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