Tag Archive: 5-8% ABV


Spaten: Oktobetfestbier (Germany: Oktoberfest Marzen: 5.9% ABV)

Visual: Clear pale yellow. Some small bubbled carbonation mid body and a surprisingly small white bubbled head.

Nose: Slightly gritty hop bitterness. Quite clean overall. Palma violets. Cake sponge.

Body: Vanilla. Toffee and caramel. Slight oily character and good bitterness. Cake sponge. Very light greenery. Touch of sweet raspberry.

Finish: Palma violets. Green grapes. Hop oils. Good bitterness. Slight fluffy hop character. Sweet raspberry yogurt chunks.

Conclusion: You know, while I wouldn’t say I have given Oktobetfest beers grief here on this site, I would say I have underappreciated them in my writing.

Some of that comes from the fact that I have not always been drinking and doing notes on the best examples of the style. Some of it comes from the notes that I did in my earlier days where I had less appreciation for the finer points of the varied lager styles.

Anyway, I am enjoying this. The body uses a surprisingly thick mouthfeel, with good but not excessive bitterness, a reasonable oiliness and a range of sweeter and fruitier notes that are quite unexpected.

The sweetness here was a lot more than I expected, slightly toffee and caramel in way that gives a slight extra weight of flavour to match the extra mouthfeel. This then seeps out into a fruity and sweet raspberry yogurt chunks that gives a bright end to the beer. I both really like this, and can’t have too much of it. The thickness makes it a comparatively heavy and slow drinking beer.

Though with that said it thankfully never gets too sweet. The bitterness and oily character, while not heavy, does the job just enough to balance it flavour wise. So the flavour is good, but it can’t hide the impressive weight that makes it slow drinking despite the not too huge abv.

It’s a nice range of flavour and experiences, with the bitterness and hop character always bubbling along underneath even when the sweeter notes are ascendant. This is not a favourite beer, but probably my best experience with an Oktoberfest so far, and still pretty darn good with that.

Background: I think this is my first encounter with Spaten. It is, at the very least my first set of notes from them. With that out of the way Oktoberfest is here! Ok, technically it is not, Oktoberfest is cancelled due to covid, which makes sense, but the time for Oktoberfest beers is here! Which is predominantly in September despite what you would think from the name. Spaten is one of the official six of Oktoberfest – the others being Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau and Paulaner. Of which Hofbrau is the only one I have done notes on. I really should pay more attention to beers from such a big event. Anyway, to try and set things right I grabbed this from Independent Spirit. I don’t have much German music so went with Bad Religion: The Gray Race as backing music for this as it has a German language version of Punk Rock Song on it. Yes it is a loose tie, sue me. I really should have at least one Rammstein album I could use for such things. I’ll add that to my to do list.

Trillium: Fated Farmer Blackcurrant (USA: Fruit Sour Beer: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Very dark black-cherry red. Thin purple hued rim of a head.

Nose: Wet oak. Blackcurrant. Tannins. Sour red wine to Pinot Noir. Cake sponge. Walnuts.

Body: Dry. Dry white wine. Sour blueberry. Sour cherry fizzy sweets. Acidic apple and acidic at back of the throat. Vinegar touch. Sour black cherry. Dry mead touch.

Finish: Sour cherry fizzy sweets. Blueberry sherbet. Sour cider. Slight vinegar. Blackcurrant. Pinot noir. Sour black-cherry.

Conclusion: Ok, some sours suit chilling way down brilliantly. Not this one. You can chill it down a bit, but any more than that, as I did, and the mid body loses pretty much anything but acidity and vinegar touches. So, give this just a lick of warmth, ok?

Though, that said, chilling never seems to hurt the aroma. Even fairly heavily cooled down this boomed dark fruit, red wine and oak. Very full bodied, very sour, but not so much it loses that fruit that really reminds me of a New Zealand style Pinot Noir.

As previously mentioned the body is very harsh when overly cold, oddly dry white wine like more than any other flavours, which is very unexpected for something this dark fruit led. As it warms though it brings a lot of sour fizzy dark fruit sweets and blueberry mixed with black-cherry notes. Oddly there are very few blackcurrant like elements – it seems the beer saves those for the finish. Even like this, slightly warmer than before the body is probably the weakest element, with an acidic apple to light vinegar character that seems to push the fruitier elements way.

As the main acidity seeps away in the finish then the blackcurrant really comes out. It is still sour, just now sour in a blackcurrant style. It really hangs in the air, very obvious, very long lasting and still fairly darn sour.

The sour beer aspect of this beer feels unpolished, but the fruit seems to hold up well. It doesn’t have the huge, almost shimmer holographic range of flavours I associate with some sours, but it still has good depth beyond the blackcurrant. It sits very solidly in the range of notes you would expect from a New Zealand style Pinot Noir, with some sour black cherry fizzy sweets and blueberry thrown in there as well.

So, between those two poles, this is a reasonable beer. At its best when showing that Pinot Noir like style matched to the sourness, at its worst when it is mostly acidic and vinegar styled.

Not a must have but uses a fruit not often seen in wild beers, and shows off the fruit well, even if it doesn’t do it consistently. I dig it at its best, I just wish it was more consistent.

Background: Independent Spirit has had a couple of batches of Trillium in, first up a huge amount of their New England IPAs, then a bunch of their fruited sours. I kept meaning to do notes on one of them as Trillium has a fairly huge rep, but they are also kind of expensive, so I put it off. Until now! This one, as you may expect is a sour ale made with Blackcurrants. Shocking I know. The only date I can see on the bottle is 02 May 19, which I presume is the bottling date. So about two years old, which would be worrying if this was an IPA, but for sours like this it should be fine. Fruit does wane over time, but with fruited lambics coming out with a few years under their belt, I’m guessing this will be fine. Not much to add – I went with Jello Biafra: Tea Part Revenge Porn for background music (No I am not typing out the bands whole name, even though me saying I’m not typing it probably took me longer). I’m a big Dead Kennedys fan but have never checked out his solo work. Pretty good so far, a lot of that old school DK energy still there.

Turning Point: Milk Foley (England: Flavoured Pale Ale: 6.3% ABV)

Visual: Slightly cloudy apricot skin coloured body, that has some red hues from certain angles. Very large white, mounded head. Moderate amount of small bubbled carbonation to the body.

Nose: Strawberry. Light peppermint. Flour on white baps. Vanilla yogurt. Orange skin. Slight hop prickle but low bitterness. Light menthol.

Body: Strawberries. Cream. Crushed dry hops. Prickly. Slight charring. Nettles. Slightly dry. Gunpowder tea.

Finish: Dry bitterness. Slight charring to black pepper. Greenery. Gunpowder tea.

Conclusion: Have I done notes on a milkshake IPA before? Surely I must have? These things were huge and popular for a whole minute or so a while back, so I must have done notes on at least one, as much as I generally avoid them. Ok this is technically described as a pale ale rather than an IPA, but with the abv and the ingredients, it is the same darn thing.

So, if I am not a fan, why am I doing these notes? Well I am a huge Mick Foley fan so was dragged in by a bunch of references to him here, and so we have this aaaaand … eh, milkshake IPAs are still fairly shit.

The aroma is pleasant. Strawberry there in an artificial creamy way, slight menthol, and a touch of hops, but for the most part just that strawberry. Ok, it is doing the job so far.

When you start drinking the beer you get that slightly artificial strawberry again, but now against a kind of acrid basic bitterness and a charred hop character. It feels like dried crushed hops were dropped into it just before you started sipping, so you get a rough feel even though there is no sediment visible. Maybe this is what people come to milkshake pales for, but for me it just feels unfortunate artificial meets ill expressed hops.

The hops really don’t add anything useful here, just kind of greenery notes along with the acrid touch and bitterness. It doesn’t feel like it is adding anything positive you would see in a pale ale – either by itself or as a compliment for the artificial tasting strawberry and lactose

Maybe milkshake IPAs/pales are just not for me, so I may not be the best to judge this but the strawberry notes are basic, but ok – the hops feel harsh and don’t enhance the experience. No subtle hop flavours rounding it out, just bitter harsh notes with no class.

Definitely not for me.

Background: Confession time, I got this mainly because it is laden in Mick Foley references, and as a huge fan of that Hardcore Legend I was tempted to give it a try. From the pun name, to the fact the can is coloured like the flannel jacket he used to wear, to a reference to “All Mankind” in the text (one of his wrestling personas being Mankind), and the name of Cactus Jack, another persona of his, written on the base of the can, they wanted to make sure you got that it was not an accident – this is a Mick Foley homage beer. I’d tried this a while back and wasn’t too impressed due to the intrusive more harsh bitter notes, but saw it on sale in Sainsbury‘s for a large discount so thought I would give it another go. This was canned end March, so I thought maybe that would have given it some time to mellow. It is listed as a strawberry and cream pale ale and is made with lactose, oats, wheat, strawberry and vanilla. Apparently this was first brewed in collaboration with BrewYork but they aren’t mentioned on the can so I presume this is now solo brewed. After my listening to Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes more recent albums to match recent beers I went back to their first album “Blossom” for this one. Such a massive relentless album. I still love it.

Other Half: Showers DDH Mosaic (USA: IPA: 7.4% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy apricot juice colour. Massive loose white bubbled head. No evident carbonation.

Nose: Gritty bitter hops. Marmalade and orange shreds. Fresh dough. Light greenery and herbal notes. Slight sulphur. Cake sponge. Flour. Apricot.

Body: Egg yolk texture. Tangerine and blood orange. Milky. Eggplants. Nettles like bitterness. Apricot skins. Peach. Hop oils.

Finish: Bitter hop oils. Bitter Seville orange. Marmalade. Melon. Gritty, prickly hops. Slight charring. Egg plants. Nettles. Gunpowder tea.

Conclusion: This is the tie breaker! So far I have had one Other Half IPA that was kind of meh (Which is the one I did notes on) and one I really enjoyed (The Nelson Suavin hopped Triple IPA – Which, of course, ended up being the one I did not do notes on), So with the score at one all, I decided to grab one more Other Half IPA to see which way it fell on the quality scale. Just the one more though, these things are darn expensive in the UK, so one more is all I can justify splashing out on.

This started out well. Hmm, ok correction, after not getting much from the aroma initially – maybe due to the fecking massive frothy head getting in the way – After that, THEN it started well.

The texture is that odd, thick character that seems to be Other Half’s trademark. A thick, egg yolk feeling thing which seems to come across as either positive or negative depending on the quality of the beer strapped on top of it.

So, what does this do with that texture? Well generally orange to marmalade notes, delivered in varied ways from sweeter marmalade to more bitter orange notes. Not unexpected, that is pretty much what I expect from mosaic hops, though here it does have some edge peach and apricot like notes which were nice.

Early on it has some bitterness and hop character that didn’t mesh too well. As time goes on that element fades, which is a mixed blessing. It reduces the rough edges, but also it removes the hop character which is what I come to IPAs for. Ah well, I guess not all IPAs are aimed at my preferences and that is fine.

FINE!

There is still a nice hop oil character under there, as well as some matching bitterness, but the bitterness is not clearly defined – a kind of general, muggy bitterness for lack of a better term.

As a tie breaker beer this is not meh, but not great. It really rocks the marmalade orange and apricot notes a clear and sometimes bitter way. Very good hop use in that side of things. The eggy, thick texture is ok, so works, but the more general hop prickle and bitter hop character is ill defined and occasionally harsh here.

So if fails to break the tie as it is half way between the other two. Ok, but not great or bad. Fuck. So, not bad but not worth the high UK cost. Lovely expression of the mosaic flavours but the backing beer doesn’t quite pull it off.

Background: Other Half really have to work on making their beer naming clearer. I thought this was just called Showers but nope, there are many beers called Showers, this is Showers Mosaic Double Dry Hopped. That last bit isn’t just a description it is a name indicating this is a different beer to other Showers. Making a name clear and easy to work out was obviously not on the table here. Anyway as indicated in the main notes I have had mixed encounters with Other Half, some matching their apparently huge rep, others less so. So I grabbed this one, going for the mosaic hop as it is one I have grown a huge fondness for. I mentioned when I first grabbed an Other Half beer that it was fairly darn fresh, even now this is canned on 13/05/2021 so at time of drinking was only three months old – pretty good for getting over from the USA. As before this was grabbed from Independent Spirit. I went with Caracas: Surgical Steel as backing music, been on a general metal music kick recently which is the whole of the reason.

Urban South Htx: Triple Spilled: Strawberry, Banana, Vanilla, Cheesecake (USA: Fruit Sour: 6% ABV)

Visual: Pink, cloudy strawberry milkshake look and colour. Utterly opaque. Even the head looks like loose, large bubbled milkshake head that leaves pink sediment clinging to the side of the glass.

Nose: Strawberry milkshake. Tart grapes. Vanilla toffee. Cheesecake. Banana milkshake. Creamy.

Body: Thick and creamy. Tart white grapes. Banana milkshake. Slight acidity at back of the throat. New York style cheesecake. Tart kiwi. Syrupy feel under the milkshake mouthfeel.

Finish: Strawberry milkshake. Green grapes. Banana milkshake. Cheesecake. Kiwi. Apples. Vanilla and vanilla toffee. Toffee cheesecake. Sour apple sweets. Sour cherry sweets.

Conclusion: Ok, this legitimately should not fucking work. For one thing it looks exactly like a milkshake.

I poured it, it came out looking like a milkshake, pour and all, even down to the large bubbled head that leaves sediment on the glasses’ edge. Everything looked like a milkshake.

This is a milkshake.

Or is it?

Well, let’s look at the flavours. Flavour-wise you can tell pretty much what you are going to get just by looking at the words on the can – banana (in a milkshake style), strawberry (also in a milkshake style), tons of vanilla (Oddly, not in a milkshake style, a much more pure vanilla to vanilla toffee style). There are very clear cheesecake notes (in a cheesecake style, New York cheesecake style). They aren’t lying to you at any point here, and it is stupidly creamy and edges close to painfully sweet.

Now, this is when things get weird. In the aroma there are notes of tart grapes. Not unexpected, this is a fruited sour, for all the extra ingredients and grapes aren’t unheard of in milkshakes. So unusual but not shocking. However then you start sipping things start going off the rails. Up front it is all creamy milkshake, then, nestled at the core is a syrupy feeling, slightly sour, acidic hit at the back of the throat, green fruit filled sour beer. Which sticks around long enough to confuse the hell out of you then sink back into the creaminess.

The sour side is much thicker than your usual, drier sour beer style, packed with a very syrupy feel, but still, yep there is an actual sour beer nestled away, like a bear hidden in a cave. HOW?

I mean I presume bears hide in caves. I may not have researched that one. If they don’t, then substitute a cave hiding animal.

Also, how do you have a sour milkshake and it doesn’t just like curdled milk that has gone off? HOW?

So, is it any good? Fuck knows what good even means here. I’m having a laugh, I can say that, but this possibly the least beery beer I have had for a long time. Half milkshake, half sour beer to sour liqueur, thing.

There is no way I would drink this regularly. It is too sweet for anything short of a dessert drink, too alcoholic for a milkshake replacement, not refreshing in the slightest.

And yet…

Feck it, this is such a laugh. Somehow leans heavily towards the fruit and dessert milkshake style while still having successful sour edges. Admittedly a lot of those sour edges are like sour chewy sweets, but still.

If the intrinsic idea of it doesn’t put you off, I would say sure, give it a go, have a laugh. Have an oddity of a sugar shock sweet yet sour milkshake beer. You are probably only going to ever want to try it as a one off, a bit of fun. Just don’t expect subtlety or traditional beer character and you will probably get along with it just fine.

Background: Ok, the can lists this as Strawberry, Banana, Vanilla, Cheesecake – but I have seen a few places online refers to it as Strawberry, Banana, Vanilla Cheesecake which kind of makes sense as well. I don’t know how cheesecake even comes into this. From their website Triple Spilled refers to three times as much fruit as normal, and I’m fairly sure cheesecake isn’t a fruit. At a guess they use banana, strawberry and vanilla pods to make this, to give a cheesecake like taste, but for all I know they blended up cheesecake and dumped it in. The craft beer scene does shit like that. Also unsure of the abv as I cannot see it on the can. Beer Bruvs, where I bought it, list it as 6%, the Urban South web site lists the Triple Spilled beers as between 6 and 6.5% abv, so sure something like that. Couldn’t see a canned date for this one, so cannot say how it fits in the freshness scale – but everything else in their recent batch has been fairly darn fresh. Though it did result in this can, like all the cans of this buying batch, being very excitable when opened, but not so much that I lost any before pouring. I just needed to be quick on my feet. Went with Noctule: Wretched Abyss as backing music, just because. Hey this beer makes no sense, why should my music choice?

Neptune: Lost and Grounded: Lost at Sea (England: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Darkened, slightly cloudy caramel brown. Massive loose bubbled caramel touched head.

Nose: Malt toffee and chocolate. Chocolate lime sweets. Lightly bready. Cake sponge.

Body: Good bitterness. Tart grapefruit touch. Dry pineapple. Charred bitter notes. Greenery. Ovaltine. Dry chocolate orange. Sulphurous and sour dough.

Finish: Grapefruit. Charred bitterness. Pine needles. Vanilla. Malt chocolate to ovaltine. Gunpowder tea. Orange juice hints. Chocolate orange. High hop bitterness.

Conclusion: Ok, this is, at the very least, slightly atypical for a a West Coast style IPA, but in a way I appreciate. Most west style IPAs I encounter are light and bright on the eye, with the malt out of the way, concentrating on a dry body and bitter hop character.

Now this is fairly dry and bitter hop forwards (Which makes me very happy) , but the malt, while not sweet or fully east coat, does show darker ovaltine to malt chocolate and toffee notes. Still dry, but more present that expected. What makes this work is that it seems to give a lot more grip for the tarter hop flavours to work from. On the lighter end you get clean grapefruit and orange, at the low end it mixed with the malt to give slightly sweeter but still dry choc orange and choc lime notes.

It is kind of a drier take on an East Coast malt in feel, if that makes sense, but apart from that has a distinct West Coast attitude, and has a lot of room for hop expression in bitterness, feel and flavours. You may notice I kind of skipped over the aroma here, it isn’t bad, just not showing that much compared to the rest of the beer. A hint of what may be in there, but definitely doesn’t properly represent the weight of flavour you get in the rest of the beer.

I have the feeling I won’t always be up for this particular take on the style, sometimes I will just want a clean West Coast IPA, but it is still a delicious take and I approve – and right now it works fine for me.

Not traditional, not one to always go to, but definitely a great beer that is at least ¾ of its claimed West Coast influence in its final style.

Very nice.

Background: Neptune is a new brewery on me, but Lost and Grounded is a familiar friend over at Bristol. This was one of many West Coast IPAs that came in to Independent Spirit recently. As a west coast fan I was overjoyed. So overjoyed I tried most without remembering to do notes on them. I remembered to do notes on this one. Yay! This lists Citra, Simcoe, Bravo and Columbus as the hops used. I don’t know much about Bravo but the rest are very good go tos for a nicely bitter IPA so I was hopeful. Went back to Garbage: Not Your Kind Of People for backing music, I only picked it up recently but it is already firmly a big hit with me.

Boon: Oude Geuze (Belgium: Geuze Lambic: 7% ABV)

Visual: Pale, clear, just slightly darkened yellow. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Large white bubbled head.

Nose: Muesli. Dry. Dry white wine. Fresh cut apples. Slight oats and horse blankets. Slightly nutty. Dried and salted lemons.

Body: Apples. Dried lemon. Tart grapes. Gunpowder tea. Peppery. Oak. Tart orange. Pink grapefruit.

Finish: White wine and gunpowder tea. Oak. White pepper. Pink grapefruit.

Conclusion: Every time I think I have a handle on lambics, especially geuzes, I find out that there is more to them than I ever expected.

It opens as expected – white wine notes, muesli, horse blankets in the aroma. If you have had a geuze lambic before there is a good chance you know the general idea. So, on the aroma, this is pretty much that.

The body also has those elements but also extends a way beyond that and what I expected. The kind of charred character you see in a lot of lambics comes across here as more intense gunpowder tea like notes. It feels slightly acrid, but not unpleasant (Yes I know acrid is unpleasant by definition, it is a kind of taste I would normally call acrid, but somehow works here. Let me have this one please). Similarly the tartness have grapes, lemon and apple, none of which are unexpected, but also develops into a very pink grapefruit style, the delicious tartness of which I think is what makes the harsher notes not unpleasant. If I had to sum it up I would say the whole thing feels more “robust” than you average lambic.

While not my favourite lambic – those gunpowder tea to white pepper bits are a tad harsh for me – it is still a heck of an experience. Still a dry, wine like beer, but weigher than the dry white wine notes would otherwise suggest. The tartness and acidity hits the back of the throat with some impact.

So, the weightier lambic, and I think it is not too much of a guess to say that a lot of this can be attributed to the 7% abv which gives it a different character from the more common 5% and below lambics you tend to see. I mean, there are probably many other influences, but that is one that is immediately obvious up front.

Not a favourite, but I do respect it, and I am interested to see what ageing does to this. So, a complicated one, but hopefully I’ve given you enough information for you to know if this is the lambic for you.

Background: We have lambics in supermarkets now, this is not the world I expected when I was younger. I approve. Ok, it is Waitrose which is the posh as shit supermarket but still. Anyway, so as you may have guessed I grabbed this from Waitrose. One for drinking now and one for ageing. Boon have generally been a good one for me, balancing ease of drinking with complexity, without becoming too harsh or crowd pleasing simplistic. So happy that I can get their beers easier now. I’ve been picking up a lot of Bloodywood singles recently so lined them on repeat as background music. Hope they get an album out some time as I love their Indian street metal style and great emotional openness.

Other Half: Ain’t Nothing Nice – Double Dry Hopped (USA: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon juice body. Large, loose white bubbled head that mounds.

Nose: Lemon curd to lemon meringue. Cream. Clean. Apricot. Zero bitterness. Fried eggs. Thickens as it warms.

Body: Peach. Milky. Hop oils. Slightly resinous. Egg whites. Some bitterness. Slightly gritty. Strawberry hints. Thick. Orange juice.

Finish: Moderate bitterness and hop feel. Passion-fruit. Oily. Kumquat. Orange juice hints.

Conclusion: Ok, so I am surprised a bit by this. Since it is cloudy on the eye, I was initially guessing this as NEIPA with all that goes with that. Ah well, NEIPAs are far from my favourite IPA style but I can live with it.

The aroma confirmed what I was expecting, that being absolutely no bitterness, but quite fruity and creamy. Generally light and gentle. Well done for what it is, but still not my kind of IPA.

The body is thick and surprisingly it is also slightly oily and resinous which I would not have expected from the aroma. It is not hugely bitter, but still more than I expected up to this point. The finish then gives an actual decent amount of bitterness in yet anther twist.

Overall the feel is thick and slightly oily, which can become an egg yolk like thick and slimy character sometimes, if that makes sense? It also shows that slightly vegetable bitterness of simcoe very nicely -its always been odd that works, but it does and continues to do so here.

The other hops used here seem to show their influence more subtly, with orange hints and passion fruit touches. The general milkiness of the beer seems to make defining the actual flavours more difficult than they would normally be.

It is well brewed, just well brewed in an IPA style that I am not a huge fan of. The thicker feel seems odd to me here, but even with that I can’t deny an intrigued pleasure at the bitter, yet milky and eggy thick feel.

Very odd, too thick fried egg yolk feel for me to get on board with, but well made for what it is.

Background: Apparently Other Half are a super hype brewery. My finger must no longer be on the pulse of the craft beer community. I’ve run into them once as a collaborator on a Beavertown beer, and that is it. I am old. I have lost it. Anyway…

This turned up as part of a large batch of Other Half in Independent Spirit, so I grabbed it and a Nelson Sauvin hopped IIPA from them (Which was pretty darn nice). I’m not often one for listening canned dates, but since this is a USA IPA, and I recently did so with some from an online supplier, it seems only fair. This one I grabbed about two weeks back and was canned 29/04/2021 and the Nelson Sauvin one was fresher, so pretty nice – about as fast as you can expect to come across from USA without super special measures. Of course Independent Spirit have the advantage that I visit them regularly so can grab stuff as it comes in. Anyway, this is hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic and Simcoe, then dry hopped again with Galaxy pellets and Mosaic Lupin powder . Which is some serious hype hops for me, so is pretty much why I grabbed it. Went with Noctule – Wretched Abyss for music again for this. Nice big, Skyrim inspired black metal. As you do.

Gun Hill: Snickerdoodle Coconut – Void Of Light (USA: Foreign Stout: 7.9% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Very large mounded bubbled head of coffee froth brown colour.

Nose: Cinnamon. Coconut. Coconut Macaroons. Mocha. Dry roasted peanuts. Cake sponge.

Body: Savoury chocolate (is that a thing?). Bitter cocoa. Light greenery. Subtle cinnamon. Slight cream. Dry coconut. White chocolate. Slight soap.

Finish: Bitter cocoa. Ovaltine. Dry coconut. Milk chocolate. White chocolate. Light charring. Bitter. Peppery. Bitter coffee.

Conclusion: This is more restrained than I imagined from either the description or the aroma. You can read the description easy enough for yourself in the background, so I’m going to jump straight into the aroma.

The aroma is coconut macaroons drenched in cinnamon over mocha style sweet coffee. Impressive first impressions, but feels at risk of becoming sickly later on. Still I was interested, nay, enthralled.

The body is a lot more restrained after that. The coconut is very present but also drier. The cinnamon is there to a moderate degree, but also in a less sweet way, which can sometimes make it seem peppery, while also being cinnamon? Yes I know that makes little sense, but I used the worlds “savoury chocolate” in these notes, very little about this makes sense.

As a beer it doesn’t 100% work, along with the peppery character there is also a slight soap element to the beer, which makes me think of how coriander is meant to taste soapy to some people. Not a huge element, only comes out occasionally but is there. However, in general, the mix of sweeter notes to a savoury, peppery backing has managed to make a beer that is more drinkable over its lifetimes and also quite intriguing.

It feels like the anti dessert stout, which is odd considering that I’m fairly sure snickerdoodle refers to a dessert cookie. It has lots of bitter cocoa, drier and more savoury notes there while still letting the cinnamon and coconut shine through.

By which I means lots of coconut, I love coconut in beer as has been well established many times.

It isn’t 100% solid, but I’m impressed with what they have done, and would probably return to it again.

Background: Another one of the USA beers I picked up from Beer Bruvs, this is one of the older dated ones – 24/08/20 (as always switched to UK style dates), however with it being a stout I am less worried for this one, so just putting the info up for reference. Wasn’t sure how to list this as I have seen it labelled a few ways online, so I just put as much of the words on the can up as possible – it seemed only fair. This is a stout made with cinnamon and coconut. Which I presume relates to the snickerdoodle thing, they seem to be some kind of biscuit. They look tasty. Went with Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! Again for music, as I was still feeling the need for some more of that.

Cushnoc: All Souls IPA (USA: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold to yellow. Massive white mounded head that leaves lace. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Vanilla fudge. Pine needles. Light crushed custard cream biscuits. Lightly resinous. Soft kiwi. Light flour to floured baps. Apricot touch. Cake sponge.

Body: Prickly bitterness. Dank hop oils. Light charring. Kiwi and grapefruit. Popcorn hop feel. Floral. Vanilla. Dry fudge. Moderately dry overall. Lightly chalky. Slight sweet grapes.

Finish: Flour. Popcorn hop feel. Good bitterness. Light charring. Slight chilli seeds.

Conclusion: This has a nice range of notes from the hops, yet keeps the bitterness on point. While I knew this was made with a mix of West Coast and Australian hops it didn’t explicitly say it was West Coast style, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I kind of hoped for west coast influenced at least.

Anyway, it is very west coast like. Yayz! And it does it well as well.

So, let’s dig into things, how does it feel?

Base body is pretty dry, not bone dry – there is some vanilla and drier fudge notes in there, so the malt base isn’t completely out of the way. It is however dry enough to be exactly what I want for a hop delivery system.

Those delivered hops emphasise bitterness, mainly in the popcorn feeling hop kick and some charring notes. I will admit the charring isn’t my favourite thing, but in general I am down for what this beer is selling on the hop bitterness side.

Outside of that it is more subtle. There is some tart grapefruit and hints of apricot sweetness and soft kiwi. They are not pushing any element too heavy but they are there – little grace notes around the edges.

It is lovely being able to try more USA made West Coast style IPAs, even if again I think this comes from the east coast. I think. This is quality made – light charring aside- there is nothing unusual, but is another good example of exactly how to do a lovely bitter kick IPA with just enough release and interesting qualities that it isn’t one note.

I may just be recovering from the NEIPA trend and just jumping onto any proper clear and bitter IPA, but I am loving these in general and enjoying this in specific.

Background: Another IPA grabbed from Beer Bruvs, this one with canned on date of 22/12/20. So a bit older than perfect, but on the line where I would expect it to still hold a lot of the flavour, if not the full effect. I have had two other IPAs from them that were older, around the 9 month to year mark and they were definitely past their best by that point so I didn’t do full notes on them. The oldest one was on sale, but still felt it lost too much to be worth it even like that. At this point I would say most of their beers are from very fresh, to decent if not great freshness, but if you want fresh IPAs it is worth keeping to their more recent arrivals. Again, I have sympathy, as a new start up in these times, but I would not be doing my best for you all of I did not advise. Hopefully as they get more established their turnover will increase keeping things fresh. Anyway, this is made with a mix of Australian and West Coast hops, which is what caught my eye. Not much else to add, put on a mix of Television Villain tunes while drinking. I am biased as I know one member, but I think they are amazing.

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