It’s Ace – @marksandspencer @adnams Sorachi Ace Saison

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Thank god for access to great beer; you know, a few years back I would have had to go far and wide to pick up a bottle of Saison, and even then it was invariably an expensive bottle of Saison Dupont.

But you can now get your Saison fix in Marks and Sparks!  How nice is that?

I don’t know who it is at Mark’s that is driving their beer stocking strategy, but whoever it is should have their hand vigorously pumped and their back heartily and repeatedly slapped.

There’s so many beers to try and so many that I haven’t reviewed yet…

The great thing is, nearly all of these beers are brewed by proper reputable brewers for M&S; and because they’re each responsible for a different type, you can probably now get a wider variety of beer types in Mark’s than you can in any of the big supermarkets…

Sorachi Ace Saison is brewed by everyone’s favourite brewing legends: Adnams.

So, Sorachi Ace hops in a Saison?  Sound interesting…  If memory serves me correct Sorachi Ace were bred especially for the Japanese brewer Sapporo.  I’ve not much experience of them so let’s see what they contribute, shall we?

This Saison pours an hazy, yet enticing, cornfield yellow and exhibits a lovely luminosity when help up to the light.  There’s not much in the way of head, but that’s the way of the Saison sometimes.

The aroma is that of sweet good earth with an undercurrent of dry and dusty lemon: a bit like the back edge of a slurp of Lemsip, only much, much, nicer.

The mouth-feel is surprisingly luxurious given that this is a Saison, and the taste is spicy-lemony-citrus with a nice touch of alcohol.

The finish is pleasantly dry with a bit of resin and a good firm hoppiness at the swallow; which, if truth be told, meant that my glassful was gone in a flash.

The aftertaste goes on and on; in fact half of the pleasure in this beer is the finish and reverberating aftertaste.

God I wish I’d bought four more bottles of it…

Get some today…it will not fail to delight.

http://www.marksandspencer.com/sorachi-saison-case-of-20/p/p60070961

PS: I’m going to do my best to get through and review the complete M&S beer range – a feat which M&S can help with I’m sure…all you folks need to do is stuff a few in a box and send them to me.  That’ll get me off to a flying start…

The Winter Wheat? @ErdingerWB – Dunkel

20150101_194311So that’s Christmas and New Year all done with, then.  Doesn’t last long, does it?  All that preparation, anticipation and expenditure…then, in the wink of an eye it’s gone.

Christmas never seems to depart with the same brash, bombastic and over-blown style that it arrives in…it just seems to slink away under the cover of new year to hunker down and dig in, to preparation for the full-frontal assault that it’ll steam-roller us with in 10 ten or so months time…

But hey, it was Christmas and I was too damn bone-idle (and busy) to blog…so now its my turn to blast out a great stack of reviews, ephemera and other assorted stuff and nonsense.

First off we’ll start with Erdinger Dunkel…and I confess it’s the first Dunkel I’ve ever tried, being a relative newcomer to the world of wheat.

Pouring a pleasant portery hue this looks quite inviting.  The head isn’t quite what it was with your standard wheat, but it’s sticks around for long enough.

I’d describe the carbonation as exuberant, but that’s in the style and is belchily entertaining.

On the nose, it’s pretty much like a standard wheat – soft rounded maltiness,with a little graininess and an overtone of more generously kilned malts; it’s nice and works well for me.

The taste is whopping great amounts of malt and sweetness with an excellent follow on of heavy cream and dark malts. There’s little in the way of bitterness (as expected) but which is good as it’d certainly get in the way of the excellent tasty creaminess and spice.

I reckon I prefer a more standard wheat bear, but that’s just a personal note and this really is an excellent beer all the same.  Very much recommended.

http://www.erdinger.de/en/erdinger-weissbier-products/beer/dunkel.html

Call the Weiss Squad!: Benediktiner – Weiss Bier

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That’s a piss-poor title and no mistake…sorry about that….

I’m also sorry about the break in reviews – I know how some of you can’t eat or sleep whilst you wait for me to fart out another exciting review…I’ve been in that London on an Openstack course.  Private cloud.  It’s the future of computing (maybe)

This time it’s another wheat beer, and it’s fair to say that it’s a lot darker than what I’ve experienced so far in a Weiss, but that makes it all the more exciting.

Ah, I just can’t get enough of those lovely foamy wheat beer heads – so light, lacy and sticky.  That is the joy of brewing with wheat, folks…I won’t linger too long on the heartache, though: it can be a pain to mash with – what with it being huskless and quite sticky, unlike barley…

Benediktiner comes with a marvellous, sparkly carbonation.  The aroma is bready malts with lovely wheaty graininess and a little spicy pepperiness.  As with all wheats there’s some banana on the nose too, but this slightly outweighed by a gentle spicy cloveyness…

This is a really excellent mouthful, with good spice and pepper notes all wrapped up in a subtle creaminess that eventually fades to leave excellent prickly spice before a final wave of creaminess washes in at the very end…

This is a very satisfying, very refreshing wheat beer indeed.  A genuine “can’t leave it alone sort of beer”

Excellent.

http://www.benediktiner-weissbier.de/en/home/

(they don’t appear to be on Twitter…oh well)

I wasn’t standing alone: @BlueMoonBrewCo – Belgian White Belgian-Style Wheat Ale (draught)

Blue_Moon_Beer.svgI was in London yesterday for an Amazon Web Services shindig, so couldn’t help but take a break from the cloud evangelizing for a sneaky-quick half at the rub-a-dub across the frog for a swift half of pig’s ear.  My minces came to rest on a not-normally seen tap in English pubs…Blue Moon.  (Jeez, I go to “That London” for a day and come over all cock-er-nee)

Blue Moon.  I keep seeing it in supermarket.  I’ve looked at it, it’s looked at me – and I’ve never actually got around to trying it.  I spotted it on draught in The Woodin’s Shades in Bishopsgate – just across the road from the cloud do, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Arriving a very hazy light-orangey sort of colour – think Robinson’s Orange Barley Water if you will.  A very fizzly sort of head hung about around the edges of the glass.

The aroma was interesting and yeastily-fruity with -surprisingly enough- notes of toffee and caramel.  Very unexpected, but nice all the same.

The body was thinnish and the carbonation suitably prickly and lively.  Light orangey fruity and almost chalky notes accompanied in the taste.  There was some creaminess from the wheat and a definite clovey theme.  Blue Moon wasn’t as wheaty as some European wheats I’ve had, but I guess that’s the difference in the US and European interpretations of the wheat/Weiss style.

When I started actually thinking about Blue Moon as an American interpretation of the Belgian style, I wondered why should it be compared to the other interpretations of the style?  The yeast is probably different, the hopping probably too and it’s from a completely different country for God’s sake.

Armed with those thoughts and wishing that it was served a couple of degrees warmer, my opinion changed as the beer warmed a little: the creamy-wheatiness came forth, the lightish orange blossomed into more fulfilling fruity tones and the 5.4% alcohol brought more warmth, too.

I can imagine it with a slice of Orange in it too…but don’t worry I won’t do that.  I’d definitely have Blue Moon again, but maybe a tad warmer and at less of a frenetic London pace.

Roll-on next summer…

http://www.bluemoonbrewingcompany.com/OurBeers/Product/belgian-white-belgian-style-wheat-ale

For when you’re “Loving it Like That”: (@thebeerofibiza) Islena beer

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My bottle(s) of Islena come from my sister-in-law, Jess – who always seems to bring a welcome couple with her whenever she comes to visit.  She lives in Ibiza full-time; and as far as I can fathom is loving it like that* 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

(*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpx7IWPda8A)

First off – the bottle.  It’s made of aluminium yet it is still a crown capped bottle, could this be the way to get around the UK drinkers dislike of cans?  I’m willing to bet that someone will start whacking craft beer into bottles like this soon.  It’s a sure fire winner as far as I’m concerned.

As it states on the website: this is the beer of Ibiza and Ibiza is lucky to have it as it’s a fairly respectable drop – especially when drunk in context: i.e. coolish and in baking weather.

Straw gold it’s a pretty little drop and the aroma is honeyed and enticing.  There’s some background malt and minerals – but mainly it reminds me of Ron Miel (Honey Rum) and this is good.

The taste is sweet and refreshing, with a little fruitiness that rides atop it.  The after-taste is surprisingly long-lasting and is all malt and refreshing sweetness with a tiny touch of bitter on the back edge.

This is NOT a Euro lager, this is a decent beer indeed.  Well done to Ibiza for their local beer…

http://www.lacervezadeibiza.com/en/beer.php

Free Kudos and Admiration…

…to anyone who can lay their hands on a bottle of this and send it to me:

The website is here

Yes: It’s a real beer, and yes F**king is a place in Austria.  Marvellous.  Natives get short shrift in other countries:

Where are you from, mate?

I’m from F**king, Austria

I only asked.”

Brouwerij Van Steenberge: Bruegel

20131117_175503Bruegel is officially the beer that no-one wants to own up to…at least that what it seems like.  I’ve tried to find it on the Van Steenberge brewery site and it just don’t show up.  I’m not sure I understand their reticence as it this is a perfectly enjoyable amber ale.

Bruegel is a lovely light coppery amber colour with a fine running bead of carbonation and a dense foamy, rocky head.

This is one of those beers that – like Pilseners et al – suits a healthy bit of fizz.

From the aroma I got some of those fruity yeasty phenols; some additional “cheap penny sweet” notes (I have no other words for this taste and I can’t use Bubblegum again!), there’s also the very faintest ripened banana too.

Ain’t it great that you can squeeze so much out of a distinctive yeast strain?  Remember this beer is just water, malt, hops and yeast…

The taste is all at once sweetly and breadily malty, yeastily fruity and carries along a light refreshing bitterness.  A lot of the aromas feature again in the taste, which is always a bonus – and by now you should know what a stickler I am for having the aroma and taste in sync.

The aftertaste lingers and has a trailing edge of bitterness, provided by a respectable amount of hops that are there purely for bittering/preservative duties.

Certainly not the most taste-laden Belgian I’ve had, but very enjoyable all the same.  This was another bottle from my in-laws’ Beers of Europe selection.  Hooray for free beer…

http://vansteenberge.com/en