Monday, 27 June 2011

Springhead Brewery The Leveller

After a recent post claiming i don't often get the chance to go to Morrison's i then was able to correct that a few nights later, and picked up a couple of bottles new to me.

From the Springhead brewery in Robin Hood country they say, is 'The Leveller', 4.8% 500mls and not bottle conditioned. Its described as a dark smooth beer brewed in the style of a Belgian Trappist beer but with English ingredients.

Its aroma is some smoke, chocolate, some bitter roasted coffee. Looks wise its dark, darker than coca cola but with similar red edges when held up to the light.
Taste - chocolate and toffee on a medium body, a pleasant light dryness at end accompanied by some light bitterness rounding it of nicely.
Style wise i'm not sure i see the Belgian bit as i didn't really get any expected rich sugary sweetness, seems more of a dark ale with a foot into the stout camp, but no matter as its quite enjoyable, i'd certainly have it again.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Boon Oude Geuze

Boon Oude Geuze 2007-08 bottle, 7%, 37.5cl.
I was really looking forward to this, such an appealing looking bottle, threatening a great experience with that cork just bursting to be popped.

Geuze is a mixture of old and young Lambic beers, the label says 2007-08 so is that the bottling date? or is that the date of the production of the 'old' lambic? The expiry date is 18/8/2030 but i understand these bottles usually have a long date

Really good carbonation, a yellow gold with big fluffy and bubbly head. Aroma is some crisp sharp apples and lime, and the taste is nice and tart but not teeth enemal stripping though. Lovely sharpness, so crisp with its light palate, then hits you with a sourness that is dry and musky.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

New Aldi & Lidl beer offers

To my mind the only supermarket shelves that seems to providing new bottles to try are Aldi and Lidl currently down my way, Tesco & Asda rarely changes its line up, and other supermarkets are not on the doorstep. A little planning needed before going to Morrisons, which inconveniently shuts at 8pm (!), and its not often i get there after work before that time.

To be honest even the Lidl is a little out the way and often i wonder if the deals they have on are worth the deviation. Certainly the beer nut has saved me wasting my time before driving out to them.

Latest offers:
Aldi have another Batemans bottle in, this one called 'Miss America' at £1.49, part of the US theme aldi have going on.
"An amber coloured, hoppy beer with a grapefruit flavour. Pale, crystal and wheat malt are combined with Liberty hops from the USA to give this beer its crisp citrus finish."

 They are more likely to get my money though spent on the second bottle offer - Samuel Adams Boston Lager and only £1.19. Shows the effect of inflation as this bottle was only 99p this time last year, but still a bargain for a great tasting beer.

Over at Lidl the latest bottle  from Shepherd Neame is their 'Summer Sizzler' 4% and only 99p.  
I wonder if the current  Pencil and Spoon series on 'When beer goes bad' will include lightstruck beer before i try this Shep bottle?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival 2011- Friday review

It was friday, it was wales, it was raining.
No, actually it was belting it down in the morning to be honest, thankfully it lightened as the day wore on.
Whilst the easy transport links into Cardiff reminded me why i should go in there more often, the drunks screaming at each other in the street at 11am as i bought some lunch reminded me why i dont.

Anyway onto the CIA for the Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival 2011.
The souvenir glass this year came only as a half pint, and i soon had it filled with Otley's Saison Obscura as i wasn't going to miss it again !5.5%,  small head on a dark copper medium body. Light fresh spice, orange, light sweetness. Nice start to the day.

 With all the talk of Black IPA's across many beer blogs and none to be seen in South Wales i stuck to the Otley bar and tried their Oxymoron.
Black IPA, also 5.5% abv, pretty black (duh!) in colour. Noticeably mostly to me for a pine aftertaste, its also got coffee and a dominating citrus twang i couldn't put a name to. Must admit i wasn't initially sold on the black ipa style on this first try.

Another beer that i had pegged to try was the recent award winning Hopback Entire Stout. I thought it a little thin though, all be it with good coffee, chocolate bitterness. Okay, not bad, expected a bit more for a champion winter beer though somehow.

Red Kite brewery are very new, based in Carmarthenshire,West Wales, with a range of five beers, they had three i could see here. I tried the 'Gold Wing' a 4.2% golden ale, it was light and crisp, with a good drying bitterness, again citrus hop came through.
Another new brewery and definitely the closest to where i live is the new Llantrisant brewery, i believe its based in the Wheatsheaf pub in the town. 'Black Army Stout' is their first beer i was told, 3.9% abv. Thin in the mouth, no head really, light malts with hedgerow berries coming through well, possibly blackberry? It seemed more like a porter in style, it was okay, although for your first brew its encouraging to see them produce something different rather than a safe bitter.

I've never ventured over to the German bar at any of the festivals before but thought it was time to make the effort. Karg are not a brewery i'd heard of, so i plumped for their 5.0% Weissbier Dunkel. A gloomy looking wheat beer, dirty toffee in colour, it was sharp, green apple sour, banana and bready. Was it supposed to be like this?? Not totally unpleasant but unexpected and one i wouldn't try again.

Heart of Wales brewery  - Aur Cymru - a golden ale, its was quite dry, woody, medicinal and a little flat, didn't seem in the best condition.

By now the Champion Beer of Wales 2011 had been announced, going to Rhymney for their 'Dark', which i'll agree is certainly their best beer. Congratulations to them, they also took silver with 'Export' , and Otley  took bronze for 08, a previous winner itself.

 By now the place was really filing up, seemed to be more provision of chairs and table than last year, although as soon as anyone vacated chair it was pounced upon.

At this point i wandered for a bit trying to decide which to have next, one of the volunteers tried to sell me the Thornbridge Jaipur but i instead went for the 'Sequoia' which was not in the programme, (seemingly replacing their 'Lord Marples' which was supposed to be there but i couldn't spot it).
 Really good, hit the spot immediately. Biscuity, nutty, light brown in colour, nice and hoppy but not out of balance with the malts. Certainly my beer of the night.

Brains had the usual bar on display, a great photo here by Beer Lens, and they had produced exclusively their 'Strong Ale' for the festival. 6.5%,  it was less alcohol more sweetness, lightly spiced, fruity. A half was more than enough at the end of night.

Great festival, well done to all those involved.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival 2011

Hurrah  its on again!. I booked annual leave months ago to ensure that the most important date this week, my wife's birthday (!), and the beer festival can be accommodated into this week seamlessly. My friends similar attempts have been thwarted at the last minute by his wife's holiday booking, not a happy bunny is he, so i'll be attending solo on friday.

Details: Official site here
All the Information you'll need on one post here by organiser Brew Wales here. Good work fella!

It starts today, thursday 16th june until Saturday 18th at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. Where? It used to the CIA (Cardiff International Arena) until they thought they were a premiership football stadium and sold the naming rights it seems! So same place, different name.
Cost: £6 for entry, programme and glass as usual. Tokens for beer, some free for CAMRA members.

The most important thing though: the beer list!

So i ask the same question i asked last year:
What do you recommend? What would you be heading for first??

Banktop Mild 4.0
Brains Bitter 3.7
Brains British Sumer 4.0
Brains Dark 3.5
Brains IPA 3.4
Brains Rev James 4.5
Brains SA 4.2
Brains SA Gold 4.6
Brains Strong Ale 5.5
Breconshire Brecon County Ale 3.7
Breconshire Cribyn 4.5
Breconshire Golden Valley 4.2
Breconshire Ramblers Ruin 5
Breconshire Welsh Pale Ale 3.7
Breconshire The Mayor's Inspiration 4.4
Breconshire Ysbrid y Ddraig 6.5
Bryncelyn Buddy Marvellous 4.0
Bryncelyn Holly Hop 3.9
Bryncelyn Oh Boy 4.5
Butcombe Bitter 4.0
Caledonian Deuchars IPA 3.8
Castle Rock Harvest Pale 3.8
Celt Experience Native Storm 4.4
Newmans Castle cream 4.7
Celt Experience Golden 4.2
Cerddin Cascade 4.8
Conwy Cwrw Mel 4.5
Conwy Beechcomber Blonde 4.2
Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold 4.0
Dark Star American Pale Ale 4.7
Elgood's Cambridge Bitter 3.8
Elgood's Black Dog 3.6
Evan Evans Cwrw 4.2
Evan Evans Golden Hop 4.3
Evan Evans SPA 4.2
Fullers Chiswick 3.6
Fullers ESB 5.5
Great Orme Celtica 4.5
Great Orme Welsh Black 4.0
Gwaun Light Ale 4.0
Harvey's Sussex best bitter 4.0
Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted 3.8
Heart of Wales Aur Cymru 3.8
Heart of Wales High as a Kite 10.5
Heart of Wales Irfon Valley 3.6
Heart of Wales Welsh Black 4.4
Hobsons Mild 3.5
Hopback Entire Stout 4.5
Hopback Summer Lighting 5.0
Jacobi Light Ale 3.8
Jacobi Red Squirrel 4.0
Jarrow Rivet Catcher 4.0
Jolly Brewer Taid's Garden 4.0
Kelham Island Pale Rider 5.2
Kingstone 1503 4.8
Kingstone Stout 4.4
Llangollen Grange No1 3.2
Loddon Ferryman's Gold 4.4
Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde Mild 3.7
Monty's Midnight Stout 4.0
Monty's Mojo 3.8
Monty's Sunshine 4.2
Moor Revival 3.8
Nant Mwnci Nell 5.5
Neath Black 5.5
Neath Green Bullet 6.0
Newmans Summerberry 4.2
Oakham JHB 3.8
Oakleaf Hole Hearted 4.7
Orkney Raven 3.8
Otley Colombo 4.0
Otley Dark O 4.1
Otley O Garden 4.8
Otley O1 4.0
Otley O2 4.2
Otley O6 6.6
Otley O8 8.0
Otley THAI BO 4.6
Otley CROESO 4.2
Otley DUO (NEW) 5.4
Plassey Border Mild 3.6
Plassey Cwrw Tudno 5.0
Plassey Owain Glyndwr 4.3
Preseli Baggywrinkle 4.5
Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose 4.6
Purple Moose Glaslyn 4.2
Purple Moose IPA 4.0
Purple Moose Snowdonia 3.6
RCH East St Cream 5.0
RCH PG Steam 3.9
RCH Pitchfork 4.2
Red Kite Cwrw Haf 4.1
Red Kite Gold Wing 4.2
Red Kite Thunderbird 4.5
Rhymney Bevan's Bitter 4.2
Rhymney Dark 4.0
Rhymney Export 5.0
Rhymney Hobby Horse 3.8
Rotters Utter Rotter 3.9
Rotters Whipping Tree 3.6
Rudgate Ruby Mild 4.4
Sandstone Edge 3.8
Sandstone Postmistress 4.4
Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby 6.0
Skinner's Betty Stoggs 4.0
Skinner's Cornish Knocker 4.5
St Austell Proper Job 5.5
Swansea 3 Cliffs 4.7
Swansea Bishopswood 4.3
Swansea Deep Slade Dark 4.0
Thornbridge Jaipur IPA 5.9
Thornbridge Seqoua 4.5
Timothy Taylor Landlord 4.3
Tomos Watkin Brewery Bitter 4.0
Tomos Watkin Cwrw Haf 4.2
Tomos Watkin Chwarae Teg 4.1
Tomos Watkin OSB 4.5
Tomos Watkin Lion's Pride 4.3
Triple F Alton's Pride 3.8
VoG Chocs Away 4.5
VoG Grog y VOG 4.3
VoG Wheats Occurrin 5.0
VoG No 1
Waen Landmark 5.5
Woodforde's Wherry 3.8
Wye Valley Butty Bach 4.5
Wye Valley DG Golden Ale 4.2
Wye Valley DG Stout 4.2
Wye Valley Ginger Pride 4.3
Wye Valley HPA 4.0
York Centurion's Ghost 5.4
Zero Degrees Mango 4.5
Zero Degrees Pilsner 4.8

The Otley bar seems a very good bet first off with three i've not seen before, the Brains Strong ale later on, award winning Hopback Entire Stout. Not seen the Swansea brewery before so i'll try one of theirs.
Too many !!!!!!!!

Help me narrow it down!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Daleside Morocco Ale

Its probably best if i start by quoting the information that accompanies this beer, it'll save me time and the job will be done properly!

This is a very dark, rich and mysterious ale brewed to an ancient recipe dating back to Elizabethan times. Full bodied, malty with spicy overtones this complex beer is only brewed occasionally. Enjoy a bottle as the perfect end to a perfect meal.
The recipe for Morocco Ale is believed to date from Elizabethan times. Colonel John Grahme of Levens was a courtier to James II and the name ’Morocco Ale’ may have been associated with the dark Moors who came to the court when Catherine of Breganza married Charles II and brought Tangiers as part of her dowry.
Every May-time until 1877, the unique, dark, spiced Morocco Ale, matured for 21 years, was served at a great feast held in Levens Gardens. The guests were required to stand on one leg and empty in a draught a tall constable glass filled with ’Morocco’ whilst pledging to the ancient house "Luck to Levens whilst t’Kent flows"

To be honest i was expecting an assault in my mouth by spices and ye olde flavours, but ended up being very pleasantly surprised by a very drinkable bottle.
Nice dark ruddy brown in colour when held up, small foamy ring on top. Aroma i thought was understated with sweet raisins, plums, hints of cinnamon.
Taste was on a medium body with light carbonation, and i got again raisins, rich fruit - almost blackberry like, light malts, ginger, and an interesting sweetness that reminded me a little of flat cola. With the slight medicinal and herbal feel to it, it thus reminds you that your drinking brewing history here.
 5.5% abv, 500ml bottle.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Orkney Blast

Swannay Brewery or Highland Brewing Co. ? or both? The label does have both names on it, although the website  is addressed as Highland.
Speaking of which, the label has a great duo of army(!) mer-people (yes mermaids etc), taken from a WW2 Orkney newspaper, and also gives advice that this beer can be used to replace wine as it accompanies most foods, serve at 12C or 'a wee bit cooler with seafood'.

This bottle of Orkney Blast is a 500mls 6% abv, appears not to be a bottle conditioned beer.

Pours a golden orange with a short lasting bubbly white head, immediate fruity and malt aroma, hops, sharp and clean appearance, some apple also? 

Its quite light and fresh in the mouth, hop bitterness come through and lingers, alongside a sweetness almost honey like. Slight floral perfume taste about it too, and pine.

Very enjoyable, i'd certainly recommend it to anyone reading this, i'd certainly drink this again, which by the way seems no where near its stated 6%.