One woman's ale journey

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

Sunday 27 November 2016

Bath Ales Barnsey

I've never seen a bitter this dark before and with a hint of ruby I was naturally eager to let my taste buds sample this little beauty.  It doesn't have very much of a head but it retains its layer of foam and even attempts some lacing on the glass.  The smell is predominantly malty with a slight hint of chocolate.

The taste is absolutely amazing!  The chocolate taste is so subtle and coupled with the delicious malt makes for a very pleasant experience.  Sometimes dark ales are quite hard going and spoiled by harsh flavours but this is so smooth it feels like velvet on my tongue. There is no bitter aftertaste at all and it's simply sublime.  Ale definitely be Seeing this one Again and I look forward to it immensely.

Brewed by Bath Ales, Warmley
4.5% ABV

My rating:

Sunday 20 November 2016

Dartmoor Jail Ale

Look at that lovely perfect thick frothy head and delicious deep toffee amber colour.  It also has a lovely malty smell so I couldn't wait to dive in.

There is a multitude of flavours bursting out of this one: toffee, fruits, biscuit, malt and spices.  I really didn't expect something quite so pleasant from the unremarkably labelled bottle.  Jail Ale looks like a bitter but there is no metallic aftertaste, just a lip smacking delicious creamy flavour.  There is a slight aftertaste but it's more a strong bitter citrus rather than the metallic tang I would have expected.  The head is so thick that it leaves tremendous lacing on the glass.

As I drank more I noticed more sweetness but the aftertaste also became more prominent and I'm not sure I can get away with it.  I feel like I have sucked the pith of a lemon, although I did stop noticing it after a while.  First impressions were good but it was slightly spoilt by the overpowering citrus as I supped.

Brewed by Dartmoor Brewery, Princetown
4.8% ABV

My rating:

Saturday 19 November 2016

Hammerton N7

With six different hops from US and New Zealand, N7 has a distinct citrus aroma and a subtle but slightly sour malt aroma.  It is a lovely deep golden colour with an amazing expanding head that I thought was going to overflow as it rushed to fill the glass and the abundant bubbles burst on the surface.  It does have some live yeast sediment so it had to poured very carefully.

It has a very very VERY citrus taste leaving a strong aftertaste of grapefruit pith.  The taste and the extreme fizziness is actually very harsh and bordering on unpleasant, but I still managed to finish it of course.

I really didn't like the taste of this but the head is amazing, it actually seemed to grow with every sip and remained thick and frothy until the last unpleasant drop was drunk.

Brewed by Hammerton, London 
5.2% ABV

My rating:

Butcombe Gold Bitter

With a deep golden hue, I could tell straight away that this wasn't a traditional bitter.  With such a fruity and hoppy smell, I knew I was in for something a little bit different.

It pours with quite a small head but what is there doesn't disappear.  It has a surprisingly dry, crisp taste with a hint of a bitter citrus aftertaste.  It's very fizzy but so refreshing that I could see myself drinking this on a sunny day.  It's an unusual mix in between a bitter and a golden ale, but I liked it, although I still prefer the original Butcombe Bitter.

Brewed by Butcombe Brewery, Bristol
4.4% ABV

My rating:

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Wychwood Fire Catcher

Fire Catcher is a light golden straw coloured ale with a mix of citrus and honey smell.  It has quite a loose head but it holds its own and doesn't disappear too quickly.  With an abundance of citrus bubbles, there's certainly a good amount of carbonation resulting in this rather impressive head.

The taste, as I expected, is predominantly citrus flavoured.  It's not a strong lemon squeezy taste though, and there's a bit of a surprise as the initial citrus flavour mellows leaving a pleasant honey sweetness on the tongue.

You can pick Fire Catcher up for around £1 at the moment so for that price you really can't go wrong.

Brewed by Wychwood Brewery, Oxfordshire
3.5% ABV

My rating:

Monday 7 November 2016

Springhead Roaring Meg

From the glowing sun on the label, I wouldn't have expected anything other than the deep golden ale that burst out of this bottle.  It has a slightly floral aroma but the overall smell is of sweet golden honey.  There's a reasonably thick bright white head which shows no sign of dispersing.

Roaring Meg is a rather splendid golden ale.  It has a refreshingly crisp dry taste with only a hint of slightly bitter citrus aftertaste; it's so very pleasant and easy to drink which makes it disappear out of the glass very quickly.  It is well carbonated without being overly fizzy and the head leaves thick lacing on the side of the glass.

A lovely golden ale for a day in the sun or an evening in front of the fire reminiscing about the day that summer came to the North East.

Brewed by Springhead Brewery, Retford, Notts
5.5% ABV

My rating:

Sunday 6 November 2016

Meantime Greenwich Black IPA

How unusual - a Black IPA!  No surprise that it is black as coal and resembles Guinness, but with a thinner more bubbly head.  It smells very malty and fruity. 

The taste has a slight smokiness to it with a slightly sweet toffee aftertaste.  It is quite bubbly like an IPA but my brain expected smooth like a Guinness.  It is really unusual as you can see a pint of stout but taste a pint of burnt toffee fizzy IPA.

Quite strong at 5.7% ABV, it slips down a little too easily and is well worth trying for those people looking for something a little different to a regular IPA.

Brewed by Meantime Brewing Company, London for M&S
5.7% ABV

My rating:

Friday 4 November 2016

Guinness Hop House 13

Another one from the Guinness Brewer's Project, this time a lager which has a lot to live up to, carrying the Guinness brand.  It is a lovely deep golden colour with lovely excitable fizzy bubbles and a robust head, as you'd expect from Guinness

It smells of freshly ripe peaches and hops and so unusual that I couldn't wait to get my first taste.  The taste is so very unique - there is a blast of peaches and cream with a burst of hops and a hint of subtle sweetness.  It's so very moreish and refreshing and is actually a lot smoother than I expected from the initial burst of fizz.  The bright white trademark Guinness head leaves tremendous lacing, which is unusual for a lager.  Definitely one Ale Be Seeing Again when I fancy a flavoursome lager.

Brewed by Guinness, Dublin
5% ABV

My rating:

Thursday 3 November 2016

Robinsons Unicorn

You can pick up Robinsons Unicorn in bargain shops such as Lidl and B&M Bargains so you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd get what you pay for.  This isn't the case with Robinson's Unicorn as it is a perfect deep golden ale that will give premium ales a run for their money.

There is a lovely malty and hoppy smell on opening and the amazing deep gold/light amber ale pours out of the bottle with a fabulous frothy off-white head.  A head that is so robust it leaves tremendous lacing down the side of the glass. 

There is nothing bargain basement at all about this ale.  It has such a delicious taste - it is malty and hoppy with fragrant bubbles bursting on the tongue leaving a perfect bitter aftertaste.  A superb ale, that Ale Surely Be Seeing Again.

Brewed by Robinsons, Cheshire
4.2% ABV

My rating:

Hatherwood The Amber Adder

Red and amber ales are my favourite so I was looking forward to trying this amber ale from Hatherwood, brewed for Lidl.  It is a lovely dark amber colour with an impressive head but rather oddly smells of citrus.  The head is robust and remains to the last drop, leaving plenty of lacing on the glass.

The taste is really weird, it is surprisingly citrus flavoured for an amber ale.  On first tasting, the citrus is quite overpowering so I didn't get any toffee or coffee notes at all.  There is perhaps a slight hint of toffee after a few sips but the taste doesn't reconcile to the look so if it was a blind taste test I'd say this was a pale ale filled to the brim with citra hops.

The Amber Adder certainly does have a bite!  I got used to it after a while as the lemon taste faded to toffee and dark coffee notes.  The consistency is nice as it is quite smooth and not overly carbonated but I just couldn't get away with the overpowering lemon taste. Unfortunately, Ale Not Be Seeing You Again.

Brewed by Hatherwood Craft Beer Company via Marstons for Lidl
4.3% ABV

My rating:

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Camerons Strongarm

I think it is time for a treat so I picked a ruby red ale for today.  This looks like an absolutely stunning ruby ale, it is a deep shiny mahogany colour with a thick beige head.  There is a lovely malty aroma and a sweet treacle smell so I couldn't wait to dive in for a taste.

Strongarm tastes like sweet malt loaf coated in thick black treacle.  It has a smooth consistency and feels slightly thin but the taste is something else.  It is an outstanding taste experience as sweetness battles with bitterness leaving an explosion of treacle and malt in your mouth.  It is so delicious that  Ale Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by Camerons Brewery, Hartlepool
4.3% ABV

My rating:

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Allendale Wagtail

Wagtail is a superb amber colour, the traditional colour you'd expect for a bitter.  It smells unusually of oranges and some kind of sweet spice.  It pours with only a small creamy coloured head which leaves a thin layer as it disappears.  What remains does leave a slight lacing on the glass and a quick swirl creates a bit more foam.

It has a very unusual taste and there is no hint of the metallic taste you often get with bitters, instead it has a slightly sweet toffee taste with a spicy citrus aftertaste.  It is definitely more of an orange than lemon or grapefruit flavour, leaving a very pleasant taste on the tongue.

Wagtail is an impressive local bitter that I purchased in a mixed pack from the lovely folk at Best of British Beer.  Ale Be Seeing it Again.

Brewed by Allendale Brewery, Northumberland
3.8% ABV

My rating: