One woman's ale journey

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

Monday, 22 February 2021

Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black


Pot Kettle Black is a South Pacific Porter from New Zealand brewery, Yeastie Boys.  It's a lovely dark beer, almost black but for a slight brown hue with a thick and frothy beige head that lasts well.

The light aroma is predominantly treacle and malt but there's a slight hint of citrus that makes it quite interesting.  The taste is quite smoky and oaky with an added sweetness like burnt toffee.  It has a citrus bitter aftertaste to balance out the sweetness and a medium body with carbonation that's so soft it's like fairies dancing across your tongue.

It's a very nice beer but doesn't feel like a porter; I liked it though.  I thought the smokiness would have put me off but it gave it a lovely roasted taste.  It actually reminded me a bit of Fernet Branca; it's so weird but you can't help having another sip.  Oddly pleasant, I felt like I had to brush my teeth after it but I'd certainly have another one.  Ale Be Seeing You!

Brewed by Yeastie Boys Brewery, New Zealand
6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 15 February 2021

Darwin Wearside Monk

Sunderland isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think of Trappist ales but Darwin have brewed an absolute belter in Wearside Monk.  This Trappist ale isn't Belgian, it's Mackem and it certainly gives some of those well known Belgian ales a run for their money.

St. Peter's Church, Sunderland founded in AD 674 was one of the two churches that formed part of the Wearmouth-Jarrow monastery, with St Paul's, Jarrow following in AD 681.  Darwin Brewery had the Monkwearmouth monastery in mind when using Trappist yeast to brew Wearside Monk.  The monks were sure to have been avid home brewers so it's a wonderful tribute to our fascinating local history.

It's a beautiful chestnut brown ale with a loose beige head that disappears rapidly leaving a patchy layer.  There is a tiny bit of sediment in the bottle so I didn't pour it all into my glass in order to keep it lovely and clear.

Well it definitely smells like a Trappist beer with an aroma of sour tangy hops, malt, caramel and dark fruit.  It smells very rich and warming, almost as if it's been brewed in bourbon or whisky casks.

The taste is awesome and so complex that it's hard to describe.  I picked up hints of caramel, malt, dark fruit, tangy hops and even banana.  It has a dry/bitter finish as well as a lingering warming alcohol effect.  It has a medium body and it's perfectly carbonated to give a little fizz on the tongue without being at all harsh.

It's absolutely lovely and I'll be stocking up on more of these as soon as they're back in stock.  What a unique Mackem Trappist ale!  Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Darwin Brewery, Sunderland
7% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 8 February 2021

Corsendonk Summum Roodbruin

Corsendonk Summum Roodbruin is a dark mahogany brown coloured Belgian Dubbel with an amazingly tight beige head that doesn't budge, lasting and lacing until the final drop.  The head is amazingly robust, leaving thick lacing on the glass.  

There's a light aroma of malt, fruit, treacle and tangy hops along with a slightly metallic hint.  There's nothing light about the flavour with a big hit of roasted malt, dark fruit, sour hops and treacle.  As it's a Belgian dubbel with an ABV of 8.1% ABV it's no surprise that there's a slight hint of alcohol in the taste but there's nothing harsh or raw about it; it's more of a warming taste of alcohol as if the beer has been brewed in bourbon casks.  As it develops, I could taste more caramel and even a hint of liquorice giving it a bitter/sweet finish.

Medium bodied with good carbonation, it has an abundance of prickly malty bubbles with a sour fruit centre that burst in your mouth.  It's a real lip smacking beer with sweet caramel lingering on the lips and slightly sour dark fruit and malt on the tongue.

You can tell it's a strong ale as you're drinking it but without any raw alcohol taste it goes down far too easily.  A very easy to drink Belgian ale, it's perhaps not the best dubbel I've ever had but at £6.99 for a pack of 4 from Lidl it's definitely good value.  My four have now all magically disappeared but I'll be keeping an eye out for these hitting the shelves again and Ale Be Seeing You.

Brewed by Corsendonk Brewery, Belgium
8.1% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 1 February 2021

McColl's Lady Marmalade


McColl's is an innovative new brewery based in the North East of England and whilst their core range includes traditional ales like IPA, Porter, Belgian Blonde and Best Bitter, they have taken these old favourites and 'made it their own', as Louis Walsh would say.

I'm definitely a bitter fan so first up is Lady Marmalade.  It's a bit lively on opening so it took two pours to get it in my glass but it's well worth the wait; it's a stunning hazy golden hued ale with a huge frothy cream head.  It does need a careful pour as there's quite a lot of sediment in the can to give it that lovely hazy appearance.

The aroma is deliciously fruity with citrus notes of orange and grapefruit combined with a hint of spice and slightly floral hops.  This is replicated in the taste with rye adding a hint of spice and the floral citrus notes resulting in a long lasting bitter finish.  The lingering bitterness seems a bit pithy at first but I found this surprisingly palatable and I soon got used to it.  It sure is bitter though; it really gave my taste buds a good old tingling!

A decent medium bodied ale, it's quite fizzy with prickly bubbles that burst like fireworks, scattering flavours of citrus and rye across the tongue.    The carbonation works hard to maintain the amazingly frothy head which lasts and laces well.

“It’s bitter, Jim, but not as we know it.”  Lady Marmalade is a fresh and funky bitter for a new generation of beer lovers. Although I personally prefer my bitter to taste like I’ve sucked a handful of copper coins, there’s no doubt that Lady Marmalade will appeal to more palates with the bitter balance tipped towards citrus zest reminiscent of an IPA.  It's a core beer to have in any beer stash and Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by McColl's Brewery, Bishop Auckland
4.4% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Monday, 25 January 2021

Brew York Imperial Tonkoko

Awarded the 9th Best Stout in the World in the 2018 RateBeer Awards, this imperial milk stout from Brew York is brewed with coconut, tonka beans and Madagascan vanilla.  Weighing in at a stonking 7.5% this is definitely one to savour rather than glug.

Pouring a dark brown, almost black with a thick, tight tan head this imperial stout is a thing of beauty.  The impressive head hardly budges at all, leaving a good layer throughout and thick lacing on the glass.  It's an unfiltered beer so it needs a careful pour; I managed to get most of it out of the can without any sediment but there were some lumpy bits when I rinsed out the can.

The aroma is mouthwatering.  Roasted coconut, sweet malt and chocolate means that it does actually smell like a Bounty bar.  My first sip was an OMG moment as coconut, malt and chocolate swirled around my mouth in a liquid Bounty experience.  It has a bitter finish which is quite metallic and I found it a bit off-putting at first but you do get used to it and I hardly noticed it after a while.

It is so full bodied that I felt like I could have used a spoon to devour it and it feels very smooth in the mouth with low carbonation.

Imperial Tonkoko is an absolutely awesome stout; it is so decadent and rich that it makes you want the experience to last for as long as possible so make sure to take your time with this one.  I actually think the flavour developed into a sweeter richer taste by my taking so long to drink it and the bitter aftertaste seemed to disappear altogether.  

I really don't think you'll be disappointed if you decided to splash out on an Imperial Tonkoko; I don't usually spend over £5 on a can/bottle but I'm so glad I made an exception to spend a few extra pennies (RRP is currently £5.40).  It's my absolute pleasure to say, 'Ale Be Seeing You again!'

Brewed by Brew York, York
7.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.5/5

Monday, 18 January 2021

Black Sheep Yorkshire Square Ale


Pouring a beautiful golden amber, Black Sheep's Yorkshire Square Ale looks like molten toffee in my glass.  It has a small but robust cream coloured head that retains a thin layer while you drink.

The aroma is quite light for this one.  There's a bit of malt and hops but nothing else that stands out for me.  Thankfully, it redeemed itself in the flavour!  It's deliciously malty with a lovely dry finish.  There's also a hint of sweetness (from the addition of demerara sugar) which tastes quite treacly when blended with the malt.  To please bitter fans, there's a slight metallic bitter taste to the dry finish that rounds it all off nicely.

It's quite a fizzy medium bodied ale but the bubbles aren't harsh so it's very easy to drink.  As the bubbles burst on my tongue, I did feel like I could detect a little fizz of demerara sugar.

It's not up there with my favourite Black Sheep ales but it's a decent ale nonetheless.  Being sweet, dry and bitter, it has a bit of everything to appeal to many palates.  I would have it again, but I wouldn't actively seek it out; I'd definitely recommend you give it a try if you see it (you can also find it in Sainsbury's labelled as Yorkshire Bitter).

Brewed by Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.5/5

Monday, 11 January 2021

Banks Caribbean Lager


I'm taking a virtual trip to Barbados today with Banks Caribbean Lager.  It's a golden yellow traditional looking lager with a large frothy off-white head that not unexpectedly disappears quite rapidly.  I served this one cold so there is some condensation on the glass but it's a lovely clear lager.

The aroma isn't strong and I don't know if it was auto-suggestion that made me pick up Caribbean hints of tropical fruit and spices in addition to hops.  It's quite weak in flavour too and I couldn't detect any flavour other than hops, although after a few sips it seemed to get sweeter and more creamy.  It's thin bodied, watery and very fizzy which gives it a spring water like taste and mouthfeel, no doubt due to the Barbados' water that has been naturally filtered through limestone rock.

It's a lager so I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary and although it's very drinkable Banks Caribbean Lager isn't one I'd recommend.  It's a forgettable lager that's just ok; it's too fizzy, too watery and doesn't have enough flavour.  Ale NOT Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Banks Brewery, Barbados
4.7% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3/5

Monday, 4 January 2021

Brasserie D'Achouffe La Chouffe


I'd wanted to try La Chouffe for quite some time as I couldn't resist the cute elf on the label so I added one to my BeerWulf order.  There are quite a few Chouffe beers to collect, each with the own individual named elf on the label, but La Chouffe Blonde (with Marcel the elf on the label) seems to be a good one to start with.

This stunning blonde ale pours a delicious golden colour with a frothy and tight off-white head.  It's well carbonated as evidenced by the abundance of bubbles rushing to the surface to maintain the head, which leaves excellent lacing on the glass.

What a mouthwatering aroma it has.  It has the most amazing smell of fruit such as pineapple, banana, mango and citrus along with an underlying aroma of hops and a hint of spiciness.  The flavour is equally amazing and surprisingly complex with notes of straw, biscuit, caramel and hops as well as floral and spicy hints followed by a slightly bitter citrus finish.  I was so impressed that there wasn't even a hint of raw alcohol in the taste despite it's relatively high ABV of 8%.  It's absolutely delicious!

This award winning, full bodied, strong blonde ale is definitely a top Belgian beer and it's one I'd consider a staple in my beer stash.  Ale Be Seeing You again, La Chouffe.

Brewed by Brasserie D'Achouffe, Belgium
8% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.5/5