One woman's ale journey

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

Monday 27 April 2020

Grounding Angels Chasing the Horizon

I recently found Northumberland brewery Grounding Angels Brew Co on Instagram and when I saw that they were offering local home delivery it was definitely an offer that was too good to refuse.  So doing my bit to support local businesses during lockdown, I chose a mixed case of 12 cans and a couple of hours later they were in my fridge.

First up is Chasing the Horizon, a New Zealand NEIPA.  I was a bit put off by the cloudy, opaque and slightly weird juice-like appearance at first but the amazing aroma of fresh mango, orange and lime more than made up it.  It really does resemble a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice when the loose frothy cream coloured head disappears.  If I could drink beer for breakfast, this would definitely be one I'd choose!

The aroma is unbelievable; it's so deliciously fruity and the mouthwatering aroma continuously wafts out of the glass as if it was a scented candle.  It smells like a bowl of freshly peeled fruit comprising orange, mango, peach and lime; it's very exotic and summery.  Everything I smelt in the aroma was replicated in the taste along with a hint of spice and a citrus bitter finish.  It really is a lovely blend and so very refreshing.

It's a full bodied ale with a smooth appearance but has the perfect amount of carbonation to give the tongue a good tickling.  It's like a beer cocktail and just needs a little cocktail umbrella and a slice of lime on the side of the glass to look the part.  It's not something I'd usually pick but I'm so glad that I did as I really liked it; with the balance being more tropical fruit than citrus, it turned out to be more my kind of thing than I thought.  As I bought 4 cans, I can definitely say Ale Be Seeing You Again!
Brewed by Grounding Angels Brew Co, Hexham, Northumberland
5.3% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Grounding Angels Brew Co

Monday 20 April 2020

Black Sheep Ram Tackle

I consider Black Sheep Brewery to be one of my favourite breweries and ruby one of my favourite types of ale so it's almost as if Ram Tackle was made for me.  I like my ruby ales more on the dark side but there's no denying that this is a beautiful looking ale.  It's a mouthwatering amber colour and looks like molten toffee with the trademark thick and creamy Black Sheep head.

The aroma isn't terribly strong but I got whiffs of hops (unsurprisingly as there are 8 varieties of hops in it), juicy raisins, biscuit and caramel.  The aroma matches the flavour with malty biscuit flavours transforming into tangy bitterness.  The bitter aftertaste is lovely and if I had a blindfold on, I'd have said it was a bitter rather than a ruby ale.

With decent carbonation, a smooth mouth feel, medium body and amazing lacing, you can tell it's a Black Sheep ale.  I would have liked a stronger flavour to give my taste buds a workout but it's another quality ale from Black Sheep and one Ale Be Seeing again.

Brewed by Black Sheep, Masham, North Yorkshire
4.1% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Black Sheep Brewery

Saturday 18 April 2020

Andwell King John

This is a very special review today as I'm posting my review of King John from Andwell Brewing Co on what would have been my Uncle John's 70th Birthday.  My Uncle John loved his beer and I always thought of him as the fastest drinker in the West; he certainly managed to drink his home brew long before it was ready, that's for sure!  

I inherited my love of beer from Uncle John; he bought me my first legal drink (a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale that I thought tasted like a bag of rusty nails) and he taught me that a good pint should be filled to the brim.  If your pint is looking a bit short ask the bar if they can put a shot of whisky in it, if the answer is 'yes' then ask them to top it up with beer.  I know he would have loved drinking some of these beers with me so this one's for you, Uncle John.

Uncle John and my Dad in 2009
There's no way they were neck and neck in the pint stakes.
Uncle John would have been at least 2 pints ahead.

So from Uncle John to King John.  Let's see if I love them both.

King John is quite the little beauty; a beautiful chestnut brown colour with a small but long lasting tight beige head.  The aroma is absolutely mouthwatering; so malty and fruity with a hint of caramel and hops.  I couldn't wait to have a sip and it was like all my malty dreams had come true!  The blend of flavours is absolutely spot on.  Malty perfection with a hint of fruit and a very subtle bitter aftertaste.

It's quite fizzy with decent body, although a little on the watery side.  The lacing is superb for such a small head and it's a top notch amber ale.  I was only disappointed it was in a tiny 275ml bottle.  Uncle John would have definitely asked for a top up of this one!

If I find an online or local stockist of Andwell's King John, Ale Be Seeing You Again and Again!

Brewed by Andwell Brewing Co, Hook, Hampshire
4.2% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Andwell Brewing Co

Monday 13 April 2020

Purity Pure UBU

Pure UBU definitely looks like my kind of ale: a deep amber, molten toffee coloured ale with a very very tight thick beige head.  That's what I call a perfect looking pint.

There's quite a lot going on in the unusual aroma; I could smell hops and malt at first then hints of sweet spice, ginger and fruity banana.  It smells very fresh and appetising so I couldn't wait to dive in for a taste.  My first impression is that it's reminiscent of a proper old fashioned bitter; quite light in flavour initially followed by the most intense metallic kick.  I do prefer metallic over citrus bitterness but this was a little too heavy metal for me.

It's quite thin bodied with medium carbonation but the head is amazing.  It's very thick and doesn't seem to lose a millimetre of it's height whilst still managing to thickly lace the glass.

Pure UBU is a decent amber ale that will appeal to bitter fans who like their bitter to taste of copper coins rather than lemon squeezy washing up liquid.

Brewed by Purity Brewing, Warwickshire
4.5% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Purity Brewing

Monday 6 April 2020

Three Kings Silver Darling

I absolutely love the funky brown paper bag packaging of Silver Darling from local Tyneside brewery Three Kings; it's so fresh and unusual but, as with most things, it's what's inside that counts.

As I couldn't see inside the bottle, I poured this bottle conditioned pale ale slowly just in case there was any sediment and it came out surprisingly crystal clear.  It's a lovely deep golden yellow colour with a bright white frothy head that doesn't budge due to the lava lamp style bubbles constantly rushing to the surface.  The head is very robust and doesn't so much lace as clump because it's so thick; it lasts right to the very last drop and beyond, as evidenced by the clump of foam that was left in the bottom of my glass when I finished.

It's a pale ale so there's an unsurprising aroma of citrus but I could also smell sweet biscuit and some delicious malt.  I braced myself for a citrus explosion as I took my first sip but I was pleasantly surprised to find that there's just the right amount of hops to take the edge off the citrus flavour.  It has a strong bitter aftertaste of grapefruit mixed with sweet fruit and the abundance of harshly carbonated bubbles felt like they were doing the tango on my tongue.

Refreshing and strong, I really enjoyed Silver Darling; drinking it reminded me of sitting on the banks of the Tyne in the sunshine and I have no doubt that Ale Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Three Kings Brewery, North Shields
5.6% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Three Kings Brewery