Anyway, it’s time to catch up a bit! I will have the June review lined up, will be merging the July and August blogs (as I didn’t do an awful lot of drinking at home over that period, with so much going on out and about). September will follow on and hopefully I will find time to complete a blog on Wild Beer Co., their food pairing sensibilities and the excellent Oktopus (who have just recently been given a lovely accolade from Marina O’Loughlin in the Guardian).
It’s been a busy year and has no sign of letting up!
Two Roads Brewing Company - Honeyspot Road IPA
This 6% strength unfiltered IPA brewed with wheat pours a light golden to yellow colour and has something of a Belgian wit about it in appearance down to the haze and the thin white head sitting on top. The aroma carries a good amount of fruit, with hints of lemon, lighter hints of green fruit and some tropical mango and pineapple along with a touch of cereal. The flavours come through with refreshingly light fruit in the main, along with mango, gooseberries along with some wheatier lemony notes.
The body is thin to medium with a very slight slick feel and strong carbonation. The finish is a simple fruity one, with a very easy quality; you could chug through a can of this in no time if you felt thirsty enough, dangerous for a 6% brew.
(Sourced from Londis, Penny Lane, Liverpool)
Tailgate Beer - Peanut Butter Milk Stout
The 355ml can yields a deep dark 5.8% stout with a frothy beige head on the pour, the head retention is variable (I've managed to have a few of these!). The aromas are as would be expected, loaded with milk chocolate and peanut butter/roasted peanuts, not much else seems to penetrate the duopoly in the bouquet. The flavours that come through on drinking are again driven by chocolate and peanuts/peanut butter, although there are some lighter toasted cereal pinches in the background and a lilting into a gentle metallic tang. Separate layers of flavour gradually come through as the stout warms up to room temperature too, with vanilla shortbread making an appearance and some other maltier notes.
The mouthfeel is a little thin on first impression, given the look of the beer, but it is actually quite creamy and very easy to drink leaving a very slight oily feel. The finish comes through in rich, sweet and lightly peanut brittle driven manner. It's silky and very enjoyable, perhaps the only people who won't enjoy this are those who are allergic to, or don't like peanuts and peanut butter. Definitely a beer to compliment a peanut or chocolate themed dessert.
(Sourced from Oddbins, Allerton Road, Liverpool)
Sierra Nevada - Hop Hunter IPA
This deeply hazy and golden coloured 6.2% IPA is brewed with distilled hop oil pours with a white bubbly head which thins out through drinking, but isn't totally lost. The aromas are of oranges, tangerines along with some lemon and cereal in the background along with a subtle metallic malt note and some green fruit. The flavour is mostly citrus, with lemon and grapefruit coming through alongside touches of wood, light cereal and then into some tropical mango and pineapple, with a slightly sweet tang.
The body is rounded, lightly oily and has a distinctly effervescent feel in the mouth. The structure leads through to a finish which is fruity, bitter and dry and has a slightly sherbet note. Sessionable and very enjoyable if not the most complex from the stable.
(Sourced from Booths Supermarket, Burscough)
Stone - Cali Belgique IPA
A Californian style IPA which has been brewed using the powerhouse of Belgian yeast strains over at Stone's recently opened Berlin site. Cali Belgique pours from the can a hazy golden colour and carried a lacey white head that sinks following the pour. The aromas from this 6.9% IPA are of unripened green and tropical fruit with an overlain hum of banana and wheat, imagine a blend of a wit and west coast IPA. The flavours are of dry and bitter unripened fruit, with the west coast stylings coming to the fore although lots of citrus and banana come to the fore along with some gentler cereal notes towards the back end.
The mouthfeel is slick but fizzy and is well rounded to a medium body. The finish is fruity, massively ester driven and has a lot of green fruit and banana along with a return to the west coast in a dry and slightly aggressive ending toward the back of the palate.
(Sourced from Booths Supermarket, Burscough)
Almasty - Sour Mash
A kettle sour from the North east of England which has been aged for 6 months in bourbon casks, this brew is a very interesting prospect. Sour Mash pours at 5% and a very dark gold to light amber-brown colour, with plenty of haze and carries a very thin white froth. The aromas are striking acidic and fresh, with backing of vanilla, wood, all spice and boozy whisky all ticking along. The flavours translate from the bouquet, with vanilla, acidic green fruit, wood and pears all coming through.
The mouthfeel is thin, but has a gentle slickness to it in balance with the carbonation meaning the body is rounded and carries a hint of residue. The finish is again, driven by vanilla and spice along with sharply lactic-acidic fruit along with a few savoury notes at the very end, reminiscent of an earthy pickle. Definitely a beer for sour enthusiasts and a challenge for those not truly immersed in the style's offerings.
(Sourced from Crosby Beer Bottle Shop, College Road, Crosby)
Mad Hatter Brewing Company - Triple Penny Lane
The third and most potent yet in the Penny Lane Pale series of beers from Mad Hatter Brewing Company; this triple was initially chalked down for a launch a while before it was actually released (it was meant to be part of Mad Hatter's 4th Birthday celebrations), but some conditioning concerns led to a delay - but, thankfully this has come out as a very fine beer indeed. Triple Penny Lane pours a deep and hazy amber colour to orangey brown from the bottle and carries a frothy but thin, yet well retained white head. The aromas are of mango, orange and tangerine along with some woody notes, pine and lightly toasted cereal.
The flavours come through with more of the same promised in the bouquet, with cedar wood, mango, grapefruit and orange all present along with some cereal and a lightly yeasty-estery edge, some sweetness and the booze comes through very gently too. The body is thick, chewy and slick with a complementary level of carbonation which reduces any over-residual qualities this may have. The finish is remarkably lengthy and layered with the aforementioned fruits, grain and cereal along with some woody notes making a return at the end. A fine addition to the tea party.
(Sourced from Londis, Penny Lane, Liverpool)
Brewdog - Semi-Skimmed Occultist
A milk-coffee stout, flavoured with chocolate, vanilla and oats using cocoa nibs, vanilla, lactose, wheat and oats... this has some body to it! The occultist pours a thick and deep black with plenty of effervescence, though the thickly-formed head recedes quite soon into a beige halo. The aromas are pretty simple and blunt, with bread, chocolate, coffee and not a huge amount else which can break the rather unsubtle bouquet. The flavour is rather more refined, with moments of chocolate, milk latte coffee, dark dried fruits and a spicy note, all of which delivered on a slick body, rounded mouthfeel and plenty of cutting coffee-acidity.
There is a slightly residual feel to the occultist and the boozy-coffee dry finish lasts for a while before depositing a late, spiced madeira like finish. Rich, full and despite the numerous ingredients, simple but very enjoyable. Would go quite well with fruited cheeses and with chocolate cake or pudding.
(Sourced from Booths Supermarkets, Burscough)
Signature Brew - Unfiltered Vienna Lager
This dark golden and lightly hazy coloured brew with a white bubbly head laces extremely well following on from a very lively pour, so decant with care! The aromas come through with many of the ubiquitous notes of a classic Vienna Lager - plenty of toffee, caramelised orange, wood, raisins, cereal and lightly toasted malt. The flavours also come through with plenty of orange, caramel, deeper earthier toffee and chestnuts along with metallic malt hints. The mouthfeel is thin for this style and the acidity is high, meaning a more refreshing take on the style, also in part thanks to the level of carbonation.
The finish is rather bitter and sharp, although the crisp level of bitterness, gentle residual quality (which builds through drinking) and malty tang present is a nice touch. Give this a try with savoury pastries, such as a sausage roll and some brown sauce.
(Sourced from Holborn Trade, 42 New Court Way, Ormskirk)
And that is that for another month's review. Hopefully this will have provided some inspiration for your next selection of beers for the coming weeks, but until the June Review, take it easy!!