One woman's ale journey

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

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Box Steam Brewery Tunnel Vision

This smells delicious as soon as the lid is removed; it smells fruity and malty, like a freshly cut slice of malt loaf.  It's a fabulous dark amber/toffee colour and has a lovely thick creamy head.  The head is as thick and robust as a Guinness but a few shades whiter.

Such a lovely smooth and slightly burnt toffee taste, with a hint of a bitter aftertaste at first which you don't notice after the first couple of sips.  It is actually a really lovely taste, I even thought I could detect a brief hint of oranges.  It is as smooth as a John smiths but a thinner consistency so more refreshing and easier to drink.  Ale Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by Box Steam Brewery, Wiltshire
4.2% ABV

My rating:

Monday 27 June 2016

Hogs Back Hop Garden Gold

This is a lovely deep golden/light copper colour, but it pours a little cloudy with a very thin head that disappears quickly, leaving a pint resembling cider.

It has a slightly hoppy smell with a very strong, but not unpleasant, grapefruit bitter aftertaste.  I would say that this is a summer ale, to drink while the sun is shining, as I felt like I could taste the sunshine in every mouthful.

Brewed by Hogs Back Brewery Co, Farnham, Surrey
4.4% ABV

My rating:

Sunday 26 June 2016

Adnams Suffolk Bitter

This smells of fruit and weirdly of cut grass on opening - it certainly smells very fresh and appetising.  A lovely hoppy aroma is added to the mix on pouring.  It has a nice creamy head and is a mouthwatering dark amber colour.

It has a lovely smooth taste and no hint of metallic aftertaste, as you often experience with bitter.  The taste is quite complex, certainly malty with slight notes of burnt toffee and underlying fruit.   Overall it is a top bitter and I can say for definite, as I've now had 3 of them, that Ale Be Seeing You Again!

I managed to get them for half price in Marks & Spencer as they were approaching best before date, so they were an absolute steal at £1.20 a bottle.

Brewed by Adnams Brewery, Southwold, Suffolk for Marks & Spencer
5.2% ABV

Find out more about Suffolk Bitter at M&S here
Find out more about Adnams here

My rating:

Sunday 19 June 2016

Wye Valley Butty Bach

A lovely deep golden ale that smells of malt, hops and a slight hint of fruity sweetness.  It has some live sediment in the bottom so it was poured slowly and carefully, resulting in the inevitable little head.  It does leave a little bit of lacing on the glass but it has enough body to get away with the small head.

What an unusual taste this has, definitely in a good way.  It has a really unique blend of bitterness and sweetness that certainly awakened my taste buds and made them sit up and take note.  It has such a refreshing, smooth taste with a creamy biscuit aftertaste.  It is very pleasant and easy to drink, leaving a silky sweetness on the tongue.

Butty Bach means 'little friend' in Welsh and Ale be Seeing this little friend again.

My rating:

Brewed by Wye Valley Brewery, Stoke Lacy, Herefordshire
4.5% ABV

Saturday 11 June 2016

Hadrian Border Brewery Farne Island

Being a fan of locally brewed ale, it was only a matter of time before I featured a Hadrian Border Brewery ale on my blog.  A lovely crystal clear amber ale flowed out of this bottle and the photo really doesn't do it justice.  It is a perfect amber colour and so clear, once the bubbles dispersed.  It has a small head but it doesn't disappear at all and it smells so malty and, with a slight hint of citrus, so refreshing that I couldn't wait to taste it.  

My first taste impression was "oooooh" - this really is an outstanding amber bitter.  It's smooth and bursting with a range of flavours from malt to honey - absolutely divine!  With no hint of a metallic aftertaste, it's a bitter without bitterness so Farne Island gets top marks from me.

I'll definitely be trying more from this brewery as I already have Secret Kingdom and Grainger Ale on my wishlist, but I can definitely say that Ale Be Seeing You Again, Farne Island.

Brewed by Hadrian Border Brewery, Newcastle upon Tyne
4.0% ABV

Sunday 5 June 2016

Bosteels Kwak

My cousin, JP, had not only told me about Kwak but went one better and bought me a whole gift set.  I'm a lucky girl indeed.  It's like a mini yard of ale and comes with its own wooden holder.  The glass itself is exquisite, embossed with the 222 year anniversary from 2013, and is my first experience of drinking from a yard of ale style glass.  You'll be delighted, although not surprised, to hear that I adapted well and didn't spill a drop!

I found it hard to pour as half way through I looked like I had a massive head but once the beer started to creep past the neck of the glass the head filled out nicely.  It disappears to a small foamy layer but does leave some lacing on the glass.

This really is a very deceptive beer.  It smells of copper coins and pours the same colour as them too so I was expecting a very bitter metal taste.  I couldn't have been more wrong. The taste is completely out of this world - it is smooth as honey with malty treacle notes and a spicy liquorice aftertaste.  There is a lingering sweetness left on the tongue as if I'd sucked a few liquorice allsorts.  It is absolutely divine and far too easily quaffable but at a massive 8.4% ABV it's not one to drink too quickly.

Kwak may very well be my new favourite beer - Ale Be Seeing You Again and Again and Again (and not just because there are 3 more bottles in the pack).

Brewed by Bosteels Brewery, Buggenhout, Belgium
8.4% ABV

Saturday 4 June 2016

Pilsner Urquell

This was a lovely birthday gift from my friend, Karolina, and the first beer I have tried that has an appearance in my World Bottled Beers book.  It is a deep golden colour and has an abundance of energised bubbles, resembling a lava lamp.  Now there's an idea - a beer filled lava lamp...  It has a tremendous head that shows little sign of disappearing and I could smell honey and hops on pouring along with a slight citrus aroma.

It is very pleasant on the tongue; as bubbles burst I could taste hops and ears of corn along with something I couldn't quite put my finger on.  So I ended up cheating and looking in the book; it's herbal aromatics, and I would never have guessed that, despite partaking in the odd Jägermeister or two.  Due to the herbal aromatics, it has such a complex aroma and flavour that it's really difficult to describe, so you really will just have to experience it for yourself.

Pilsner Urquell is tasty and flavoursome; it's certainly one to be savoured as opposed to downing in haste.  I really enjoyed this most excellent gift!

Brewed in Plzeň, Czech Republic
4.4% ABV

Aldi Beer Festival 2016

I am fortunate to live within walking distance of an Aldi, but put some beer in the special offer leaflet and it's time to clear out the boot and drive there instead.

I can't remember a better selection of ale than the current range in store now.  Obviously I picked up mainly ambers and reds but there really is something for everyone.  At a bargain £1.25 each, it would be rude not to.

I chose Camerons Strongarm, a ruby red ale; Wadworth 6X, an amber ale with a 'malt loaf' finish; Unicorn,a golden ale; Castle Tawny Bitter, a hoppy malty ale; Wizard Amber Beer, a fruity zesty ale; Maple Gold, a golden ale with a hint of maple; and Double Dragon, a copper ale with a nose of apples and pears.

The full range can be seen below and you can click the image to visit Aldi:

Happy Beer Shopping!