Monthly Archives: November 2014

Badgers Poachers Choice

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As the winter months grip us, and the dark cold nights set in, there couldn’t be a more fitting time of the year to savour my favourite of all Badgers wonderful array of fine ales than Poachers choice.
Set in Blandford st Mary in Dorset, Uk lies the Halls and Woodhouse brewery where the delightful Badger beers are created.  I can still remember the first time I tried this beer.  At the time I dont think there was anything like it available in the Uk market.  So rich and diverse was the aroma and flavour experience. My ale loving mate and I used to describe it as liquid cake, so rich and fruity was its flavour.

This beer is a classic strong British ale with a difference, coming in at 5.7%abv it packs enough alcohol to warm you up during the cold months of Autumn and Winter.  It pours a dark rich ruby red and has a thick white head which unfortunatley disappears after a few minutes.  This takes nothing away from the aroma though as your nostrils are treated to wonderful rich malty notes that sit behind an explosion of dark rich fruits and spice.  I’m talking about plum sweetness, blackcurrant juicyness.  I get richness of dates and the spicy notes of vanilla, damson, liqorice.  Its an extravaganza of aromas.

If the aromas of this get you salivating the taste does not let you down.  Its so satifyingly rich and warm,  the strong alcohol mixed with the robust malty fruitiness simply warms you up from the inside out.  The mouth feel is full, covering the pallet with rich fruit cake like flavours,hints of dates and caramel, powerful damson and liqorice mixed with juicy blackcurrant are perfectly balanced out with expert hop balance offering perfect bitterness.

The only downside to this is it sits quite heavy, meaning you can only manage to savour two or three.  For me sitting infront of my log burning stove savouring this delicious bottle of ale epitomises my love for the darker colder months.  Or indeed matched with a rich hearty stew or some strong cheese.

In my opinion a wonderful ale by one of my favourite British breweries.  7.5/10 and highly reccomended.

Meantime London Pale Ale

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Finally managed to get my hands on a beer from this brewery, which has built up a fantastic reputation for reinventing classic old beer recipes from the Capital. 

This crisp refreshing pale ale pours a wonderful golden copper colour with a decent bright white head.  On the nose, biscuity malt aromas make way for light fruitiness, slight floral aromas tickle your nasal hairs and lures of grapefruit suck you in.

The mouth feel is medium. Its quite smooth with medium carbonation,  the flavour is not anything overpowering.  It delivers a quenching, refreshing malty punch that is very well balanced with the hops, the casscade hops come through leaving juicy fruit citrus on the pallet.  Its very drinkable. And my only regret is that I only bought one to try, which instantly annoyed me.  Overall i thoroughly enjoyed it and definitly wanted more.  It reminded of me of some of the better English ales I’ve tried only taken to that extra crafty level that makes it stand out.  I look forward to trying more of this breweries beers soon.  A very tasty 7/10.

The kernel ipa. Ella. Citra, apollo, simcoe

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A delicious IPA from one of the top craft breweries in London, The Kernel.  Thier beers are constantly evolving due to the fact they brew using what ingredients they have available at the time. Meaning no two brews are ever quite the same.

This beer is bottle conditioned and pours a wonderful hazy orange with a finger thick bright white head.   It looks very elegant in the glass and extremely inviting.

This particular India Pale Ale is balanced out with ella, Citra, apollo and simcoe hops.  Providing a wonderful array of fruitiness on the nose.  Big peachy aroma and honey sweetness from the malt.  A full hoppy grassy smell.  Very much an American style IPA.

In the mouth this has a good medium body feel. Rich toasted malty sweetness,  balanced well with the bitterness from the hops.  A delightful fruity citrus undertone leaves a very clean feel after swallowing and a thirst for more dry finish.

Overall this beer is a testament to the glowing reputation of The Kernel Brewery.  Offering a wonderfully strong 7.5% IPA that is perfectly balanced and deliciously drinkable.  I give this beer an 7.8/10.

Tiny Rebel, Urban IPA

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I was excited to sample this beer,  coming from Wales hip craft berwery Tiny rebel.  I was expecting an in your face hop filled modern IPA from them.  It started off quite well. Pouring a beautiful amber colour with a good finger thick if slightly light head.

The aroma was very inviting. Orange citrus scents, orange marmalade, honey sweetness,  a hint of passion fruit maybe.  Certainly very inviting.

However for my pallet l’m afraid it’s downhill from here on.  The aromas on this beer totally fail to transpire in the taste.  The mouthfeel is very thin. Imparting the very slightest malty flavour.  It’s almost watery if im completely honest. Which I feel bad saying, because I love the idea and concept behind this brewery.  Unfortunately this just leaves me incredibly underwhelmed.  The bitterness is very high.  For me considering the lack of malty sweetness in this, far too high.  Its very unbalanced.  There is not alot of fruity hoppy flavour considering its use of intercontinental hops which it states on the bottle.  Maybe a hint of grapefruit which develops on the pallet long after swallowing.  A very dry finish leaves you needing a quencher.  Unfortunately for me its just not this IPA i want to quench it.  A very low 3.5/10.

Anchor IPA review

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Last week I managed to find a website that has an abundance of craft beers from breweries both in the Uk and abroad.  To my delight I spotted the Anchor brewery in the sites search by brewery list and quickly added this IPA to my online basket. Anchor is a San Francisco based craft brewery that claims to be the original craft brewery in the USA.  So I was anticipating good things from this beer, and to be fair it didn’t let me down. 

The beer poured a stunning copper amber colour with a good thick, slightly off white head that retained its self nicely. 

On the nose you get that fabulous fruity American hop aroma,  packed with citrussy notes.  Grapefruit and orange peel are very prominant, but also a sweet toasted caramel and toffee like aroma which is very inviting.  No funky off notes that i could detect.

The taste is big rich and hoppy.  A medium mouth feel, crisp and refreshing with sweet, honey and malt balanced out perfect with a big fruity citrussy punch that washes your pallet clean on swallowing. Again I get big grapefruit flavour which I love.  There is no bad exerience to this.  From opening, the look is gorgeous, its smells even better and the taste is rich and classic IPA with bags of citrus, piney, resinous flavours that balance out the sweetness from.the malts. 

A fantastic IPA from this famous American brewery.  I can’t wait to try more beers from them.  I give this Anchor IPA a solid 7.8/10.

God bless America

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It’s pretty obvious today that the Uk is witnessing a phenomenal growth in the interest for craft beer.  It’s a term that is rather new, and not something everyone is clear on in its meaning.  To us Brits,  there are three types of drink we associate with in pubs that come in the form of a pint.  They are beer, lager and cider.  You either drink one of the three.  So what exactly is craft beer?  Like anything that is deemed to be crafted, you associate that it’s been made, or ‘crafted’ by someone that has a high level of skill in the making of a product.  Or that the product is authentic.  You could say that we have ‘real ale’,  and we do, glorious that it is though, for me, it isn’t what craft beer is.  It’s more than real ale. It takes real ale to another level.  An experimental level that when it pays off is so good, it’s results can leave the connissuers and enthusiasts talking about it for hours.

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Britain has a long standing tradition in beer.  We have been champions at brewing it for centuries.  Maybe that is what has held us back in the true craft beer stakes.  Tradition.  All well and good and something to be proud of.  Though that proudness can also bring out a level of intolerance to change.  Being so proud of our brewing methods and beer styles is what has delayed the explosion of craft beers in this great country of ours.

It’s little wonder the birth of true craft beer began across the pond in the USA.  There, they had no proud tradition in beer making.  Nothing to veer from in there production method and invention of this centuries old beverage.  Making beer was already a scene geared up to be experimented with in the USA.  Our experimental brewing scene,which is now growing rapidly in the Uk,  is built upon and influenced by the dare devil brewing scene in America.  Where the standard has well and truely been set.  Making our classic, beloved real ales appear not much better than a pint of flat, bland, malty river water in comparison.  The variance and vast choice of hops available to US brewers is immense.

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Following the de-regulation of brewing in 1979 in the USA,  enthusiasts, disillusioned with the generic, monolithic beer companies, were now permitted to start brewing themselves.  Old styles of beer were reinvented, with brewers focusing on creating a unique and high quality product.  Strict distribution regulations meant that much of the very best craft beer from the USA would hardly ever make its way to our shores.  It was only because of beer enthusiasts from the Uk, visiting the USA and sampling the amazing beer there, that the idea of making and supplying that style of beer to the people of the Uk came about. Best friends James Watt and Martin Dickie are at the forefront of starting the Uk craft beer revolution with thier brewery Brewdog.  Making it thier mission in 2007 to change peoples perception on what real beer is like.  Thier sole mission was to make people as passionate about beer as they were.  That is still thier mission today,and there are taking the Uk by storm with there hop heavy beer creations.

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Evin O’riordan went to New York planning to open his own cheese deli.  Until he began to taste the beer and realised there was nothing like it in the Uk.  He ditched the cheese shop idea, coming back to london and started brewing non stop until he perfected that American style hoppy beer he loved.  Eventually opening up The Kernal in London, which has grown into one of the most successful microbreweries in London.

Nowadays craft beer seems to be everywhere.  With Supermrkets buying into the growing demand offering a vast range of US craft beers amonst European beers and British craft beers.  Even the bigger more corperate breweries are recognising the trend and are attempting to bring out thier own versions to counter the craze, aswell as buying out small independant breweries.

So it has to be said in all fairness, that if it wasn’t for the passion, creativity and boldness of our friends across the pond.  Then maybe the delicious craft beer we are starting to find more and more may never have become available.  Therefore I feel obliged to salute you America, and thank you for being the creators and the original brewing alchemists that has developed such wonderful beer.  Beer that has began a revolution in the Uk.   A revolution that has seen the craft beer market increase by 79% in the last twelve months and is only forcast to grow more.

For those reasons alone I have only three words to say. God Bless America!!!!