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Archive for May, 2012

Coronado Brewing Co. – Idiot IPA.

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Brewery –          Hook Norton

Beer –                  Haymaker

ABV –                  5.0%

Origin –               Hook Norton, Oxfordshire

Style –                Golden Ale

Season –             Autumn

Another great brew from Hooky! This time a vibrant golden ale full of delight and wonder and a great name to boot.

Pours amber orange, bright and inviting with a clean white head.`

Hoppy on the nose like a golden ale should be, nose tingling and spicy.

Immediately the malty notes settle on the tongue, bready but sweet like a liquid brioche.

Then the bitterness pounces; an intense explosion on the sides of the tongue, tingling the taste buds. Bitter orange , oregano, and spices battle for dominance whilst that bitterness develops giving it a lengthy finish.

This s a good hoppy and bitter wholesome ale with great character and heaps of flavour.

Have a burp and taste it all again

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Brewery –           Hook Norton

Beer –                   Diamond Reserve

ABV –                  6.0%

Origin –              Hook Norton, Oxfordshire

Style –                Strong Ale

Season –            Autumn

First a bit of background on this brew. Hook Norton originally brewed ‘Old Bill’ to celebrate the Silver Jubilee in 1977., which was then re-named Old Hooky and has been a mainstay at the Brewery to this day. In celebration of the Diamond Jubilee Hook Norton have taken ‘Old Hooky’ re-fined, beefed it up, and unleashed this 6.0% stunner on the nation. Yes 6.0% is in reference to the 60 years our glorious Monarch has sat on the throne.

As you can tell there’s plenty of heritage in this ale and it certainly looks the part; Regal, Majestic, with a beautiful high cream crown atop. Ruby Red in appearance, thick and luxurious.

Chocolate notes welcome you, but there’s also a decent hoppy aroma which gives it a well-balanced yet robust nose.

The first mouthful hits you like a sledgehammer. Full bodied and robust, bursting with more  milk chocolate notes, festooned with ripe cherries, and a tart pluminess  giving sharpness to its otherwise silky creamy mouthfeel.

The sweetness develops on the tongue along with a warming alcohol flavour that clings to the mouth.

There is a slight bitterness on the finish but this just keeps the sweetness in check. 

This reminds me of Fullers ESB but the flavours are deeper and more pronounced.

A thoroughly British ale, made in the heart of the English countryside, full and flavoursome.

Perfect with strong meats such as Venison, Duck, or game, and a nice brandy to follow.  

 

 

 

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Brewery –          Brooklyn

Beer –                 Summer Ale

Alcohol –            5.0%

Origin –               New York, USA

Style –                 Lager Beer

Season –             Yes you’ve guessed it… Summer

With a mini heat wave looming, I thought it prudent to try out a Summer Ale. Something light but still tasty, refreshing, bright, zesty, not to strong, and perfectly balanced. Did this beer fit the bill? Yes my friends it did.

Lager like in its appearance but fortunately not carbonated to death like many lagers; Clear, smooth, with a crisp white head.

Not too much to talk about on the nose to be honest but when you’re thirsty you don’t spend much time sniffing!

With Summer ales, it’s all about the initial swig. Lightly bittered with subtle malty notes, the effect gives a very dry, crisp wine like mouthfeel, soft and understated but thoroughly refreshing.

The bottle claims a ‘bready’ flavour and in the finish I can’t help but agree. The bitterness develops through the finish and lingers on the tongue for a considerable time. 

This lager beer feels polished, well put together, and carefully thought out.  

 

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Brewery –           Coronado

Beer –                  Idiot IPA

Alcohol –             8.5%

Origin –              Coronado, California

Style –                American IPA

Season –           Spring

Apt name me thinks. Not for those who purchase this beverage but in reverence to the person who decided to hop the hell out of this ale. Whomever you are I salute you!

Okay let’s get the formalities out the way so we can get onto the elephant in the room.

One sexy looking beer. Golden Amber Orange, lively and vibrant with a white cloudy frothy overflowing head.

Citrusy and oddly spicy and tingly on the nose which I think is to do with the hops jumping out to grab your nose hairs.

Now let’s get down to business…

I have never tasted such a hoppy mother in all my life! It hits you like a headbutt, and I’ve got a 6 month old son so I know what a headbutt feels like!

Insanely bitter grapefruit tongue swelling flavours bombard the mouth with just a slither of sweetness keeping you from throwing in the towel.

It’s a mouth cleanser alright,; garlic gone, coffee cleared, onions ousted… a between courses palate neutraliser.

Its bitterness is so intense that it almost has a charcoal like finish; abrasive and crisp.

As you can imagine, Bitter would be the word to describe the finish, however there is a satisfying warming syrupy alcohol feeling that develops down the throat which helps contrast the crazy hoppy bitter madness!

Currently Hoppy the frogs most hoppy of ales!

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Brewery –          S.W.B

Beer –                  Cohort (Double Belgian Black Rye PA)

Alcohol –           7.5%

Origin –              Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

Style –                Black IPA

Season –           I haven’t a bloody clue

Another fashionable Black IPA, this time the Summer Wine brewery have their say with a Black Rye PA (yes, very clever).

Whilst other Black IPA’s are closer to their IPA routes, and tend to make me feel like they’re an off spin of the classics, this beer tastes more like a mix between a strong IPA and a traditional London Porter; A less subtle and more rip your face off type beer.

Pours blacker than black and don’t bother holding it up to the light, you won’t see through it! And the head is brown and clings to the glass like it’ll cling to your tonsils!

Surprisingly light and airy on the nose for such a dark ale, with the good floral, passionfruit late hop notes characteristic of a strong IPA.

Complex is a clear understatement when describing this ale. You’ve got your thick chocolate coffee flavours as a backbone, overlaid with citrusy, tropical fruit notes. The bitterness of an IPA but the thickness of a Porter.

It’s a bit off-putting and unusual to begin with as it assaults your taste buds but give it time and you will begin to understand and appreciate its individuality. Just don’t leave it too long as at 7.5% you may end up a bit worse for wear.

Not one for the traditionalists but I don’t think SWB will really care, as they’re all about pushing the boundaries, ‘tearing up the rule book’ as they put it.

A great example of just what can be done and a real pace setter when it comes to beer evolution. 

 

 

 

 

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Brewery –           Hardknott

Beer –                  Code Black

Alcohol –           5.8%

Origin –               Millom, Cumbria

Style –                 Black IPA

Season –            Autumn

Black IPA’s seem to be the fashion statement of 2012! Hardknott, Thornbridge, BlueBall, Moor, Stone, Rogue are all at it, but Hardknott recognise the fad aspect of it and flaunt it in their own hilariously honest way.

Pitch Black and Silky; this ale is sexy! and to top it off, a frothy, foamy, and clinging head.

Chocolatey and Hoppy at the same time, the nose is strong, complex, and enticing.

I think you can class this as Jaipur’s Dark Side! Peach Passionfruit flavours are contrasted by toasted bbq smokiness, making this ale exciting, unusual and distinct.

The finish is buttery with further toasted notes and has an underlying bitter-sweetness.

At 5.8% this ale is dangerously drinkable, exciting, intense, and packed full of flavour. I cannot recommend you try this enough.

 

 

 

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Brewery –           Southport

Beer –                  Cyclone

Alcohol –            3.8%

Origin –               Southport, England

Style –                  Brown Ale

Season –             Autumn

Picked up this lovely ale from the Bargain bin at Chester Beer & Wine as it was pretty much past its sell by date (not that it really matters). Thought I’d give it a go as it’s not my usual cup of tea, but at £1.50 for the bottle who can resist!

At 3.8% I wasn’t expecting such a flavoursome,  and complex ale. Not just decent for a lower ABV beer, I mean thoroughly decent all round!

This ale is dark amber brown in colour, with a slight appealing cloudiness and a clean white head.

This beer is named after a rollercoaster at Southport Pleasureland and to be fair it fits the bill as the flavours in this ale are up, down, and all over the place!

Beautifully sweet and malty on the nose, develops into a biscuity sweetness at first taste. Then the fun starts as the flavours mix, twist and turn in the mouth. Hints of lemon sweetness, and woodland blackcurrant contrast each other all held in place by a good hoppy backbone, and again more malty notes playing on the tongue.

There is a developing bitterness in the finish, with more hoppiness and hints of treacle giving it yet more sweetness.

Smooth, Sweet, Complex and all in all a really enjoyable ale.

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