Archive for category Beer review

A night out at Stroud Brewery

 

 

51A fun evening visit to a Cotswold micro brewery near Stroud last Friday enabled us to enjoy pizzas, freshly baked in their wood-fired pizza oven, and the opportunity to taste two of their draught beers,

Stroud Brewery are an old name in Gloucestershire brewing but the current incarnation started in 2006, and focusses on a great selection of organic beer. After winning numerous awards for their beer they have become a regular feature in pubs all over Gloucestershire, with the bottles going well beyond the county borders.

Stroud Brewery Organic Ale 4%

This is a golden colour, fresh tasting and a hoppy pale ale. It went extremely well with our delicious pizzas made from soft light dough. The hoppiness and light carbonation refreshing my palate.IMG_20150406_142917

Stroud Brewery Teasel Organic Best Bitter 4.2%. Most drunk after the meal! This was a full bodied malty bitter with a more powerful taste. It also had a slightly peppery finish.

Stroud Brewery have a great reputation locally and produce outstanding beer that is a staple on the cask line-up of many pubs. The link up with Vélo Bakery to make their sourdough pizzas have really given visiting the brewery bar a whole new meaning and another reason to go and taste their beer!

Thanks to ‘Imbiber’ for this review of the evening!

Share

Tags: , ,

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.

 

 

.

 

.

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)

 

 

 

.

 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)

.

 

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)

 

.

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)

 

.

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.

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hoyne Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Hoyne Wolf Vine is the first beer I have reviewed from this fairly new brewery. Their IPA is popular as is their version of a dark mild, Dark Matter. This is a limited release due to the availability of the fresh hops and sees Sean Hoyne, formerly of Swans brewpub and Canoe brewpub, and brother of Lighthouse founder and brewer Paul Hoyne, enter the fresh/wet hopped beer fad that is gripping British Columbia at this time of year.

Instead of going for an IPA, Hoyne has gone for the less bitter pale ale, and given it the fresh treatment. It pours a mid amber colour with a bubbley head and leaves heavy lacing around the glass. The aroma is terrific with a big hit of fresh, green leafy notes, lime zest and lime flower. The palate is a bit more restrained but develops more as the beer warms up to cellar temperature. There are less of those aromatics than I expected and it tastes less hoppy than it smells. There is a good balance of bitterness on the finish, leaving a leafy, herbal note in my mouth. Overall a good beer that I enjoyed but it didn’t totally wow me. This would be nice with a (real) mature cheddar ploughman’s lunch.

Serving: 650ml Bottle

ABV: 5.5%

Best Served: 7-10°C

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Lighthouse Switchback IPA

Wrangler Rating:

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

I keep drinking this beer, so it stands to reason that I

a) like it and b) should write about it.

The problem is that every time I crack one open I just want to relax and enjoy it, rather than actually  open my rather neglected blog and get to it!

Lighthouse Brewing have really upped their game in the last year and a half with some cracking and interesting “big flavour” bombers. They waited a bit to follow up with an addition to their popular if conservative 6-pack range, but it was well worth it. The Switchback IPA is described as  “Pacific Northwest” that promises some big hop notes, and challenging the likes of Central City’s Red Racer IPA and the former Lighthouse brewers at Driftwood with their Fat Tug IPA.

On with the beer! It has a lovely dark golden amber colour with a white fluffy head. Aromas of grapefruit and tangerine zest mix with a sweetish grainy malt note. The flavours follow on with the same citrus zest, a fruity tang and a sweet piney note backed by a solid but definitely subservient malt platform.The trick that is not performed well by many North American or West Coast style IPAs are that a bunch of hops are chucked in, with both eyes firmly on the IBU count, rather than how good it is to actually drink! Lots of hops but highly drinkable is a tough ask, but Lighthouse Switchback IPA manages it extremely well. My palate is given the buzz of a very hoppy brew, but unlike some I could mention, I still want to drink more, which is why this works as a 6-pack rather than a 650ml bomber. Enjoy on your deck, or pub patio this summer, and be grateful there is now another great, hoppy,  BC West Coast IPA to cool yourself down with!

Serving: 355ml bottle

ABV: 6.5%

Best Served: 6-8°C

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Phillips Garrison Mash-Up Baltic Porter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

East and West united; Canada going forward as one, whether you are in the Maritimes or the West coast beer is a universal pleasure and one that has united two great Canadian craft breweries on opposite sides of the country.

What is Baltic Porter? It is a relatively modern name used to describe strong Porters brewed in Russia and the Baltic nations that copied strong porters and stouts brewed in Britain for export to those regions. One difference is that many of those breweries now use lager yeasts rather than the warm/top fermenting ale yeasts that brewers in Britain used. Modern craft brewers are now making their version, and bringing this beer to a new audience. Garrison Brewing already produce a good Baltic Porter, and now they’re joining up with Phillips to make a new version; so how does it stack up?

It has a dense black colour with a loose tan head and an aroma of black coffee, baked dried fruit and black molasses. Once sipped it has a full body, but not the intensity I expected. The flavours are full of sweet molasses and burnt mocha. There is a lengthy,  fairly sweet finish and that I find detracts from the balance of the beer, but it is still a good and boozy drop!

Serving type: 650ml bottle

ABV: 8%

Best Served: 8-10 °C

 

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Lost Coast Winterbraun

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

The Lost Coast Winterbraun is a strong dark brown ale brewed especially for the winter months. The label sports a Picasso-esque snowboarder with skin the colour of this rich and deeply hued brew;  the sweet, dark caramel and rye bread aromas that greet you are a comforting reminder of why we drink different beers when the nights draw in and there is a chill in the air.

The flavours are warming too, a hint of black treacle, roasted malt, baked dried fruit, and sweet caramel are all there and give this beer a cake-like appeal. This can be drunk with a rich beef and ale pie and gravy or on its own, some might enjoy this with desert, such as a steamed sponge pudding made with lots of dried fruit and a caramel flavoured custard.

ABV: 6.5%

Serving type: 650ml bottle

Best Served: 9 – 11 °C

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Driftwood Twenty Pounder Double IPA

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Driftwood Brewery Twenty Pounder Double IPA comes with trademark fabulous graphic artwork on the label. At the very least they have raised the game when it comes to bottle labels! Happily this is not where the game raising ends. They have produced many of British Columbia’s (and canada’s for that matter) best craft brews. A double IPA (thanks for not using ‘Imperial’) has been keenly awaited by the craft beer fans of the West coast. Since the two IPAs that have been on the shelves – regular IPA Fat Tug and super seasonal Sartori Harvest have proved so popular, a double IPA seemed to be an obvious choice for a seasonal specialty.

On with the review! It pours a rich mid-amber colour and has a small foamy head. The aromas are full of dried fruit and candied orange peel. There is some pink grapefruit there too and it promises to be a big mouthful of a beer, full of richness and power. There are obvious notes of sweetness, from the malt, but not a giant amount of depth. The hop notes are still king and a real pithiness is present on the tip of my tongue.  There is, however a slight cloying note and a bit of a metallic taste on the lengthy finish which tempers my total enjoyment.

I can’t help thinking that Driftwood’s real skill has been some of the farmhouse ales like Spring Rite and the great ESB Naughty Hildegard and that’s where their passion lies. The plethora of Double IPAs from many North American breweries have made the style a “standard” and perhaps this hasn’t showed off their indisputable talents at their best.

Having said all that I still like this beer, but I can’t help thinking that it will improve with a bit of age. I will put one down for six months and I’m sure it will show better. I did this with the Lighthouse Shipwrecked Triple IPA and it’s disjointed flavours greatly harmonised after a few months in the Beer Wrangler’s cellar.

I also feel that this would would work better with some food – perhaps a blue cheese to temper the sweetness or on the other hand a funky but creamy Limberger might just be perfect!

Serving Type: 650ml Bottle

ABV: 9%

Best Served: 9 – 11°C

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Estrella Damm Inedit

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Outstanding)

The Spanish term ‘Inedit’ which means ‘Never Been Done Before’ is the given name that graces the label of this delicious brew from Estrella Damm Brewery of Barcelona, Spain. A collaboration between the team at the critically acclaimed elBulli Restaurant and the Brewmasters at Estrella Damm, this beer claims to be the first crafted specifically to be served with food. A skillful blend of lager and wheat ale styles, it uses 100% natural ingredients with a combination of water, hops, wheat, and spices that has yielded a fantastically refreshing and drinkable beer.

The complex aroma with hints of coriander, clove, fennel, ginger, and sweet citrus reminds me of Mom’s fresh baked gingersnap cookies. It has a slightly misty appearance with a great mouthfeel, mild carbonation and a slight creaminess. The well balanced array of flavours flow over the palate, leaving a lingering finish that begs for more. This beer is excellent with oysters, grilled scallops, mixed greens, and balsamic dressings and glazes. It also has the right acidity to enjoy, as a foil, butter and cream sauces or mild cheeses. In fact this well designed beer is very approachable with many foods!

To enjoy at its best, serve in a 300ml (10 oz) white wine glass, fill to just over half way, and leave the bottle on ice after serving. An inexpensive, expert creation that would do Bacchus proud – Magnificent!

Serving:  750ml black glass bottle

ABV: 4.8%

Best Served: 4-8° C

-By Brewlord

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Pretty Things Hedgerow Bitter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Pretty Things make beer with some interest, as opposed to just brewing standard styles to fill their portfolio. This time out they have used three Dwarf Hop varietals from England, Sovereign, Pioneer and First Gold, and made a well hopped British Best Bitter.  The hoppy flavours may not be familiar to those used to drinking North American IPAs, but these fairly new varieties give it a distinctly wild herbaceous twang.

This is certainly reminiscent of Bitters I’ve drunk in the UK but with an extra helping of hops. The Dwarf hops taste fresh and vibrant and leave a lingering dry aftertaste on the palate. This is an interesting, refreshing and drinkable beer if a bit one dimensional. This is great on its own or perhaps with a traditional fish and chips; the hops will cut through the grease and revitalise the palate.

ABV: 5.4%

Best Served: 8-10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Nogne O God Jul (Winter Ale)

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Outstanding)

Nogne O is a craft brewery from Norway, and judging from my first experience of their beer, is going to take the craft brewing world by storm!  Their Strong Winter Warmer is an absolute must for any fan of dark rich warming ales.

It pours a deep, dark mahogany amber, that needs to be held up to the light to appreciate its colour. The aromas that hit you are ones of spice, dates, madeira and caramel. As you drink this luxurious ale the tan head slowly dissipates, but the flavour does not. Notes of Christmas pudding and fruitcake persist and are joined by more sweet fortified wine flavours with hints of coffee bean, molasses and  spice.  Sweet liquorice can be found on the lengthy finish with some almost oaky tones.

The amazing thing is that this is not a spiced Christmas ale according to the brewery, but the flavours are complex, integrated and definitely festive!  This is truly an outstanding beer, and I can’t wait to taste this after one or two years aging – the complexity and integration can only improve – if that’s possible!

ABV: 8.5%

Best Served 12°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Duchy Old Ruby Ale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Duchy Originals Organic Old Ruby Ale is made with a historic malt called Plumage Archer which gives this beer a deeply pleasant roasty malt flavour. The bright amber-ruby colour sparkles, and the gentle nose of biscuity and fruity malt make this a great session ale. The slightly tea-leafy and floral hops break through enough to make this a nicely well balanced beer.

This is not a flavour bomb by any stretch of the imagination, and it falls into a cross between a Best Bitter and an Amber Ale in style, but don’t be put off. This is a well-crafted traditional style ale that makes it a breeze to drink three or four in an evening – perhaps accompanied by a steak and ale pie!

ABV: 5%

Best Served 10-12°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

Wrangler Rating:

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

Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA is the long awaited addition to the brewery’s regular line up that filled in the gaping hole of a classic Pacific Northwest IPA. A hefty 7% ABV and 80 IBUs sees this beer punching in the heavyweight category for a ‘standard’ IPA. The hit of hops is fresh, fruity and sharp, and will please the hop-heads out there. On the palate the hops retain their power and vibrancy, and cover the alcohol admirably. The malt is there too, but it is in a supporting role, and props up the hop flavours nicely. This is a great example of a well hopped IPA,  as it is more than just a load of hops in glass though, as ever, Driftwood make a rounded, drinkable and flavoursome beer that is sure to become a staple in the fridge of many a craft beer fan.

ABV: 7%

Best Served: 7 – 9°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo

Wrangler Rating:

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

Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo is a classic in the British beer scene. It’s an Old Ale which means that it has had some time well spent in very old seasoned oak casks, many of which date back more than a century. Each year adds to the beer-soaked wood and helps them give more complexity to the finished product.  This ale spends over a year conditioning in the oak and is bottled with yeast, so can condition further in the bottle.  It pours a deep amber colour with a thick and lively tan head. The aromas are fruity and almost Madeira-like. The taste follows on and delivers more. Dates and brandy-soaked orange peel hit your tongue followed by  treacle and vanilla notes. There is a subtle oaky finish that keeps the sweet flavours in check. This is a Christmas Pudding of a beer that allows  you to keep on eating! Stingo proves that British beer can have as much flavour and intensity as a Belgian ale if the desire by the brewer is there. Serve on its own after a meal or with a blue cheese such as Stilton.

ABV 9%

Best Served 14-16° C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Spinnakers Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Spinnakers Blue Bridge used to be labelled a Double IPA, but they have renamed it a Double Pale Ale, perhaps because it is not as much a hop explosion as some Double IPAs. It still has a good dose of hoppiness though, but seems to be carefully balanced with the malt, which makes this beer a refreshing change from the wealth of similar double or imperial IPAs on the market.

Spinnakers is one of those breweries that are hard to find outside of its local neighbourhood (Victoria, British Columbia) but are well worth the effort as the line-up includes some great Canadian takes on some classic British Ales.

This is a very enjoyable strong pale ale that hides its alcohol well, has some grainy sweetness and a good herbal hoppy finish. Although this won’t blast your taste buds away, it may well tickle your fancy, especially if you serve it at the correct temperature – too cold and you’ll miss half the flavour!

ABV: 8.2%

Best Served: 10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Les Trois Mousquetaires Sticke Alt

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Les trois Mousquetaires is a small but dedicated brewery from Quebec, Canada, and it produces a range of European style and seasonal specialties. Sticke Alt is not a common style of beer, least of all outside its home nation of Germany, and is an Altbier on steroids. Many Alts are a well rounded malty beer with a nice hit of herbal hops on the finish, making a good session ale.

A Sticke Alt is a far more serious affair, and this Canadian version is no exception. It has a deep red-amber colour with a creamy head, that leaves plenty of attractive lacing around the glass. The first thing that hits you is the body; this is a very full beer, with a rich maltiness and a viscous feel to it. There are notes of dried fruit and black molasses, but without too much sweetness. It is counter-balanced by a strong herbal bitterness on the finish from a good dose of hops, with some woody touches that sometimes feels a bit drying. Over all this is well worth a go, and would pair well some rich, fatty meats as the bitterness would be a good foil for the fat, and the body can match the strong flavours too!

ABV: 6%

Best Served: 10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Russell Black Death Porter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Russell Black Death Porter is a terrific offering from a brewery that is best known for a rather mediocre cream ale. With their range of 650 ml ‘Brewmaster series’ they have definitely shown that they are more serious about beer than their 6-pack selections, sometimes suggest. This is a really rich and malty porter with a ton of black molasses , and a subtle note of hop, but it plays second fiddle to the delicious sweet, roasted flavours that dominate. The finish isn’t cloying though as there is just enough bitterness to balance it all out. All in all a very nice porter!

ABV: 6.5%

Best Served: 10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Bath Ales Dark Hare

Wrangler Rating:

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

Dark Hare, the latest offering from Bath Ales , with their beautiful hare themed labels, is absolutely delicious. As it pours into the glass you notice the deep ruddy brown colour, and the notes of toasted malt and dark chocolate on the nose. The very creamy mouthfeel is punctuated with molasses, which gives way to burnt chocolate as the fuggles hops leave their distinct taste on the finish.

A great Sunday afternoon brew, Dark Hare would also be fabulous with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, créme brûlée or a not overly syrupy sticky toffee pudding.

ABV: 4%

Best Served: 11°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Phillips Double Dragon Imperial Red Ale

Wrangler Rating:

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

Phillips Double Dragon Imperial Red Ale is this British Columbian craft brewer’s pumped up version of an American Red Ale, which is a hoppier version of the Irish Red Ales. The Imperialisation of this fairly modern style of beer gives it a big punch in both the flavour and strength departments, so is not to be taken lightly!

This deep red ruby ale has a fairly hoppy aroma, with a robust full-bodied flavour. The rich roasted malt features heavily on the palate and is quite sweet, with notes of caramel, molasses and malty bread, but there is just the right amount of hops to balance it all out. The citrussy grapefruit taste of the healthy hoppy addition, gives the finish a nice bitterness that makes this a very easy drinking beer for one so potent.  This might go well with a large plate of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, served with a rich gravy; but be careful, as this powerhouse may go down too quickly for you to get up too quickly!

ABV: 8.2%

Best Served: 10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Maredsous Abbaye Triple

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Maredsous Triple is golden amber in  colour, a touch darker than many triples, and has a strong, spicy, alcoholic aroma, which is not surprising when you see the 10% ABV on the traditionally styled label.  The palate gives off a strong hit of the solvent-like alcohol at first, and is followed up by grainy dried fruit, with over ripe pineapple and boozy marmalade oranges leading the way. The finish is dry, with a hint of orange peel and herbiness. This powerful triple is not as refreshing as some and struggles to balance its flavour with its alcoholic strength; having said that, it is still a worthwhile beer to try, and if you are comfortable with the warming mouthfeel, then savour the notes of fried fruit and spice with pleasure.

ABV: 10%

Best Served: 7°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Krusovice Imperial

Wrangler Rating:

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

Krusovice Imperial is a Czech Pilsner lager, that is eminently drinkable, and a great benchmark for this classic style of beer. It has a pale golden colour and fluffy head, with a nice level of carbonation that is a little less than many lagers, but makes this beer an easy one to drink. It is still refreshing though, as it relies on a great balance of sweet malt and bitterness rather than mere fizz. Although clean and crisp, it has a good dose of pale malt on the palate that leads into a dry, slightly citrus and herbal finish, that is derived from the delicious Saaz hops. This is a great example of a well made and balanced lager that manages to hit all the right notes, and is a pleasure to drink.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 6°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 Monts (Brasserie de Saint Sylvestre)

Wrangler Rating:

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

3 Monts is a strong Biere de Garde from the Flanders region of France, which is a style that can be hard to find outside of its native country, but is well worth the hunt especially if you are a fan of the more familiar Belgian Saison beer, which this is a close relative of. This beer gets a maturation period after fermentation at very cold temperatures to further enhance and integrate the complex flavours of this refreshing ale.

It has a bright, pale golden colour, with a long lasting, tightly knit head that genuinely stays with the beer, right down to the bottom of the glass. There is loads of spicy notes appearing front and centre with flavours of clove and ripe banana esters. The malt is there too, giving a grainy fruitiness that balances the Belgian hops at work that nicely bitter the finish. There’s more there too, but in the background, with herbal flavours, a touch of caramel and a pleasant solvent note. This is a multi-faceted beer that can be drunk on its own, with a strong nutty cheese or a good quality, full flavoured pork sausage.

ABV: 8.5%

Best Served: 8°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Swan’s ESB (Buckerfield’s Brewery)

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Swan’s ESB is brewed by Buckerfield’s Brewery on Vancouver Island in a popular hotel and brewpub in Victoria, that tends to brew British style ales and German style lagers. The ESB has a nice dark amber colour and is gently carbonated, in the tradition of ales from the other side of The Atlantic, but has a slightly more robust hop aroma than some. There is a nice malty body to this beer, with plenty of sweet caramel notes; these lead to a bitter hoppy finish that seem to envelop the initial malt sweetness.

Although I really enjoyed drinking this one, the flavours are not that well integrated, and the hops on the finish seem strangely separate fom the mid-palate. Never the less, it’s definitely one to try for fans of the style, as it goes down easily, and as it is lower in alcohol than most ESBs, makes a good session beer.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 9°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Howe Sound Total Eclipse Of The Hop

Wrangler Rating:

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

Howe Sound’s Imperial IPA has a nice name that some of its younger drinkers might not get. I am not sure if Bonnie Tyler is a fan of this beer, but she should be. Imperial or double IPAs are usually a mouthful of hops with a hit of alcohol, but the brewers at Howe Sound have managed to brew in a style that the original creators of the IPA in the 18th Century would recognise and hopefully approve of.

This is a supremely well balanced beer that has 9o IBUs and 8% alcohol, but manages to be so drinkable, you could have two or three pints without any effort – quite an achievement for such a well flavoured and strong beer! The hops are very noticeable on the nose, and as there are six varieties it’s not surprising; the flavours that follow are a nice relief for those palates that are tired of naked hop explosions. The rich malt is there supporting all those hop flavours giving a balanced and very enjoyable beer. This is what a traditional IPA becomes when it is ‘Imperialised’, and for me achieves a great benchmark for the style.

*

ABV: 8%

Best Served: 9°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Maredsous Abbey Brune

Wrangler Rating:

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

Maredsous is a true Abbey beer, which means that it was originally brewed in the Benetictine Abbey at Maredsous in Wallonia, Southern Belgium, but now has been transferred to a  brewery outside of the monastic grounds, but is still overseen by the monks themselves. Many beers that claim to be “abbey” beers do not have that distinction, and the name just describes a style.

The bottle I had this beer in was a corked 75 cl variety, still resting on the yeast, which would help explain the bready nature of this enjoyable ale, and served in a genuine Maredsous chalice. There are notes of dark, malty rye bread, with a touch of dried fruit and caramel.  This beer seems to go down all too easily while still maintaining its richness, which is a testament to the easy integration of all the flavours, and the crisp, slightly earthy, but lengthy finish.

ABV: 8%

Best Served: 10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Dogfish Head Midas Touch

Wrangler Rating:

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

Yum Yum! Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch is both justified and ancient, being based on a 2700 year old ancient Anatolian recipe which is a re-creation based on analysis of drinking vessels that were uncovered during an archaeological dig in what is now Turkey – drinking vessels that resided within what is thought to be the tomb of none other than King Midas himself (although suspiciously they had not been turned to gold!)

I can’t say that I have ever tasted a beer quite like this (which is equal parts a delight and a shame.) Deeply golden in colour it is pleasingly sweet with hints of honey and muscat grapes but without the cloying sweetness of many meads (or bee vomit as I like to call it).  The nose has distinct notes of tropical fruit and the finish has a deliciously dry biscuity taste.

As there aren’t really any other beers like this out there I don’t have much compare it to but I think this beer would be a great one for ladies to try but anyone interested in exploring the myriad of flavours beer can create would do well to give this a go.

I’d pair Midas Touch with a Moroccan tagine or a mild Goan prawn curry with coconut milk rice dumplings.

ABV: 9%

Best Served: 8°C

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

New Glarus Black Wheat

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg tankard.jpg (Outstanding)

New Glarus Brewing is to be found in Wisconsin in the U.S., and is owned by the Brewmaster Dan Carey, who has spent a lifetime perfecting his craft, and oversees a brewery that makes lots of limited release seasonal beers that keep their fans on their toes and interested with an ever-changing line-up.

Their version of the traditional German Dunkelweizen is simply called ‘Black Wheat’, but this beer is far from simple. The deep brown-black liquid, topped by a foamy caramel tan head is a delightfully complex beer, that exhibits lots of nuances, and  never dominate one another. Notes of light molasses. cocoa bean, caramel, nutmeg, banana and prune combine and balance well, to leave a bitter-sweet finish that contains a touch of orange peel.

Try this beer with a well flavoured Mexican chili, it’s light enough to refresh your palate, but has enough strength to stand up to, and compliment all those rich and spicy flavours.

*

ABV: 5.7%

Best Served: 7°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap Winter Warmer

Wrangler Rating:

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

Pyramid Snow Cap is the Winter seasonal offering from this popular Seattle brewery, and claims to be made in the “spirit of the British Winter ales”. At 7% alcohol, it certainly has the strength to warm the cockles, but does the flavour keep up? The combination of  English and Pacific North West hops give this Winter warmer a nice bitterness, but unlike many other North American versions of this classic Christmas brew, it has copious amounts of delicious malt to back it up and keep them in check. There are notes of cocoa bean and dark caramel on the palate, which leads onto the hoppy flavours; a touch of citrus, spice and a light floral taste give way to a rounded, balanced and smooth finish. This beer is a joy to drink and is a fantastic interpretation of a Winter Warmer, keeping true to the tradition, while maintaining its own Northwest identity. Drink this one with a beer-battered fish and chips, at Pike Place Market in Seattle, or in a London Chippy, it’ll feel right at home at either!

ABV: 7%

Best Served: 12°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Driftwood Brewery Blackstone Porter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Driftwood’s Blackstone Porter is a very dark version of this classic beer that has its origins in 18th Century London. It is a completely opaque black in the glass, looking like a stout, and is made with a partial sour mash, similar to the method used for some Tennessee whiskies. This imparts a subtle tartness to the beer, making it less sweet than many Porters. The main flavours that come through are cocoa and coffee bean, and is followed by a smokey finish. There are vague notes of hop in the background, but they are bit part players, (a welcome break for some!) supporting the dark bitter-sweet malt that dominates. This would be great with smoked meats, or flame grilled pork.

ABV: 5.1%

Best Served: 12°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Rogue Mogul Madness Ale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Rogue Mogul Madness Ale is a  Winter warmer with bite. It has a dark ruby-brown colour and a fairly creamy tan head that stays with the beer. There are some caramel flavours with some faint notes of banana bread. The unusual thing for a winter warmer, but not unusual for Rogue, are the obvious handfuls of hops used in the brew. They offer a pleasant bitterness on the finish that tastes a little grapefruity, and tends to last for a while after the beer has been swallowed. This is an enjoyable beer, but tastes like a good ESB to me. Rogue don’t seem to want to make a beer that has been lightly hopped, and perhaps are now victims of their own dogma, producing a lot of excellent but similar tasting products. I would love to see them do a really rich malty winter warmer, as they are brilliant brewers but are in danger of becoming just a bit one-dimensional.

ABV: 6.5% (approx)

Best Served: 12°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wychwood Bah Humbug Christmas Ale

Bah_HumbugWrangler Rating:

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

Bah Humbug is Wychwood Brewery’s offering at Christmas time to warm up those cold toes on a winter’s night. This is a very mildly spiced amber ale that is not quite malty enough to be a classic winter warmer, but it doesn’t pretend to be, as it is labelled ‘Christmas Ale’ and implies a more general festive beer, made with the addition of some seasonal flavour. This ale has a pleasant medium-bodied feel to it, with subtle notes of banana and clove; the hops are just detectable too, though mainly on the finish and aftertaste. The solitary added spice is cinnamon, and this is done with a frugal hand, as it certainly doesn’t overwhelm the caramelly malt. This beer is an easily quaffable Christmas pint with a hint of seasonal pep to give it a bit of festive flair.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 12°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Anchor Brewing ‘Our Special Ale’ 2009 (Christmas Ale)

anchor2009Wrangler Rating:

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

Anchor Brewing famously change the recipe for their Special Ale every year, as well choose a different tree, a symbol of the Winter Solstice, to adorn the label. This version (2009), when held up to the light, has a gorgeously dense ruby colour and an almost creamy pale tan head. The aroma is full of malty molasses with a definite hoppy highlight. The flavours that follow fill the mouth, but don’t overwhelm it; the main taste that starts off is a strong malty one, that develops into a black molasses backbone to the beer. There are some laid-back spicy notes layered into the malt, perhaps nutmeg or a hint of cardamon, but the hit of a citrus hop gives this sweetish beer an assertive and refreshing finish. This Winter seasonal ale is a real pleasure to drink, and is not too heavy or laden with spices, so is good for  those who find the ‘big’ spiced warmers a bit too much!

ABV: 5.5%

Best Served: 10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Swans Coconut Porter

coconut porterWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Recommended)

I have to admit that I’m bit torn about Swans Coconut Porter. I love a good porter and really enjoy porters that are layered with other flavours (Kona’s Pipeline Porter with coffee is my personal favourite) so when I saw this coconut porter I became very excited. This beer is very dark in colour with a frothy cappuccino colour head and a strong caramel malt nose with a hint of roasted coffee bean.  The flavour of dark bitter chocolate fills the mouth and slowly gives way to a toasted coffee aftertaste. Unfortunately (for me anyway) I don’t taste any coconut which, considering the reason I bought the beer was to try the coconut, is disappointing. That said, I think this beer stands well on its own as a porter and would taste great with some strong English cheddar

ABV: 5.5%

Best Served: 11°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tree Brewing Black Tree Dark Ale

tree-dark

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Recommended)

Tree Brewing are based in The Okanagan, where this summer (2009) there were large scale wild fires that destroyed thousands of trees. This beer was released in aid of the BC Fire ReLeaf Fund that aims to replace all the trees lost in the fire. This is described as a dark ale but is in fact a blend of two beers, probably the Cutthroat pale ale and the Spy porter. This makes up a well appointed version of a Black and Tan beer. The dark mahogany ale has a roasted malt note throughout that serves as its backbone. There are pleasant hop notes on the nose as well as the palate that continue through to the finish along with a dry, toasty flavour. This is a simple yet effective beer, whose smoothness and balance make it really drinkable and can be enjoyed with a grilled steak in the knowledge that it all goes to help a good cause.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 9°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Delirium Tremens

delirium_tremens

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Outstanding)

Delirium Tremens is a strong golden ale that has a cult following amongst fans of Belgian beer, not only due to this powerful brew, but also the famous Delirium café in Brussels that keeps over 2000 beers for enthusiasts and tourists alike.  It pours with a gloriously fluffy, tightly bubbled head, that sits atop a very pale golden liquid. The nose is full of the slightly medicinal aroma of pear drops and spicy hops. This beer manages to be light and full-bodied at the same time; if that sounds like an oxymoron, I apologise, but it manages to pull off an intense flavour, while being surprisingly drinkable and refreshing. That’s not bad for a beer weighing in at almost 9% ABV. The flavours that fill your mouth mingle clove with banana and and lightly honeyed malt with subtly spicy hop notes. This complex and enjoyable beer hides its alcohol well, which means its easy to sit down and have a few, but not so easy to stand up…..

ABV: 8.7%

Best Served: 8°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Propeller Extra Special Bitter

prop-esb

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Recommended)

Propeller ESB is a rich dark amber / brown and is brewed in the traditional style of a British Extra Special Bitter. It has a nice fruity aroma, with strong hints of malt that remind me of a classic pub pint in the UK. This Nova Scotian brew is a breeze to drink, as the balance of malt and hops are good and makes drinkability a key factor in recommending this beer. The malt has a touch of sweetness to it, but mainly you get to taste its richness. The hops are North American though, and there is a nice herbal note and a refreshing bitter finish. This might not be a show stopper, but it’s a well made and drinkable beer, almost making it a session ale due to the alcohol being on the lighter side of a typical ESB. Pair this with a richly flavoured lamb dish, like a roasted lamb shank, as the bitterness will offset the rich fattiness of the meat.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 9°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale

HoweFather_l

Wrangler Rating:

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

Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale is a fantastically warming, well spiced brew that comes in a nice 1 litre swing-top bottle. It has a dark amber colour with a loose head, a rich malty aroma with an obvious spiciness. This full-bodied Christmas Ale has a very malty profile that is the backbone for all the other seasonal flavours that are added. Ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon are the spices that give this warming beer bags of flavour, but it is kept well in balance, and not one really dominates. There are also definite notes of the other fermentable additions, like molasses, brown sugar and honey; they give the beer a depth which compliments the malt and spices, but cleverly don’t add too much sweetness! I really enjoyed this beer and made a slow-cooked cinnamon beef stew to eat with it, and they went together perfectly – a great winter warming combo!

ABV: 7%

Best Served: 11°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

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

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

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

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Driftwood Brewery Sartori Harvest IPA

Driftwoodsartoriharvest

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Outstanding)

Driftwood Brewery Sartori Harvest IPA is a huge triumph for this small craft producer based on Vancouver Island. It has a nice ruddy amber colour and pours with a large frothy head. The aroma has a good even spicy hop note with a definite malt character. This beer has a great mouthfeel, and for me, has achieved  perfect balance of malt and hops for an India Pale Ale. They use ‘wet hopping’, which means that the local Chilliwack Centennial hops go into the brew fresh, without being dried, and it really gives great flavours of grapefruit and tangerine with an enjoyable floral kick. The thing that separates this IPA from many other good craft brewery examples, is that they get the balance of malt just right. There are lovely notes of caramel that support the hops like a back bone, and they all continue to the finish making this a very drinkable ale. This is one of the best IPAs I have had, and needs to be tasted by fans of the style. Pair this with a spicy fish soup, or barbecued pork marinated in a creole sauce.

*                                                                         ABV: 7%

*                                                                         Best Served: 8°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Granville Island Brewing Belgian Blonde Ale

GIBbelgian-blondeWrangler Rating:

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

Granville Island Belgian Blonde Ale is a great seasonal beer from British Columbia’s most prevalent brewery. It has a beautiful golden hue and a frothy head that leaves a fair bit of lacing on the sides of the glass. This is a slightly lighter version of the famous Belgian breweries strong blonde or golden ale, but they pull it off with style. It maintains the traditional spicy, candied fruit flavours while being a very refreshing beer that still weighs in at 6% alcohol. There is sweet pineapple on the palate and some nice clove notes on the finish that makes this is a supremely enjoyable version of this popular Belgian style. This is light enough to have in the afternoon on its own or accompanying appetizers with friends.

ABV: 6%

Best Served: 6°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Brew Dog Punk IPA

Brew_Dog_Punk_IPA

Wrangler Rating:

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

Brew Dog Punk IPA comes from the new wave of British brewers whose beers may be more at home with the American west coast craft beer drinkers, than in a traditional pub. This should not put anyone off as their IPA is a delicious explosion of hoppy goodness! The colour of this beer is very pale for the style, and almost looks like a hefe-weizen, as there is a touch of cloudiness too. The Punk IPA has a floral-citrussy aroma, and the palate won’t disappoint fans of this style. It’s crisp, spicy and refreshing, with a touch of the pale malt sweetness in the far background. The finish is long and mouth-wateringly bitter, which is one reason why this is a really drinkable and more-ish India Pale Ale. I would have this as a foil to a good Indian chicken curry, as the flavour can stand up to whatever spice you throw at it.

ABV: 6%

Best Served: 6°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Flying Dog Porter

flyingdogporter

Wrangler Rating:

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

Flying Dog Porter comes from one of the most irreverent breweries around, with their “Good Beer, No Shit” motto, and anarchic Ralph Steadman artwork on the labels. The beer however, is mighty fine, and their porter will delight many a dark ale fan. Its colour is a rich black, with dark cherry highlights and a creamy tightly bubbled head. Sweet molasses and coffee bean dominate the aroma and the palate is also fairly full on. Burnt chocolate notes start off, and are followed by a nice molasses malt taste. This full-bodied porter’s flavour lingers on, creating a pleasant, long bitter-sweet finish. A well made porter that will pair nicely with a rich beef stew to keep out the winter cold.

ABV: 6%

Best Served: 11°C

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

st-patricks-beer-sam-smith-oatmeal-stout-ssWrangler Rating:

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

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout definitely deserves the adage ‘an oldie but a goodie’. This deliciously creamy beer pours near black with a fluffy tan head while the aroma mingles chocolate, roasted coffee and dark malt. The flavour is delightful. At first sip you can taste the creamy oats, velvety dark molasses as well as the aforementioned chocolate and burnt coffee which gives way to an enjoyably bitter after-taste on the finish. Brewed in England at Yorkshire’s oldest brewery (founded in 1758) this is a gorgeous, easy drinking beer and a great first choice if you’re new to stouts. This would be fantastic paired with a creamy coffee dessert like a mocha mousse or some fresh oysters.

ABV: 5.0%

Best Served: 12°C

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Anderson Valley Brewing Boont Amber Ale

boontamber

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Recommended)

Anderson Valley Brewing Boont Amber Ale comes in the large 650 ml bottles, and it’s a good thing too, as this is a rather quaffable ale. It is a nice bright mid-amber in colour, with a medium frothy head that doesn’t linger for too long. There is a hint of sweetish toasted malt on the nose and maybe a touch of hop, but not a whole lot else. This has a nicely balanced palate with the malt leading the way followed by some spicy hop notes. There is a bit of light fruitiness in the background but not enough to take away from the nice drinkable toasted caramel flavours of the malt. This is a well made west coast amber ale, and finds itself regularly in my mix of brews in the fridge! This would go great with a big plate of nachos or a juicy burger.

ABV: 5.8%

Best Served: 7°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Yukon Red – Amber Ale

yukonred

Wrangler Rating:

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

Yukon Brewing are a shining light in a territory without much in the way of craft brewers. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t compete in parts of the world thick with micro-brewers though, and this beer is a good example why! This pours a deep red mahogany colour with a nice light head. It tastes of toasted malt with a touch of caramel sweetness, but well balanced by some spicy, slightly citric hops on the finish. This is a very drinkable beer, and slips down nicely on a Winter’s evening! Pair this with some roast pork or some meaty grilled sausages.

ABV: 5.5%

Best Served: 10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Hacker-Pschorr Münchener Gold Helles

hacker helles

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Recommended)

Hacker-Pschorr Münchener Gold is a golden-straw coloured Helles lager from the great brewing city of Munich. The light frothy head dissipates, leaving a little lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma has a pleasant light sweet malt note with a hint of the noble hops promised by the ‘edelhell’ tag on the bottom of the label. The body is light, crisp and refreshing, as a Helles should be, and feels very well balanced. The finish is subtly hoppy with a touch of sweet pale malt, and is supremely thirst-quenching. This is an ideal session beer to drink all afternoon on its own, or with delicately flavoured seafood. It won’t blow you away, but it does what a Helles lager is supposed to do – be easy drinking, pleasant and a good social lubricant!

ABV: 5.5%

Best Served: 5°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

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

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Fuller’s ESB

Fullers-esb1

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Outstanding)

Fuller’s ESB lays claim to be the original Extra Special Bitter and its popularity across the world has made this one of Britain’s best known ales. It has a lovely medium amber colour with a loose head (typical for Southern English Bitters); the aroma is full of rich malt with some notes of yeasty bread flavours. The hops are far more noticeable on the palate, and are beautifully balanced with the strong maltiness that typifies the ESB style. They are present with a subtle spiciness that makes this a very drinkable and thirst-quenching beer. There are plenty of fruit flavours there as well, with a touch of pear and some nice orange zest on the finish. This is a great benchmark for the style and I for one could drink this ’til the cows come home! Have this with a steak and ale pie and mashed potato – preferably in a good pub!

ABV: 5.9%

Best Served: 10°C

Share