The beginning….

So, as a new-years resolution, I have decided to start a blog about the beer I drink. Given my current location, most of these beers will probably be from southern England, and so will be English ales.

The blog style is something that will hopefully develop organically as I start writing reviews, so I’m not going to dictate at this point how it is going to work. The only thing I will post is the beer grading system, which is based on that used by the Adelaide Uni Stein Club.

10. The holy grail of beer. Only one or two beers worldwide, if that many, would fall into this category.
9. An extraordinary beer. You would travel to get this beer. Price is unlikely to be an issue.
8. An extremely good beer. You would go out of your way to look for this beer.
7. A very good beer. You would select this beer over other alternatives, and its presence would influence your opinion of the pub serving it.
6. A good beer. You would choose this over alternatives, but probably not remember where you found it.
5. An ok beer. You would be happy to accept this  if it was offered to you, or if there were no alternatives.
4. A mediocre beer. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and this beer would fall into that category.
3. A poor beer. You would be unwilling to drink this without very good reason.
2. A bad beer. You would not drink this.
1. Horse piss. You have tasted equine urine, and have found it preferable to the beer in question.
0. Not beer.


Dubbel – Ticketybrew

Site: http://ticketybrew.co.uk/our-beers/

Dubbel, 6.5%

A British take on a Belgian style beer, with a sweet base and moderate bitterness. The colour might suggest a very dark beer, but this is mainly coming from the use of candied sugar, which gives a rich and sweet flavour, with a touch of bitterness. Hopping is low, but typical for the style, and helps to take the edge off the sweetness nicely. This is not an extraordinary beer by world standards, but I’d be happy to have it again sometime.

Overall score: 6.5/10

Site: http://www.brewmeister.co.uk/

Dunkel, 5%

A Scottish take on a German dark ale, with high carbonation, limited hopping, and a gentle finish. Initial flavours are sweet and a bit fizzy, but this settles down into a fairly mellow beer with good flavour. Additives such as coffee and chocolate can be tasted in the beer, adding richness to the flavour. I find it ironic that, even though they are suing these additives, they still market the beer as conforming to the Deutsches Reinheitsgebot (misspelled on the bottle), even though these would be strictly prohibited (and even a classic Dunkel would generally not conform to original standards). Nevertheless, it’s a pleasant enough beer, good for a slightly cooler day, but still light enough to drink with ease.

Overall score: 6.0/10

Site: http://killer-cat.co.uk/team/manga/

Bitter, 5%

I usually like weird and hoppy beers, however this one just fell over somewhere. Apparently they’ve used no bittering hop, but just overwhelmed the beer with Citra and ‘experimental’ hops late in the boil. This gives the beer the pleasing aroma of dishwashing liquid, coupled with some slightly odd fermentation aromas, followed up with matching sharp and bitter flavour. There’s a little sweetness behind the hop, but the beer is completely unbalanced, and leaves a bitter and acrid aftertaste. To quote the bottle, they’ve made this to be ‘interesting, tasty and exiting’. Exiting seems appropriate. I didn’t finish my glass.

Overall score: 2.5/10

Site: http://brewersandunion.tumblr.com/craftbeer

Weissbier, 5%

A fairly standard Bavarian weissbier. Cloudy with a fine white head. Plenty of aromas, with the classic banana and clove flavours that you’d expect from the style. Sadly this beer just doesn’t have anything punchy in the flavour. It’s fruity enough, but there’s no sourness to keep it fresh, and the whole effect just falls flat. The aftertaste is somewhat sweet, but doesn’t sparkle.

Overall score: 5.5/10

Site: http://www.williamsbrosbrew.com/beerboard/bottles/fraoch-heather-ale

Heather Ale, 5%

A heather flavoured ale, made without hop. Pale yellow colour and slightly cloudy with a fine white head. As you might expect for an ancient beer style, in particular without any hop, it’s not particularly bitter, instead having a floral spiciness which lingers on into the aftertaste. Sweetness is quite well controlled, giving a light and easy to drink beer. At the same time, I don’t quite find the heather enough to give the beer much depth in the flavour – it seems quite watery, and doesn’t hold my attention. Pleasant enough, but I won’t be particularly looking out for it again.

Overall score: 6.0/10

Site: http://www.meantimebrewing.com/our-beers/

Red ale, 4.1%

A hoppy red ale, with well controlled malt characteristics, and a fresh floral finish. The appearance of this beer is what you’d expect, a tan to red with fine white head (but little retention). The immediate flavours are from the malts, which give a rich sweetness without dominating the palate. This then yields to a spicy hop finish, with the American hops (Yakima valley apparently, hence the name), giving only a touch of bitterness. Aftertaste is a little peppery, with the malt sweetness remaining in the undertones. The net effect of all of this is a clean beer, which packs plenty of flavour without feeling sticky of overwhelming. An excellent ale.

Overall score: 7.5/10

Site: https://www.scottishbordersbrewery.com/

Blonde, 3.8%

A fresh and hoppy blonde ale, with fine white head and little retention. The bottle proudly claims that this is the only scottish beer where the barley are grown on site – the website is down, so I can’t check where they are malting said barley, but it is used to good effect. The primary flavours of the beer are coming from the light sweetness of the malt, together with a sturdy dose of hops, mainly for aroma, but with well controlled bitterness nevertheless. The sweetness fades fairly quickly in the mouth, leaving a dry and crisp finish to the beer. Another very good beer for a summer’s day.

Overall score: 6.5/10