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Showing posts from July, 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Brewdog U-Boat

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TGIF, eh? And that means only one thing. Yes, it’s transatlantic Porter day. Well it is now as that’s what’s on the tasting menu for today. What is a transatlantic Porter, you may ask. It’s a collaboration between Brewdog and the US brewer Victory and naturally they’ve come up with something wacky, erm, I mean contemporary and funky. Brewed with a number of specialty malts, the twist comes in the form of fermentation with lager yeast. Right now I’ve got your attention, let’s begin. It’s a 330ml bottle and is a heavyweight 8.4%. It poured jet-black with good carbonation and a one-finger tan head. The aroma was powerful: medium smokiness with caramel, cocoa, dark berries and just a hint, if I’m not imagining it, of lager. Taste wise, this was a rich beer. Viscous and creamy with a chewy edge that reminds you of its strength but in a good way. There is a peat smokiness but also caramel, coffee, raisins and some dark fruit: maybe plums? Certainly a well concocted beer that retains its comp…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Tesco Single Hopped Kentish Ale

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After yesterday’s diversion into exotic beer country, today we crash land on terra firma with what can only be described as an old-school brew. The success of New World hops, which have come to dominate the new wave of craft beers, has been something of a double-edged sword for UK hop growers. Whilst focusing drinker’s attention on the merits of hops, it has left traditional varieties struggling to compete. Now there are many fine varieties of British hops and the British Hop Association has a strategy to try and publicise the merits of each regional variety. Step forward Tesco. This beer is brewed by Shepherd Neame who are, if that’s the correct term, the champions of East Kent Goldings. Some people say they’re the champions of producing twig beer, but I’d never repeat that here. The beer is 4.5% and comes in a 500ml bottle which, rather surprisingly, is clear. That’s really a no-no, so points deducted for that. It poured light copper with little carbonation and a thin off-white head …

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Mikkeller Chill Pils (Orange Juice)

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What have we got this morning for Wednesday’s little treat?  You know how in summer, a man’s fancy turns to just one thing? Yes, that’s right: Pilsner. Well today we celebrate summer by trying a Pilsner. But as it’s those crazy Danish guys at Mikkeller, it’s no ordinary Pilsner. No, this is a Pilsner made with genuine orange juice. Yeah you heard me correctly, this is an orange Pilsner. I’m pretty sure that’s not in the style book, but before we all book flights to Prague to cleanse our thoughts, let’s give it a try. It’s a 330ml bottle and is spot on for strength, coming in at 4.7%. It poured, perhaps with zero surprise, a pale, hazy orange colour with a 2-finger white head. Carbonation was reasonable, if not particularly strong. The aroma is heavily dominated by orange with just a subtle hint of light malt. It’s smooth on the palate with the taste coming across as a very fresh glass of orange juice. You wouldn’t think it was a Pilsner at all. But wait for it…The bitter hop-led citrus…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Kernel Citra Centennial IPA

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It’s breakfast time but before we can tuck into all that healthy muesli, we need to refresh the palate for the day. It may be happenchance or destiny that Kernel was picked out of the cupboard, but there’s been a lot of chatter about Kernel recently amongst the chattering beer classes. They’re withdrawing from the Bermondsey Beer Mile circus as they’re becoming swamped with amateur pissheads. Think Blackpool but picture wannabe hipsters and johhny-come-latelies. So what better way to remind ourselves of what all the fuss is about? It’s the standard Kernel minimal design bottle and comes in at 6.9%. Now Kernel more or less patented London Murky-another thing guaranteed to get the chattering beer classes chattering-so no surprise to find it poured a murky golden orange with a thin off-white head. But it wasn’t actually that murky; I was expecting a real stodge of a beer, but I’ve seen worse. Aroma was a straightforward blast of citrus: grapefruit, orange and a little tinned pineapple. Mo…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Mikkeller The American Dream

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Ah, hot summer days that just cry out for a cold lager. What do you mean, it’s Manchester and it’s wet and cold? Everyone knows it’s always sunny inside a Mancunian heart. Anyway, it’s lager time whatever the weather. But this is no ordinary lager-you won’t find me reviewing Stella here: drinking it at the bus shelter, yes but reviewing it, no-this is craft lager. Specifically a lager from those kings of craft, Mikkeller.   It’s a 330ml bottle and tips the scales at 4.6%. It poured golden-brown with a thin off-white head that quickly dissipated. The aroma was summery and pleasant. There were hints of apricots, breaded malt, lemon and grapefruit. The body was what you would expect, light/medium mouthfeel with the malt just lying comfortably in the background. And it was crisp like a good lager should be. So far, so normal. However, the grassy hop tones and lemon and citrus bite give the game away. These build to a clean, citru-led bitter aftertaste that refreshes the parts normal lagers…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Cloudwater IPA

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This morning’s aperitif comes from that new(ish) kid on the Manchester craft beer block: Cloudwater. Since their official launch in March they’ve been taking not only the local scene by storm, but causing a few national ripples as well. Now there’s a lot you could talk about with Cloudwater; their seasonal approach to beer or their label design, for example. But what has struck me is the quality of their product. I’ve tried more or less all of their output, through various styles that I’m more or less keen on, but the quality has been top-notch throughout. Something which I wish I could say about some other so-called ‘craft’ brewers. This is a 330ml bottle and comes in at 7.2%. Handily there’s lot of info on the back:
Yeast: US05 Malt: Best Ale, Clear Choice, Wheat Malt, Caramalt, Dark Crystal Hops: Green Bullet, Perle, Citra, Summit, Galaxy, Centennial
It poured a solid orange-some might say proper IPA colour-with about half a finger’s worth of off-white foam. It’s slightly hazy but the…