Sunday, 31 October 2010

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

From their website:
  At one time promoted as a drink for lactating mothers, oatmeal stout was described as nutritional on early labels. Oats are in the same family as barley, and a small addition yields great flavor and adds smooth body. Popular in the late 1800’s, the last oatmeal stout was brewed before the First World War until Samuel Smith reintroduced this style in 1980. 

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout
This is the first oatmeal stout i've had, and was quite looking forward to it and i was aware of this style of beer from reading the Michael Jackson and Roger Protz books.
It is a 550ml bottle which is obviously a little larger than most other bottled beers you see these days. 
Pours in the glass a black colour with a light cappuccino colour head, slightly sweet aroma but also a roasted malt element.
Good heavy body, i was surprised how strong yet pleasant it was, it was almost vinous on the tongue. Smooth flavours of coffee and what reminded me a little of Coca-Cola. As you get further down the glass it lessens up on the heaviness but retains great flavour, creamy and silky.
I really enjoyed this, I'll be keeping my eye out for other oatmeal stout style beers from now on.

Bigger Picture here

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Pete Brown in Wales / Cowbridge Food Festival 2010

 No he's not at the festival as far as i'm aware, just a double post.

Firstly a plug for Pete Brown as his latest video blog has visited Wales, interestingly he say's he asked  but never heard back from Brains about filming, presumably this was because it was too short notice to remove all the smooth beers from site and put original decent beers on again.

This weekend is the established Cowbridge Food and Drink festival , with plenty of good food exhibitors, craft stuff, demonstrations and entertainment. Looking through the exhibitors the highlights for me are Otley brewing co., Penlon brewing co., and Warcop ales a small brewery based on the coast inbetween Cardiff and Newport. I've yet to try one of their beers, never seen a bottle and they were either sold out or 'not ready' at the Welsh festival in Cardiff this year unfortunately.

The best place however has to be at the pub surely! The 'Vale of Glamorgan' pub hosts an excellent beer festival over the last few years, and this Camra awarded pub is where i'm headed. For the cider drinkers across the road is the Brains pub and it usually hosts the cider festival at the 'Duke of Wellington'.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Good times ahead.

Just before the weekend i had to go into Cardiff for a work thing which meant i could make a slight detour to probably the best (as in most varied selection) beer shop in South Wales that I'm aware of. Please feel free to correct me if you know of another.
On 97-99 Whitchurch Road is the Discount Supermarket which from the outside looks reasonable ordinary, little hint at the treasures inside.

Aside from the usual convenience shop fare and a large wine section, is a fantastic beer selection. Floor to ceiling shelves with a choice from all corners of these isles, including as high up as the Scotland's Orkney Brewery. Then there is the Belgian beers, German, many other European, and a good but small selection of US beers.
I picked up:
two from the Anchor brewing co. Porter and Liberty Ale
Orkney Brewing co. Red MacGregor

William Brothers Kelpie Seaweed ale
Timmermans Gueuze Lambic   -   this will be my first lambic beer btw.
Schneider weisse Tap 6
Samual Smith Oatmeal Stout
Marble Lagonda IPA
Leffe 9
and the Untapped Triple S  in my last post.

I then went to Dorset for the weekend to see family and friends, and my oldest friend Dougie kindly gave me three beers he picked up on holiday in Devon recently from the Teignworthy brewery. Cheers mate!!

Unfortunately i know am working three nights and then have the next few nights already booked up so all of these will have to wait until next week!!! To be fair thought one of these nights out is a small stag do which will be attending a beer festival so that pretty good compensation!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Untapped Triple 'S' Simply Superb Stout

Untapped Brewing Co. Triple 'S'  Simply Superb Stout
Triple 'S' Simply Superb Stout is the latest from the Cardiff Untapped Brewing Co.

Again from Untapped comes a lovely clean styled bottle, their label designers are providing some great work, a simple uncluttered yet distinctive look. But thats no good if the beers duff! which it thankfully is not.

Lovely creamy foam light brown head and almost black colour. Good bready malt fragrance with some chocolate and caramel also. Taste wise this is lovely and smooth with a slight bitterness, not to heavy just right. As it warms up comes in a slight harsh caramel tinge and background sweetness balanced well.
Another good beer from Untapped, you can buy their bottles from Real Beer Box or from local Cardiff shops and markets listed on the website.

Bigger Picture

Friday, 22 October 2010

RedHook Brewery

Odd but this post is about a brewery I had never heard of before this week, one I have never seen a bottle from, let alone tasted one of their beers, and I’m unlikely to any time soon I guess. (Cue Wayne’s World flashback music....)

The town I live in has one charity shop, or as they like to call it a 'community shop' probably because the stuff you give away to them you'll see in your best friends neighbours house 3 months later. I was killing time on Tuesday, looking past the piles of tatty McDonald’s meal toys for dinosaurs for my son to add to his collection, and I noticed on the glassware shelves a pint glass with a design I hadn't seen there before. "RedHook Seattle Portsmouth" it said.
It peaked my interest firstly with its Star Wars styled lettering, and that I thought Seattle was in Washington State not Portsmouth (New Hampshire), but mostly I wondered how it had come to be here in a little community shop in south Wales?
I already have enough pint glasses, I’m afraid I have liberated a few in my time, but bought it anyway out of curiosity. 

RedHook Brewery
It was also not so much how it came to be there but what it had had in it on the way. Obviously I will never know but I romanticised anyway, has this glass seen the greats of the US craft scene inside its scratched being? The Goose Islands, Brooklyn beers, the heavily hopped IPA's, any number of pints from the 130+ styles the US craft scene has categorized beers into. Of course it may have been given away unloved and used for years for gallons of cheap lout necked on someone’s sofa, (I must confess to several years of lovely lout consumption in my past too)
Redhook brewery was founded in 1981 in Seattle, their first beer was styled after Belgian ales, but it was their Ballard Bitter which took off and pushed their brewery to capacity and then expansion. Today they have three breweries (the third being in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, hence the glass lettering); on both coasts of America and their flagship beer is the Redhook ESB. Highly regarded also, according to ratebeer anyway, is their Treblehook barleywine, American-Style Strong Brown Ale' 8-4-1 Expedition Ale', and the 7% Double Black Stout.
Anyway, a silly post whilst stuck working nights, looking forward to the weekend and some good beer.
Not Redhook beer, unless by some miracle they see this and send me some, well you can always

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Arkell's Bee's Organic & Kingsdown Special Ale

Arkell's is a Swindon based victorian steam brewery founded in 1843 which has now over 100 pubs on their books. Tonight i got two of their bottled beers in, the Bee's Organic Ale and Kingsdown Special Ale.

The Bee's Organic Ale is apparently available in  pasteurised and unpasteurised versions, what that means to me taste wise i've no idea but this was the pasteurised bottle. Light golden in colour, little malt aroma, light and pleasantly refreshing beer, and some sweetness from the honey which i found more as an aftertaste but gently so.

The Kingsdown Special Ale is labeled as a strong brew with an ABV of 4.8%,  but certainly is light in the mouth, i was expecting a more powerful fullness to it. A copper beer with some malt aroma but no head at all and little carbonation. For a strong ale, as i said, its very light, some sweet malt taste but little else, quite forgettable.

Overall one reasonable beer and one disappointment, but i dont think i would  look out for either again really.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Tesco Finest Brewdog American Double IPA

Yes thats right, a Tesco Finest Brewdog beer collaboration!!!

On my weekly shop this morning and amongst the almost never ever changing line up on the shelves was a new bottle. I noticed first the labeling and almost mistook it for the newish Brains   IPA  bottles until i saw the Tesco Finest label at the bottom.

Tesco Finest Brewdog American Double IPA
Produced for Tesco by Brewdog its a 330ml 9.2% American Double IPA and yours for £2. None of the usual Brewdog ethos or angsty spiel on the bottle, just lets you know that its an american craft style with west coast hops, lots of them. Must of been an interesting meeting between their buyer and the brewdogs guys i reckon!

I have never had any US craft beers or any double IPA's before but from the beer blogs i'm expecting massive hops and bitterness from this, and i really enjoyed their Punk IPA.

Its has the aroma of unsurprisingly grapefruit, melon and a wiff of alcohol, its colour is light amber (doesn't come across in this photo) with a small creamy white head. It also has the massive hops bitterness, fairly low alcohol warmth hit, and there is some caramel and floral aspects too.  So one sided though, its all hops and nothing else, not sure i would have more than one just because its not that its not interesting, its just unbalanced to my mind. It in no way seems like a 9.2% beer though, and i just wish Brewdog put more of their other beers on Tesco's shelves.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Sainsbury's London Porter

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference London Porter

From the Sainsburys Taste the Difference range, brewed for them by Shepherd Neame. When i saw the bottle on the shelf i was hoping, knowing that this range is brewed by established breweries, that it was by Fullers as i have yet to try their reportedly amazing porter. When i saw it was Shepherd Neame i was apprehensive, i've not always liked their output.
The London Porter is 5% and is a 'rich, dark beer packed with intense flavours of chocolate and spicy liquorice'

It has a big creamy off white head and a fair amount of carbonation is evident in its black body. Its aroma is of coffee and strong burnt malt, very nice. Taste wise i never found the liquorice but enjoyed the rest, the sweet maltyness, coffee and chocolate, medium body and the bitterness which grew as it warmed up. Really enjoyed this, and had it alongside a ginger cake i made earlier, lovely!!.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Vale of Glamorgan - "Glamorgan"

Another beer from the Vale of Glamorgan brewery based in Barry, South Wales.
You may now have heard of them following some press coverage or on golf blogs for their special beer brewed for the Ryder Cup called 'Tiger Would'. As you can see with the pump clip they went for the subtle approach! I'm sure his lawyers would see the funny side of it!
Apparently as well as the cask version it will be now available in a limited run bottle version. My friend in the field (aka the pub) at the Barry 'Wetherspoons' found it on tap but unfortunately his was the bottom of the barrel and it was now off. Full marks to their customer service though, pint replaced and a free one too (probably those CAMRA vouchers he was flashing helped!).

Anyway, to the bottle in my hand 'Glamorgan' a big 7.0%  'traditional pale ale, full in body, strength and flavour. Using finest floor malted grain and selected hops'.
This was a light mahogany in colour, with the aroma of plums and toffee. I felt it had a sweetish aspect too, i have seen other reviewers sometimes mention juicyfruits or starburst sweets in relation to other beers and never knew what it meant but i think i got it here. Normally if i dont know what i'm tasting i do look for other reviews for guidence, a virtual education if you like, i taste it but cant name it.
 Beer.Birra.Bier blogger Mark wrote recently an excellent post on tasting notes recently.
This being a new beer i'm flying solo this time! Never mind, if you try it and i'm blatantly wrong please tell me what i was actually tasting!
Its quite full in the mouth but not long lasting, you get again a caramel toffee flavour and rich fruit. It in no way has the alcohol warmth of a 7% beer, very deceptive but to me it has the taste more of a barely wine than a pale ale. I might just put a couple away for Christmas.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Celt Experience - Golden

Another beer from the Celt Experience from Caerphilly, this one being their 'Golden'.
From their website they say
This beer is named after the Golden Age of the Celtic people. The Celts dominated Mid-Europe before the Roman Empire stretched westwards and northward. In the Golden Age of Celtdom, the Celts waged successful wars in continental Europe, notably in around 500 BC where modern day Spain and Northern Italy were overthrown. The name Bracis-Curmi (malted beer) traces back to the ancient Celtic language or proto-celtic, an age where Celts were some of the first beer producers in Europe.. 

As you see a golden colour indeed, with a sweet citrus aroma. You get a fresh, again citrus, hoppy taste, and its quite dry and not too bitter. Overall a refreshing bottle.