About Me

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Manchester, United Kingdom
Tyson is a beer hound and cheese addict living in the beery metropolis paradise known as Manchester
If the people are buying tears, I'll be rich someday, Ma

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Brewdog Magic Rock Stone Dog

Well, well, well. This one certainly comes with some pedigree and being Brewdog it isn’t backward in coming forward. Yes, it arrives with hyperbole not seen since, erm, probably the last Brewdog beer.
They say: “A hoppy ménage a trios of epic proportions, Magic Stone Dog is a rustic farmhouse pale ale mash up. Brewed in collaboration with Greg Koch (Stone) and Rich and Stu (Magic Rock) just before our AGM, Magic Stone Dog has the best qualities of a saison and a pale ale, combined. The nose has a citrus punch straight from the US West Coast, boasting zest, pineapple and orange notes, offset against a big spicy clove warmth courtesy of the saison yeast.
This continues into the flavour, where the best of both worlds combine - orange, spice, a touch of lemony tartness - and sit alongside a thirst- quenching dryness and refreshing effervescence. This bright, zesty, subtly tart, Belgian-inspired brew is the perfect beer to enjoy during the Indian summer we all know is definitely coming. Definitely. For sure.
Malts: Extra Pale Amber Wheat Rye Oats
Hops: Amarillo Simcoe
Twist: Mash up style with both saison and pale ale character.”

But is it more of a dog’s dinner than a magic dog? Or is there still life in the old pups yet? I say enough with the canine puns and onto the business at hand.

It’s a 330ml bottle and is 5%. It poured a very light hazy golden-orange with plenty of carbonation and a one-finger white head. The aroma gives the game away immediately. It’s got saison written all over it. Definitely funky with powerful notes of herbs and spiced yeast. Taste wise; it was very refreshing. It’s light on the palate with more of the initial funkiness kicking in with the expected bread and malt characteristics. However, the hops are cleverly deployed not to overwhelm and transform it into a hop bomb, but rather to add another layer to it. It has underlying citrus notes that build to a pleasingly dry, lemon-zest finish.

Tyson says: Was there any doubt, taking into account the brewers involved with this collaboration? Not from me, there wasn’t. And they have certainly delivered a top-drawer beer that is indeed perfect for these Indian summer days. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Donnington Double Donn

Due to a special request, yes really, this morning’s foray into the bottled wonders of the beer world is another Donnington Brewery effort. This one presents itself as more traditional than its Gold stablemate and is made with Styrian Goldings and Fuggles. It’s dedicated to Claude Arkell, the owner of Donnington, who died in 2007.
It’s a 500ml bottle and comes in at 4.4%. It poured a traditional copper-hued with good carbonation and a weak tan head that quickly dissolved. The aroma is nutty with sweet malt and, surprisingly, a touch of orange rind. It’s medium-bodied with plenty of caramel and toffee notes and a slight earthiness. The cereal malt undertone is balanced by a bitter-sweet, slightly citrus fruit finish.

Tyson says: It’s hard to get too excited about this beer and it's not one I’d choose to slug all night down the Dog & Duck. However, it’s a solid effort from the days of pre-craft and if the aim was to produce a beer that a traditionalist such as Claude Arkell would like; then in that respect they’ve succeeded. 

Monday, 7 September 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Donnington Gold

Donnington Brewery is a very traditional family run brewery based in rather idyllic surroundings in Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham. Brewing started in 1865 and they still use the same spring for water and even the original waterwheel is still in use. For many years only two beers were brewed regularly but, like many traditional outfits, in recent times they have gradually expanded their portfolio. Donnington Gold is now part of their core range.

Traditional brewing means traditional bottling, so no namby-pamby 330ml bottles here. It’s a solid 500ml and comes in at 4%. It’s a golden ale and, unlike some so-called golden ales, it actually did pour golden. Carbonation was good but the off-white head quickly dissolved to leave just a small covering film

The aroma was quite subtle with some biscuit malt and a slight sweet orange note. At first the beer seemed a little on the thin side but the flavour did come through on the second gulp. There’s a definite digestive buzz to it but some citrus there as well: a little orange and lemon that gently refreshes the palate. The finish is pleasantly dry but not too bitter as to alarm the unwary drinker.

Tyson says: Let’s be clear; this beer is unlikely to see the inside of a Hoxton hipster’s jam jar. However, it’s actually better than it first might appear. Well balanced in this case does not translate as ‘dull’. Rather it’s a quite pleasant, easy-drinking Best Bitter with just enough of an edge to justify itself. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Brewdog Electric India

It’s definitely away from the basics today with a little number from the people that are now referred to as “the Scottish brewery”. A bit like Hamlet, you’re not supposed to say their name now. No, I don’t know why, either. Those crazy craft kids, eh?

Official description: “One day. One brewery. Seven thousand co-creators. Two hundred brewers. The result? Electric India. This beer is the bastard love child of the craft beer revolution. An unholy union between a Belgian Saison and an India Pale Ale; democratically brewed by our very own Equity for Punks shareholders. Electric India is a hoppy saison brewed with fresh orange peel, lashings of heather honey, crushed black pepper corns and enthusiastically hopped with mountains of amarillo and nelson sauvin. A beer for the people, by the people direct from the craft beer republic of BrewDog.”

It’s the usual 330ml bottle and comes in at 6.5%. It poured a bright golden-orange with good carbonation and a one-finger off-white head. Looks good, it has to be said. It also smells good. The pungent aroma is definitely funky. It screams Belgian Saison at you but you get those citrus hop notes and, yes, a little black pepper.
The taste is more of the same. It’s easy on the palate and does a belting job of hiding its strength. It’s a bold, complex beer with the Saison element most definitely to the fore. Before that dies off, the wave of orange, gooseberry and lemon hops comes washing over you; building to a citrus fruit, medium-bitter finish.

Tyson says: For once, this does live up to the hype. It delivers just what it promises; a classic Saison with a great hop kick. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Church Farm Harry's Heifer

It’s back to basics today with a good old-fashioned English Bitter. Or is it? It’s called Heifer which would imply that’s it’s a Hefeweizen style of beer…But it’s actually described as a “Quaffable session ale with a hoppy aroma. Brewed with a blend of Marris Otter, Vienna and Crystal malts, with Centennial and Cascade hops”. So a hoppy take on Best Bitter, perhaps?
It’s a 500ml bottle and poured pale amber with good carbonation but the merest of heads. I wouldn’t describe the aroma as hoppy. Malty, yes, with a little cereal grain and a slight floral undertone. The taste was smooth enough: definitely floral with a slight citrus edge but mainly dominated by a malt sweetness that builds on the palate and lasts into the aftertaste.

Tyson says: Pleasant enough, if too a little on the sweet side for my palate. The puzzlement is where did all those hops go?