One woman's ale journey

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

Monday 26 April 2021

Hiver Honey Ale

I bought this bottle when I visited Tynemouth Priory (in the days when we could visit places) as the label caught my eye and then when I saw that it was a brown ale, I had to have it.

It's a lovely chestnut brown coloured ale with a small but tight cream head.  Unsurprisingly for a honey ale, the predominant aroma is sweet honey but I also picked up notes of malt and chocolate.

There is no mistaking the flavour of honey in the taste and it actually feels like it's an ancient recipe.  The honey is tangy and sweet with a lovely maltiness and hoppy bitterness to round it all off.  With soft carbonation giving it a smooth mouthfeel, this is a very pleasant ale to drink.  It's what I would consider an all-season ale; I think it would be a lovely winter ale to drink sitting beside a roaring fire but also perfect to drink in the garden on a sunny day with bees buzzing around.

Delicious and environmentally friendly with 10% of the profits going to pollinator charities and urban space projects, Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Hiver Beers, London
4.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday 19 April 2021

Conwy Minera Mountain

Minera Mountain is a bottle conditioned ale so it's no surprise that it contains a lot of sediment.  With a very careful pour I managed to get a good amount of it out of the bottle without it turning cloudy.  It has a very traditional looking appearance, being a lovely deep golden colour with a huge, frothy, tight and thick Mr Whippy style cream coloured head.  

The aroma isn't very strong, although I picked up floral hints and some tropical fruit.  I think the aroma is perhaps smothered by the large head as I really had to dig through it to get my first taste.  This is where it lost points for me as the head is very bitter and metallic but it's so thick and robust that all of the beer has to pass through it, which gives it an overly bitter taste.  Once you do get through the head, it has lovely floral notes tinged with honey which is what you'd expect from a heather ale.

It's very well carbonated and a little on the harsh side, but you do get used to it after a while.  It also has a decent medium body.  The head is amazing though, it leaves thick lacing on the glass that needed to be scrubbed off.

It's a bit disappointing for a heather ale; the honey and floral flavour is lovely but it's totally overpowered by the metallic bitterness of the head.  It tastes like I've sucked all of the copper coins in my purse then had a glug of beer.  It's not bad by any means, it just wasn't for me and it's not one Ale Be Seeing again, unfortunately.

Brewed by Conwy Brewery, North Wales
4.3% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.25/5

Monday 12 April 2021

Darwin Galapagos

I've been really impressed with Darwin Brewery's ales and Galapagos, their chocolate stout brewed with oats, is no exception.

It's a lovely velvety black colour with a loose, rapidly vanishing tan head.  The head disappears after a few minutes, giving it the appearance of a pint of coke.  I would never judge a book by its cover and the same could be said for beer, so it's what it tastes like that counts.

The flavour is DIVINE!  The taste of chocolate is unmistakable but it's perfectly balanced between sweet and bitter.  I could also pick up notes of roasted coffee, sweet malts and liquorice as I greedily guzzled this easy drinking stout.  The aroma is quite similar to the flavour with wafts of chocolate, treacle and dark fruits over an intensely malty base.

With medium carbonation and a medium body, it's all perfectly weighted to give a smooth stout experience with a few tickly bubbles thrown in for good measure.

Galapagos really is an awesome stout.  It's nothing overly fancy but it's so much more than a bog-standard stout.  It's so malty with a perfect sweet/bitter balance that leaves a sweetness on the lips and bitterness on the tongue.  With a good ABV of 6% it ticks all the boxes of a delicious stout to which I can definitely say 'Ale Be Seeing You again!'

Brewed by Darwin Brewery, Sunderland
6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday 5 April 2021

McColl's Suma

One thing I've noticed with McColl's core range of beers is that they are extremely lively.  It doesn't matter how slowly or carefully I pour it, the head is always humungous and it took quite a few pours to get a decent amount in my glass.  I poured a second 330ml can into a pint glass in one go and usually the contents of a can of this size would look pitiful but I actually had to stop pouring as the head had started to overflow!  

Suma is a 5% IPA that pours a hazy golden yellow with a huge frothy, off-white head that lasts right to the end, clinging to the glass and lacing on the way down.  There's no obvious sediment but I left a little bit in the can a) just in case there were any bits and b) because it was so lively it would have overflowed if I'd tried to get any more in.

The aroma is amazing, it's so fruity.  It smells like a juicy fruit salad eaten in the garden on a sunny day; grapefruit, lemon and mango with a hint of fresh pine needles.  The flavour is awesome with citrus and pine blending perfectly to give a crisp and refreshing juicy IPA.  It's not overly citrus so it's not pithy at all but it does have a bitter aftertaste as you would expect from an IPA.

It's not as fizzy as I expected from its lively appearance and the carbonation is just right being in between prickly and tickly bubbles.  It has a decent medium body.

As I'm not overly keen on pithy citrus ales, Suma is the perfect IPA for me especially with the hint of mango adding some sweetness to the bitter citrus.  It's an outstanding ale and I love the pine notes that give an added freshness and really make it something different.  I did have two cans so I can definitely say Ale Be Seeing You again but I would advise drinking Suma as fresh as you can as they can be quite explosive when they're within a few months of their best before date.

Brewed by McColl's Brewery, Co.Durham
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5