437. Brehon’s Brehon Blonde

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After a laziness induced hiatus, the beer blog returns! I find myself in possession of a few interesting brews received as Easter presents (I’m not a great one for choccie eggs) so plenty of ammunition for the next few weeks!

This is one of surprisingly few Irish brews I’ve had on the blog, hailing from Dunelty in County Monaghan. A not particularly sweet blonde, rather more fruity and refreshing. Plenty of fizz too, certainly a bubbly number. The finish is drier and more biscuity some definite bitterness. Pleasant and very drinkable.

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436. Tempest’s Honey, Jamaican Me Ginger

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dsc_0241.jpgOn the face of it, this is a clever name – it gets in the two main added ingredients in a sentence. Then you wonder what “making my ginger” is meant to mean. Is someone force-dying your hair? Oh well, it’s a decent effort.

This is another Brewdog Collabfest, created in 2015 with Tempest Brewing, who are based on the Scottish Borders. It’s proper reddy-brown colour, and the base beer is what is known as a “Wee Heavy” or a Strong Scotch Ale, which is a rich and malty style.

The beer, like the name, doesn’t quite work. To begin with, it sounds like a clever mix, the sweetness of honey and the spiciness of ginger coming together in a heavyish ale. Sadly, although you get a fair tang of ginger and a little sticky honey sweetness to start, the flavour is actually dominated by a slightly artificial-seeming burnt bitterness. I have no doubt this is made from good ingredients, but it seems the combination of flavours lead to a slightly back of the tongue, chemical smokiness taste that isn’t terribly pleasant.

I think ginger and honey might work better with a different beer style, perhaps something lighter, but this was not for me.

1 star

 

435. Harbour Brewing Porter No. 6

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I feel like I may have had this before, but can’t seem to find it in my notes or on the blog. It’s certainly one of my favoured style – dark and boozy. Made in Cornwall, it’s produced by the rather laid back bunch at the Harbour Brewery, who, at least according to the website, enjoy a pretty amazing lifestyle of surfing, skating and beer brewing on the North Cornish coast. This “philosophy” (standard wankery) seems pretty awesome.

The beer itself has a rich and roasty coffee flavour, but it begins with a sweet caramel taste and has a really smooth texture. Not a great deal of burnt or smoky flavour however. I know what you’re thinking; I could have gotten that from the bottle, and you’d be right. At least I can confirm they aren’t telling porkies!

One thing to note is that despite the 6.8% strength, it’s not very boozy taste wise.

three star

434. Brouwerij Bosteels’ Deus

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I’m rather excited about this; one of my favourite Christmas presents (thanks Tash). It’s a Champagne beer, a “Brut Des Flandres”; a style I’ve wanted to try for a while. A perfect festive tipple too.

I’ve had a Bosteels brew before, but this is really special. It’s a string Belgian style beer that is then sent to the Champagne region to receive the same treatment as the sparkling wine. Then it’s left to mature for a year until it’s a ripe 11.5%. As much a barley wine as a beer.

The taste is less boozy than you’d think, but it is thick and full bodied. The flavour mixes sweet bubblegum and rich toffee, with a little of the champagne bitterness at the end. Of course there are plenty of bubbles too.

It is a very pleasant and fairly unique taste, and you could very easily work your way through a bottle before realising just how drunk it’d make you. I recommend you try some if you can stomach the cost!

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433. Weird Beard’s Black Perle

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dsc_0230.jpgI may have been unimpressed with their last offering, but the oddly hirsute chaps at Weird Beard Brew Co have reaffirmed my belief in their skills with this piratical number.

Another Stout (I do like my dark beers) this one is quite fruity, like a particularly green coffee bean, with plenty of tangy bitter cocoa as well. Less burnt and toasty than you might expect, it does have a recognisable milky sweetness as well, although it is subtle. The finish is quite dry and hoppy in the finish – which’ll be the Perle hops from which the beer gets it’s clever name.

There’s actual espresso coffee in this as well, so while at 3.8% it’ll struggle to get you legless, it’ll certainly perk you up – although I wouldn’t start drinking it in your coffee breaks at work.

three star

432. Black Iris’s Better the Devil You Know

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I got unnecessarily excited at what I thought was a second ever truly Aussie beer, until I realise this is brewed in Nottingham, but uses antipodean hops. At least part of the beer has come from the other side of the world…

A fairly potent IPA, in the style so beloved of beer hipsters at the moment, this is a particularly green and bitter beer, with very little fruit juiciness to take off the edge. A subtle sugary undertone can be detected, but hops predominate. Most disappointingly, it was very flat, not at all right for the trur sparkly India Pale Ale experience.

Not unpleasant, but not worth the outlay either.

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431. Weird Beard’s Dark Hopfler

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Regular readers (all three of you) will know I have a lot of love for the Weird Beard brewery – they do a fine line in dark, dirty and delicious beverages that are amongst my favourite beers.

Sadly, this is not one of them. I think perhaps because it’s deliberately quite a weak beer – only 2.5% – it doesn’t quite work for me. That’s not because I’m an alcoholic who needs a fix from every drink (honestly, I’m not) but because this feels like it lacks any body or backbone.

Although there’s certainly some flavour, it’s a thin, dry and fairly bitter beer, with very little of the milky taste you might expect given the description. There’s some raw cocoa tang, perhaps a little smokiness, but I have to say I prefer it when they pack a little more punch.

two star

430. Tripel Karmeliet

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A boozy beer from Buggenhout in Belgium, this 8.4% tripel is brewed by Brouwerij Bosteels and was sampled on the lovely roof terrace of the Wellington in central Birmingham. This is an award winner – World Beer of the year in 2007 – so a good random pick from the fridge as it turned out.

A cloudy, golden beer, it’s brewed with wheat, oats and barley and pours with a fairly thick and frothy head. The Karmeliet (or Carmelite) brewing method used to make it harks back to a recipe supposedly first used in the late 1600’s, created by the monks of a monastery on Mount Carmel, from where it gets its name.

The head is dense as it looks, and the beer is oily thick, sickly sweet and fairly boozy. Caramel and bananas give way to a more obviously fruity taste, perhaps an event citrusy bite. Nonetheless, this is very rich and sweet drop whatever way you look at it,very little hopped bitterness and not a  lot of the herby flavour I was expecting. Still, very nice and a cracking paler winter warmer.

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429. Freedom’s Liberty Pils

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Freedom are a relatively local brewery, coming from just down the road in Staffordshire, and I’ve been a fan of their Freedom Four for some time. They also have their own excellent glasses, which are tall and narrow with a long glass handle, and I’ll admit I’ve pinched one for my collection. Weirdly, Four has never got a write up on here – I can imagine I just never got round to it during my epic attempt to drink a beer a day last year. It’s something I’ll have to remedy as unfortunately its European cousin doesn’t do as good a job.

Four is described as an “English” lager, while this Pilsner is obviously intended to take its inspiration from our Czech friends. Usually I would expect the pilsner to be more flavourful, but here that’s not the case. Liberty is stronger alcohol wise but lacking in taste, quite mild if rather refreshing. It’s also very pale with an almost rice-like sweetness that you would expect from an east Asian lager. Not bad, just not as good as their other stuff I suppose!

two star

 

428. Strong Beer’d

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A lovely present from Ali and Sara, the original inspiration for this boozy blog, this hirsute dark beer is brewed in a farm near Newark. It’s distributed by a company called Harry & Parker, which bring little independent food and drink firms to a wider market.

As a rather fuzzy faced individual myself, I really wanted to like this beer, and it certainly isn’t bad. Calling it strong is a bit much however – I don’t regard anything at five per cent in that category; I’ve had too many beers in the double figure range for this to count.

It’s certainly dark, with a slightly thick sweet start leading to an earthy, hoppy flavour. There’s a little tart cocoa as well. Perhaps too bitter for me for this kind of beer, and a little sweet.

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