One woman's ale journey

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

Sunday 24 January 2016

Williams Bros Fraoch Heather Ale

A lovely golden ale with a subtle floral aroma as it is opened.  It also smells of hops and malt so I knew I was going to be in for a treat with this one.  It has one of my favourite types of head; one that you think will not fit in the glass and leaves a Mr Whippy style coronet on the top of the pint.  A head that lingers to the very last drop, leaving amazing lacing down the side of the glass.

So I know it looks and smells great, now on to the taste.  My first taste reminded me of a 'proper' beer as the hops and malt were recognised like old friends on my tastebuds.  Then the subtle floral aroma took over bringing a smooth golden sunshine taste to my mouth.  I even found it had a subtle aftertaste of ginger and was surprised to see that ginger was indeed an ingredient in this ale.

It has a complexity of flavours that mean you get a different taste with every mouthful.  It really has to be experienced to be believed.  Fraoch Heather Ale - it's not just for Burns Night and without doubt Ale be Seeing You Again.

I picked this up from Aldi for a bargainous £1.49 as part of their Burns Night promotion so I'll be heading back to stock up as I can't wait another year to try this beauty again.

Brewed by Williams Bros, Alloa
5% ABV

Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Finish

For some reason I wasn't expecting such a dark ale to spring out of this small bottle, but I am by no means disappointed.  It is dark, smooth and delicious.  It smell's slightly sweet and has a definite whiskey aroma.  There is a good head on pouring but it's not terribly robust so most of it disappears but leaves just enough behind so you don't confuse this ale with a glass of coca cola.

At first it tasted of treacle with an aftertaste of chocolate but as my tastebuds adjusted, I got a perfect hint of whiskey.  The whiskey grows in flavour with each sip and I would say it definitely tastes like a smoky, peaty whiskey.

It feels so rich and decadent; I really rather enjoyed this one and Ale be Seeing You again, Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Finish.

Irish Whiskey Finish won gold in 2014 at the prestigious Monde Selection Awards and bronze at the International Beer Challenge

Brewed by Innis & Gunn, Edinburgh
7.4% ABV

Sunday 10 January 2016

Shepherd Neame Rudolph's Reward

This was another of my Christmas ale gifts and I think Rudolph did so much hard work over Christmas, he deserves a beer-shaped reward.  This is an amber ale which has a slight red hint to it, a real ginger ale.  Although it pours with only a medium head, the head is retained whilst drinking and laces the side of the glass.

It does smell faintly of Christmas - orange with a hint of spice and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.  It has the distinctive metallic aftertaste of most Shepherd Neame ales but first you get a fruit and nut hit of very refreshing ale.  It's actually one of the better Shepherd Neame ales I've tried.

Brewed by Shepherd Neame, Kent
3.8% ABV

Saturday 9 January 2016

Dockyard Bootlegger Prohibition Beer

This is a lovely amber colour and pours with an overwhelming smell of apples.  It has quite a small head and not bad retention.  It neither tastes of beer nor cider but more of an apple juice.  It smells alcoholic but doesn't taste like it is a 5.5% beer.

It does, however, transport me back to the prohibition era when alcohol was made out of any old fruit or vegetable.  It's historical value alone is priceless as we taste what might have been our ancestors' tipple.

It was a nice afternoon beverage and would be amazing in the Summer, drinking outside and refreshing a sun-baked thirst.  Just tell your brain it's not beer and it's quite enjoyable.

This was one of my Christmas gifts from my parents but can be found in Morrisons for £1.65.

Brewed by Dockyard Distillers, Tunbridge Wells
5.5% ABV

Sunday 3 January 2016

Cotleigh Tawny Owl

This is a beautiful copper coloured ale.  It is slightly cloudy and I suspected there may be sediment in the bottom so I poured it slowly and carefully.  I did manage to get a little head that lasted quite some time, although wasn't robust enough to lace.  It smells very malty and I was surprised at the sweetness of the taste - it reminds me of honey. 

This was a really nice pint - smooth and malty with a hint of honey.  Ale be seeing you again!

Brewed by Cotleigh Brewery, Somerset
3.8% ABV

Hatherwood The Ruby Rooster

This is a gorgeous dark ruby colour with a very thin and fast disappearing head.  It has a distinct metallic smell so I was expecting a bitter taste.  It is actually slightly sweet with hints of chocolate and toffee, and does have a metallic aftertaste.  Once the head disappeared (within the first minute), and with it being a bit thin, it resembled Coca Cola.

Brewed by Wychwood, Oxfordshire for Lidl
3.8% abv

Friday 1 January 2016

Wells Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale

I do love Wells Banana Bread Beer so I thought I'd give this one a try.  It's a lovely dark brown treacle colour with a slightly red tinge.  There is an interesting smell of sweet toffee cake as it pours. The rather disappointing head only lasts a few seconds giving the ale a look of Coca Cola.

It actually does taste of sticky toffee pudding with a slight bitterness of chocolate, although it is a bit odd in an ale.  It has a burnt toffee/treacle flavour and a not unpleasant sponge cake aftertaste.  It is quite fizzy with harsh little bubbles bursting on the tongue so I was quite surprised at the lack of head.  It is because of this fizz that I felt like I was drinking coke rather than ale.

It's ok as a gimmick but not one Ale be seeing again.

Brewed by Charles Wells, Bedford
5% ABV

Badger Tanglefoot

This is a lovely golden/light amber colour with a striking white head, although it disappears quite quickly.  It is very fizzy and smells of fruit and hops.  It has a very sweet fruity and slightly spicy taste, making it very easily drinkable.  It has a pleasant bitter aftertaste and is a nice English Pale Ale.

Brewed by Hall and Woodhouse, Dorset
5% ABV

Badger Fursty Ferret

This was really lovely and right up my street.  A gorgeous amber ale with an amazing complex aroma of nuts, hops, malt and a hint of orange.  It has a very good head although it disappears quite quickly.

It's such a smooth pint that it was an absolute delight to drink, leaving a slightly malty and bitter aftertaste.

I really liked it and Ale be seeing you again!

Brewed by Hall and Woodhouse, Dorset
4.4& ABV

Wold Top Mallard

This is a beautiful clear deep golden colour with an abundance of fizzy bubbles, and a small frothy pure white head. It smells hoppy and slightly fruity like apples or pineapples.

It was a lot smoother than I expected and despite the evident carbonation it's not gassy.  It tastes beery yet slightly citrussy with a crisp and dry aftertaste.  It leaves fabulous lacing down the sides of the glass.  I would say this is a good old Yorkshire beer!

Brewed by Wold Top Brewery, Yorkshire
4% ABV

Cotleigh Barn Owl

This has a fabulous malty smell on opening and is a beautiful dark copper colour. It also has a slightly fruity caramel aroma but only a very small head.

It very surprisingly tastes slightly of chocolate, and I would say more of a dark chocolate as it has a hint of a bitter aftertaste.

I was also surprised at how fizzy this was as darker ales are usually quite smooth.  This isn't a negative feature, it was just unexpected.  Although it has a little head, it is quite robust and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

Brewed by Cotleigh Brewery, Somerset
4.5% ABV

Cotleigh Golden Seahawk

Happy New Year!

As you would expect, I am not partaking in Dry January - life is too short to miss out on some cracking ales.

This ale has a slightly cloudy look to it and there was visible sediment in the bottom.  So I poured it slowly and carefully, thereby sacrificing a head.  This gave it an almost cider like appearance but it is the most amazing toffee colour and smells intensely malty.

On drinking, it actually surprisingly generates a nice little foamy head.  It has such a delicious malty aroma that I was expecting a bitter copper coin taste, but I couldn't be more wrong.  It has hints of soft golden honey with a slightly fruity/malt loaf aftertaste and the perfect amount of carbonation to not be too fizzy but at the same time generate enough head to lace the glass.

I'm really impressed with this one.  It really is delicious and Ale be seeing you again!

Brewed by Cotleigh Brewery, Somerset
4.2% ABV