Pour away your isotonic shit and drink this instead – Augustiner: Dunkel


Do you spend hundreds of pounds on ridiculous sports drinks and the such-like?  You do?  Well in my opinion you’re wasting money, money that could be far better spent on beer.

Especially beer like Augustiner Dunkel.

Augustiner Dunkel is a very solid and very dark beer indeed – with so much malt you could probably stand a spoon up in it.

With an aroma not far off a bag of demerera sugar and tasting like glazed and roasted chestnuts, it’s one hell of a pick-me-up.

There’s an ample carbonation and some spicy notes that add to the fun, too.

There’s also pretty much zero in the way of bitterness – so even damp-eyed, soft people, can enjoy it…

Dunkel is a style that’s so (to my mind) refreshing, sustaining and fluid replacing, and I think it’s just the sort of thing we should all be drinking after vigorous physical activity*:

Runners – stock up on it for post-race refreshment, MAMILs (look it up!) – keep some at cellar temperature to enjoy when you stagger back in the door all bow-legged and scrotally-damaged.

I’m going to get a stock in for the – all-too-inevitable – leaf-sweeping and garden-buggering-about that comes my way at this time of year.

In short: pour all the isotonic shit down the sink and drink Dunkel instead!


(*PS: It’s worth noting that I have precisely zero in the way of medical training, but have strong suspicions that a lot of people are wasting their money on pointless sugary bullshit)

On yer bike – @OakhamAles: Green Devil IPA


You know, I reckon, there’s two very different sorts of hoppy beer in this funny little world of ours…

First off, there’s American hoppy beer: which I associate with resinous and dank and sticky buds and citrus and grapefruit peel and bitter and marmalade – all in a tumult, just like that.

Then there’s English hoppy beer – which is still assertive and has those same American themes but somehow less full-bore and with more subtleties – such as delicate floral notes and honey and summer.

If it’s pines in an English-hoppy beer then it’s sun-soaked Lebanese cyprus by a greek taverna – rather than pine needles bunging up the Hoover at Christmas.

I like both styles equally…

There’s days when only a solid American IPA style will do: everything at maximum, with the amps cranked up to 11 – a headlong break-neck trip through hop city on a Harley.

Then there’s other days when you need a bracing yomp through the hills and fields, taking in the forests and the rioutous summer meadows; earthy, sensual and provocative to the senses – which is what you seem to get from an English hoppy beer.

Needless to say, there’s US brewers making great English-style hoppy beer, and some great US-inspired hoppy beer from brewers on this side of the water…

Speaking of brewers from this side of the water, lets take a look at Oakham’s Green Devil IPA…

Green Devil IPA is a curious mix of both hoppy beer styles.  I guess I can best describe it as a bit like mountain-biking:  it’s all full-on downhill craziness: mad hops and assertive bitterness; but if you take the time to stop for a bit and take your helmet off, you’ll find yourself in a delicate and sensual surroundings.

The hops in the nose are big and bold, lightly vegetative and with a lively playfulness.   The colour is fresh-cast-bullion and the head stays soapy-foamy right to the end.  I got pines, lemons and hints of grapefruit in the taste with a lightly but dangerously drinkable body.  The bitterness kept me going back for more until I found myself empty-glassed and slightly sad at not having more on hand.

If I were you I’d get on your bike and get some today.

See detail of it here: http://www.oakhamales.com/greendevilipa.html

Elvis is still very much in the building – @Brewdog: Elvis Juice


Look around you.  It’s bloody September already…and that’s “already” as in the English meaning; rather than the US, hand-on-hips, “already” that they seem to indulge in…God love them.

So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged – life is getting in the way, and that’s why I’m changing the way I do reviews.  From now on: they’ll be shorter, snappier and hopefully a bit less rambling.  I’d like to examine the beer as a whole, rather than pick it to bits and look at the parts.

So here we go with the first attempt:

Elvis Juice?  I’ve no idea why, but it’s Brewdog and they know what they’re doing – so they can do what they like…doesn’t bother me.

I had mine poured out of a can – and by holy crikey, as soon as the ring pull is off do you get a waft of hops!  It’s like someone’s rammed  a grapefruit and sherbert boiled sweet up your hooter.

And what a bloody marvellously joyous aroma it is:  candy-citrus with some resin and dank; it’s an aroma I’ve never experienced in a beer before.  Original and beautiful.  I’m willing to bet that the grapefruit juice went in too…probably post-fermentation, but I could be wrong and frequently am.

It’s a good colour, and the head’s nice.  But it’s that bloody aroma that gets me every time.

Damn it’s good to drink too.  Lively and candy-citrus hoppy, it’s maybe a tad too sweet?  But it’s light on it’s feet and treacherously drinkable – despite the 6.5% ABV.

Elvis Juice is probably the most cheerful beer you’ll drink all year…

See it here: https://www.brewdog.com/beer/amplified/elvis-juice

Let’s have a little bit moor – @drinkmoorbeer: Hoppiness


I love the smell of manure,
I love the smell of the poor,
I love the smell of Frank Muir.
So, come on let’s have a look at it,
come along now let’s have a sniff of it,
come along now let’s have a little bit moor…


As my new favourite beer shop in Yarnton Nurseries stocks a whole pile of exciting stuff, I find myself coming across loads of beers from brewer’s that I’ve been meaning to try for ages…

This one: Moor Beer: Hoppiness.  In a tin can.

Never fear the can.  If you do you’re a fool.  It’ll be fresher, not light struck and have more room for the artwork.  It also means that I don’t feel duty-bound to save yet another bottle.

We cleared out the shed on Tuesday.  I have three hundred or so empty bottles now.  Ulp!

From the can and into a glass Hoppiness is a nice colour and has a lovely sea-slick head.  Not vastly hoppy in the aroma, but solid enough for my liking – with bristly, prickly bits and some good old resinous dank.

Taste-wise, there’s a nice quenching bitterness, with a big old side order of hop and a non-intrusive warming alcohol.

I find that with English hoppy beers the hopping seems somehow more refined than the US Pales and IPAs; with the US beers seeming to be more “blaring” than the English ones; which I find on the whole to be more muted, but actually more complex and interesting for it…

The bitterness goes on throughout the swallow and is pervasive enough to make you want to crack open another can.

I liked it.

It’s not going to set your world aflame and send you running to tell all your friends about a new taste sensation, but it’ll satisfy and quench in more than equal measure…in fact it’s one of those few hoppy beers where you’ll be happy to have a fair few of…even if it’s 6.7%!

…and that’s the mark of very good beer indeed…

See here: http://moorbeer.co.uk/1472-2/

Not my Hoppy Weisse – Schneider Weisse: Tap 5 (Meine Hopfenweisse)


Now that we’ve apparently voted to leave Europe, let’s take a look at a European beer…

I mean, no matter what we do in England, the Germans will still keep making beer and hopefully we’ll still be able to get hold of it and drink it.

I am refusing to wax lyrical on the decision to leave.  This is about beer and not about politics.

For context, a few hours before the decision to leave became clear, I found out that my boss and the boss above them had had their positions “eliminated” (my overlords in the US don’t tend to mince their words with soft-soap-shit like: “pursuing other opportunities” or “spending more time with their family”) so as you can imagine, my mind was elsewhere for most of the night – when it really should have been asleep.

I actually drank this beer in response the “elimination” news – not at all by way of celebration, but more because nobody likes to be eliminated and nobody likes to find themselves adrift and managerless at 7pm on a weekday evening…although as I now write this I have a new manager now who seems to be a decent enough sort – which is some relief.

So Schneider Weisse Tap 5 – a wheat beer that’s been generously late-hopped with US craft varieties.?  That should have been of comfort to me, shouldn’t it?

Umm, no.  Not at all, in fact…

Tap 5 is quite a “dirty-looking” wheat, but not in the “has come-to-bed-eyes” sort of way, more of a reflection on the amount of yeast sediment in the bottle, and yes I know it’s a hefeweissen, mit hefe, but it’s a bit too much mit hefe for my liking.

The aroma is well, boozy.  I mean strongly boozy, and that’s because it’s 8.2%!   Jeez that’s just too much in a wheat.  It’s also strongly phenolic – which totally drowns out any of the hopping.

I just didn’t like the smell.  There, I’ve said it.

The taste is gigantic; but unfortunately it’s really cloyingly over-malty with lashings and lashings of booze. There’s some over-ripe bananas and a bit of wheaty-graininess but it’s not enjoyable.

The hops don’t do much, either – save from adding to the syrupy over-blown boozy morass.

I really, really wanted to like this beer but I couldn’t. It’s been on my list of beers to try for years now and I’m still finding it difficult to find words to express my disappointment.

It should have been far lighter on it’s feet (about 5% ABV) which would make for a delicate and refreshing wheatiness that the late hops could dance upon – that’d be a more bananas and creme-anglais with orange and lemon coulis sort-of-thing…

…rather than a dollop of mashed brown bananas soused with brandy and half a Seville orange rammed up your jacksie.

God, I hate having to writing about beer in this way:


It kindled my flame – Berliner Kindl Weiss (from @beersofeurope)


Rarely have I opened a bottle of beer with such trepidation.

Berliner Weisse in its native form is a rare old beast…that’s not to say that the craft brigade haven’t embraced the style as their own, in fact there’s quite a lot of Berliner Weisse tributes knocking about the place.

But I wanted the real thing…

I’ve read about, I’ve looked at recipes for it and I’ve often thought about making it…I just never had the chance to try an example of the Berliner Weisse style.

Until now.

I found that those lovely people at Beers of Europe (http://www.beersofeurope.co.uk/beers) stock a Berliner Kindl Weisse, so along with a happy batch of other bits and bobs, I received my coveted bottle of Berliner.

To make a Berliner Weisse you need the help of our old pal Lactobacillus (the bacteria responsible for the tanginess of yoghurts, etc.)  Lactobacillus drops the PH of the finished beer sufficiently to give a bracing yet refreshing tartness; this increase in acidity with a standard brewers’ yeast fermentation helps to create a unique and exciting flavour profile.

There’s obviously a lot more to the process – including the potential for a no-boil (!) wort-making step, but we’ll leave that for the day that I get around to making my own version.

So how’s it taste?  Well…

It’s a bright straw yellow, with a smallish snow-white head.  Maybe there’s a faint haziness about it, but if there is it’s unremarkable.

There’s a more-than vigorous carbonation, which certainly adds a pizazz to proceedings – small wonder that Napoleons troops called it The Champagne of the North when they first came across it.

The aroma is pretty much devoid of maltiness – OK there’s some sweetness there somewhere – but it’s mainly tart and juicy green apples with  over-ripe pear notes and a faint “sherbertiness.”

In the mouth it’s foamy and lively, coquettishly flirty and tartly refreshing.  The acidity from the lacto fermentation is proper mouth-puckeringly good and there’s an assertive lemoniness with a thin, reedy, maltiness.

There’s no escaping the acidity, and I can guarantee that you won’t have had beer like this before; the front of my tongue sang with it’s refreshing sharpness.

The Germans like to add some fruit syrup to theirs to make it more drinkable – but I didn’t bother because a) I knew it’d probably get up their noses a bit if I had it without and b) I like my Berliner Weisse sharp.

Get some today and lively up yourself (as they might say in Jamaica)


Don’t know if it needs the hops, really… @vedett: Extra IPA


Vedett.  It’s just one of those beer brands that I saw all over the place, but never really get around to trying, mainly because the label – while being a la mode and all that – is not exactly eye-catching on a shelf amongst a load of other beers.

I overlooked Vedett for years, only being forced to buy it from a small provincial Co-op when faced with a very dismal “brown beer” selection.

As it turns out, the standard Vedett version is a very acceptable Belgian Blonde beer indeed.

So when Eve and I went to The Unicorn in Deddington for lunch last week – only to find that it’s a Youngs/Wells outfit* I was happy to take the alternative Vedett IPA option.

(*it’s not that I don’t like the Youngs/wells beers, I just find them a bit uninspiring )

BTW: Lunch at The Unicorn was bloody excellent.  I mean really good.  We will be going there again.

But a Vedett IPA?  I mean a Belgian beer with a load of late hops?  How’s that going to work?

I’d had heavily-hopped Belgian beer before: Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch being one (https://yeastismybitch.com/2014/01/10/flying-dog-raging-bitch/) so I was hopeful that Vedett IPA would be an interesting variant on that theme…

Vedett IPA pours a golden colour and has the aroma of a typical blonde Belgian beer, you know: sweetly malty with a phenolic overtone and that slight spicy edge – only this time with a bouquet of floral hops festooning the top.

In the taste it’s a bit like Raging Bitch, but just not as mental; there’s all the usual Belgian taradiddle but a more of a fruity core plus a nice floral hop topping.  The finish is long and dry and worked well with food.

All in all, it’s tasty and satisfying – but I’m still not completely sure that late-hopping of an already decent Belgian yeast flavour  enhances the standard Vedett beer much.

In fact, I can’t really say that I’ve yet found one late-hopped Belgian that I’m completely over the moon with.

Maybe it’s just me…maybe I haven’t tried enough – after all there’s still La Chouffe with late hops, Duvel Tripel Hop and loads of others out there…

Give Vedett IPA a whirl, it’s dependable, tasty, well-made and you may well end up loving it…