One woman's ale journey

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

Monday 25 May 2020

Rudgate Pale

A mixed pack from Rudgate in York was one of the first (of many) packs of beer I bought when the UK went into lockdown.  I hadn't tried any of their beers before so I thought I'd start light with their pale ale.

When I first started to pour it, I thought it was almost colourless then it appeared to have a strange pink hue.  I started to get nervous and wondered if Rudgate had bottled pink champagne instead of pale ale.  It turned out a surprisingly nice light golden colour with a small, relatively loose off white head that holds on for a while to leave a thin foam layer.  There is some sediment in the bottle so it needs a careful pour to get a clear pint.

The aroma is deliciously hoppy with hints of honey and caramel along with zesty citrus and tropical fruits.  The flavour, however, is disappointingly weak with very little taste.  The initial taste is predominantly hops, honey and straw but it does develop slightly over time to become more fruity.  There is a slight citrus bitterness to the aftertaste and, as I'm not much of a fan of pithy citrus, the citrus flavour is subtle enough to be palatable for me.

Although it has decent carbonation, it has a very thin and watery mouthfeel but then again it's quite a light beer at 3.8%.  It's not terribly tasty but it's very light, clean and refreshing; it's what I would call a nice summery day beer - it'll quench your thirst without having you dancing on the tables.

Brewed by Rudgate Brewery, York
3.8% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3/5

Find out more at Rudgate Brewery

Wednesday 20 May 2020

S43 Pretzels on my Mind

I saw a lot of posts on social media with beer lovers getting excited about Pretzels on my Mind, an imperial chocolate pretzel stout from Durham brewers S43, so when the fabulous Newcastle beer shop Centrale said they had it in stock I made sure that I grabbed one!  Now I'm not one to spend a lot on a single beer but at 10% ABV it warrants the £5.95 price tag so I decided to treat myself and what a treat it was.  It's such a special beer that I'm posting my review on my birthday - hoppy beerday to me!

Just look at that colour!  It's very dark brown almost black with a light brown tight foamy head that settles into a milk-like appearance.  The aroma is mouthwatering; chocolate, malt, treacle and liquorice waft out of the glass once you get past the initial strong smell of alcohol due to that whopping 10% ABV.

I was both nervous and excited to get my first taste, desperate to know whether it lived up to the hype.  Oh. My. God.  My mouth has died and gone to heaven.  So many dark and delicious flavours burst on my tongue; lashings of chocolate, liquorice and treacle with just a hint of salt.  The chocolate is a perfect blend, both sweet and bitter, and the hint of salt lingers on my lips.  Aside from the initial smell of alcohol when I first poured it, there's no overpowering booziness in the flavour so the high ABV is well covered.  It is exactly what it says on the tin.  

It's super-full bodied and almost syrupy; if you swirl the glass you can see it clinging to the sides.  It's very smooth and thick and I've never had anything so viscous.  Although it took me absolutely ages to drink it, as I wanted the whole experience to last as long as possible, the head retained a thin layer throughout.

Pretzels on my Mind is an absolutely OUTSTANDING imperial stout.  It's so rich and decadent that I savoured every single mouthful.  I score my beers out of 50 and Pretzels on my Mind scored a whopping 49; it only lost a point for the initial smell of alcohol and if I hadn't been so eager to stick my nose in I probably wouldn't have even noticed it.  So I think it's fair to say that Pretzels on my Mind scored top marks and if I ever get the chance, Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by S43 Brewery, Durham
10% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 5/5

Find out more at S43 Brewery

Monday 18 May 2020

Grounding Angels Mr. Stouty Pants

The fabulously named Mr. Stouty Pants was the whole reason I placed an order with Hexham-based brewery, Grounding Angels.  I love stout and just had to try this one; I am delighted to report that I was not disappointed (just as well as I ordered 5 of them!).

Pouring a very dark brown/almost black with a loose rapidly disappearing light brown head, the delicious malty aroma leaps out of the can as soon as you open it.  Along with malt, there's chocolate, treacle, liquorice, molasses and a hint of coffee.  It really does smell amazing and my mouth was watering as I leaned in for my first sip.

What a delicious blend of flavours!  The taste is quite extraordinary; a lovely blend of malt, chocolate and coffee with absolutely no bitterness whatsoever.  There's a slight smokiness and a hint of sweet treacle but the overriding taste of milk chocolate is divine.  It's relatively softly carbonated and the body is quite thin for a stout but the taste is so outstanding that you can forgive these little slights.

Brewed with local grown Golden Promise Barley, 11 different speciality malts and finished with Madagascan vanilla, cacao nibs and freshly roasted Pilgrims coffee from Holy Island, Mr. Stouty Pants is a very easy drinking stout.  Although the body makes it feel quite light, it's surprisingly strong at 5.6% and one to be savoured rather than devoured.  It's a shame its rapid loss of head gives it a flat appearance and makes it look like a glass of coke but the flavour more than makes up for it.

Even if I didn't already have another four cans, Ale Be Seeing You Again Mr. Stouty Pants!

Brewed by Grounding Angels Brew Co, Hexham, Northumberland
5.6 % ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.5/5

Find out more at Grounding Angels Brew Co

Monday 11 May 2020

BrewDog Slot Machine

It's not an optical illusion (or a very small glass), this is a 660ml gigantic bottle of Slot Machine, a red rye IPA from Scottish brewers, BrewDog.  It pours a beautiful russet brown colour with a huge frothy but tight beige head.

The aroma is mainly malt and biscuit with hints of citrus fruits and warm spice.  The initial flavour is predominantly citrus followed by a floral, spicy taste.  As you drink it, the citrus flavour seems to diminish and more toffee and caramel flavours develop.  The citrus flavour remains throughout to give a lingering bitter aftertaste.

Surprisingly softly carbonated, it has an almost smooth mouthfeel and is a full bodied ale.  The head leaves good lacing on the glass and I loved the developing toffee flavour which takes the edge off the initial citrus hit.  The spicy rye flavour is well balanced, giving more of a hint than a full hit which can often take over.  

It's a decent red rye IPA and very drinkable, which is just as well as I got two full 330ml glasses out of the oversized bottle.

Brewed by BrewDog, Ellon, Aberdeenshire 
5.2% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at BrewDog Brewery

Monday 4 May 2020

Original Stormtrooper Galactic Pale Ale

May the force be with you

My second beer review for Star Wars Day is this Galactic Pale Ale from The Original Stormtrooper.  I bought this one from the amazing House of Trembling madness in York before I picked up the gift pack with glass from B&M.

This pale ale pours a traditional deep golden yellow colour with a tight off-white head.  The head holds surprisingly well for a while before dispersing to a thin foam.  The aroma isn't terribly strong but it is mainly hops, biscuit and straw with a hint of orange citrus and honey.

Moving on to the taste which disappointingly isn't that strong either.  I could only really taste hops and honey before getting a dry and bitter aftertaste.  A weak taste coupled with soft carbonation and a thin almost watery body meant it wasn't an out of this world experience at all.  It took me a while to drink it and I found that the flavour does develop slightly over time into more of a bitter which I liked.

I honestly thought I would have preferred the Galactic Pale Ale to the Lightspeed Pilsner but the pale ale was just a bit too weak on flavour for me.  Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad beer but it only just scrapes a 4 pint rating, sitting right on the fence with a score of 3.5 out of 5.

Brewed by St Peter's Brewery, Suffolk
4.2% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.5

Find out more at The Original Stormtrooper

Original Stormtrooper Lightspeed Pilsner

It's the 4th of May so Happy Star Wars Day!  I really couldn't have found a better beer to review today than The Original Stormtrooper beers from St Peter's Brewery so I'm posting not just one but two reviews today!  I bought the Lightspeed Pilsner in a gift pack with a glass for £5.99 from B&M in December 2019 but you can also buy glasses and gift packs direct from Original Stormtrooper for the Star Wars fan in your life!  Just click here to take a look.

May the force be with you

Gift set from B&M
As I'm a fan of ale from the dark side, I haven't really experienced a lot of pilsner, however, this Lightspeed Pilsner more than exceeded my expectations.  It is a deep golden yellow colour with a frothy and surprisingly robust cream coloured head.  The aroma is deliciously hoppy and smells strongly of sweet stone fruits with a hint of citrus.

For a pilsner, it is surprisingly flavourful; a lovely blend of malt and hops is evident in the taste along with a grassy and sweet fruit flavour.  I didn't really get any hints of sweetcorn that was mentioned on the label but it may have mixed in with the sweet stone fruits I could taste.  The initial blast of flavour is then followed by a delicious crisp and dry bitter finish.

With medium carbonation and medium body, it's a very refreshing beer.  It most certainly lives up to it's  description of 'lager with a twist'.  It's been years since I've had a lager but the addition of fabulous bitterness pushes this more into the ale category for me.  This could definitely bring a lager drinker over to the dark side of real ale. 

I would definitely have this again, especially as a light refreshment on a sunny day, so Lightspeed Pilsner Ale Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by St Peters Brewery, Suffolk
4.2% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75

Find out more at The Original Stormtrooper