does feel rather thin and pop-like but I can forgive the lack of body due to my appreciation of the taste.

I probably wouldn't go out of my way to buy another one, but if I saw it on the shelf it might just find its way into my shopping basket.  An unusual black beer that I'd say is well worth trying.

Brewed by Schwaben Bräu, Stuttgart, Germany
4.9% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Schwaben Bräu

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Anchor Steam Beer Dry Hopped

How have I not tasted Anchor Steam Beer before now?  It's not something I would usually pick up as I tend to stick to 500ml bottled ales but I received this as a gift and I'll certainly be adding it to my shopping list in future.  Anchor Steam Beer is one mighty fine beer that ticks all the boxes and my only disappointment was that it only comes in a 330ml bottle.

It is a beautiful cloudy amber colour with a blood orange glow and a HUGE frothy cream coloured head.  It hissed and fizzed out of the bottle on opening along with subtle aromas of hops, orange citrus and tropical fruit.  It has a lovely dry bitter taste and it wasn't as fizzy as I expected.  The carbonation is very soft making it a smooth, refreshing, perfectly balanced and easy drinking beer.

This is definitely a beer Ale Be Seeing Again, and it certainly shows that good things come in small packages.

Brewed by Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, USA
4.9% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Anchor Brewing

Friday, 2 June 2017

Hardknott Infra Red

Now that is one fine looking beer!  Unsurprisingly from the name, Infra Red is a deep ruby red beer with a frothy beige head that almost attempted to spill over the glass and left such tremendous lacing that I had to get the Brillo pad out.  It gives off the most amazing orange and toffee aroma with a slight hint of something floral and fragrant.

I changed my mind so quickly about this beer as the initial burst of sweet burnt toffee and yummy malt changed to a very harsh bitter aftertaste.  It certainly gave my tastebuds a wake up call and my tongue felt like it had been stabbed by a million bubbles carrying daggers dripping in grapefruit pith.

I really wanted to love this one but it wasn't really for me; I just felt it was a little too harsh as you often get with stronger alcohol content beers.  It gets full marks for looks but not so much for taste, so unfortunately not one Ale Be Seeing Again but if you like citrus bitter tasting beers, you will love this one!

Brewed by Hardknott, Cumbria
6.2% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Hardknott

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Wylam Red Kite

So I looked at my beer notes before writing my review and they were very helpful indeed:
'Wylam yum yum yum'
Luckily, Red Kite is a beer I know and love so I can share a bit more of exactly what I meant by 'yum, yum, yum'.

Red Kite is a deep ruby red, brown coloured ale with a teeny tiny thin beige head.  It is very highly carbonated as you can see from the many bubbles clinging to the glass.  As we say in the North East, it smells 'MALTY AS OWT' with aromas of treacle, fruity malt loaf and a slight metallic hint.

The malty aroma is replicated in the taste which is delicious (hence the 'yum yum yum').  It has a perfect helping of maltiness with a balance that is more sweet than bitter.  There is a very faint metallic aftertaste, which is not unexpected from a traditional 'scotch' type ale.

Despite all the bubbles, there isn't much head but you forget about that the moment it hits your lips.  As soft bubbles caress the tongue and burst with malty fruitiness, you find yourself savouring every drop.

Another cracking local ale; perfectly balanced and deliciously malty, Ale most definitely Be Seeing Red Kite Again.

Brewed by Wylam Brewery, Tyneside
4.5% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Wylam Brewery