Archive for the ‘ale’ Category

Inedit - BOTTLEInedit Damm
Spanish flag - SMALL

Company info:
Brassee Par: C.C Damm
Barcelona, SPAIN

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.5

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $TBC AU

Label info: ‘Wheat and barley beer with spices’

What the label really means: Straight to the point.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Just like the previously reviewed Estrella Damm I love this label. A single gold star shines out from a matte black label. It’s simple and sophisticated, classy and elegant. As you would know, dear readers, I am generally against gold on beer labels but in this case, it’s just the right amount. It’s beautiful. Once again it ‘reeks of revolution. It reeks of liberation. It reeks of freedom. It also reeks of tradition, quality, and a beer not to be messed with. The label is tough, staunch, unblinking in the face of a pudgy, angry dictator with a penchant for tight trousers. It stares down authority and gives the finger to establishment.’ Who wouldn’t want to be seen holding this?

I give it a label rating of 8.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  Deliciously hoppy, floral aromas.

Taste: GLASS – Oh wow. This is one superbly crafted brew. All the elements are there for a smooth wheat beer with an undercurrent of citrus, but somehow it rises above this to pure brilliance in every drop. It’s clean, crisp and delicious. I am very impressed with this beer and finding it hard to stop drinking.Inedit - GLASS

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle, Inedit loses a good deal of that clean, refreshing mouth feel and becomes a little watery. Flavours are definitely diminished here, and while it still gives a fine glimpse into this heavenly brew it most certainly is better from the glass.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Drunken garlic prawns.

Best season to appreciate: Definitely a summer brew.

All-nighter beer? For sure! This is very easy to drink and it’s refreshing nature keeps you wanting more.

Other: This is my first review in a while and the reason for that is revealed over at my official Facebook page – come join me why don’t you? In the mean time I’ll get back to bringing weekly reviews your way.

NEXT WEEK: Pistonhead

Thomas Hardy Ale - BOTTLEThomas Hardy’s Ale
Great Britain Flag - SMALL

Company info:
O’Hanlon’s Brewing Co Ltd
Devon, ENGLAND

[www.ohanlons.co.uk]

Bottle size sampled: 250ml

Alcohol: 11.7%
Standard drinks: 2.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: Gifted

Label info:
‘In “The Trumpet-Major” Hardy wrote: “It was one of the most beautiful colour that the eye of an artist in beer could desire; full in body, yet brisk as a volcano; piquant, yet without a twang; luminous as an autumn sunset”‘.
AND
‘Britain’s strongest ale is a piece of brewing history.
Bottles of this rare, bottle conditioned classic have kept for at least 25 years, maturing in flavour like fine wine.
‘Bottle Conditioning’ is a secondary fermentation in the bottle during which Thomas Hardy’s Ale develops its uniquely rich and complex character. The process produces a sediment which is laid down over time as part of the natural fermentation process
Store upright in a cool, dark place, at about 13c.
If disturbed before serving, stand the bottle for 48 hours to allow settling. Open carefully and pour slowly to avoid agitating the sediment.’

What the label really means: I’ve always loved a good bottle conditioned brew and to think that this brew can enhance even after 25 years has my taste buds tingling with nervous energy. I’m also keen to check out that luminous autumn sunset.
48 hours is one hell of a wait if you should accidentally disturb this beer. I think I disturbed the bottle when I walked out in fishnets and suspenders, but I consumed immediately.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: There is so much going on with this bottle. The gold foil around the neck can’t be overlooked, nor can the gold medal hanging there attached by red string. The coffee-stained yellow label brings the final level of cool to this bottle. The label displays a profile shot of presumably ol Tom himself sporting a mighty fine moutang. The text is a bit old worldy, and the stand-out is the batch/vintage info that displays ‘No. T 19530’ on this bottle. It also reads that this is a 2008 Edition – so I am very keen to try this 6 year old brew. Over all, I appreciate the old, distinguished look and feel of this label that is very fitting.ThomasHardyAle_GLASS

I give it a label rating of 7.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  Rich, malt toffee aromas.

Taste: GLASS – Very rich, very toffee-like, this is big in caramelised brown sugar and molasses territory. And it’s a fun place to be – it’s like a finely matured, finely tuned port. Slightly nutty, this a brew designed for the slow sip. There’s very little carbonation here which makes this super smooth and easy to drink. It’s well crafted, complex and beautiful. A highly enjoyable drop.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – With a beer this good, it’s hard for it to drop too low below the line. Sure, drinking this classy brew  from the bottle seems a little cheap but the experience is only dulled ever so slightly. Those awesome toffee malt flavours continue to punch their way through with the sweetest of ease. This is a beer worth hunting for.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 8 out of 10.

Accompanying food: This makes an awesome dessert beer. I’d like to suggest a butterscotch pudding or similar.

Best season to appreciate: An awesome Winter brew. This is THE definitive fire side supping beer.

All-nighter beer? Due to the lack of carbonation, imma say yes this is definitely an all nighter. It’s just so damn easy to drink, and you could deceptively go all night.

NEXT WEEK: Granite Pils

Celt Golden Ale - BOTTLEGolden

Company info:
The Celt Experience Brewery

 Caerphilly, WALES

[celtexperience.com]

Bottle size sampled: 500ml

Alcohol: 4.2%
Standard drinks: 1.7

Cap type: Non-Twist

Cost: I picked this up for $5.99 AU

Label info: ‘A zesty body and citrus aroma with a snappy finish. Drink to inspire you to an evening of passion! Circa 500BC, during the Celtic Golden Age, most of mainland Europe was dominated by the spiritual tribes of Celtic origin.
AND
’46 IBUs – Golden Ale
Foodpartner: King Prawn Dhansak
Colour: 12 Colour Units
Hops: US, NZ, UK
Spirit Emotion: Loved’

What the label really means: Can’t complain with the detail and information presented here. 

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: As this label is almost identical to the previously reviewed Bleddyn 1075 I’ll simply copy my review here: ‘I really love the matte-black on this label. It’s classy, it’s non-finger print marking. Glance up to the neck and there is even a a plastic label covering the cap (which proved more difficult to remove than the standard paper neck labels) which is a fun inclusion. I like the font on the main label and especially the big lettering of Celt down the bottom’.

In the case of this brew, I am even content with the gold on the label. It seems appropriate.Celt Golden Ale - GLASS

I give it a label rating of 7 out of 10.

AROMA:  Predictably citrus smelling, grassy and touches of floral.

Taste: GLASS – Upfront poppy, citrussy, lager flavours present this brew as clean, crisp and refreshing. Then the brew slides back to reveal a strong, husky, back of mouth bitterness that elevates this beer into a plain of complex beauty and depth. Very enjoyable.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle, Golden is surprisingly very good. In fact the bitterness is now softened and the brew is presented with an even smooth upfront experience. This is one of those rare occasions where the bottle just slightly pips the glass at the post.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 8 out of 10.

Accompanying food: It’s quite a dry brew so I’d like to suggest something quite succulent. I believe game bird poultry would work well alongside this…quail, pheasant, or dove.

Best season to appreciate: A Summer brew through and through.

All-nighter beer? The more I drink of this, the dryer it becomes. So no, I couldn’t drink this all night.

Other: This week’s review is dedicated to the life of one of this world’s greatest comedians, Robin Williams. His unexpected passing this week has really hit me hard. He was a comedian, an actor, and a humanitarian that I long admired. With Robin’s passing, the world got a little colder, a little darker, a little sadder, and a little more hopeless. Vale Robin Williams. 

NEXT WEEK: TBC

Bridgeport IPA - BOTTLEBridgePort India Pale Ale
USA flag - SMALL

Company info:
BridgePort Brewery
Oregon, USA

[bridgeportbrew.com]

Bottle size sampled: 355ml

Alcohol: 5.5%
Standard drinks: 1.6

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $3.99 AU

Label info: ‘Floral and hoppy, delightfully complex, smooth and satisfying’

What the label really means: Nuff said

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I’m not too convinced of the effectiveness of this label. It looks as though it may have been designed in the 1980s and hasn’t moved from there. And I’m not talking cool Goonies-style 1980s, I’m talking Bobby McFerrin ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ 1980s. It’s like the back cover of a computer programming text book. There’s way too much green, and a horrible navy blue banner with gold print above it. The whole thing is like a horrible coffee shop menu. Time for a revamp Bridgeport.

I give it a label rating of 2 out of 10.

AROMA:  A gentle wave of floral and straw tones.Bridge Port IPA - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – This is a very mild take on an IPA. Sure, it’s incredibly smooth and refreshing with great after tastes. But it’s missing a real front of mouth smack to the kisser of bitterness and spiced hops that we’ve all come to expect from an IPA. It’s very drinkable and shouldn’t be dismissed too readily – allow it to serve as an introduction to the IPA kingdom. 

I give it a beer from glass rating of 6 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – The small upfront flavours detected in the glass tasting have now all but disappeared and the beer becomes a little more flavourless and watery. Stick to the glass. 

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 4 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Beef. A good hearty beefy dish. Or a cake. A beef cake. Like Emilio Estevez in ‘Young Guns’.

Best season to appreciate: A good winter session brew.

All-nighter beer? While many IPAs may feel too heavy to drink all night, this is so light on its feet that I think it would be an awesome all-nighter.

Other: Happy Oregon Craft Beer Month 2014

NEXT WEEK: TBC

Queen of the Night Pale Ale - BOTTLEQueen of the Night Pale Ale
Mexican flag

Company info:
Cerverceria Mexican
Tecate, MEXICO

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$4.50

Label info: ‘Day of the Dead Beer’
and
‘Cerveza De Los Muertos’

What the label really means: As a big fan of the film ‘Day of the Dead’ I am looking for a beer equivalent. Could this be the beer I am seeking from beyond the grave?

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The visual imagery on this bottle alone nearly bring this to label perfection. I don’t claim to be knowledgeable in the least of the intricately painted skull motifs prevalent for Mexico’s day of the dead celebrations, but I know I am always impressed by the intricate designs. On this label we are presented with the image of a woman standing tall and defiant, her black blue hair flowing behind her. She holds aloft what appears to be a recorder, the first beer label I have come across to display this instrument. Her face is intricately painted in a calavera/sugar skull design while loose pin-striping flies from her head. The label is mostly orange, and this is a little confusing as even the woman’s dress is orange and it all gets a bit lost. Then the font of ‘Queen of the Night’ is a bit small and not quite right… The neck label nearly redeems the entire bottle with a beautiful calavera design, replicated on the lid. A bit too much orange but over all one hell of a good label.

I give it a label rating of 7 out of 10.

AROMA: A beautiful caramel, chocolatey aroma drifts up.Queen of the Night Pale Ale - GLASS

Taste: GLASS: Smooth malt, caramel flavours. It’s more towards the amber ale side of the fence with some pervasive dark flavours flowing through. It’s good. It’s real good. Probably the best Mexican brew I’ve sampled in my limited experience of exported beers. The only real downer to this beer, that is letting it down a tad, is the after-taste that fizzles to water quite rapidly. I want it to linger like the smell of death in your curtains – it just doesn’t happen.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE: Damn fine! Suddenly Queen of the Night springs back to life, clawing its way out of 6-odd feet of dirt towards the skylight above. It gets way better, especially now that the after taste reveals itself like the stench of roadkill in your fender. Bitter caramels are here, and its what this brew was seeking all along. Very enjoyable.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: I need something salty to match this brew. I’m thinking a haloumi salad or a pulled pork and slaw wrap.

Best season to appreciate: I suggest this is a good cool weather brew.

All-nighter beer? Yes please – I’ll dance with the Queen all night long.

NEXT WEEK: Sly Fox

99 Not Out - BOTTLE99 Not Out

Brewery info:
The Moa Brewing Company
Marlborough, NEW ZEALAND

[www.moabeer.com]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 5%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $4.99 AU

Label info: ‘”99 Not Out SKW Pale Ale is a sessionable, new world style Pale Ale. Hopped with New Zealand Kohatu and Cascade hops, it displays spicy/earthy hop notes, a strong malt backbone and a nicely balanced bitterness (35 IBUs). The perfect beer for summer” – Josh Scott & Shane Warne‘.

What the label really means: I had hoped for a bit of an explanation on why Moa decided to use  the name ’99 Not Out’ and how Warnie became connected. But, it’s not to be.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: It’s a simple, classy design, predominantly green and white. ’99 Not Out’ is emblazoned across the label. And while it works as a corporate logo, I’m not sure it can hold its head up among other brews on the market that walk all over this. I would have liked to see a stronger link to its cricket origins with the inclusion of a simple cricket ball / bat / stumps image included. Instead it’s all a bit vague, and while Warnie’s autograph may be on one side of the bottle, it’s hard to know why he’s even involved with this.

I give it a label rating of 4.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  Strong citrus, lager-like aromas.99 Not Out - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – 99 Not Out sits on the palate with  robustly dry and bitter flavours that linger long after the brew has left your mouth. It’s surprisingly sharp to the taste, and not the smooth ale I had expected. It’s all a little too generic. All a little too beefed-up Crown Lager. All a little too tiresome.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 5.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle it’s actually a tad better with some deeper, darker notes flowing through. The edgy of the bitterness is cut back, and it’s not quite as dry. Still, this is not a beer to rave about. Drink this from the bottle.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: I feel like a good, saucy meatloaf would work well alongside this.

Best season to appreciate: The citrus notes do tend to lend this brew to it being more of a summer beer. However, the darker bitter notes make it more of a winter brew. Let’s split the difference and call this an Autumn brew.

All-nighter beer? Not for me sorry Warnie.

NEXT WEEK: TBC

Haymaker - BOTTLE Haymaker
Great Britain - flag

Company info:
Hook Norton Brewery
Oxfordshire, UNITED KINGDOM

[www.hooky.co.uk]

Bottle size sampled: 500 mL

Alcohol: 5.0%
Standard drinks: 2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$4.99

Label info: ‘Haymaker is a strong pale ale of distinctive taste, best served lightly chilled. Plenty of Goldings hops during brewing give it a certain something extra – like sunshine on the tongue. Why not try Haymaker with spicy food. Cheers’
AND
‘Back to Nature – At Hook Norton we do our very best to make sure that our brewing processes are as environmentally friendly as possible. First of all we go right back to nature, using our own spring-fed well to provide all the water we need to brew our beer. The grains that are a by-product of the brewing process are sent to local farmers to use as cattle feed. These ideas aren’t new to us – it’s the way we’ve always liked to do things’.

What the label really means: ‘Like sunshine on the tongue, I am itching to sink my teeth into this one’

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Here is a very unique water-colour inspired design of a horse attached to saddle and pulley system standing in front of a wagon loaded high with hay. In fact the hay is so high it’s a bloke’s height plus another half. One man stands with a rake, scratching the sides of the pile, while one man stands on top of the pile, rake in hand, wondering what in hell’s name he’s doing up there, and how he’ll get down. Off in the distance a large building stands as what I presume is the brewery – surrounded by luscious farming hills.
It’s a fun, calm label that sings of history, fresh clean country air, hard work and thirst. I really like this.Haymaker - GLASS

I give it a label rating of 7.5 out of 10.

AROMA: An enticingly floral, hoppy aroma. 

Taste: GLASS: Good strong caramelised malt flavours flow through this very easy to drink, smooth beer. There’s a nice bitter finish that tops this off and makes for a very enjoyable beer.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE: From the bottle, Haymaker becomes a little sharper, a little dryer, a loses a bit of that malt complexity. Stick to the glass for maximum flavour.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Turkey or chicken would suit this brew to a tee.

Best season to appreciate: The darker tones of this brew make this a genuine Winter warmer.

All-nighter beer? I feel this could become a little too heavy after a few.

NEXT WEEK: Moon Boy Golden Ale