Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Jacobi Brewery of Caio 'Light Ale'

My third beer from the Jacobi brewery, following the very good 'Dark' and disappointing Red Squirrel, is their golden ale 'Light'.

A 3.8% abv 500ml bottle conditioned ale, and it was lively enough too.
Pours a light golden yellow, with a quite floral aroma and wafts of citrus.
It has a good light body, not too thin, and citrus freshness and sharpness. A little oily in texture, and as it warmed I got some buttery notes, plus it became grassy too.
Sweetness is provided by hints of honey, and matched with some hop bitterness which help it stay crisp throughout

Not bad, I would imagine on a hot summers day this bottle chilled perfectly would go down quite well.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Open It!!!

I was reminded that this weekend is marked as the first Open it!! of the year, an excuse to get out those beers your hanging onto for 'that' occassion but then never get round to opening.

George Gale & Co Ltd. D-Day Anniversary Ale.

I was given this bottle by my dad a couple of years ago, it had been in his garage for several years alongside this Prize Old Ale bottle. I am assuming that they are both from 1994, there is no date on the Prize Old Ale bottle, but the D-Day bottle is a 50th anniversary release.

I had no idea what type of beer the D-Day one was, Google searching two years ago produced very little results, it appeared in a couple of lists from collectors websites but no details beyond what I already knew, but today when I decided to open it tonight I searched and found an entry on a Dutch site listing it as a pale ale.

Its 275mls, corked, 6.5% abv, bottle numbered. 15430.

I was worried about the cork disintegrating when pulled out but it stayed in very good condition.
A reasonable pop upon opening but on pouring it was obviously flat, zero carbonation. I was not sure if this was bottle conditioned but the bottom of the bottle showed a lot of sediment.

Aroma was like a fortified wine and the taste was not far from that also, more like a very watered down port or red wine. It was not unpleasant but there was also a sour element which combined with the flatness meant that I poured it away after a few mouthfuls.

I suppose not every 'Open It' will end up with a beautifully matured barely wine, or an imperial stout brewery collaboration that rocks your world. Sometimes they will be a duff beer, but all you do is open the next beer and sup that.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Scottish Craft Brewed Lager

Picked up at Sainsbury's by my wife as she wasn't sure what I'd had or hadn't had in the beer isle, but she guessed correctly that this was one that would be new to me.

Made by the brewery Harviestoun, producers of other fine beers such as 'Bitter and Twisted' and 'Old Engine Oil' and the specialist line of whiskey aged beers 'Ola Dubh', one of which I have waiting in the wings myself.

This one made for Sainsbury's is 4.1% abv, 500mls. That is lighter than the 'Schiehallion' in their range which weighs in at 4.8%, and one I've not tried so I'm unable to compare.

Golden yellow in colour as one would assume for a lager, grass aroma, light citrus.
Reasonable carbonation, light and crisp, slightly herbal and grassy again, cereal malts, lemon.

Very enjoyable, decent lager, that thankfully leaves no nasty metallic after-taste, and I'd happily drink this again.
Certainly I'd choose this over the other 'craft lager' on their shelves, that being the Meantime London Lager which I found quite unappealing frankly.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale

Quick pop review.

Do you remember pop up video? Late night music video show that had 'pop up' bubbles with facts and silly comments on them. For some  reason that popped into my head whilst trying this beer.
I imagined Michael Jackson (obviously the beer hunter, not the 'keep away from my children' music one) supplying the facts, the bubbles appearing and telling me:

"cloudy, yellow in colour",
 "minimal hop flavours and low bitterness",
 "creamy body",
"yeasty but little else in flavours".

Of course these comments are my own not his, I wonder if he would be as disappointed in it as I was.

I open it today to go with some home-made pizza's myself and the kids made. The pizza was excellent, the beer not that special.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Introducing - Tiny Rebel Brewing

I said at the beginning of this year that one of my aims was to feature more Welsh beer and breweries, so to feature a brand new brewery from Newport pretty much ticks all boxes!!

Here in South Wales the Tiny Rebel Brewing team are about to make a splash onto the scene, with a unique look about themselves.

Certainly I feel a new presence can only be good in an area where one large company dominate and we only have those Otley boys to give us new beers. Exciting times for beer lovers.


I'd been in contact with one of the team, Gazz, via the beer social media platform Untappd and asked if I could put some 'Meet the Brewer' style questions to them, and here are the responses:

Where are you based and where did your name come from?

The name Tiny Rebel was originated from what me and Brad wanted to create and achieve as a brewery. 'Tiny' is our brewery size and 'Rebel' because our beers and image are far from traditional. Our base is in Newport where there hasn't been a local brewery for over 5 years so these are real exciting times.

Who is 'The Tiny Rebel Team' and what is the size of the brewery?

The Tiny Rebel Team is myself Gareth Williams and my business partner Bradley Cummings.

How long have you been brewing?

I have taken an interest in brewing since I was a kid due my Grandfather brewing endless amounts of exploding bottles of Ginger Beer, Mead, Wine & not so good beers, I was probably more interested in the exploding bottles! I started All Grain home brewing 6 years ago with a few Brew days with Micro’s here & there. Then I converted my brother in law Brad from drinking lager to cask and he has never looked back. Since the idea for Tiny Rebel was created we have spent the last 18 months researching & experimenting on our 50L system.

Tell us about 'Fubar' and your 'Urban IPA', what ingredients were used, hops etc.

Living in a small Urban city we wanted to give the Brewery that Urban City feel, hence the birth of Urban IPA. We have mixed up the Traditional English IPA with the popular US styles of IPA to create a well balanced alternative IPA. ‘FUBAR’ means Funked Up By A Rebel, not the other acronym! It's a pale ale that's got an English malt base and finished off with a healthy American hop flavour and aroma. Inspired by the pale's we love to drink.

What other beers can we expect in the future? you were mentioning a black IPA on untappd the other day?

At Tiny Rebel we massively believe in Researching & Experimenting, after all that’s what craft brewing is all about. We plan to have a permanent gang of about 6 beers & we will be brewing a wide range of speciality, limited edition and seasonal beers that will be small batch bottled on our in house bottling plant as well as cask & keg.

Which other beers and breweries do you admire currently.

Gazz – Probably ‘Thornbridge’ Everything these guys do is done with a bit of class & style, it’s not all about the hops!

Brad - So I guess that makes me the Tyler Durden of our team because I'm more of a hop junkie and love really unique beers, so it's Dogfish Head for me.

You open officially in March, what do you have planned?

Along with our beer launch event we will be having our official launch at the brewery early summer. The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival will be a big event after last years success so expect a few interesting beers from us there. Keep an eye out for our Tap House opening early March ‘The Navigation House’ in Abercynon.


Thanks to Gazz and Brad for making the time to answer my questions in an obviously busy period in this new venture.
The beer launch mentioned is at The Commerical Inn in Pontyminster 1800 hrs onwards. 
I'm going to be unable to attend (dammit!!!) so am looking forward to trying the Tiny Rebel beers at the next available opportunity.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Light and Dark

I've been busy recently, lots of decorating, assembling furniture and a first turn at wallpapering hence the lack of recent posts. All good fun, not,  and now I have a weeks holiday just when its half term holiday.

I certainly though have not been denying myself some decent beers, including another trip to the Cardiff beer shop to pick up some new bottles. I did tend to hit the more well known names this time, Thronbridge and Kernel bottles, Mikkeller and Anchor again. I could have gone for some breweries I've not experienced before but the above mentioned when on the shelf I really felt I couldn't pass over.

Tonight however I drank one from my last shopping trip pre xmas, Orkney Brewery's Dragonhead stout, and then followed it with another bottle from the Mikkeller Single Hop IPA series, this time the Nelson Sauvin.

Obviously 2 very different styles of beer, but at the end of the day its still malts, water and hops.

 Orkney's Dragonhead, a surprisingly low 4% considering how it tastes, 500ml bottle.

On the other side is a Mikkeller Single Hop Nelson Sauvin IPA, a much bigger 6.9% abv, 330ml bottle.

 Both in excellent condition when opened, aroma's flowing free from the pour. One was chocolate, earthy notes and wood, the other bountiful exotic fruit, which was which??!!

The taste couldn't live up to the aroma's surely?
Oh yes, but first the look - black as a stout should be, with a head that clings on throughout being respectable to the image, and the colour of light melted chocolate, which I'm convinced got darker as I drank more. Oily in texture, good mouthful, you just keep swirling the glass to see how it looks and settles. Dark chocolate, light coffee on the tongue, woody and a little smoke. Total joy. Within the creamy sensation you get some vanilla, and then a good roasted end.

Why did i follow a stout with this IPA, I'm not totally sure. I know I wanted to continue the high qualitity I had just had had, I didn't want to be let down with a lacklustre beer and the last Mikkeller was a pretty good bottle. And I'd recently re-discovered Brewdog's 5am Saint and fancied another similar hit of hops, so hoped this would provide it.

Wonderful colour, sort of a bright copper, the citrus and passion fruit aroma. Great freshness again with this bottle like the last, the bitterness creeps back in your mouth and hits the back nicely, fades a little early but by then your going for another sip so it's a moot point. Crisp sharp orange that should be left in the fruit bowl a little longer, and a wonderful hop dryness.

Good choices.