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

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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/

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

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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…

http://vedett.com/luscious-liquids/ipa/

Can you feel the Magic? @Winerackonline @MagicRockBrewCo Cannonball and Salty Kiss

Can you imagine my unconfined joy when a colleague at work informed me that the local garden centre had a new concession shop that sold beer?  Not just any old beer mind, but several hundred different sorts of GOOD beer.

He sent me pictures too – of burgeoning shelves with Belgians and Lambics, and US craft IPAs and Wheats, oh and everything.

So I finished work a few minutes early that day and drove the five minutes (five minutes!) to Yarnton Nurseries.

Avoiding all of the other garden centrey guff they have there (pretty much none of it to do with gardening), I headed straight to the Wine Rack “shop” contained within (http://www.winerack.co.uk/yarnton)

Giddy with excitement, I reeled around:  Brewdog “Sink the Bismarck” at £53 a bottle!  Boon Gueze!  Weihenstephan Wheats! (A couple of varieties) and all sorts of other exotic stuff – plus loads and loads of good-looking English beers…

Wine Rack had a good selection of Magic Rock beers, so I took the liberty of buying a couple of cans.  God knows I’ve enjoyed Magic Rock’s beer in the past (https://yeastismybitch.com/2013/11/07/magic-rock-dark-arts/) so I knew I was probably in for a treat…

Cannonball IPA

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An attractive-looking helping of beer, it was hazy and cut-cornfield straw-coloured.  A nice little head hung about prettily, the aroma was hoppy and, how can I say this?  “nicely-meshed”, yes that’s it: all the hops were delicately and expertly matched and woven together.

A tight and solid aroma profile; nothing poked out at weird angles, it wasn’t too piney, and not too resiny either.  Lovely.

The carbonation was pleasant and appropriate, and the taste was big, hoppy and dangerously drinkable.  A light but firm bitterness came after with some ethereal long-lasting citrus.

At the swallow a prickly, prickly, bitterness paired up with the hops and just DANCED on the tongue.Bloody bloody excellent.

Buy it on sight.

See it here: http://www.magicrockbrewing.com/beer/cannonball/

Salty Kiss Gooseberry Gose

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This is my first experience of the Gose style, traditionally made with a water profile that is ever so slightly salty, Gose is one of those trendy styles that probably aren’t made that much where they originate from, but the new-wave of craft brewers have taken it to their bosom as one of their own.

Worried about a salty beer?  Don’t be.  It’s divine.  And if you need proof get a glass of room temperature water and grind a little black pepper into it.  Mix well and taste.  Doesn’t taste of much does it?  Now add a small pinch of salt and stir again.  Then taste.  That’s the difference…

Salty Kiss was was a lighter straw colour than the Cannonball, with an aroma profile that’s almost lagery-malty – so I’d imagine that there’s pilsener malt in there*.  Not a lot of hops in the nose, but that’s not what we’re after.

The taste is a revelation:  light and floaty with a delicate, delicate, tartness.  The salt is like the brine on your lips on a windy winters’ day at the beach.

This beer is refreshing and the gooseberries and white summer-fruit theme appears half-way through – like Victorian phantasmagoria.

Truly delightful.  If you’ve never tried it, you must…

See it here: http://www.magicrockbrewing.com/beer/salty-kiss/

(* I looked and there isn’t!)

Wine Rack:

Well worth a look.  I’ve been looking in the Yarnton outlet after work every Friday since I found it.  They even let you taste the odd thing too.  Fancy that!

http://www.winerack.co.uk/yarnton

Gorgeous Gargantuan Grapefruit: @BPbrewing – Grapefruit Sculpin IPA

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I know this might be a rather strong way to start a review, but:

GOD ALMIGHTY, THIS IS ONE HELL OF A BEER.

I know I’ve gone off of the deep end about certain beers before, but honest to goodness this is a truly great beer, and in this review I’m hoping to somehow, in however small-a-way, impress the greatness of it upon you…

In fact Ballast Point have made such a good job of brewing this, you needn’t bother reading the rest of my review; the time being far better spent trying to secure yourself a bottle or two…

So how did I come by this gem of a beer..?

A work trip to the AWS re:Invent conference just before Christmas meant that I found myself on a warmish Sunday afternoon shambling down the Las Vegas strip with my boss, you know, just taking in the sights after an hour or so of blazing away with large calibre machine guns and pistols (Battle Field Vegas. Go. Don’t ask. Just go.)

With the smell of cordite fresh in our nostrils we needed beer.

The liquor store beckoned (my boss always advises having a stock of beers in a hotel room…whether that’s for refreshment or just to stop his employees making too free with the company credit cards I’m not sure.  Either way it’s advice I never fail to heed)

Once inside the liquor store, I was staggered by the selection on offer.  So many beers, so many pretty bottles.  In the end, and having heard so much good stuff about it, I just had to have the Sculpin…this decision being helped in no small part by my boss sighing and leaning heavily on the counter while I ummed and ahhed.

Poured into a glass the upfront aroma is all fresh and zingy grapefruit rinds. There’s a lovely candyish marmalade note too. After that it’s hops, hops, hops! If I couldn’t have a bottle of Sculpin to drink, I’d happily settle for a whiff of the GLORIOUS aromatics instead.

Colour-wise, it’s old polished copper, with a perfect carbonation and a lovely frothy-foamy snow-white head.

When tasted, it’s full in body at 7 or so percent – which in my opinion is the sweet spot for this time of IPA.

Even at 7% ABV, Sculpin is as clean as a whistle…which is a good job because there’s an absolute ton of other flavour to come: a huge rush of zesty, pithy grapefruit and floral hops, LOVELY orangey maltiness , before the dank hops and laser-targeted 70IBU bitterness come to finish the whole thing off.

But wait! There’s a little grapefruit twang right at the end that makes your mouth run like a tap – which means you just can’t stop drinking.

I drank two bottles straight down – it really was that good.

But remember, you have to have this beer coolish – at least cellar temperature – there’s no point having it warm…it’s just not the same.

This is a GLORIOUS beer. You JUST have to try it. I doubt I’ll find equal or better for a very long while.

LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT.

Webpage here: http://www.ballastpoint.com/beer/grapefruit-sculpin/

(I will make a clone tribute to this remarkable beer, just you wait…)

On the level: @TwoCocksBrewery – Leveller Bitter

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When drinking this beer, I can’t help but wonder if this brewery is so-called because it’s two men running it?  Or for some other darker reason that lies hidden?

If it is the darker reason, then I advise the gentleman in question to get a good agent and hit the travelling show circuit…there’s money-a-plenty to be made from a gift like that.

Aaaanyway.

What a lovely beer this is.  Out of the bottle and into a glass, it’s sporting nice tan head atop it’s vintage mahogany body.

Nose-wise, we’re all chestnutty, woodiness, leather and a really sustaining maltiness.  As I sipped, I thought I could hear the creak of an antique chesterfield as I settled back in front of a crackling fire.

The body is solid; rich, dark and tasty with a pleasing non-astringent bitterness.  The finish is dry with a lovely bitter and sour tang that’s hugely moreish.

This isn’t a massively complex beer, but it doesn’t need to be – it’s a bitter, and a belter of a bitter at that.

http://www.twococksbrewery.com/The-beers.html

Jon’s Kitchen Saison – Tasting notes

20150608_185045As you may or not remember I brewed this one up with the half-pack of Belle Saison yeast left from the BrewUK stove topper kit and a few other bits and pieces (https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/04/30/a-great-introduction-to-all-grain-brewing-brewuk-craftybrews-stove-topper-kit/)

And by holy crikey I’m glad that I did…

Appearing in the glass more gorgeously luminous and hazy-yellow than it has any business to, this is one lovely-looking beer. I think the wheat more than contributed to it’s sheer good looks.

The carbonation is absolutely spot-on and the head is all frilly and white, just like a tart’s knickers.

The aroma is that gorgeous clean yeast phenol that Belle Saison seems to be good at, and on the back there’s some graininess too…

A HUGE body, with complexity and magnificent citrus notes wrestle in the hay with a fairly playful but forthright bitterness…5.8% ABV means that there’s no shortage of wallop, either.

The finish is sherberty and dry…which is odd and different, but hugely tasty.

Literally – and pardon my french, here – this is one fuck of a beer.  I’m very, very pleased with how this turned out.  When I open the last bottle (there are only five left, remember) I shall weep fat, hot, bitter tears.

I will make this beer again, and again and again.

Floreat Belle Saison!  A triumphant yeast performance…

Aha! @couragebeer – Directors Bitter

20150605_192644Widely disparaged as Alan Partridge’s beer of choice and all the connotations that go with it, Director’s isn’t actually a bad pint at all…

Coming into a glass a best bitter brown (unsurprisingly) with a whitish head – it’s certainly not going to win awards for it’s looks.  Business-like is how I’d best describe it.

The nose is that same weirdly perfumed, yeast over malt aroma, that immediately transports me back to The Crown in Woodstock, circa. 1991.

All Courage beers smelt the same back then and still do – it’s not great, it’s not terrible, it’s just evocative (I felt the same way about Courage Light Ale when I reviewed that…https://yeastismybitch.com/2013/12/03/courage-light-ale/)

The taste is thickly malty, and it still tastes exactly like it used to.  Even the bitterness is still weirdly “chromey”.

All in all Director’s is a bit one dimensional, but it’s rewarding, refreshingly bitter and it’ll still be here when all the craft-based wankery has died down and we’re all just drinking “beer” again…just better “beer” than we did before.