One woman's ale journey

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

Monday, 20 September 2021

Saltaire Raspberry Blonde

Saltaire's Raspberry Blonde is a golden yellow ale with a small, very loose, rapidly vanishing cream coloured head.  There isn't even a hint of a  bubble after a few minutes which is a bit disappointing, but we shouldn't judge a beer by appearance alone so on to the smell and the all-important flavour.

It has a delicious aroma of raspberries, it's so strong and fruity that you'd expect the beer to have a red tint.  Raspberry is not as strong in the flavour as in the aroma but it's definitely there and leaves a nice tartiness in the mouth after the initial taste of malt biscuit, spicy hops and hint of bitterness.  Mouthfeel isn't great though, the body is quite thin and watery and it feels quite flat in the mouth as there is so little carbonation.

So where it loses in appearance and mouthfeel it gains in aroma and flavour and it's a very refreshing ale that would be a perfect summer beer, especially with a bowl of raspberries on the side.  It's not currently in production but I'd definitely give another one a go and Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Saltaire Brewery, Shipley, West Yorkshire
4% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Monday, 13 September 2021

Maltsmiths IPA

This is a lovely dark American IPA from The Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh and it looks like molten toffee in the glass.  It's an orange hued amber coloured ale with a small but very tight cream head.  There is a bit of sediment in the bottle so I left a bit behind to ensure a clear pour.

It smells very citrussy, but more oranges than grapefruit, and it has a slight hint of caramel and malt.  The flavour is quite weak, although this means that it's not too citrussy or bitter for me, and
thanks to the dry-hopping it has a lovely dry finish.  Body is thin but it's very fizzy which maintains the head nicely.  

It just seems a little too weak on flavour so Ale not Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by The Caledonian Brewery, Edinburgh
4.6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.25/5

Find out more at Maltsmiths Brewing

Monday, 6 September 2021

Põhjala Hooaeg

Hooaeg is a dry-hopped saison brewed with coriander seeds from Estonian brewery Põhjala.  It's very lively on opening and has quite a lot of sediment in it so, as I prefer a clear beer, I didn't quite manage to get a full glass out of this one.  It's a lovely bright golden yellow beer with a huge frothy off-white head that lasts well despite its loose appearance.

The aroma of hops and citrus is quite strong but very appetising.  I was a little disappointed in the flavour as the citrus completely overpowers the hops, although I did get a slight tang of coriander.  It's just far too pithy for me and it has a lingering bitter grapefruit aftertaste that isn't something I enjoy.

Definitely one for citrus fans but unfortunately not for me, Ale not Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Põhjala Brewery, Estonia
5.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.25/5

Monday, 30 August 2021

Badger England's Own

Like sunshine in a bottle, this golden blonde ale has the most amazing hoppy, floral and elderflower aroma.  It's a shame that it has such a small, rapidly disappearing off-white head as it looks a bit off-putting in its headless state.

The elderflower aroma is replicated in the flavour along with white grape and its actually very refreshing.  It has a slight hint of bitterness in the finish which rounds it off nicely.  It has a thin body and surprisingly prickly carbonation which belies its flat appearance.

I really didn't expect it to be so nice; it's a perfect summer beer and I'd buy it again if it gets rebrewed.  Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Badger Brewery, Dorset
4.6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Monday, 23 August 2021

Oakham Inferno

Inferno is a light yellow golden blonde ale with a loose off-white head that disperses to leave a thin layer of foam.  It smells very floral, perhaps elderflower, and there is a distinct whiff of hops (as there are 5 American hops in the brew: Sterling, Amarillo, Centennial, Cascade and Chinook).

The taste is very pleasant: hoppy and floral with a bitter citrus finish.  The subtle yet complex flavouring reminds me of a Scottish heather ale.  It has a medium body and it's quite softly carbonated so it feels very smooth on the palate.

So fresh and hoppy, Inferno is a lovely beer to have on a warm, sunny day and Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Oakham Ales, Peterborough 
4.4% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Monday, 16 August 2021

Harper's North Bridge Brown Ale

North Bridge Brown Ale is a budget beer from Aldi and although it's not a patch on Newcastle Brown Ale, it's not bad at all.

It's a lovely chestnut brown colour but it's let down by the very small, rapidly disappearing beige head so you very quickly end up with a flat looking headless ale.

It has a lovely malty smell with a dash of sweet caramel which is replicated in the taste, along with some chocolate and burnt toffee.  The chocolate is more sweet than bitter so it has a lovely balance for the sweet-toothed among us.  Most surprising is the harsh carbonation, which considering its flat appearance came as quite a shock to the palate. 

Not bad at all for a budget beer and Ale Be Seeing You again.

Brewed for Aldi by Harper's Brewing Co
4.7% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.5/5

Monday, 9 August 2021

Three Kings Tyneside Tommy

This is an absolutely wonderful idea from Three Kings Brewery who have produced a traditional English ale with Tyneside's First World War soldiers commemorated on the bottle.  The beer has been brewed to raise awareness of the Northumbria World War One Commemoration Project which aims to create a memorial garden and place blue plaques on 600 homes of Tyneside soldiers who fell in the conflict.  

Each bottle has a little tag around its neck with a photo and story of a real Tyneside Tommy.  I got Private Joseph Forster who was born in Cramlington and lived in North Shields with his wife and six children.  We often hear of enlistees claiming to be older than they were but in an unusual twist, as he was considered too old for military service, Joseph Forster amended his birth certificate to make him appear younger than he actually was.  Private Forster was killed in action on the Somme in October 1916, aged 44 and I raise my glass to him.  

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

Tyneside Tommy pours a lovely deep gold/light amber colour with a very impressive tight, thick, cream coloured head that lasts and laces right up to the last drop.  It has a hoppy and lightly fruited aroma that you would expect from a traditional ale.

When you can actually get through the huge head, it has a metallic bitter taste with a dash of citrus and tangy hops.  It's a lovely old fashioned bitter and you can just imagine many a Tyneside Tommy drinking a pint of this when they returned home on leave.  It's full bodied and moderately carbonated giving a lovely smooth mouthfeel.

A tangy and refreshing old fashioned bitter this is a beer for real heroes.  I wholeheartedly recommend you pick up a bottle if you see it as it's a lovely bitter and supports an amazing project.  Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Three Kings Brewery, North Shields
4.1% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 2 August 2021

BrewDog 5AM Saint

It's a bunch of fives from BrewDog with their American red ale 5AM Saint: 5% ABV, 5 malts and 5 hops (actually 6 but I like the pattern they're going for).  Doesn't it look stunning?  It's a beautiful slightly opaque red/brown colour with a small, loose cream coloured head that vanishes quite quickly.

There's nothing subtle about the aroma with a huge hit of malt, caramel and orange marmalade citrus so I couldn't wait to dive in.  With a wonderful mixture of malts and hops, this really tingles the tastebuds.  Sweet malts and caramel make are followed by a bitter citrus tang but these conflicting flavours are seamlessly woven together on a biscuit base.  

The only thing that lets it down is the body.  It has a very watery mouthfeel and relatively low carbonation so it feels quite light despite the amazing flavours.  With a bit more body and a longer lasting head this would have been a five star beer without doubt.  I'd still have another one, so Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by BrewDog Brewery, Ellon, Aberdeenshire
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 26 July 2021

Williams Bros. Joker

Joker is a lovely golden yellow IPA with a very tight, thick off-white head.  You can often find Joker in supermarkets and it's especially good value when you can pick one up in Aldi or Lidl so make sure you grab one in your next shop.

It smells deliciously hoppy with notes of citrus and a delightful freshness from the hint of cedar.  The taste is the perfect bittersweet combination; it's slightly sweet at first with just a hint of citrus bitterness in the aftertaste.  It has slight herbal and pine notes that develop more as you drink it.

Medium bodied and perfectly carbonated, I loved the bittersweet balance of Joker IPA.  It's so delicious it had smiling from ear to ear just like the Joker and Ale Be Seeing You again!  

Brewed by Williams Bros. Brewing Co., Alloa, Scotland
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 19 July 2021

Brew York Brew York

I picked up this vegan friendly triple hopped American Pale Ale a couple of years ago because I was tickled by the name but since then Brew York have taken off and become well known for brewing innovative and extremely unusual beers.

Just look at the head on that!  It's immense!  The cream coloured head is quite loose but there's lots of it so it doesn't vanish in a flash and it does lace the glass.  It sits atop a hazy orange-hued golden beer that is so vibrant it reminded me of the fiery colours of the setting sun.

It has an enticing smell of citrus and hops which transfer to the taste along with a hint of tropical fruit and caramel.  Well balanced, it's deliciously bittersweet with caramel infused citrus bubbles bursting on the tongue to produce a cream soda like flavour with a dry, bitter finish.  Very well carbonated (how could it not be to produce such an impressive head) and medium bodied, it's so easy to drink that it's a shame it was just in a 330ml can.

Brew York was my first Brew York beer and it certainly wasn't my last as I've tried a number of them since then.  I drank this in 2018 and it's possibly been rebrewed under another name by now as Brew York have a good range of vegan beers that are well worth checking out.  If it was still being produced, Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Brew York Craft Brewery, York
5.1% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 12 July 2021

Autumn Alt Brew No.03

I was really intrigued by the grain beers brewed by naturally gluten-free brewers Autumn Brewing Company based in County Durham.  As a dark beer lover, naturally I went for the stout brewed from rice, millet and quinoa.  So let's see what I thought.

It's a beautiful dark colour, almost black with a slight hint of mahogany but the head is really bad.  It's a dirty dishwater coloured, loose head that disappears at lightning speed so I was really lucky to catch a few bubbles in my photo as a few seconds after that there wasn't even a trace of a bubble left.

The aroma is VERY smoky and it smells more like cigarette smoke than roasted malt, so as a non-smoker this wasn't very appealing at all to me.  Holding my breath, I went in for a sip and almost spat it back out.  I can only describe the taste as what I imagine an ashtray would taste like with some dregs of beer left in it.  Not one to give up, I persevered and I did manage to get some bitter dark chocolate and coffee notes but they are completely overwhelmed by the smokiness.

It's not my kind of thing at all although it wasn't a drain pour as I did get more used to it as I drank it.  I thought the millet and quinoa would give it a nice nutty taste but I couldn't really taste anything other than smoke.  It wouldn't stop me trying Autumn's other beers but unfortunately Ale not Be Seeing Alt Brew No.03 again.

Brewed by Autumn Brewing Co, Seaham, County Durham
4.8% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 1.5/5

Monday, 5 July 2021

Co-op (Robinsons) Triple Hop

Oh what a beautiful colour!  I was expecting something considerably paler but this molten amber, deep golden colour is right up my street.  The small, loose and cream coloured head lets the side down a bit as it disappears disappointingly quickly.

The aroma of hops, toffee and sweet malts is mouthwatering and I was very excited to take my first sip.  It has a lovely malty taste with a dry and bitter finish but the mouthfeel is a bit weird. The beer itself is quite thin bodied but it's very harshly carbonated.  It's not unpleasant, it just doesn't seem to match the rich flavour.

It's not bad at all for £1.60 for a 330ml bottle from the Co-op and I'd probably have another one just to see if I was being a bit too critical.  So Ale possibly Be Seeing You again!

Brewed for Co-op by Robinsons Brewery, Manchester
5.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Monday, 28 June 2021

Goose Island IPA

This may look like a standard 330ml bottle but it actually contains 355ml of beer and more beer is always better.  It's certainly a beauty to behold when released from the bottle, being a deep golden beer with a reasonably tight, off-white head that lasts and laces.

It has a fruity, creamy and sweet caramel aroma and a crisp, dry and refreshing taste with a hint of citrus, sweet malts and some caramel.  The bitterness from the citrus lingers but it isn't pithy at all and the bitterness actually seems to increase in intensity as you drink it.  I'm not a huge fan of citrus so I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this.

Carbonation is quite fizzy and harsh but it goes well with the whole package.  It did make me quite burpy and I expressed quite a few goose honk noises but it didn't put me off and Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Goose Island Beer Company, USA
5.9% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Find out more at Goose Island Beer Company

Monday, 21 June 2021

Sainsbury's American Pale Ale

This is a beautiful looking beer; it's a rich, deep amber colour with a frothy and tight cream coloured head.  

It smells very hoppy with a hint of citrus and it tastes crisp and fruity with slightly sweet malts.  It doesn't have overly strong flavours but it sure did awaken my taste buds.  It has a medium body and decent carbonation that maintains the impressive head right to the very last drop.

It's an all round pleasant drink but nothing really out of the ordinary.  I'm glad I tried it but Ale not be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Tap Room Brewing Company, New York, USA 
5.3% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.25/5

Monday, 14 June 2021

York Guzzler

Guzzler from York Brewery is a crisp and refreshing golden ale and it certainly lives up to that description.  It's a beautiful golden ale with a small, loose off-white head that disappears quickly to leave a thin layer.

With an appealing aroma of hops, sweet caramel and zesty citrus fruit I couldn't wait to have a guzzle of Guzzler.  It seems quite lightly flavoured at first; it's a hoppy ale with a tang of bitter citrus and a hint of caramel but it becomes more malty as you drink it.  I really like the crisp bitterness, it's in between metallic and citrus but it isn't too overpowering as there's an added sweetness from hints of fruit and caramel that smooth out the bitter kinks.  With medium carbonation and a medium body, it feels quite smooth to drink and lives up to its name as it quickly disappears from the glass.

Light in flavour and ABV, Guzzler is a very refreshing and easy drinking golden ale.  I picked this up from Lidl and although I can't remember the exact price, it'll have been around £1.50 so it's an absolute steal.  Definitely one where I can say: Ale Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by York Brewery, York
3.6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 7 June 2021

The Great British Brewing Co/Hogs Back All 4 One

All 4 One is a 4 hop lager produced for Aldi by Surrey brewers Hogs Back, although unfortunately there's no mention on the label as to what hops they are.  I don't drink much lager as I find it too gassy but you can't beat a lager in the garden on the odd occasion when the sun is shining. 

This is a golden yellow beer with a loose off-white head and it does have a little more colour than most mass-produced lagers.  It has a lovely aroma of hops (no surprise there as it's got 4 varieties in it), citrus fruit, grassy earth and a dash of sweet honey.

The first thing I noticed with the flavour is how very dry it is.  It's has a grassy citrus bitter taste followed by some mellow caramel but it is drier than the Sahara.  It's not too fizzy though so if it wasn't so dry, I'd have definitely given it a higher score.

It's not bad at all for a budget craft lager but it's a little on the dry side for me so if this comes back into production, Ale not Be Seeing You again.

Brewed for Aldi by Hogs Back Brewery, Surrey
4.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.25/5

Monday, 31 May 2021

Kasteel Tripel

This stonking 11% Belgian tripel pours a sunshiney golden yellow with a tight, off-white head.  The head is amazing; it actually looks like frogspawn as perfectly formed, distinctly separate little bubbles cling to each other.  I have to share a close up photo just to show what I mean.

It has a lovely hoppy aroma with a hint of sweet fruit, including citrus and banana.  The flavour is equally impressive with the expected tripel taste of tangy, sour hops but with the addition of zingy, fruit bursts that give a sweet edge to the sourness and a maltiness that lingers on the palate.  It has a medium body with good carbonation.

You can definitely taste that this has a high ABV but I couldn't really detect any hints of raw alcohol that sometimes overpower strong ales.  Let's face it, the Belgian's know how to brew decent beer so it's no surprise that I'm saying 'Ale Be Seeing You' again to Kasteel Tripel.

Brewed by Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck, Belgium
11% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.5/5

Monday, 24 May 2021

Birra del Borgo Maledetta

Maledetta is an amber coloured Belgian style ale in a cute funky shaped bottle.  Of course, it may look good on the outside but it's what's inside that counts.

It pours a deep amber with an orange hue and a slight haze as it's bottle conditioned.  I thought at first that I wasn't going to get any head at all but then all of a sudden it appeared with a vengeance and gave me a good layer of thick, tight and cream coloured bubbles.

The aroma of toffee and citrus is mouthwatering and the taste is even better.  With a slight hint of honey to start, it passes through flavours of caramel and malt to finish with a burst of slightly sour and tangy orange citrus.  It has a medium body and relatively soft carbonation that tickles across the tongue to really get your taste buds going.

I've been really impressed with the Birra del Borgo ales and Maledetta is another one where I can definitely say: 'Ale Be Seeing You again!'.

Brewed by Birra del Borgo, Italy 
6.2% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 17 May 2021

Hawkshead Lakeland Gold

Hawkshead have brewed the most perfect looking golden ale in Lakeland Gold.  It's a deep golden colour with a small but loose thin head that does leave a bit of lacing, even though there's not much of it.  It requires a careful pour as there is a bit of sediment in the bottle and I like to keep my beer as clear as I can.

Oh it smells so good with an aroma of hops, malt, some fruitiness and a slight floral hint.  It tastes pretty good too with a smooth, sublime taste of toffee and malt followed by an ever so slight lemon citrus bitter aftertaste.

It's perfectly carbonated to give a hint of fizz without too much gas and it has a good medium body, giving it a wonderfully smooth mouthfeel.

Lakeland Gold is a delicious golden ale with a lovely bitter finish and Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Hawkshead Brewery, Cumbria
4.4% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 10 May 2021

McGrath's Craft Irish Amber No. 5

I know you often get what you pay for but now and again a little gem comes along at a bargain price and McGrath's Craft Irish Amber No.5 certainly fits the bill.  At only 79p from B&M Bargains, this is one beer I wish I'd stocked up on but of course there were none left when I went back for more.

It pours a slightly hazy chestnut brown colour with a small, loose beige head that disappears rapidly to  leave a thin, patchy layer with a little lacing.  The aroma is floral, fruity and hoppy with a hint of caramel and malt.  I was surprised to find the notes in the aroma to be turned on their head in the amazing taste; it's so incredibly malty with big dollops of treacle and caramel followed by a slightly bitter citrus finish and a lingering sweetness on the lips.  

It's very fizzy and quite harshly carbonated but mouthfeel is softened by the caramel and citrus notes that seem to glide across the tongue in their own bittersweet symphony.  With a decent medium body, it's a very dry and refreshing ale.

I do hope McGrath's brew more of these as Ale definitely Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Clanconnel Brewing Company, Northern Ireland
5.2% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 3 May 2021

Leffe Ruby

I love the packaging of the 750ml bottles from Leffe: this wine bottle sized beer looks perfect for a special occasion with a champagne-like cork and wire trapper hidden under the foil.  I opened my bottle at Christmas to discover the most beautiful jewelled ruby red ale inside.  It has a cute baby pink frothy head that's reasonably loose.

It has an incredibly fruity aroma of strawberries, raspberries, cherries and blueberries that transfers to the taste along with a hint of Parma violets.  With a slightly sour hint and a very fizzy mouthfeel, it reminds me of cherryade and it does feel like more of an alcopop than a beer.  I also picked up a floral aftertaste that seemed a bit out of place.

A light and refreshing ale that was very easy to drink, perhaps a little too easy as it is very much like a bottle of pop.  It's definitely not a traditional ruby ale (which is my favourite style of beer), so I was left feeling a little disappointed.  It's not a Leffe beer Ale Be Seeing again but I'm sure it will hit the spot for those who love fruity ales and sours.

Brewed by Leffe, Belgium
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.5/5

Monday, 26 April 2021

Hiver Honey Ale

I bought this bottle when I visited Tynemouth Priory (in the days when we could visit places) as the label caught my eye and then when I saw that it was a brown ale, I had to have it.

It's a lovely chestnut brown coloured ale with a small but tight cream head.  Unsurprisingly for a honey ale, the predominant aroma is sweet honey but I also picked up notes of malt and chocolate.

There is no mistaking the flavour of honey in the taste and it actually feels like it's an ancient recipe.  The honey is tangy and sweet with a lovely maltiness and hoppy bitterness to round it all off.  With soft carbonation giving it a smooth mouthfeel, this is a very pleasant ale to drink.  It's what I would consider an all-season ale; I think it would be a lovely winter ale to drink sitting beside a roaring fire but also perfect to drink in the garden on a sunny day with bees buzzing around.

Delicious and environmentally friendly with 10% of the profits going to pollinator charities and urban space projects, Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Hiver Beers, London
4.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 19 April 2021

Conwy Minera Mountain

Minera Mountain is a bottle conditioned ale so it's no surprise that it contains a lot of sediment.  With a very careful pour I managed to get a good amount of it out of the bottle without it turning cloudy.  It has a very traditional looking appearance, being a lovely deep golden colour with a huge, frothy, tight and thick Mr Whippy style cream coloured head.  

The aroma isn't very strong, although I picked up floral hints and some tropical fruit.  I think the aroma is perhaps smothered by the large head as I really had to dig through it to get my first taste.  This is where it lost points for me as the head is very bitter and metallic but it's so thick and robust that all of the beer has to pass through it, which gives it an overly bitter taste.  Once you do get through the head, it has lovely floral notes tinged with honey which is what you'd expect from a heather ale.

It's very well carbonated and a little on the harsh side, but you do get used to it after a while.  It also has a decent medium body.  The head is amazing though, it leaves thick lacing on the glass that needed to be scrubbed off.

It's a bit disappointing for a heather ale; the honey and floral flavour is lovely but it's totally overpowered by the metallic bitterness of the head.  It tastes like I've sucked all of the copper coins in my purse then had a glug of beer.  It's not bad by any means, it just wasn't for me and it's not one Ale Be Seeing again, unfortunately.

Brewed by Conwy Brewery, North Wales
4.3% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.25/5

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