One woman's ale journey

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

Monday, 13 July 2020

BrewDog Clockwork Tangerine

There are a lot of fruit infused beers around at the moment and I find them lovely and refreshing, so let's see what I thought of Clockwork Tangerine, the citrus session IPA from BrewDog.

This pours a beautiful deep golden or light amber with a lovely orange hue.  If it didn't have the frothy cream coloured head, you could almost mistake it for a glass of Irn Bru.

I was expecting a huge whiff of tangerine when I popped the lid off the bottle but instead got more of a light hoppy aroma.  It does have a hint of tangerine when it develops but if I wasn't looking for it I wouldn't really have noticed it.

On to the taste and there is a definite flavour of tangerine, although it isn't overpowering, coupled with hops and caramel.  The tangerine hint adds an initial bit of sweetness followed by a bitter pithy aftertaste.  The bitterness lingers slightly too long for my liking and builds up over time, turning into more of a grapefruit than orange citrus.  It's fizzy but a bit thin-bodied and watery, but that's what you'd expect in an IPA.

Crisp and dry, there's a little too much pithy bitterness to be refreshing but I have to applaud BrewDog for getting the tangerine flavour absolutely spot on.

Brewed by BrewDog, Ellon, Aberdeenshire
4.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Find out more at BrewDog Brewery

Monday, 6 July 2020

Tiny Rebel Peaches and Cream

Award winning Welsh brewers, Tiny Rebel, are well known for inventive and original beers.  If you like your beer to taste of beer, then Tiny Rebel aren't for you but if you like something new and different then they're right up your street,

I set out on my Tiny Rebel journey with a can of Peaches and Cream that I bought from Block & Bottle in Gateshead (before they moved over the Tyne to Newcastle).  

As soon as you crack open the can there is no mistaking that this a peach flavoured beer; the smell of sweet peaches really couldn't be more peachy if it was an actual peach itself.  It does smell absolutely amazing; it's like a cross between a bowl of freshly cut peaches and an old fashioned peach melba (when they were orange instead of yellow).  Could it BE more peachy?

When it is poured it is a hazy yellowy orange colour with an amazing tight and frothy cream coloured head.  This is the best head I have ever seen on an IPA; it lasts right to the end and clings to the sides of the glass in foamy clumps.

I have to admit to being a little nervous as I moved in for my first sip.  It smells so intensely peachy that I worried it would be more of a peach juice than a beer but Tiny Rebel sure know what they're doing.  It's not as strongly peach flavoured as I expected, but the peach flavour is definitely there along with a creaminess that I can only describe as clotted cream ice cream.  

The sweet fruit flavour makes it a very refreshing drink and the added cream flavour makes it feel rich and decadent like a very special treat.  It's medium bodied and well carbonated but feels oddly smooth due to the creaminess.

Tiny Rebel have really hit it out of the park with this one; it's absolutely divine and I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for it being brewed again.  It is exactly what it says on the tin so steer clear if you don't like peaches.  I'm counting this as 1 of my 5 a day so Ale definitely be Seeing Peaches and Cream again!

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

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.5/5

Find out more at Tiny Rebel Brewing

Monday, 29 June 2020

Rudgate Valkyrie

What a beautiful looking pint this is!  Valkyrie, an American pale ale, is a deep golden ale that has a slight pink tinge as it pours, as I've found with all of my Rudgate ales so far.  It has a small, loose cream coloured head that disperses to leave a thin foam layer.

The aroma is delicious; it has quite a sweet smell of hops, mouthwatering gooey caramel and soft ripe tropical fruits.  All of these smells transfer to the taste which is predominantly sweet caramel drizzled over ripe, juicy tropical fruits.  I could definitely taste passion fruit but not so much of the citrus that is mentioned on the label; as I'm not a fan of too much citrus, I certainly wasn't disappointed about that.

Valkyrie has a very soft mouthfeel, which resulted in a couple of lost points on my scorecard; it is so softly carbonated that you can hardly feel any bubbles at all.  It has a medium body but is slightly on the watery side, which isn't unexpected in an APA.

I often find American pale ales too harsh but I really liked this one; it isn't bitter at all and the sweetness level is just right.  I was surprised how much I liked the passion fruit flavour; it's very unusual and gives the ale a distinct flavour.  Well done Rudgate, Ale Be Seeing Valkyrie again when I fancy a pale ale.

Brewed by Rudgate Brewery, York
5.0% ABV

My rating:
My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Find out more at Rudgate Brewery

Monday, 22 June 2020

Morland Old Golden Hen

You can't really go wrong with Morland's (now Greene King) Hen range so I thought I'd give award winning Old Golden Hen a try.  Just look at that beautiful golden pint - it's like sunshine in a glass!  It's a deep golden beer with a loose, frothy cream coloured head.  The head doesn't last long, although what is there does cling to the side of the glass.

The aroma is very hoppy with hints of tropical fruit, along with some malty biscuit and caramel once it settles in the glass.  It's so hoppy at first that the aroma wafts out of the bottle as soon as it is opened.

Unsurprisingly, with such a strong hoppy aroma, it tastes deliciously hoppy with a hint of fruit drizzled with caramel.  It's very crisp dry and refreshing with medium body and an abundance of hop filled bubbles that fizz around your mouth with each sip.

Although I felt like I should be enjoying it in a beer garden on a sunny day, it can also bring the sunshine indoors on a grey day.  Old Golden Hen is a lovely golden beer that Ale Be Seeing again.

Brewed by Morland Brewing, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
4.1% ABV

My rating:
My Untappd score: 4/5

Find out more at Morland Brewing

Monday, 15 June 2020

Rudgate Jorvik

The next beer out of my Rudgate box is Jorvik, labeled as a light, refreshing and fruity blonde ale.  As with the Rudgate pale ale, this has a weird pink hue and looks very light as it initially pours out of the bottle, ending up a slightly hazy weird pinky golden colour.  It has a small off-white head that lasts surprisingly well, maintaining a thin layer as you drink.

The aroma is hoppy and fruity; predominantly grapefruit along with some kind of stone fruit like peach or apricot.  The blend of hops and fruit results in a slightly floral smell but is light enough that it isn't off-putting.  I was very pleasantly surprised on my first sip as flavours of hops, caramel, stone fruit, citrus and melon combine to give my tastebuds a workout, followed by a lovely dry and bitter finish.  

Well carbonated and medium bodied, Jorvik is a very refreshing and fruity blonde ale.  It is the weirdest coloured blonde ale I've ever seen but what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in taste as it perfectly balances its sweet and bitter flavours.

Brewed by Rudgate Brewery, York
4.6% ABV

My rating:
My Untappd score: 3.5/5

Find out more at Rudgate Brewery

Monday, 8 June 2020

John Smith's Original

I do like a bitter and John Smith's is my go-to cheap as chips beer if I find myself in a pub with a poor choice of real ales.  Pubs serve the John Smith's extra smooth variety, which is in the green can, but when Amazon pantry had a 4 pack of original for £1.75 I couldn't check out fast enough.  So at just under 44p per can, let's see what I thought.

I love the colour of this, it's a clear chestnut brown ale with a frothy and loose cream coloured head.  The head disappears quite quickly, leaving a patchy foam layer.  The aroma is pretty uninspiring; it's more metallic than anything else with an underlying dirty water smell.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  I kept the faith as John Smith's had never failed me!

It definitely pulled its socks up in the taste.  It's so easy to drink with delicate notes of sweet malts and bitter hops along with a delicious nutty flavour.  It's light, fizzy and so very easy to drink.  I do think I prefer the John Smith's Smooth but I'm glad I tried this one; indeed who wouldn't try it for the amazing bargainous price I paid?

John Smith's is my not so guilty pleasure and I'm not ashamed to say Ale Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by John Smith's Brewery, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire
3.6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Find out more at John Smith's Brewery

Monday, 1 June 2020

Otter Brewery Otter Bright

It says on the label that Otter Bright is a lager beer but I think it's doing itself a bit of a disservice as it's definitely more of a pale ale than a lager, in my opinion.

Looking like a very traditional pint of beer, it's a lovely golden colour with a small, loose off-white head.  The head disappears faster than I'd like resulting in just a thin foam after a few minutes before disappearing altogether.

The aroma is very hoppy with notes of honey, caramel, biscuit and just a hint of fruity citrus.  All of these smells transfer to the taste with the sweet notes of honey and caramel being followed by a mild citrus bitterness.  The citrus level is perfect for me with no hint of lemon squeezy washing up liquid to be found.  As you would expect with a pale ale, it's relatively thin-bodied but well carbonated which gives it a pleasant silky mouthfeel.  

Very crisp, dry, refreshing and so easy to drink, this is definitely a beer I'd have in my fridge for a sunny day.  Otter Bright, Ale Be Seeing You Again.

Brewed by Otter Brewery, Devon
4.3% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Find out more at Otter Brewery

Monday, 25 May 2020

Rudgate Pale

A mixed pack from Rudgate in York was one of the first (of many) packs of beer I bought when the UK went into lockdown.  I hadn't tried any of their beers before so I thought I'd start light with their pale ale.

When I first started to pour it, I thought it was almost colourless then it appeared to have a strange pink hue.  I started to get nervous and wondered if Rudgate had bottled pink champagne instead of pale ale.  It turned out a surprisingly nice light golden colour with a small, relatively loose off white head that holds on for a while to leave a thin foam layer.  There is some sediment in the bottle so it needs a careful pour to get a clear pint.

The aroma is deliciously hoppy with hints of honey and caramel along with zesty citrus and tropical fruits.  The flavour, however, is disappointingly weak with very little taste.  The initial taste is predominantly hops, honey and straw but it does develop slightly over time to become more fruity.  There is a slight citrus bitterness to the aftertaste and, as I'm not much of a fan of pithy citrus, the citrus flavour is subtle enough to be palatable for me.

Although it has decent carbonation, it has a very thin and watery mouthfeel but then again it's quite a light beer at 3.8%.  It's not terribly tasty but it's very light, clean and refreshing; it's what I would call a nice summery day beer - it'll quench your thirst without having you dancing on the tables.

Brewed by Rudgate Brewery, York
3.8% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3/5

Find out more at Rudgate Brewery

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

S43 Pretzels on my Mind

I saw a lot of posts on social media with beer lovers getting excited about Pretzels on my Mind, an imperial chocolate pretzel stout from Durham brewers S43, so when the fabulous Newcastle beer shop Centrale said they had it in stock I made sure that I grabbed one!  Now I'm not one to spend a lot on a single beer but at 10% ABV it warrants the £5.95 price tag so I decided to treat myself and what a treat it was.  It's such a special beer that I'm posting my review on my birthday - hoppy beerday to me!

Just look at that colour!  It's very dark brown almost black with a light brown tight foamy head that settles into a milk-like appearance.  The aroma is mouthwatering; chocolate, malt, treacle and liquorice waft out of the glass once you get past the initial strong smell of alcohol due to that whopping 10% ABV.

I was both nervous and excited to get my first taste, desperate to know whether it lived up to the hype.  Oh. My. God.  My mouth has died and gone to heaven.  So many dark and delicious flavours burst on my tongue; lashings of chocolate, liquorice and treacle with just a hint of salt.  The chocolate is a perfect blend, both sweet and bitter, and the hint of salt lingers on my lips.  Aside from the initial smell of alcohol when I first poured it, there's no overpowering booziness in the flavour so the high ABV is well covered.  It is exactly what it says on the tin.  

It's super-full bodied and almost syrupy; if you swirl the glass you can see it clinging to the sides.  It's very smooth and thick and I've never had anything so viscous.  Although it took me absolutely ages to drink it, as I wanted the whole experience to last as long as possible, the head retained a thin layer throughout.

Pretzels on my Mind is an absolutely OUTSTANDING imperial stout.  It's so rich and decadent that I savoured every single mouthful.  I score my beers out of 50 and Pretzels on my Mind scored a whopping 49; it only lost a point for the initial smell of alcohol and if I hadn't been so eager to stick my nose in I probably wouldn't have even noticed it.  So I think it's fair to say that Pretzels on my Mind scored top marks and if I ever get the chance, Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by S43 Brewery, Durham
10% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 5/5

Find out more at S43 Brewery

Monday, 18 May 2020

Grounding Angels Mr. Stouty Pants

The fabulously named Mr. Stouty Pants was the whole reason I placed an order with Hexham-based brewery, Grounding Angels.  I love stout and just had to try this one; I am delighted to report that I was not disappointed (just as well as I ordered 5 of them!).

Pouring a very dark brown/almost black with a loose rapidly disappearing light brown head, the delicious malty aroma leaps out of the can as soon as you open it.  Along with malt, there's chocolate, treacle, liquorice, molasses and a hint of coffee.  It really does smell amazing and my mouth was watering as I leaned in for my first sip.

What a delicious blend of flavours!  The taste is quite extraordinary; a lovely blend of malt, chocolate and coffee with absolutely no bitterness whatsoever.  There's a slight smokiness and a hint of sweet treacle but the overriding taste of milk chocolate is divine.  It's relatively softly carbonated and the body is quite thin for a stout but the taste is so outstanding that you can forgive these little slights.

Brewed with local grown Golden Promise Barley, 11 different speciality malts and finished with Madagascan vanilla, cacao nibs and freshly roasted Pilgrims coffee from Holy Island, Mr. Stouty Pants is a very easy drinking stout.  Although the body makes it feel quite light, it's surprisingly strong at 5.6% and one to be savoured rather than devoured.  It's a shame its rapid loss of head gives it a flat appearance and makes it look like a glass of coke but the flavour more than makes up for it.

Even if I didn't already have another four cans, Ale Be Seeing You Again Mr. Stouty Pants!

Brewed by Grounding Angels Brew Co, Hexham, Northumberland
5.6 % ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.5/5

Find out more at Grounding Angels Brew Co

Monday, 11 May 2020

BrewDog Slot Machine

It's not an optical illusion (or a very small glass), this is a 660ml gigantic bottle of Slot Machine, a red rye IPA from Scottish brewers, BrewDog.  It pours a beautiful russet brown colour with a huge frothy but tight beige head.

The aroma is mainly malt and biscuit with hints of citrus fruits and warm spice.  The initial flavour is predominantly citrus followed by a floral, spicy taste.  As you drink it, the citrus flavour seems to diminish and more toffee and caramel flavours develop.  The citrus flavour remains throughout to give a lingering bitter aftertaste.

Surprisingly softly carbonated, it has an almost smooth mouthfeel and is a full bodied ale.  The head leaves good lacing on the glass and I loved the developing toffee flavour which takes the edge off the initial citrus hit.  The spicy rye flavour is well balanced, giving more of a hint than a full hit which can often take over.  

It's a decent red rye IPA and very drinkable, which is just as well as I got two full 330ml glasses out of the oversized bottle.

Brewed by BrewDog, Ellon, Aberdeenshire 
5.2% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at BrewDog Brewery

Monday, 4 May 2020

Original Stormtrooper Galactic Pale Ale

May the force be with you

My second beer review for Star Wars Day is this Galactic Pale Ale from The Original Stormtrooper.  I bought this one from the amazing House of Trembling madness in York before I picked up the gift pack with glass from B&M.

This pale ale pours a traditional deep golden yellow colour with a tight off-white head.  The head holds surprisingly well for a while before dispersing to a thin foam.  The aroma isn't terribly strong but it is mainly hops, biscuit and straw with a hint of orange citrus and honey.

Moving on to the taste which disappointingly isn't that strong either.  I could only really taste hops and honey before getting a dry and bitter aftertaste.  A weak taste coupled with soft carbonation and a thin almost watery body meant it wasn't an out of this world experience at all.  It took me a while to drink it and I found that the flavour does develop slightly over time into more of a bitter which I liked.

I honestly thought I would have preferred the Galactic Pale Ale to the Lightspeed Pilsner but the pale ale was just a bit too weak on flavour for me.  Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad beer but it only just scrapes a 4 pint rating, sitting right on the fence with a score of 3.5 out of 5.

Brewed by St Peter's Brewery, Suffolk
4.2% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.5

Find out more at The Original Stormtrooper

Original Stormtrooper Lightspeed Pilsner

It's the 4th of May so Happy Star Wars Day!  I really couldn't have found a better beer to review today than The Original Stormtrooper beers from St Peter's Brewery so I'm posting not just one but two reviews today!  I bought the Lightspeed Pilsner in a gift pack with a glass for £5.99 from B&M in December 2019 but you can also buy glasses and gift packs direct from Original Stormtrooper for the Star Wars fan in your life!  Just click here to take a look.

May the force be with you

Gift set from B&M
As I'm a fan of ale from the dark side, I haven't really experienced a lot of pilsner, however, this Lightspeed Pilsner more than exceeded my expectations.  It is a deep golden yellow colour with a frothy and surprisingly robust cream coloured head.  The aroma is deliciously hoppy and smells strongly of sweet stone fruits with a hint of citrus.

For a pilsner, it is surprisingly flavourful; a lovely blend of malt and hops is evident in the taste along with a grassy and sweet fruit flavour.  I didn't really get any hints of sweetcorn that was mentioned on the label but it may have mixed in with the sweet stone fruits I could taste.  The initial blast of flavour is then followed by a delicious crisp and dry bitter finish.

With medium carbonation and medium body, it's a very refreshing beer.  It most certainly lives up to it's  description of 'lager with a twist'.  It's been years since I've had a lager but the addition of fabulous bitterness pushes this more into the ale category for me.  This could definitely bring a lager drinker over to the dark side of real ale. 

I would definitely have this again, especially as a light refreshment on a sunny day, so Lightspeed Pilsner Ale Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by St Peters Brewery, Suffolk
4.2% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75

Find out more at The Original Stormtrooper

Monday, 27 April 2020

Grounding Angels Chasing the Horizon

I recently found Northumberland brewery Grounding Angels Brew Co on Instagram and when I saw that they were offering local home delivery it was definitely an offer that was too good to refuse.  So doing my bit to support local businesses during lockdown, I chose a mixed case of 12 cans and a couple of hours later they were in my fridge.

First up is Chasing the Horizon, a New Zealand NEIPA.  I was a bit put off by the cloudy, opaque and slightly weird juice-like appearance at first but the amazing aroma of fresh mango, orange and lime more than made up it.  It really does resemble a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice when the loose frothy cream coloured head disappears.  If I could drink beer for breakfast, this would definitely be one I'd choose!

The aroma is unbelievable; it's so deliciously fruity and the mouthwatering aroma continuously wafts out of the glass as if it was a scented candle.  It smells like a bowl of freshly peeled fruit comprising orange, mango, peach and lime; it's very exotic and summery.  Everything I smelt in the aroma was replicated in the taste along with a hint of spice and a citrus bitter finish.  It really is a lovely blend and so very refreshing.

It's a full bodied ale with a smooth appearance but has the perfect amount of carbonation to give the tongue a good tickling.  It's like a beer cocktail and just needs a little cocktail umbrella and a slice of lime on the side of the glass to look the part.  It's not something I'd usually pick but I'm so glad that I did as I really liked it; with the balance being more tropical fruit than citrus, it turned out to be more my kind of thing than I thought.  As I bought 4 cans, I can definitely say Ale Be Seeing You Again!
Brewed by Grounding Angels Brew Co, Hexham, Northumberland
5.3% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Grounding Angels Brew Co

Monday, 20 April 2020

Black Sheep Ram Tackle

I consider Black Sheep Brewery to be one of my favourite breweries and ruby one of my favourite types of ale so it's almost as if Ram Tackle was made for me.  I like my ruby ales more on the dark side but there's no denying that this is a beautiful looking ale.  It's a mouthwatering amber colour and looks like molten toffee with the trademark thick and creamy Black Sheep head.

The aroma isn't terribly strong but I got whiffs of hops (unsurprisingly as there are 8 varieties of hops in it), juicy raisins, biscuit and caramel.  The aroma matches the flavour with malty biscuit flavours transforming into tangy bitterness.  The bitter aftertaste is lovely and if I had a blindfold on, I'd have said it was a bitter rather than a ruby ale.

With decent carbonation, a smooth mouth feel, medium body and amazing lacing, you can tell it's a Black Sheep ale.  I would have liked a stronger flavour to give my taste buds a workout but it's another quality ale from Black Sheep and one Ale Be Seeing again.

Brewed by Black Sheep, Masham, North Yorkshire
4.1% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Black Sheep Brewery

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Andwell King John

This is a very special review today as I'm posting my review of King John from Andwell Brewing Co on what would have been my Uncle John's 70th Birthday.  My Uncle John loved his beer and I always thought of him as the fastest drinker in the West; he certainly managed to drink his home brew long before it was ready, that's for sure!  

I inherited my love of beer from Uncle John; he bought me my first legal drink (a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale that I thought tasted like a bag of rusty nails) and he taught me that a good pint should be filled to the brim.  If your pint is looking a bit short ask the bar if they can put a shot of whisky in it, if the answer is 'yes' then ask them to top it up with beer.  I know he would have loved drinking some of these beers with me so this one's for you, Uncle John.

Uncle John and my Dad in 2009
There's no way they were neck and neck in the pint stakes.
Uncle John would have been at least 2 pints ahead.

So from Uncle John to King John.  Let's see if I love them both.

King John is quite the little beauty; a beautiful chestnut brown colour with a small but long lasting tight beige head.  The aroma is absolutely mouthwatering; so malty and fruity with a hint of caramel and hops.  I couldn't wait to have a sip and it was like all my malty dreams had come true!  The blend of flavours is absolutely spot on.  Malty perfection with a hint of fruit and a very subtle bitter aftertaste.

It's quite fizzy with decent body, although a little on the watery side.  The lacing is superb for such a small head and it's a top notch amber ale.  I was only disappointed it was in a tiny 275ml bottle.  Uncle John would have definitely asked for a top up of this one!

If I find an online or local stockist of Andwell's King John, Ale Be Seeing You Again and Again!

Brewed by Andwell Brewing Co, Hook, Hampshire
4.2% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Andwell Brewing Co

Monday, 13 April 2020

Purity Pure UBU

Pure UBU definitely looks like my kind of ale: a deep amber, molten toffee coloured ale with a very very tight thick beige head.  That's what I call a perfect looking pint.

There's quite a lot going on in the unusual aroma; I could smell hops and malt at first then hints of sweet spice, ginger and fruity banana.  It smells very fresh and appetising so I couldn't wait to dive in for a taste.  My first impression is that it's reminiscent of a proper old fashioned bitter; quite light in flavour initially followed by the most intense metallic kick.  I do prefer metallic over citrus bitterness but this was a little too heavy metal for me.

It's quite thin bodied with medium carbonation but the head is amazing.  It's very thick and doesn't seem to lose a millimetre of it's height whilst still managing to thickly lace the glass.

Pure UBU is a decent amber ale that will appeal to bitter fans who like their bitter to taste of copper coins rather than lemon squeezy washing up liquid.

Brewed by Purity Brewing, Warwickshire
4.5% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Purity Brewing

Monday, 6 April 2020

Three Kings Silver Darling

I absolutely love the funky brown paper bag packaging of Silver Darling from local Tyneside brewery Three Kings; it's so fresh and unusual but, as with most things, it's what's inside that counts.

As I couldn't see inside the bottle, I poured this bottle conditioned pale ale slowly just in case there was any sediment and it came out surprisingly crystal clear.  It's a lovely deep golden yellow colour with a bright white frothy head that doesn't budge due to the lava lamp style bubbles constantly rushing to the surface.  The head is very robust and doesn't so much lace as clump because it's so thick; it lasts right to the very last drop and beyond, as evidenced by the clump of foam that was left in the bottom of my glass when I finished.

It's a pale ale so there's an unsurprising aroma of citrus but I could also smell sweet biscuit and some delicious malt.  I braced myself for a citrus explosion as I took my first sip but I was pleasantly surprised to find that there's just the right amount of hops to take the edge off the citrus flavour.  It has a strong bitter aftertaste of grapefruit mixed with sweet fruit and the abundance of harshly carbonated bubbles felt like they were doing the tango on my tongue.

Refreshing and strong, I really enjoyed Silver Darling; drinking it reminded me of sitting on the banks of the Tyne in the sunshine and I have no doubt that Ale Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Three Kings Brewery, North Shields
5.6% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Three Kings Brewery

Monday, 30 March 2020

Otter Bitter

Otter Bitter is a beautiful light amber traditional looking bitter with a small, loose off-white head.  I was a bit disappointed that the head disappeared so quickly giving the beer a flat appearance but what it lacks in appearance, it certainly makes up in the aroma and flavour.

There's a mouth-watering aroma of malt and fruit, particularly juicy ripe apples, with a slight metallic tang as you would expect from a bitter.  It's quite light at 3.6% so I wasn't surprised to find that the initial flavour is not overly strong, but I tasted toffee and biscuit followed by a slight bitter aftertaste.  Although the taste is quite subtle at first it seems to develop with every mouthful and the delicious bitterness really takes over.

It's a beautifully smooth bitter; medium bodied with soft carbonation which somehow manages to produce a sherbet-like fizz on the tongue.  I found myself enjoying it more and more and was quite disappointed to drink the final drop, especially when I'd only bought the one bottle.

Otter Bitter is a very pleasant traditional English bitter and Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Otter Brewery, Devon
3.6% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Otter Brewery

Monday, 23 March 2020

Brains Spill the Beans

Time to visit the dark side with a coffee porter brewed for Aldi by Welsh brewery, Brains.  Now this definitely gets full marks for appearance.  What a thing of beauty!  Dark and delicious this a dark brown ale with a thick, tight beige coloured head.

The first thing I noticed about the aroma was the distinct lack of coffee smell; instead I got hints of lovely sweet malt, treacle and chocolate.  I do sometimes find coffee aroma rather off-putting in a beer so this got a big thumbs up for me, although I was slightly concerned that Spill the Beans wasn't going to live up to its name.

I needn't have worried and I should've known that the fabulous guys and gals at Brains would come up trumps!  The first sip results in a delightful mix of dark malt and sweet chocolate exploding in the mouth followed by the most amazing aftertaste of coffee.  Now this is really difficult to get right as we all know that coffee and chocolate can be very bitter, especially when they appear together.  Somehow, this isn't bitter at all; it's sweet rather than bitter but there's no doubt that the coffee flavour is there.

Softly carbonated and very full bodied, Spill the Beans in much nicer than I imagined.  I bought it as a bit of a gimmick and also I was swayed by a bargain as it was less than £1, but I was very pleasantly surprised.  The coffee taste is simultaneously subtle enough to not be overpowering but strong enough to remind you that it is there.  It's an outstanding porter and one Ale Be Seeing Again.

Brewed by Brains, Cardiff
4.4% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Brains Brewery

Monday, 16 March 2020

Adnams Triple Knot

Having tried quite a few Adnams ales, I was really looking forward to trying this one.  Just look at the beautiful bottle with the old fashioned bottle stopper; full marks to Adnams for presentation.  Unfortunately, that's the only full marks I was able to give them.

The beautiful golden colour is slightly let down by the very thin white head that disappears in the blink of an eye.  Now I know that beauty isn't only skin deep so I moved in for a sniff and oh my goodness, it smelled like I had poured a fruit liqueur over some fermented fruit.  I was almost afraid to taste it, but needs must!

No no no, this isn't beer is it?  With flavours of fruit and honey it reminded me of the sweet wines you taste when you go on the excursions to vineyards in Spain.  Sickly sweet, intensely fruity and extremely low in carbonation, it tasted more like a Madeira wine than a beer to me.

Far too odd for my taste and unfortunately one Ale NOT Be Seeing Again.  Adnams have got so much right with their core ales like Broadside, Southwold and Ghost Ship but they got so much wrong with this Triple Knot.  Of course, it wasn't completely undrinkable and I've never left a beer unfinished yet, but it's a bit of a Marmite beer and I'm not in the 'Love It' camp.

Brewed by Adnams, Suffolk
10% ABV

My rating:

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