Here are a few of the beers that I have sampled over the last month or so, if you’ve tried any already, as with the previous article in this theme, please feel free to share your experiences below the line!
On we go…
Fyne Ales – Sanda Blonde IPA
This is a very rounded and competent IPA, with a light lemon blonde, clouded hue and tight crisp white head. This IPA has been given plenty of carbonation and was pretty lively out of the bottle. There was a toasted coconut aroma muddled with tropical stone fruit and slight hint of rich marzipan and almond. The aromas translate very slightly into the flavours, although there is also a very slightly sweet hit, which fades into a dry finish which is most notable towards the back of your tongue and throat. The taste does lack in fruit and there is not a lot of body, but the refreshing feel of this 5.5% beer is also complimented by a lingering, dry and bitter finish.
(Sourced from Flavourly.com)
Mitchell Krause – Hefeweiss
This 5% Bavarian style beer is part of a British brewed selection of world beers from Mitchell Krause, based in Workington. It pours in a lively fashion, with a deep orangey and yellow tinted colour and soft white head, which it maintains rather well. Having stood the beer upright for a few hours, there is the possibility that it wasn’t as cloudy as it should have been, given the relative clarity on pouring. The aromas were as you would expect from this style of beer, soft fruity and yeasty with a very pronounced floral sweetness. The fruit flavour translates well from aroma, giving banana, hints of spice such as allspice and clove. The body is quite forgiving in that there is relatively little cloying, which is normally a given characteristic of hefeweiss, but quite pleasant here. There is a dry mouth feel afterward, but no real determinable flavour or length in the relatively sweet finish. Would pair well with lemon based desserts such as a posset or perhaps even banoffee pie.
(Sourced from Crosby Bottle Beer Shop, 56 College Road, Crosby)
Left Hand Brewing Company – Stranger American Pale Ale
An elegant and refreshing 5% American Pale Ale with a very, very balanced hop content with cascade and centennial present. This golden to copper pale ale holds a crisp tight which head and has a pleasant delicacy in its aromas, giving out orangey citrus and hits of spice without giving too much else away. The flavour set is the same as the aroma, with good levels of acidity, leaving a very slight juiciness to contribute to a medium body, which is not too stringent and not too chewy. The finish is quite dry and has a good length, which leaves a certain spiciness to linger. Would pair well with light curries and even with a good paella.
(Sourced from Londis Penny Lane, Allerton, Liverpool)
Traquair House Brewery – Jacobite Ale
A thuggish ale at 8%, that pours thick black with an off-white to light brown cream head, this offering from Traquair House has an abundance of black treacle and burnt toffee aromas. There are some slight medicinal notes in the nose of this beer alongside some liquorice and spice. The taste is clearly of dark toffee and caramel, some liquorice and darkly toasted cereal. Another flavour that pleasingly pokes through is reminiscent of childhood dandelion and burdock. The mouth feel is as this beer looks, a slightly oily and chewy brute that surprisingly carries little sweetness in the flavour or finish and despite the poor head retention, it is a damn solid and fine beer. Try this with a sticky toffee pudding or a very strong cheese board.
(Sourced from Tebay Services (southbound), M6 motorway services, Cumbria)
Duchy Originals – Organic IPA
This 5.2% beer is brewed for the Duchy Originals brand by Wychwood and frankly, it does tell. The colour is amber to light brown with an off-white head from good carbonation. The aroma doesn’t convey much at all in hop character, giving a nose full of malt and only a hint of citrus fruit. This sadly, carries on into the flavour, with a lack of depth and lack of hopping – the malt base dominates, giving a very average brown bitter feel to the beer in flavour, finish and mouthfeel. Plenty of body, inoffensive flavouring and terribly boring for what is supposed to be an IPA.
(Sourced from Waitrose, Formby)
Purity Brewing Company – Pure UBU
This beer, named after one of the brewer’s dog and whilst this is an amber 4.5% ale, it does carry a bit more to be interested in than the style would suggest. A good medium body, malty backbone and gentle hopping actually works rather well for the flavour of this beer, which is surprisingly drinkable and lacking in too much of the usual ‘autumnal leaves’ character. There is a slight red berry flavour lingering here and some balanced hop given by the Hallertau and Cascade, the finish is rather sweet, but not too confected. UBU is a very good candidate for a table beer as the winter months draw in. Get the game pie or a good slab of venison on the go for this beer.
(Sourced from Waitrose, Formby)
Arbor Ales – PG Bomb
This pint-sized bottle is indeed hopped in a rather incendiary fashion using the Pacific Gem hop throughout the brewing process. The 4.7% beer with the New Zealand hop is a slightly clouded pale ale with a gentle amber tinge, the head is white and reasonably retained throughout drinking. The aromas are clean and typical of New Zealand, of cut grass and green fruit and very slight woody nose. There is some pine in there usually synonymous with Simcoe and Ahtanum hops without being too similar. There are some savoury notes in the flavour, but the aromas also translate well into the flavour. The slight chewiness of body, sharpness to cause a little mouth puckering, good balance and dry lingering (at the back of the palate) finish gives a fairly rounded and very accomplished beer.
(Sourced from George Wright Brewing Company Beer Emporium, Cambridge Road, St. Helens)
Mayfields Brewery – Rye number 046
A ruddy hued rye ale which holds a small white head, the Rye Number 046 weighs in at 4.6% but benefits from not being over-refrigerated. There are some faint aromas but the malt definitely sits in the driving seat flavour and aromas wise, which is contrary to the statement that the beer is burst with hop flavours from the use of Amarillo and Galaxy. Truth is that is a little flat and deflated in this department, although there is a definite hint of pineapple in the flavour as the beer warms to room temperature. There is a pronounced malty base to the beer, and a dryness to finish; which has a bit of length but no real conviction or defined flavour. Body wise, it feels a little on the thin side for a rye ale.
(Sourced from Holborn Cask Ales, Malthouse Business Park, Ormskirk)
That’s your lot for this month, with a mixed bag, definitely moving gingerly towards darker and more robust beers. Hopefully you’ll get out and be able to try some of these, along with the food pairings where I’ve suggested.