Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Camba Coffee Porter

Image
Dark mornings and dark evenings. Time to go to the dark side. Well here we are. You like coffee in the morning. You like beer in the morning-after all, who doesn't? So theoretically, this could be the perfect combination.
Yet again it's from those crafty German brewers, Camba. It's a 330ml bottle and weighs in at 5.4%. It poured jet black with a healthy-sized mocha coloured head. A very powerful aroma gave strong notes of coffee, dark chocolate, caramel and a slight smokiness.
Mouthfeel was quite light. You don't really get the full alcohol effect but rather a pleasant warming after the first mouthful or two. Perhaps surprisingly the coffee isn't as dominant as the aroma might suggest. Rather it's more like a filter coffee with chocolate sprinkled on top. Balance seems to be the key here.
Tyson says: Well-balanced, you get sweet notes offset by the bitterness of the hops. Not bad, if you go for this sort of thing.

Christmas Eve Breakfast Beer Tasting Camba Hop Gun

Image
Top Gun, eh? Now there was a film. 1986, Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis etc. Ah, happy days. Actually this beer has absolutely nothing to do with that film but looks worth drinking anyway. After all, it's Christmas Eve and you need to start the festivities somewhere.
It's from those crafty German lads again and of course comes in a 330ml bottle and is 6.4%. It poured chestnut in colour with good carbonation and a two-finger tan foam topping. The aroma was punchy: lots of cherry, figs, raisins along with caramel and some classic citrus notes.
The taste was also rich. Yes, some fruity bitterness and a bit of pine, but also a lot of sweetness. There's toffee and caramel and a slight biscuit twang along with a hint of pepper. It comes together but the hop notes are somewhat lost in the other flavours that end in a bitter-sweet finish.
Tyson says: A little disappointed with this, given the name and the promise of US hops. Too many characteristics of a red ale to really satisfy the …

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Camba Black Pearl Imperial Stout

Image
Christmas time, eh? Doesn't it make you think of Germany? No? Well that's my tenuous link to this morning's beer. Yes, it's those German lads again. Of course there are many British beers you can drink. And you could, of course, drink local beers. But then some world-famous blogger has already nabbed that market. Which leaves me on the continental road to ruin.
This is the standard 330ml bottle and, as befits an Imperial Stout, is a hefty 9.8%. It poured jet black-no light coming through this one-with a large tan coloured head. The aroma is a rich mix of dark chocolate, coffee, plums and a slight sweetness as the alcohol peeks through.
Medium bodied, it's well-balanced and rich in flavour. There's chocolate, liquorice, plenty of dark fruits and just a hint of smokiness at the back end. There's no hiding that this is a boozy little number but there is enough going on to distract the palate and keep you interested in having another swig.

Tyson says: Boozy but…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Camba Bavaria Ei Pi Ai

Image
Back to the foreign stuff today. What, I hear you say. The country is in free-fall, post-Brexit, with beer and cheese prices soaring and the pound not worth an Uzbek's arse-wipe. Now's the time to pull up those Union Jack braces and stop messing around with that foreign muck. Be that as it may, today we get to see what old Fritz can do.
The lads from Camba Bavaria knock out some very decent stuff and this comes highly recommended. It's a 330ml bottle and being an Imperial IPA comes in at 8%. The hop content: Centennial, Cascade, Chinook and Citra looks good and promises to deliver a mouth watering 62 IBUs.
It poured a hazy golden-orange with good carbonation and a reasonable one-finger frothy white head. The aroma was pungent and fruity. Lots of ripe oranges, grapefruit, lychee with a slight underlying floral/honey note. Plenty of flavour with this one; heavy citrus notes, pineapple, lemon, kind of like an unsweetened fruit salad really. Well balanced with very little trace…

Wroclaw Dwa

Image
Underneath a market hall might not seem the most likely place to find a decent watering hole, but in Wroclaw it is. Upstairs is a run-of-the-mill market, albeit with some impressive bulbous mushrooms. But downstairs is Targowa, a 12 tap little hideaway. Some very decent stuff on here again: New England Pale being good, as was the American Pale Ale. The Habanero Oatmeal Stout, however, was something of a one-trick gimmick that quickly outstayed its welcome.
On the other side of town is Browar Stu Mostow: the Brewery of a Hundred Bridges. The idea being that beer can bridge the gap between people, countries etc. I like that idea and Stu Mostow itself bridges the gap between the old neighbourhood it's in and its ultra-modern design. A large brewing setup downstairs is complemented by a surprisingly small bar area upstairs.
Now, being the sensible beerhound that I am, I suggested small measures as there were a few to try and it was going to be a long day. However, this was met by der…

Wroclaw

Image
Wroclaw is the largest city in Western Poland and probably one of the best places most people haven't heard of. The city itself is home to over 600,000 people and includes a very large student population. German, until the end of the Second World War, it was the centre of a prolonged and ferocious conflict known as the Battle of Breslau. Anyone interested in learning more about that should read Richard Hargreaves excellent book on the subject.
However, happily, today's Wroclaw is very much alive and thriving. Thriving with the craft beer bug, no less. Ha, I thought that would get your attention. Culture is all very well, if you like that sort of thing, but what CAMRA types like best is throwing copious amounts of alcohol down their glugholes. Wine, whisky, cider: it really doesn't matter too much. Ideally, though, of course it's beer. And that includes foreign muck as well. It may not be cricket and all that, but some of this Johnny Foreigner stuff isn't half bad.
W…

St Helens

Image
St Helens is a large town in Merseyside that is, dare we say, considered a little dull. Until recently its only real claim to beery fame was as the birthplace of Greenall Whitley. But that's all changed. Along with many other seemingly unlikely destinations, it has reinvented itself as a real ale trail. Now some people get to review Michelin starred restaurants whilst others get invited to judge fine wine. And then there are those who get to spend a rainy day in St Helens so that you, dear reader, don't have to.
The crawl is pretty straightforward; radiating from the station and round until you are back at the Central Station again. For brevity, I'll just concentrate on the ones that seem worth a comment, good or bad.
Handy for the station is the George which, unsurprisingly, is on George St. This two-roomed street corner boozer usually sells two local beers, although only one was on at opening time when we called. The very friendly barmaid was apologetic and pulled some be…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Crew Republic Drunken Sailor

Image
Hello Sunday. Hello beer. Yes, the two do go well together, don’t they? Like Abbott and Costello or Stephen Hawking and Jeremy Hunt. But enough of this frivolity. Down to the serious bit: sampling the goods. It’s our old German compadres once again; Crew Republic and this time it’s an IPA. Well what better day to worship the sacred hop than on a day of worship?
It’s a 0.33L bottle and tips the scale at 6.4%. The triple base malt consists of Pilsener, Munich and the dreaded Crystal. Hopefully not too much of that; a little goes a long way. Hop wise, we have Herkules, Citra, Cascade and Simcoe. Well on paper it certainly looks the part. It poured a quite hazy amber, almost mahogany, with a two finger off-white head and good carbonation.
The aroma was of the middleweight variety. Plenty of peach and apricot with a little pine and maybe pink grapefruit? There’s also a large sweet malt/biscuit punch there as well. It’s medium bodied with an initial taste dominated by the sweet malt and ligh…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: O'so Hop Whoopin

Image
Sleepy head get out of bed Big bad world is calling Step in your shoes and catch the news It's another morning
And we all know what another morning means. Yes, that’s right, another beer. It’s back across the pond today; all the way to the Badger State: Wisconsin. O’so Brewing are a new one on me, but although you don’t see much of them in the UK, they have been around for ten years. So plenty of time to build up a reputation.
S.M.A.S.H (Single Malt And Single Hop) beers are all the rage in some circles but this is a variation on that theme. It’s a Single Malt And Several Hops beer. As the name suggests, it’s a hop-driven (95 IBU) IPA. It’s a 12oz bottle and tips the scale at a fighting fit 7%.
It poured with reasonable carbonation and settled as a hazy, light golden, ale with a one-finger, frothy, off-white head. First impressions are that it’s lighter in colour than many other American IPAs.  The aroma was light with fresh notes of apricot, Seville oranges, lemon and a little bit of …

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Port Brewing Hop-15

Image
When you suspect it’s going to be one of THOSE days, you need to start the day off right. Liquid fortification and sustenance is called for. An Imperial IPA in a big bottle? Hell, yes. 330ml might be trendy but we all know that it’s for wimps.
So, Hop-15. The name says it all really. It’s brewed with 15 (doh!) different hops which are added every 15 minutes. It’s 22oz and weighs in at a not inconsiderable 10%. It ticks all the theoretical boxes but how does it perform in the only test that matters: the Tyson taste test?
It poured a hazy, bordering on the murky, amber. Possibly slighter darker than others of this ilk that I have imbibed. Carbonation was a bit weak and the one finger off-white head soon dissolved. The aroma was very promising: lots of pineapple, sweet orange, pine and a little earthiness.
That hint of citrus sweetness soon materialised in the first gulp but the second wave brought more solid flavours. There’s a lot going on here: Mango, mandarin, pineapple, yes but matche…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Crew Republic Foundation 11

Image
Sometimes you just need to start the day off right, don’t you? Coffee just won’t cut it. You need the buzz that only a good Pale Ale can bring. So rummaging underneath the bed brought forth this little delicacy. It’s from those little craft beer rascals in Munich. Apparently this is the beer that started them off on their beery journey. And having enjoyed their last offering, I was looking forward to trying this one.
It’s a 0.33L bottle and weighs in at 5.6%. Which puts it in the right ballpark for this style. The malt base is Pilsener, Munich and Crystal and the hops are Tradition, Mosaic, Citra and Cascade. IBU count is 40 which, again, puts it into solid Pale Ale country. It poured hazy amber with gentle carbonation and a quickly dissolving head.
The aroma was measured, not too punchy, but distinct nonetheless. There’s a bit of grapefruit and orange, definite lychee and a slight earthy grassiness. Possibly from the Tradition? The taste was more astringent than the aroma would sugges…