Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Estrella Damm Inedit

The friend of mine who was unable to attend the GWBCF this June with me because his wife booked a last minute holiday brought home with him a couple of beer shaped goodies for me.

The first of these i opened a couple of weekends ago with a birthday meal that was planned: antipasta cheeses and meat, and followed by some pasta with fresh pesto. The beer in question was brewed primarily to be drunk with food.

The beer was Estrella Damm's Inedit, brewed as a collaboration between the Damm brewery and the El Bulli restaurant, which is consistently rated one of the worlds best (although it recently closed permanently). This effort was described as 'the first beer specifically created to accompany food' which maybe it was for them but is a completely ridiculous claim to make.

I knew i had read about this beer before when i received it, and a quick google reminded me of the debates regarding its merits as trying to encourage the Spanish population to change from wine to beer at mealtimes, and as a beer in general.
I'm not going to repeat any of this stuff, you could read it here here and here.

Okay the beer looks quite stylish, nice 750mls bottle, 4.8% abv, although the bottle cap does rather let the styling down, they should have gone for a corked bottle.

You get a little booklet with it, with little bits of information regarding its brewing process, its flavors, serving recommendations and which foods it is designed to be drunk with.
For example you should serve it at about 4 degrees, and keep it in a ice bucket at the table. Lacking an ice bucket i put it back into the fridge.
The aroma was light, little lemon and yeasty. Good carbonation, nice white frothy head. The photo to the left was upon opening, but the table photo at the top was 2nd pouring and it retains a good head there too.
Its style is a wit beer, its not the best you've ever had, but its not bad. It served it purpose as a beer to eat with, it went well with the food, a little overpowered by some of the meats and olives, but held up well with the fresh pasta. There's lemon, coriander, a little pepper, its light and very drinkable.  Its end is a little astringent and dry.

Overall as i said its not a bad beer, ignore its lofty pretensions, but you wouldn't pay its apparent high price that it originally sold for. Whether it still commands such a price i dont know.
And I also wonder what its future is seeing as El Bulli has closed it doors now.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Penpont Brewery 'Roughtor'

From our Cornwall holiday back in may, this bottle is my second from the Penpont Brewery, in fact my very first post on this blog was one of theirs.

It is 500mls, not bottle conditioned, 4.7% abv.
Describing itself as a well hopped amber ale, "Roughtor (pronounced Row-tor) is the second tallest hill in Cornwall, situated on Bodmin Moor, near Brown Willy".

Its amber gold in colour, very clean and fresh, and has good carbonation. On top is a small white frothy head and an aroma of malts, some oak and strongly of raisins.

With a light to medium body, you get juicy dark fruit, a predominately malty bitter, a little sweet, raisins,  and a little spicy too.
A very enjoyable strong bitter, and i have 2 more of their range in a box for me, cant wait.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Sierra Nevada Stout

The last of the American bottles i picked up yesterday, this is a stout by the Sierra Nevada brewery.
Love love love their Pale Ale, not quite as enamored by their IPA Torpedo though.

The stout is 5.8% abv, 350mls, and was £2.39

Fizzes out of the glass, very dark brown, very light brown head that settles down to a nice ring on the glass.
Aroma is bitter coffee and chocolate although not a huge amount comes on. Nice medium body, quite bitter from the hops but smooths off nicely with the chocolate and roasted malts, and ends quite bitterly drying.

Friday, 15 July 2011

USA Friday

In a extremely quick stop at the Cardiff beer shop i aimed to pick up either 4 bottles from the American or the German shelves. I attempted to ignore the other recently stocked shelves, badly as it happens, as i'm heading back next week for loads of new bottles i've not tried or even seen before.
 Back to todays purchases, i didn't get past the US section, several new bottles jumped into my arms.

Two are from the Brooklyn Brewery, the Brown Ale and East India  Pale Ale, Flying Dog's Doggie style classic Pale Ale, and a Sierra Nevada Stout (not in photo). Three hours later and the first is opened tonight, a live posting in fact:

Brooklyn's Brown Ale - 355mls, 5.6% alc./vol., and i thought I'd add how much i paid for it, £1.99, i don't normal include that information, no real reason why, but sometimes i do wonder what others pay in other area's of the country.

Deep brown in colour, short lasting off white head, a lovely aroma thats nice and roasty, plum, chocolates and malts.  

Also loving the nutty rich taste, malts and rich dried fruit, a smooth chocolate finish, and as it slinks down the throat a dryness that bites just a little and lingers.
Very enjoyable.

Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale
Again 355mls, 5.5% alc./vol, and the first time i've noticed on a bottle, the IBU: 35.  I paid £2.39.
The art of Ralph Steadman wraps around the bottle beautifully.
Previously i've only had their Gonzo Imperial Porter which was pretty special so i was looking forward to this.

It pours a reddish golden colour, one finger of a frothy white head.
Gorgeous aroma, pine, orange and mango sweetness, promises alot.
However its a little less exciting that i hoped, its has a medium body, pine resin and orange taste, and a light bitterness from the hops, its fresh tasting and grassy. Goes down very easy.
For me its a subtle beer, quite nice, but not as exciting as i was expecting.

Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale, 6.9% alc./vol., 355mls, and £2.25.

Colour was a little lighter, a little more orange than the Flying Dog, with again a one finger frothy white head.
Certainly it seems more full bodied than the last one, the stronger alcohol is obvious. Aroma though is less prominent, a little perfumy , and some pine, generally lacking though.
Its bitterness is more upfront, the pine resin hits, my mouth is quite dry following this.

Of the three beers the brown ale was the best of the night, but between the two pale ales i'm in bit of a quandary. Which did in prefer? possibly the Flying Dog, the better flavored of the two, and although light on the mouth and less balanced, it was a bit more exciting, just though.

Now tomorrow, after a 12 1/2 shift at work, i'll have the Sierra Nevada Stout waiting for me. Tell me, is it worth waiting for??

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Brewdog Equity for Punks - round 2

Scottish cheeky monkeys Brewdog have announced the second share option with joe public able to invest in their company, and more realistically their ethos.
For the minimum sum of £95 you can have 4 shares in the company, and also:
  • Benefit financially from our future growth through dividends and also an increase in the value of your shareholding.
  • Lifetime discounts in all our bars AND on our online shop at
  • Exclusive first options on all our special and limited edition releases.
  • Being able to attend our (soon to be legendary) AGM
  • Being able to participate in brewing our annual ‘By Shareholders, For Shareholders’ Beer.
  • Having your say in how the company is run and vote on key decisions online.
  • Owning your very own part of BrewDog, our new eco-brewery and part of all of our BrewDog Bars
  • Your own BrewDog ID Card (for claiming your discounts)
  • A welcome pack with some killer, shareholder only BrewDog merchandise
  • Literally become richer with every BrewDog beer you drink
If you liked the beer, buy the company!

Interested? You can download the prospectus from here . It looks pretty good, but then its supposed to, they want our money. Turnover was up from £1.78m in 2009 to £3.33m in 2010.  Sound good?

Reading the risks is a must obviously, just because they brew great beer doesn't mean the market wont go tits up, we wont slump into another recession, or they're taxed to the hilt making profit harder and any dividend you expect non-existent. The first round of Equity for Punks shares were issued in 2009 and i'm not sure those investors have yet to see a dividend.

But if you fancy a pint with a little bit your own cash somewhere behind it, want to support a brewery  to develop and build their spanking new brewery to continue to make great beers. Hell it might be worth it to continue to see their public spats with all and sundry in 'the establishment'!

I suspect a lot of people who never would think about investing in shares might be attracted by this, and thats perhaps some of the market they are aiming at, but as long as those fanboys realize what kind of invest it is before they part with their hard earned drinking money.
Me? Yup, thinking about it.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Hoegaarden Grand Cru

Hoegaarden Grand Cru

8.5% abv, i forget the size, small like 330mls or 355mls? And they instruct you to serve it at 5-6%, well i think they do, if my loose understanding of the foreign labeling is correct. 

Despite careful pouring i ended up with no small amount of white and dark yeast floating in the glass. See that beautiful orange colour, yum.

Its aroma was vanilla, banana, and a hint of sourness.
And that lovely orange liquid yielded more banana and vanilla, it was creamy but clean tasting, lemon came through as the 'clean element'.
Then theres a nice bitterness that leads onto a typical, lovely though, alcoholic warmth of a Belgian strong beer.
Its a shame it only came in such a small bottle.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Thwaites Double Century

Thwaites Double Century was sitting on the bottom Tesco shelf, two lonely bottles on their own, and i know they where not there last week so i suspect they had a very small stock of this.

The beer is their 'celebration ale' for 200 years of family brewing, 1807 - 2007, its a 5.2% abv strong ale 500mls, not bottle conditioned.

A deep golden orange in colour, lively in the glass.
A caramel, malt and light honey aroma. Well balanced malts, fruity sweetness, raisins,  and light hops provide a nice bitterness and citrus notes. All this on a good medium body, and nice alcohol warmth and strength. Really nice bottle(s)!.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Bateman's Miss America

A bottle celebrating American independence with a hoppy ale brewed with US liberty hops. Why Bateman's are celebrating US independence I'm not sure or is made clear.

This had a small bubbly white head, good golden colour.
Aroma to me was a little metallic and piney, a little of warm orange.
Its taste is backed up by a reasonable solid medium body and good carbonation.

The malts seem quite sweet, but there is very little in the way of hops that are noticable apart from an unpleasant aftertaste of resin. There seems to be a faint spice element, and a little citrus but not a lot.  For me an average beer.

Avaliable from Aldi now for £1.49, but seeing as they currently still have loads of Bateman's XB in there currently i would rather buy that over this bottle, far better beer from them.

Really not sure on the label either, what's with the portly cheerleader??