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

Monday, 10 August 2020

Darwin Birra Brigante

Wow this is a lively one!  This ale is very impatient to get out of the bottle and no matter how slowly I pour, I still get a huge head.  I had to pause mid-pour so, as there's a little bit of sediment in the bottle, I ended up with a slighly hazy toffee coloured ale with a robust, abundant cream coloured head.  The head maintains a good layer and lasts right to the last drop, even drinking as slowly as I do.

The aroma is very appealing; sweet caramel, tangy hops and fruity spiced orange.  It also has the sour whiff of a trappist ale so I was really intrigued to have my first sip.  What an unusual flavour!  It's deliciously malty with a hint of spiced orange and sour hops followed by a bitter, slightly metallic finish.  It does have the taste of a trappist ale which makes it something quite different in a saison.

I don't drink many saisons as I find them too fizzy and harsh but Birra Brigante is lovely.  It is fizzy but it's not too harsh and it has a medium body.  It's one of the best saisons I've had and I'm most impressed.  I love the maltiness and the added flavour of the orange peel that really comes through without being pithy.

Well done, Darwin Brewery!  This is one saison Ale Be Seeing again.  Birra Brigante is an exceptional saison that not only tastes great but has an amazing story behind its name involving General Garibaldi, who famously visited Tyneside in 1854.  Click here to visit Darwin Brewery's website to read the full story behind the beer.

Brewed by Darwin Brewery, Sunderland
4.9% ABV

My rating:
My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 3 August 2020

Badger The Blandford Fly

I love anything with ginger in it so I was really excited to try The Blandford Fly from Dorset brewers, Badger.  As much as I love a ginger ale soft drink, what could be better than a real ginger ale?

This is a beautiful golden ale, that you can see through the clear bottle (oh what a shame, I had to buy two for the photograph), and it pours with a loose and very rapidly disappearing cream coloured head.

As I was pouring there was a very strong smell of hops but as the ale fills up the glass there is a lovely warm spicy aroma of ginger and a hint of toffee too.  With such a lovely ginger aroma, I couldn't wait to dive in for a taste.

Oh heavenly ginger!  Badger have got this one spot on with a lovely sweet and spicy combination that doesn't let the ginger overpower the taste yet remains gingery enough for us ginger lovers.  The initial flavour is sweet toffee followed by a spicy ginger kick and rounded off with a lovely dry finish.  Despite the lack of head, it's well carbonated and has a good medium body for a golden ale.

So very dry and refreshing, The Blandford Fly is definitely one for the ginger lovers!  The ginger spice catches the throat nicely without being too harsh; that's the perfect amount of ginger in my opinion.  I loved it and Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Badger Brewery, Dorset
5.2% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 27 July 2020

Rudgate York Chocolate Stout

I was really excited to try this stout as I love stout and I love chocolate so it sounds like the perfect pairing.  It's slightly lighter than a traditional black stout; it's more of a dark brown with a mahogany hue.  It has the perfect sized head which is beige, tight and long lasting.

The aroma isn't very strong but it's definitely chocolatey!  There's a lovely malty smell too and it reminded me of the smell of freshly made chocolate Horlicks with a Flake crumbled on the top.  Mouthwatering!

The flavour, like the aroma, isn't terribly strong.  It has very subtle hints of milk chocolate followed by a bitter dark chocolate aftertaste.  It's not as chocolatey as I expected but the flavour does develop over time so don't judge this one on your first sip.  Softly carbonated with a medium body, it's a decent stout with a bitter kick and is very easy to drink as it doesn't feel too heavy.

I was hoping for something extra special but it didn't quite meet my expectations.  It's a nice enough stout but nothing to rave about.

Brewed by Rudgate Brewery, York
5% ABV

My rating:
My Untappd score: 3.5/5

Find out more at Rudgate Brewery

Monday, 20 July 2020

Schlenkerla Fastenbier

When I placed my first order with Honest Brew, I was intrigued by the Fastenbier from historic German brewpub Schlenkerla.  The bottle label is very striking and the beautiful deep amber/ruby coloured beer inside looks pretty good too.  The small, cream coloured head is quite loose and it disappears quickly leaving just a few bubbles around the sides.

The most striking thing about Fastenbier is the smell.  As soon as I popped the lid off I was hit with the smell of a German food market.  In fact, the first thing I said when I opened it was: 'it smells like bacon'.  I haven't eaten meat for almost 30 years so there may be some people who disagree with my description of this aroma, but the smell of this beer evoked memories of my Nanna frying bacon.  Aside from the smokiness, there's also a distinct malty aroma but I couldn't get past the bacon aroma so I was a little scared to lean in for a sip.

The taste is definitely better than the smell, and improves if you don't breathe in when you're drinking!  The initial flavour is sweet malts and burnt caramel followed by smoked meats.  A very odd combination but it sort of works and it did grow on me.  Despite the lack of head, it's surprisingly fizzy with soft carbonation and a medium body.

No wonder the sneaky monks invented this beer when they were fasting over Lent; it's like a bacon sandwich in a glass!  Although it's wasn't for me, I'm glad I tried it as it's a very good smoked beer and I much prefer a beer tasting and smelling of smoked meat rather than an overflowing ashtray.

Brewed by Schlenkerla Brewery, Bamburg, Germany
5.9% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3/5

Find out more at Schlenkerla Brewery

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