Archive for category 2 Tankards

The Great Pumpkin beer tasting

 

 

So I decided to try some Pumpkin beers on Hallowe’en while watching some bad horror movies (starting with “The Children”- murderous kids and toddlers go on the rampage!) I had five different beers from four breweries. I started with Parallel  49’s Shadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest. A clever idea marrying the easy, malty marzen style lager of the Oktoberfest with some pumpkin and spices of Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving.

 

 

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Parallel 49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest

This is the only lager from the group and it certainly is easy drinking. There is some nice sweet pumpkin flavour, a hint of vanilla and some  nutmeg and cinnamon perhaps. The spices are light and match the medium bodied maltiness of the beer. Quite a dry spicy finish that, although stops this from being a sweet beer, can be too dry for some.

All in all a good first effort from this brewery and I would recommend this and buy it again next year for sure!

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

 

 

 

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 Lighthouse Pumpkin Ale

This one is a mid amber colour and starts off surprisingly light. There is a mild sweetness from the demerara sugar and a little spice. It finishes very quickly and I felt there was not anything to it. I guess they went for the restrained approach, seeing as some pumpkin ales are cloyingly sweet and spiced out of all proportion, but I feel they were too cautious and missed out on some seasonal flavours.  A rare miss from this reliable brewery!

 

 Wrangler Rating:

 tankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Fair)

 

 

Tree Brewing Jumpin Jack Pumpkin Ale

Tree brewing have a number of seasonals that are usually well received, so how will  their pumpkin ale stack up against some stiff competition? It pours a dark amber and, weighing in at 7%, promises a fuller tasting beer than the other two. With a malty spicy aroma, it doesn’t taste like it’s as strong as it is. It has an even maltiness, a medium body and well integrated spicy flavours. This was a really well balanced beer with all the flavours combining well! This beer is not overly sweet, and the pie spices match the pleasant malt nicely. An easy 3 almost 4 Tankards!

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

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Cannery Knucklehead Pumpkin Ale

The Cannery pumpkin ale comes with a well-dresssed knobbly headed pumpkin gentleman on the label, and pours a bit darker that the others so far. It seems to be based on an amber-brown ale, which leads me to let it warm up a bit, rather than having it straight from the fridge.  It has a slightly smoky note to the spice aroma but the malt seems a bit thin for me.  The spice is definitely dominant, with a touch of black liquorice  but there is almost no sweetness or maltiness, which I like a bit of  in my pumpkin ales. Having said that it went well with my pumpkin BBQ ribs, and the dryness contrasted with the sweetness of the sauce. This one just squeaks a 3 tankards!

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

 

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Parallel 49 Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter

This is a bit of a departure from the others in that it is a much fuller bodied beer than the others, with dark malts, mocha notes and made with real chocolate. There is some spice and ginger, but they are laid back and the rich chocolate is definitely king! Pumpkin flavour? well I struggle to taste it, let’s face it, the large orange squash is not known for its strong flavour and it gets a bit lost in this beer. On the other hand this is a delicious beer and my favourite of the ones here, but…. I might struggle to put this in the pumpkin ale group if I was tasting blind. Soooo… what does this mean? Well this is the best beer here but as a pumpkin ale?

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg tankard.jpg(Excellent)

 

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So to conclude the Great Pumpkin Beer Tasting I feel that there is a split decision! Parallel 49 Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter was the best beer out of the five, but … I think Tree Brewing`s Jumpin Jack was the best ‘classic’ pumpkin ale here. On Hallowe’en I want to taste pumpkin pie in a glass but not be overwhelmed by any one element and Tree managed it well.

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Beers of the World – By David Kenning

Wrangler Rating

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Mediocre)

Beers of the World promises to be a journey around the world via 350 classic beers. ‘Classic or popular’ I ask myself. Any book that devotes a large one page spread to Fosters Lager, and also adds Tennent’s Super to the list (The choice of the discerning homeless man in the UK) is struggling to fulfill the promise of ‘Classic’. Sadly the photographs are not great, with some strange choices for glasses and head size. This has the feel of a book that was hastily and cheaply put together. But why the second tankard I hear you ask… Well it’s not all bad, there are some interesting beers from countries that don’t often get a mention elsewhere, and also some obscure beers which will pique your interest. Despite alot of mainstream lagers that get included, there are many wonderful brews, so it’s far from a complete loss. The other factor is that this is not an expensive book. For a fully colour, large format hardback book, I paid the same as a new release paperback, so I don’t feel cheated whatsoever. This would be a fine buy for someone who has taken their first step away from drab domestic lager and wants an easy book to browse and look at some other beer labels, not a serious book for a beer geek; there are much better ‘beer list’ reads out there, like ‘The Great Beer Guide’ by Michael Jackson for example.

Published by: Parragon

ISBN: 978-1405450508

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Wells IPA

Wells-IPAWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

Wells IPA suffers from a common British problem: mislabeling. During the First World War, breweries (with the government!) decreased alcohol in beers to conserve resources (barley) as well as limit drunkenness among essential workers and the military. Hop levels were also reduced, so the traditionally strong and hoppy IPAs were the first in line to be emasculated. Breweries continued using the term though, but it described a pale ale or a bitter rather than the full-on flavour of an IPA. Wells IPA is a very pleasant and drinkable British pale ale that would have been awarded 3 tankards and recommended, but unfortunately the use of the term IPA in this day and age is erroneous, and so must be marked in the category in which it is presented. The pale amber beer is restrained, but has a nice malty flavour with a simple bitter finish, but not so dry it extinguishes the malt. The carbonation is suitably low, which makes this a cinch to drink and an enjoyable session ale. A word of warning though- don’t drink this too cold, or you’ll miss out on its subtle flavours, have it at cellar temperature, as it was designed to be drunk.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 11°C

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Fat Cat Brewery Honey Beer

FCHoney

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

Fat Cat Brewery are a small producer in BC Canada (there is another with the same name in the UK) and this is their Honey Beer, an ale made with New Zealand tree sap honey. This gives this light amber brew a slightly smokey honey aroma. This is not a sweet tasting beer as they manage to get the honey flavour without the sugar, and the malt is in there too, but not integrated with the honey. There is also an overall bitterness to the brew, which reminds me of an astringent tree bark flavour,  found in campari. Any hop flavours seem overwhelmed by the strong honey and bark notes, so are a bit lost. There are some nice flavours in this beer but they somehow seem disconnected, leaving an ale that has little smoothness. I would love to see an adjusted recipe of this ale, because the special honey they use has an interesting taste to it, but just needs a bit more integration in my opinion.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 8°C

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Kronenbourg 1664

kronenbourg-1664Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

Kronenbourg seem to make a few different versions of 1664 around the world, and at different strengths. I remember enjoying this on holiday in France, but tasting it for review was a bit of a disappointment. It is a classic pale gold colour with a slightly yeasty nose. There is a touch of sweetness on the palate that gives way to a sourish finish that leaves  a bit of a watery aftertaste. I couldn’t notice any of the nice hop notes you find in some well made lagers, as there is not much of any substance here. It is not unpleasant if well chilled and used as a summer quencher, but there are alot better pale lagers out there.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 4°C

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Saku Originaal Lager

saku

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

Saku Originaal is a beer from the Carlsberg stable of brands, but unusually this one hails from Estonia. It is a pale golden lager with a quickly disappearing head and a grainy aroma. The flavour is fairly light with a touch of pale malt. The finish is a bit sour with some minerally metallic notes, and maybe a suggestion of hops. One problem is that the aftertaste is not that pleasant, so the initial malty grain flavours are wiped out. All in all, this a decidedly average lager with not much to shout about.

ABV: 4.6%

Best Served: 4°C

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Moylan’s Celts Golden Ale

celts_image

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

Moylan’s Celts Golden Ale is a slightly cloudy attractively coloured ale that pours with a nice light head that leaves almost no lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma has a nice yeasty note with a hint of hop underneath. The flavour doesn’t seem to follow the aroma as it is so lightweight that it doesn’t offer much. There are very subtle yeast notes, and maybe a touch of malt, but nothing to really get hold of. I know Golden/Summer Ales are supposed to be light, but really this is obviously aimed at the macro lager crowd, which is fair enough, but it doesn’t do it for me.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 6°C

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Fischer Tradition Blonde Beer

fischer blond

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

Fischer Tradition Bière Blonde is an attractive looking pale golden lager from Alsace in France on the border with Germany. This is a mildly flavoured beer with nothing strongly obvious on the palate. There are light sweet grainy notes which continue on to the finish, but no real hop presence. The carbonation is good for a session beer, as it is not too fizzy, like so many mass produced lagers. All in all, it is a drinkable lager but does nothing to stand out from the crowd.

ABV: 6%

Best Served: 5°C

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Granville Island Brewing Raspberry Wheat Ale

gib-raspberry-wheat-ale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

Granville Island Raspberry Wheat Ale is a hugely fruitful beer, and for me a bit out of balance. The genuinely fruity flavours of fresh raspberry are not too sweet, but a bit overpowering for the subtle wheat ale notes. This beer will definitely have its fans, and rightly so. It is made by a good brewery whose line up of seasonal releases are always worth trying. The power of the wheat and malt are far too subtle and need a touch of strength to counter the fruit. However, if you like extremely fruity beers try this with a summer pudding or as a foil to a dark chocolate pudding – it’ll be at its best.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 6°C

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Tin Whistle Peach Cream Ale

tin-whistlepeach-cream-aleWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

This tastes more like a lager than an ale, and so misses out on some naturally fruity flavours. The peach flavour never really hits you and remains subtle. This might have been fine if it was a bit more full-bodied, but it tastes a bit on the thin side.  Having said that, on a boiling hot day, this beer,well chilled may just hit the spot for some who want a lightly flavoured beer with a hint of fruit.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 8°C

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