Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Warcop 'Furnace' & 'Honeyed Stout'

The final two bottles from Warcop are 'Furnace' a ruby ale, and their 'Honeyed Stout'. Again the bottles have interesting pictures on them, alot of religious iconography and some other odd pictures, here is the list of their ruby ales alongside the label pictures, check them out yourself.

Onto the beers, first up 'Furnace' 500mls, 4.8%. This indeed pours a nice ruby colour, a small head that quickly goes. Aroma has a sourness about it, reminds me of a heavy oaked white wine. Taste has a solid malt element but i'm struggling to differentiate between bitterness and sourness. I put away 2/3rds of it before i knew it i must admit, but i'm really not sure about it, whether i liked it or not.

The 'Honeyed Stout' sounded really interesting, they use honeycombs from local beekeepers and its aged for at least 2 months. It had a just off white head which was light and frothy, its body was relatively light for a stout but not thin. Again the aroma has some sourness to it, plus a sort of burnt malt element. Upon drinking i get dryness and a little smokiness at the end, little sweetness, no honey at all though. Although there is a spicy edge to it there is again that same sourness i got with the ruby ale, i'm not sure whether this is a feature of the yeast they use or something else.
Some of the other beers they had on sale sounded interesting also (and i really wanted to like these), but they possibly might make me a little hesitant before buying any of them is all i can say.

Warcop Caspa Lager

One of the three bottles i bought from the Warcop stand at the Cowbridge Food and Drink festival this year was this Caspa Lager, a 5.7% 500ml bottle, with an interesting label which is another reason i bought it really. I've not had great success with 'real lagers' generally, they have been either flat or underwhelming, an recent exception being the Teignworthy Beachcomer.
This Warcop bottle uses US Hops (unsure which) and a lager yeast, providing "a subtle taste of citrus/grapefruit" . 
There was good carbonation on opening, a small fizzy head, and a pale yellow colour as you see in the photo. Aroma was lemony and crisp apples, and this followed through upon tasting. The citrus is certainly there with a nice dryness. However its body was quite thin and if i was blind tasting this i would have thought someone had given me a slightly watered down cider. Drinkable, but slightly disappointing ultimately. 

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Bath ales Festivity

Bath ales do some good beers, Barnstormer and Dark Hare being two good examples, so i was pleased to see this on the Waitrose shelves on one of my rare excursions there.

Festivity is their porter, 5.0% abv, and they say 'We create this wintery brew using floor- malted Maris Otter barley and roasted chocolate malt, together with Challenger and Bramling Cross hops from Kent. These fine ingredients have helped to make Festivity the perfect seasonal ale.'

I've always thought the design of their bottles whilst individual slightly uninspiring, but the contents always make up, and this is no exception. A nice dark ruby brown, initially a light brown head but that soon dissipates. A wiff of smoke firstly, then creamy chocolate. Body is a good weight in the mouth, not light/thin but not to heavy either, and there is a nice earthy malt to it, chocolate and coffee. A slight bitterness that sits in my mouth but not overwhelming.
Its not an 'in your face' porter blasting you with flavour but its well balanced and very pleasant, if i get to Waitrose again, or better still visit my in-laws in Bath itself,  i would definitely get it again.

Bigger picture here

Friday, 19 November 2010

Statitics damn statitics

I suppose all beer tickers are statisticians to some degree, even if its keeping a running list in their head of which beers by which brewery they have and have not tried. Whilst i dont keep a log or such, online i obviously keep this blog and probably more comprehensively my Flickr account, notably my beer sets.

I have linked to my blog the free eXTReMe tracker which shows traffic to this site and where it originated, and of course Blogger have their own 'stats' section on your dashboard. And i'll happily admit to some sort of blogger vanity in occassionaly checking these out to see if anyone is reading this crap!

Conclusion - if you want traffic post about Brewdog. That word alone should be increasing my page views as you read it.

Not including this one i have written 38 posts, and only two specifically about their beers here and here, but also have mentioned them in a couple of other posts, notably beer festival ones.
When i looked at the stats from eXTReMe, specifically keywords searched that led traffic here the top six were :  ipa, double, tesco, american, brewdog and finest. Can you make a beer out of that??!!  Those six account for 61.9% of all the keywords used.

On my Blogger stats the Tesco/Brewdog post, as the most popular, has just over 3 times the number of views than the 2nd most viewed (the Preseli Brewery one which surprises me). The Brewdog website 'Equity for Punks' for their share holders led to most of the traffic here (again three times the next listed) where someone posted a link to me following the Tesco release.
So there you go, increase your blog traffic by mentioning Brewdog. Or post sexy ladies, thats works too. Or both, which if we all did would i believe implode the internet.

What i do find odd i that since i posted the Samual Smith Oatmeal Stout review its picture on Flickr has become my highest viewed photo, twice as many views as ay other photo, and thats all photos not just beer ones.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Leffe 9°

Leffe 9° was another bottle i picked up at the Cardiff 'beer shop' as its known, i'm taking too long to get through them all, mainly because i keep buying other bottles in the meantime! 

330mls and obviously 9% abv, its has that distinct Leffe aroma about it, though this has a large alcoholic pungency also alongside raw sugar. I was quite surprised though, with the abv and aroma it gives off, that it tasted much lower, its was not quite the punch i was expecting. Taste wise it has again that typical Leffe thing, sweet malts, heavy caramel, vanilla and wheat. Dangerously drinkable.

Teignworthy Brewery tasted thrice

When one of my oldest friends recently went on holiday to Devon he kindly brought me back 3 bottles from the Teignworthy brewery. 
These were 'Beachcomber' a real lager beer according to the bottle although i've seen it also called a golden ale, 'Spring Tide' and  'Reel Ale', both bitters.

First up was the Beachcomber which i drank following another bottle conditioned lager 'Warcop Caspa' which i'll review soon.
A gold colour with reasonable carbonation, and a foamy white head. Not a great deal of aroma if i remember correctly, but a light dry malt taste, slight sweet biscuit flavour alongside some sweet fruits and citrus. Quite pleasant, would defiantly have again.

The 'Spring Tide' was opened the following night, an light amber bitter which was lively in the glass, and it had quite a long dry finish but was not terribly exciting. There was some dry maltishness about it, and plummy also but not juicy sweet plums, dry just out of season ones (i had some very recently obviously!).

The second bitter was the 'Reel Ale' and this was much more satisfying. At 4% a good example of a great session bitter, a deeper brown than the last bottle, and creamy malty aroma with some thing sharp in there too ?apples. The taste is similar, a little sweetish malt, good medium body, classic british bitterness. As i said a decent session bitter, the kind of pint you would hope to find on most bars at 3pm just as you settle in for a few.

Thanks to Dougie.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Christmas Ale,

well three to be precise.

One of the regular emails from Aldi dropped into my inbox, informing me that amongst their new offers were two xmas ales, namely Batemans 'Rosy Nosey' and Wychwoods 'Bah Humbug'. I picked these up earlier today, and put them alongside a bottle of Whittingstons 'A Winters Tail' (all their beer's names have links to cats btw).

I started with the Batemans beer, (surprisingly no regular endorsement from Roger Protz on the back, like their other non bottle conditioned bottles). 4.9% and 500mls. A dark amber colour with little aroma other than that unmistakable Batemans smell that accompany's all their bottles. Flavour is, well, average, some sweet maltyness, slight spices but nothing is distinctive, its quite thin and i wouldn't have said this was a christmas beer if i was given it without seeing the bottle or knowing its name.

Next was the Wychwood Bah Humbug 5.0%, again a dark amber colour, its aroma though is cloves, some cinnamon i think but clove dominates. Taste wise its again cloves, but there is no balance for anything else. The Schneider Weisse beer i tried recently has cloves but its balanced so that the other flavours come through. I wouldn't drink this again, its a little unpleasant.

Hastily i moved onto the Wittingtons ' A Winters Tail' 5.1% with its dark reddy brown colour and a creamy just of white head. Has a woody aroma with some dark malts, not quite a coffee or chocolate hit though, cannot put my finger on it. Taste is on a lightish body, its dry and malty, a very very light smokeyness with hints of fruit.

Overall i preferred the Whittingtons, a better balanced beer, the Batemans was pleasant enough, but the Wychwood will not be in this house at christmas.

Whittingtons Cats Whiskers

Cats Whiskers, yes. Cats Pajamas? quite possibly.
Sitting listening on BBC 5live to the England vs Austrlia rugby match, and watching Wales losing to South Africa on the TV this is a lovely afternoon to crack open this bitter.

A mid brown colour with nice small creamy head that clung on most of the way down. Hoppy aroma, slight metallic touch also. Good hoppy flavour, a crisp bitterness, very good bottle conditioned pint and 4.2%.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Timmermans Tradition Gueze Lambic

Okay so i only knew a few things about Lambic beers before i bought this bottle and starting writing this .
1. Belgium origin
2. Spontaneous fermentation
3. Supposed to be very sour
and thats it really, and i had never tasted one until now.

Its a 5% abv, 330ml bottle, not quite sure what made me plump for this one on the shelf, and i cannot honestly remember any of the others that were there, whether i missed a classic for this one i'll never know. But you've got to start somewhere.
It pours a more golden yellow than the photo shows, with an aroma of green apples, almost 'granny smith' like.
Timmermans Tradition Gueze Lambic 
Taste wise i'm not sure what i was expecting other than the sourness, but it has not got the bite i was expecting. It reminds me of a sparkling wine or cider but not with the unpleasant lingering harshness i find they have, if cider tasted like this i'd drink it! There is a dryness that sits at the front of the mouth, and the sourness is quickly mellowed by a sugary undertone, quite refreshing.

So overall, not unpleasant, i would try another for sure, but not as sour as i thought it would be. Perhaps this was not a good example of a gueze lambic, i'll have to google up other reviews, or please tell me if you've had this and other lambics and how they compare.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Guinness Foreign Extra

If, over the last ten to fifteen years, you'd bought me a pint of Guinness i would have drunk it, but i probably wouldn't have had a second, or bought one myself. It was okay but not really my cup of tea so to speak, and as a consequence i figured i didn't really like stouts. Guinness was stout.
Its only over the last year or two that i've tried them, and its really because of Protz's '300 beers...' when i learned about the history and the range of types, flavours and styles. And since then i've found Marstons' Oyster, Marble 'Stouter', Meantime's, and Untapped's Triple S are all fantastic, each individually wonderful beers.
Even so, i had yet to return to the one that had given me that initial impression.
So this afternoon after a good walk with the kids, and slapping a muffin topped beef stew into the oven i went on a beer run, and figured what better hearty meal to pair with a stout. And new just in my local shop is 330ml bottles of Foreign extra, about £1.39 i think it was.

A beautiful light chocolate head, dark dark brown body. A great thick body, surprised me actually how thick and chewy it was, with its rich chocolate and spice aroma. A taste that is a thick creamy maltyness, rich stewed fruit, coffee, and a good bitterness across the whole tongue. Trouble is now, do i have a 'normal' pint of Guinness or will that shatter some illusion i now have of how good it possibly is??
The stew was excellent also, and Liverpool beat Chelsea so i was a happy bunny all round. Yay.

Bigger picture here

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus

Another beer picked in Cardiff last month, this is a Schneider Weisse (website in German) 8.2% abv doppelbock.
It poured immediatly a massive glassfull of off white head which had to be left to calm for a few minutes before i could pour any more beer in. Great smell coming off it, rich fruit, banana and spice, and the flavour is very similar, great thick body for a wheat beer. Its probably at the upper limit of what i can tolerate with spices, esp. clove, but a lovely pint nonetheless.  
Must clean my glass better though, not the best photo either

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Anchor Porter Vs. Tesco Finest Traditional Porter

This is less a taste test, more a 'one bottle after another' evening.
I settled down to watch the new Star Trek movie finally and open up another in the latest Tesco Finest range. The Traditional Porter is produced and bottled by Harviestoun , Scotland and is 6% 330mls.
Colour wise its a very dark brown verging on black, nice light brown head that quickly goes. Aroma was chocolate and light coffee. Nice and smooth, again light coffee and chocolate malts, with a slight bitterness staying at the back of the throat. Enjoyable overall.

I then opened the Anchor  Porter  ,5.6%  355mls, and wow, what a difference, all round really. Immediate aroma is immensely enjoyable but i struggled to put a name to some of what i was getting. Creamy, sweet chocolate, almost treacly smell, lovely. Colour again is almost black with larger light brown head. Taste - quite malty, coffee bitterness but a full mouthful of flavour, sweet rich fruit. Extremely good beer, and i defiantly pick some more up when i next see them.

The Harviestoun porter was quite nice , nothing wrong with it but it is dwarfed by the Anchor, even with less abv it drinks much higher such is the flavour.

And the movie was quite good too.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Marble Lagonda IPA

Well, now i'm truly jealous of those beer bloggers who got to go on the Twissup recently, supping those Marble beers in the brewery and Marble Arch pub.
I also think my wife got bored of me saying 'thats so good' and similar comments after every mouthful! 500mls was not enough.
Beautiful fresh citrus and hop aroma and a small creamy head that lasted the drink.
Taste wise, again citrussy, ?peach that give some floral aspect i think. Lovely long dryness also, great beer all round.

Bigger picture here.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival 2010

So this weekend was the Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival, which tied in nicely with a stag do i was going on, my friend Rob is the lucky man.
After a morning shooting we headed straight for the festival, although a slight detour into the Horse and Groom was a big mistake, if you want lager and pretty much nothing else then thats where to go. Straight up to the Vale of Glamorgan pub which has hosted the real ale festival now for a good few years running. Standing room only, the pub was heaving, so straight out to the marquee for the beer list . I some how only managed to photo the second and third lists. Some like the Purple moose beers had already sold out and the Otley O8 and O1 soon followed by early afternoon. Other brewery's present on the first list were Moor's of Somerset, Bullmastiff from Cardiff and Newmans of Caephilly. 

The Otley Kowhai was one of the first i tried being a new one to me, very pleasant start drinks lighter than its 4.9%, nice bitterness overall , could definatly drink a pint or two of it. I had to wiki Kowhai to find out what it was named after, a common New Zealand garden tree apparently. 
Next i had a Newmans brew called 'Last lion of Britain' which was not to impressive which is a shame as some of their other beer are quite nice. Waen's 'Blackberry stout' was up next, which was strangely disappointing, the first few sips seem quite pleasant with lovely blackberry notes coming in sweetly, but after that i really started to not enjoy it, seeming a bit watery and unnecessarily harsh, i only had a half and didn't finish that, nor did one of my friends.
After a couple of other halve's i fail to recall i tried the Gwaun valley 'Bitter' which was as good as it is in a bottle thankfully, and the Breconshire brewery 'Baroque ale' was next - unfortunately i cannot remember what it was like, i think i pointed it out to someone but i'm not sure if it was a 'have that next' or a 'avoid avoid!'.

By far the best i tried, despite being surrounded by welsh breweries was from Somerset's 'Moor Beer' . Their 3.8% bitter 'Revival' was wonderfully refreshing, great hoppy flavours, singing in the mouth, citrus, and nice dryness comes through. Really good beer.

After a food stop in the chippy we headed to the Brains' Duke of Wellington to try and find a seat after hours of standing at the Vale. This pub hosts the Cider festival for the weekend and a few of the party wanted to sample these delights. 
It was strangely situated out the back in a marquee set at the back of the garden but seemed forgotten, little signs telling us where it was, the conservatory we walked through was mostly empty and would have been a far better setting for it. Seemed very under promoted, and even the cider heads with us in the end didn't make the trek back out, just going to the inside pub bar for the pump stuff.
Anyway a couple pints of a lackluster Rev. James, couple of Dark and for once a surprisingly decent SA.


The following day i went back to the food festival side with the wife and family, always enjoyable, loads of tasting samples and great lunches to be found. Among the exhibitors were Otley, Pen-lon, and Warcop.
I bought the xmas offering from the lovely ladies at the Otley stand who very very friendly, apparently the new coloured bottle top wrapping is to aid identification of the different beers for retailers, probably needed as often you see their beers in Spar and the like, wrongly lined up to another price ticket.

I then had a nice chat with the guy from Warcop, (website a little outdated but they reply to emails quickly) about the Great welsh beer festival and my disappointment on the day i couldn't try his beers, and bought his Honeyed Stout 4.5%, Furnace ruby ale 4.5%, and his Caspa real lager 5.4% and look forward to trying them all, reviews as and when. 
Meanwhile my utility room has far to much beer in it for my wife's liking so i'm off to move some to the shed for a bit.