Monday, 27 September 2010

Untapped Brewing Co. 'Ember' 'U.P.A' & 'Sundown'

After the thoroughly enjoyable Untapped 'Eclipse' the other night i decided to get stuck into the rest of their range.   'Ember' at 5.2% is described as a "Winter Warmer" , an ale with three types of roasted malt that give it a good dark colour (see below) with slight tan head. There is a tang and fizz on your tongue, chocolate aroma which then follows through in the taste and its not to heavy either.
In their description of this beer they call it a "strong, old style ale" rather than a stout. I'm not sure i'm knowledgeable enough to know what the difference is with this beer, but i do know its a very good one.

Next up was the U.P.A 4.5%. A light golden pour into the glass, sweet fruit and citrus aroma.
A balance of hops and malt, and a good, medium amount of bitterness follows. Very enjoyable but i would say not particularly distinctive.
Lastly was the 'Sundown' a golden ale which is lively, with a sweet fruit note i couldn't put my finger on, and bready aroma, a refreshing yet dry and bitter end. Superior to the U.P.A. definitely.
In order of preference i would give top marks to the Eclipse, followed by Sundown, Ember and then the U.P.A.

All of these beers, and a few more beside (Marble, Otley, VoG, RCH were ones i picked up), were bought at the excellent Arth Wine in Penarth run by a very knowledgeable and friendly chap called Richard. You can find them next door to the railway station, where they have a walk in chiller section keeping our lovely beers at the exact temperature (9.3`c when i went in!) as well as a great range on the shelves. I will be going back very soon!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Hay Ale & Literature Festival 24th- 26th Sept.

This friday is the start of the 3 day Hay Ale & Literature Festival at Kilvert’s Inn, Hay on Wye, Wales. You will be faced with a great choice of 50 Welsh beers from breweries such as Purple Moose, Breconshire, Great Orme, Conwy and the ever excellent Otley present with their GWBCF award winning O-Garden.
Alongside the ale is the literature side of things; guest events include Pete Brown, Beer Writer of the Year talking books, ale and cider, Melissa Cole does a beer and food matching talk and a specific ladies tasting event, and Zac Avery goes slightly off Welsh piste in talking about rarer beers in his books. Adrian Tierney-Jones and Tim Hampson fight it out in North vs South wales corners. Full details of all events are here.
Entry and Beer prices according to the organisers blog ‘Student Brewer’ this week are entry £5 for glass and programme although £2 of that is refundable, and beers are to all be priced £3/£1.50/£1 for a pint/half/third respectively (correct money only at bar). 

Kilvert's Inn, Hay on Wye, Powys, HR3 5AG      01497 82104

Damn i wish i was going!!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Untapped Brewing Co. "Eclipse"

Untapped Brewing Co. are two chaps based in Cardiff, although they brew at Whittingtons in  Gloucestershire. I picked up all four bottles that they produce and started with "Eclipse" their dark ale.
First thing to comment on is the styling, a dark dark brown bottle, obviously made darker with its contents, and a fantastic graphic on the label, great use of minimal colour also, really well done.

In the glass it is a lovely deep dark brown colour with an off white head that stays throughout. A nice roasted malt aroma and taste, light in mouth with good but mild chocolate hits and a moderate bitterness that is satisfying, leaving you wanting another.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Marble 'Stouter' Port Stout

Marble 'Stouter' Port Stout
Manchester Marble 'Stouter' Port Stout 5.1%, dark in the glass with a good sized mid brown head. The aroma was a smokey coffee and chocolate hit. I dont drink coffee myself so the depth or style probably passes me by, but the aroma and bitterness i expect would be a strong coffee style. Underlying this is a bare hint of sweetness, and lightness in the mouth which is surprising.
Very good and i look forward to trying their other beers.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Preseli Brewery - Even Keel

Preseli Brewery "Even Keel"
Back down to Pembrokeshire for this ale, as i mentioned in a previous post i picked this up in Tenby last month having tried their two other offerings earlier in the year. The Preseli brewery are actually based in Tenby, other than that i know very little. The website appears untouched since setting up, and an entry on the quaffale directory gives little more information.

Even Keel is a 3.8% bitter probably what you would term a 'session ale' and it went down very quickly. With a light malt taste and some hop aroma, pleasant enough but not terribly exciting. The kind of drink you would have again but if there was something else on offer you would try that first.
The two other ales from them, Old Mariners and Baggywrinkle * i didn't make notes on at the time but do remember them being uninspiring, certainly Even Keel is the better of the three.
I suppose with a new brewery only a year old you cannot expect Bocks or chocolate wheat beers just yet, they need to get established in the market first, i shall keep my eye on them as there is potential for a large market for them down in South West Wales alongside the Cwrw Cwm Gwaun brewery.

*In case your wondering a baggywrinkle apparently is a
  "A home made substance to prevent chafe on sails from lifts, stays and crosstrees during long periods of sail." (The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea) and the name of a Swansea Shanty group too.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Celt Experience - Bleddyn 1075

Celt Experience Bleddyn 1075
The Celt Experience are i understand a sister company to the Newmans brewery now based in Caerphilly South Wales, winning not only Cardiff Design Festival Awards 2009 but local and national SIBA awards too.
I bought the four bottles currently on sale by them, their Gold, Bronze, Cwrw Lager, and the Bleddyn 1075 from their Brewpub in Llantrisant called The Wheatsheaf. The lovely little pub also had a good selection of Newmans beers on Tap, currently being Red Castle Cream, Wolvers and Autumn Valley Flower.

I have had the Bleddyn 1075 before but my notes on flickr were brief but i appeared to enjoy it.
So last night it poured an amber to brown colour with small head that laces well. A nice citrus aroma leads to a distinct grapefruit bitter taste thats not too overpowering. Overall a good beer with nice crispness and good use of hops.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Badger - Long Days

Badger - Long Days
I like Badger beers generally, the light floral touches and fruity tones, the spices they use too. The 'Cricket' beer was a lovely summer drink this year, 'Blandford Fly' and 'Pickled Partridge' are favorites of mine also.

I'm also lucky in that one of my relatives used to work for Hall & Woodhouse so there is always a lovely well stocked fridge in that house!
This evening i tried their 'Long Days' 4.5% beer, specifically brewed with summer in mind apparently. It might remind me of summer but when i was a kid perhaps, the raspberry flavour is for me too sickly, its like sherbert sweets or fizzy lace strings, just a touch to much.
I think i'll go back to Lemony Cricket, a far far better summer drink.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Cwrw Cwm Gwaun - Light ale

Cwrw Cwm Gwaun Light ale
From South West Wales, Pembrokeshire to be precise, comes the Cwrw Cwm Gwaun brewery and it is only a year old having launched in the summer of 2009.

Cwrw Cwm Gwaun means Gwaun valley beer in welsh (not that i speak it, it says so on the bottle!!).
The farm its brewed on has its own sourced spring water, and the building has a large viewing and tasting area, visitors are encouraged! All the labels designs are hand painted, and they have frequent music evenings also! See the website for details.

On a previous visit to Tenby i purchased from the Morgan-Foley’s Deli on the high street their two other bottle conditioned ales - 'Bitter' and 'Dark'.
This time it was the Light ale, an amber colour with minimal head. After an initial floral aroma there is a pleasant light citrus taste, refreshing clean hop taste leading to a slight astringent twang. Overall a pleasant, and as it is called, light ale.

Cwrw Cwm Gwaun Bitter Ale

Cwrw Cwm Gwaun Dark Ale
 The two mentioned before, 'Bitter' and 'Dark', i think were nicer beers.
The 'Dark' is a mild style ale, nice and smooth, biscuity malt tones.
The 'Bitter' is a great beer, proper tingly bitterness, very good, probably my favorite of the three.

Buy direct from the brewery or from Real Beer Box.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Brewdog Punk IPA

Punk IPA and a Scelidosaurus.
If your someone who just likes to drink beer, buys from supermarkets or local convenience shops and doesn't read beer media then you may not be aware of Brewdog apart from what you see on the shelves.
I suppose that depends on how successful they have been getting into mainstream media and judging by their last efforts 'The End of History' thats pretty good.
On the shelves i see Punk IPA, in a 330ml bottle at the same price as most of the 500ml bottles. Now before i knew who they were and that they made pretty well regarded beer i would be in two minds about buying any of the bottles. Actually though not two minds for very long, i would discount it quickly. If i can get a Fullers/Badger/Adnams beer, good beer and 170mls more for the same money that seemed a no brainer to me.
However i have been meaning to try one of their beers now for a while and last week Tesco's reduced the Punk IPA 4 bottle pack to £3.43, or 85p a bottle so no excuses any more.

Is there any point doing a review? you've all drunk it too haven't you?
Just to say i loved the big flavour, the way the massive bitterness brings it on, tropical fruits and glorious colour.

Been tweaking the blog design also, better i think.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

I'll have a half of......

several lovely ales at the Boars Head festival 2010,
as described in my last post. (Photo from their Facebook page)
A lovely pub, certainly somewhere where i will return in the near future, although i stupidly forgot to ask what they currently had on tap post festival.

Anyway up first was indeed the Brewdog 'Trashy Blond' - lovely golden colour, lasting head, hops and nice subtle bitterness. Enjoyable start to the evening.
Rob from Rob's beer quest recommended the York 'Guzzler' and i duly moved onto that. A good floral crisp golden ale, went down very well, thanks Rob!
Next was another i was looking forward to, you read so much good stuff about the Thornbridge brewery, including the 'Jaipur IPA' so i ordered that. It is a lovely beer, beautiful aroma but was not quite as i was expecting, perhaps i had built it up too much in my mind, i was expecting more punch from the hops, more bitterness.

Nevermind - onwards, and we tried the Green Jack 'Orange Wheat'. Very smooth and very drinkable, light orange aroma and taste, not overpowering at all. I'll jump to my last drink of the night which was their 8.5% 'Ripper' they describe as  
"Green Jack Brewing Company’s champion Barley Wine. Inspired by Belgian tripel ales this multi-awarding winning brew is dangerously drinkable. Rich amber in colour Ripper is sweet and fruity with a warming finish."
 Really good, punchy alcohol taste and indeed very warming, perhaps a bit overly sweet though. Didn't stop me having a second though which in hindsight probably wasn't a good idea!!

Inbetween the two Green Jack beers i had a stout (possibly the Hop Back 'entire stout', not sure) which was smooth, nutty and coffee. Didn't enjoy the Sarah Hughes 'Dark Ruby Mild'.
The Brewsters 'Stilton Porter' was very good however, full flavored with spice and caramel and a good roasted bitterness.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Boars Head Beer Festival - What to drink?

The Boar's Head in Tyla Garw, South Wales is quite close for me yet i've never been to one of their festivals, barely been to the pub actually, the curse of very young children and shift work i'm afraid. And annoyingly i'm again toiling in a work place depressed in the knowledge i'm missing out on these beers, as posted by blogger Brew Wales.(Thanks for the list).
 If I get some time to go what would you recommend? I've got to make it count! I'm quite keen to try the Brewdog as i'm not likely to see anything by them on cask very often down here, and from the beer blogs i know the Thornbridge and Dark Star beers are very good. (The Old Slug porter and Summer lightening i have had before so i'll give them a miss.)

BREWDOG - 'Trashy Blond'

BREWSTERS - 'Decadence'

BREWSTERS - 'Rutterkin'

BREWSTERS - 'Stilton Porter'

CHEDDAR ALES - 'Gorge Best'

CHEDDAR ALES - 'Potholer'

CHEDDAR ALES - 'Bitter Bully'

CROUCH VALE - 'Amarillo'

CROUCH VALE - 'Brewer's Gold'

CROUCH VALE - 'Summer Breeze'

DARK STAR - 'American Pale Ale'

DARK STAR - 'Hophead'

DARK STAR - 'Sunburst'

GREEN JACK - 'Orange Wheat'

GREEN JACK - 'Ripper Tripel'

.HOPBACK - 'Crop Circle'

HOPBACK - 'Entire Stout'

HOPBACK - 'Summer Lightning'

.HOWARD TOWN - 'Snake Ale'

HOWARD TOWN - 'Longdendale Light'

.LODDEN - 'Bamboozle'

LODDEN - 'Ferrymans' Gold'

MAULDON - 'Mousetrap'

MAULDON - 'Silver Adder'

MAULDON - 'Suffolk Pride'

OAKHAM - 'Bishop's Farewell'

OAKHAM - 'Inferno'


RCH - 'Double Header'

RCH - 'Old Slug Porter'

RCH - 'PG Steam'

RED FOX - 'Red Fox Bitter'

RED FOX - Hunter's Gold'


RED FOX - 'Wily 'Ol Fox'

SARAH HUGHES - 'Dark Ruby Mild'

.SPRINGHEAD - 'Bare Bones'

SPRINGHEAD - 'Charlie's Angel'

SPRINGHEAD - 'Roaring Meg'

THORNBRIDGE - 'Craven Silk'



TRIPLE FFF - 'Stairway to Heaven'

TRIPLE FFF - 'Moondance'

WOLF - 'Granny Wouldn't Like It'

WOLF - 'Straw Dog'

WYE VALLEY - 'D.G. Golden Ale'

WYE VALLEY - 'Butty Bach'


.YORK - 'Guzzler'

YORK - 'Yorkshire Terrier'

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Vale of Glamorgan Chocs Away!

Vale of Glamorgan brewery based in Barry, South Wales, is probably my closest microbrewery. They have a selection of 5 cask ales now since starting in 2005 with occasional specials/seasonal ales, and now extended the bottle range to versions of their latest cask ales.

This is their chocolate beer, 4.5% Chocs Away, and immediately you get a nice light chocolate aroma followed by coffee.

As they correctly say on the label its a lovely mahogany colour. It has a little head that doesn't last, smooth chocolate taste again the coffee and roasted malt coming on. Quite a light taste, not as punchy as some chocolate beers but its nicely balanced and i could imagine having a few more easily.

They produced a great Christmas ale last year called 'Holly Daze' , which had a good rich malty and fruit taste, and their current version of their bitter 'Bitter than ever' is also very good, good hoppy aroma, medium bitterness, good sweetness also briefly, showing a lovely colour.

Next on my shopping list is the wheat beer 'Wheats Occurring' (pun groan!) and the other bitter 'Light Headed', but as i'm working now for 3 nights they'll have to wait!!
Also next up waiting in the wings is Welsh breweries based in the South West. These are from the Preseli Brewery, Tenby and the Cwrw Cwm Gwaun brewery, Pembokeshire.