Tag Archive: Beavertown

Beavertown Applelation

Beavertown: Applelation (England: Saison: 8.7% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow. Large white head. Moderate carbonation.

Nose: Funky yeast. Soft pastry. Light apple. Fresh buttered popcorn. Pepper. Wheaty.

Body: Apple. Vanilla. Pastry. Buttery shortbread. Custard. Gingerbread. Pepper. Brown bread and sour dough.

Finish: Sweet apple pies. Vanilla. Brown bread. Orange. Oatmeal. Moderate Madeira notes.

Conclusion: Apple in a beer? I’ve wondered a few times how well that would work, but have drunk comparatively few examples to test the hypothesis. This works a lot better than my last experience – the saison gives a soft, but just slightly rustic base to work from. In fact the entire feel is amazingly gentle considering the abv. There is flavour notes that gives hints to the strength, mainly a dry Madeira like finish, but the mouthfeel is amazingly smooth.

The beer feels like mashed up apple pies, pepper and an oatmeal breakfast all shoved into a beer. So, pretty enjoyable then.

It feels laid back with that soft character, using only a small amount of bitterness under the quite natural tasting fruit sweet core. The mix of saison to fruit works well – it goes with a much more gentle saison interpretation than most, not heavy in rustic, spice or hops. The slight rustic element it has gives a slight steam beer/Californian common style feel – an almost direct gas heated kind of thing, which makes it far more easy drinking than a near 9% abv beer should be.

It is very well made, the apple enhances it but does not dominate and that steam beer freshness means it doesn’t get too heavy. If I had to criticise it is that it doesn’t change much – it plays the same notes from beginning to end. Also it feels so sessionable that I want it to be one to take for an easy drinking run, but don’t do that. 9% is dangerous. I may die.

So a good take on an apple beer. I wish it could come in at a lower abv, as a session beer it would be perfect. That is probably impossible, but this is a still a fun use of fruit in beer.

Background: Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit, this time mainly because I love how Beavertown can images look. Plus I love the idea of apple in beer, even if a lot of implementations can let the idea down a bit. Drunk while listening to more of the Superbursts that I grabbed from Warren Ellis’ web site ages back. Don’t seem to be online any more. Anyway, yes, a saison, made with apples I presume from calling itself an “Apple Saison” but they could just be referring to the flavour.

Beavertown Bellwoods Barrel Aged Moose Fang

Beavertown: Bellwoods: Barrel Aged Moose Fang (England: Black IPA: 9% ABV)

Visual: Black to very dark brown. Thick brown head that leaves mounds at the side.

Nose: Malt chocolate and cashew nuts. Ginger bread. Chunky marmalade. Spirity. Cocoa dust. Cream.

Body: Milk chocolate and cream. Zesty orange. Strawberry crème. Bitter cocoa. Slightly spirity.

Finish: White and milk chocolate mix. Marmalade. Lemon sherbet. Bitter cocoa. Strawberry crème.

Conclusion: Ok, orange zest and Armagnac aged – that is a mix that results in one chunky slice marmalade infused beer. Thankfully I like marmalade. I am like Paddington Bear, but less cute. And an alcohol fan. Well, Paddington Bear may have been an alcohol fan. We shall never know.

This tingles, spirity, yet with smooth character at the back end. Between the marmalade and the spirit character the barrel ageing really seems to have had its wicked way with this beer. Because of this the base beer is somewhat kept to the back – A creamy, chocolate base beer that mixes sweet white chocolate with bitter cocoa. Or so it seems; Considering how much an influence the barrel ageing has, it is hard to say exactly where that portion ends without drinking the unaged version. That isn’t a dig at the beer – that creamy characteristic gives great texture and backing and lets the beer slip down nicely, However it is very evident that the marmalade characteristics are the main thing.

It is very satisfying but a touch one note – at around 9% abv and 500ml I would say that it is a perfect beer for two people to share. The flavour otherwise gets a tad sickly by the end. I know this as I mistakenly thought it was a 375ml bottle so drank the whole thing myself. Oops.

Anyway, had in smaller, shared measures it is a bright, sugar sweet shock, delivered by a sweet yet mellow base. The base is sweet, but still less than the sugar shock high notes so still manages to drag the sweet barrel ageing back from the, well, edge.

I think that with shorter barrel ageing this would have been better balanced and so awesome. As is it is fun, but kind of like watching a guy get shot out of a cannon twenty times. Cool, but a tad repetitive. Still fun and well made.

Background: Bellwoods is a Canadian brewery, so of course they have Moose and hockey imagery on the bottle. I don’t know why I even had to google to find that out. I should just have known. I kind of gave up on beer style and went with ratebeer’s call of Black IPA. This sure as hell is not a standard Brown Ale, but I was kind of stumped on where to put it. Anyway, this is the final beer that I was given at Christmas, this one from Matt. Many thanks :-). This has been aged in Armgnac barrels, and made with cocoa nibs, vanilla pods and orange zest. So now you know.

Wild Beer Co Beavertown Blubus Maximus

Wild Beer Co: Beavertown: Blubus Maximus (England: Sour Ale: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy red. Cherry hued large bubbled head.

Nose: Malt vinegar. Cream cheese and chives. Beef burger. Coriander. Fresh wholemeal bread. Peppermint.

Body: Lightly dry and acidic. Cumin. Dry blueberry. White wine. Bready. Crushed leaves. Blackcurrant.

Finish: Minty. Barkley husks. Leaves. Blackcurrant cordial. Carrot and coriander. Mixed nuts.

Conclusion: You know, I spent my first run through a glass of this trying to put my finger on that odd spice note that wrapped itself around the beer. It was intruding into every nook and cranny. Then I looked at the bottle and noticed it was made with bay leaves. In retrospect it should have been obvious.

That still doesn’t explain where the grilled beef burger notes came from, but I guess some mysteries must go unanswered. By the way, I am not kidding, pretty much my first though on encountering the aroma was “Who is grilling burgers?” It has that slightly fatty oily meat smell. But nice.

Anyway, all that description seems to lack is one big expected element. Blueberries. It is my way of saying a think they could have gone a tad lighter on the spice – this could pretty much be called Herbus Maximus instead of Blubus Maximus – it is that dominant.

Now, the blueberry, or at least dark fruit flavours, are there. Not heavily though – the main body is comparable to a not too sharp lambic. It has a similar wine like character and the fruitiness comes across subtly over that. In fact the base seems very impressive indeed – the problem is that it is hard to tell under the herbs and spices. It doesn’t make it a bad beer, but very different from the expectations give by the bottle and that does make it a weaker show than I thought it would be.

This becomes less of an issue, but still an issue, as it warms. The blueberries become bigger and sweeter as it warms and that is much needed – it is a much more robust beer near room temperature, by which I of course, mean non heat wave room temperature. We don’t want it boiling. With a lighter hand with the bay leaves then this could have been a very good beer – as is it is interesting, but flawed.

Background: Another fruit based collaboration after Rubus Maximus – this one with spell, blueberries, buckwheat and bay leaves. In the bottle it says “a **** ton of blueberries” So four ton I presume, that is the only thing that could mean. Drunk as the rain hammered down outside, temporarily breaking the heat wave for a while. I am not made for heat. Just saying. Grabbed from Independent Spirit. Of course.

Beavertown Skull King Double IPA

Beavertown: Skull King Double IPA (England: IIPA: 8.7% ABV)

Visual: Slightly cloudy apricot. Large off white bubbles head. No visible carbonation.

Nose: Pine. Floral. Resin. Grapefruit. Good bitterness. Dried pineapple. Digestives. Dried passion fruit.

Body: Bitter. Kumquat. Passon fruit. Kiwi. New York style cheesecake. Quite dry. Some fruit sugars. Frothy mouthfeel.

Finish: Kiwi. Bitterness. Grapes. Hop oils. Bready. Slight gritty touch.

Conclusion: Oh, hello, another very dry IIPA, following quickly on the heels of Restorative beverage for invalids and convalescents. Is this starting a trend? I can but hope. This one really keeps to a low level of sweetness for an IIPA, there are some fruit sugars but I didn’t get any of the expected big toffee or similar backbone. Interesting.

This does provide something a bit different – from the understated, more floral and pine nose, to the dry and solid dry fruit body, to the bready hop oil finish. This shows a side to IIPAs less used, the lack of sweetness also means that it needs a less intense bitterness against that backbone to create a much larger impression on the mouth due to the lack of contrast.

This feels closer to the more traditional IIPA style than the sweeter IIPA tradition, despite its higher abv. It reminds me a bit of Pliny The Elder in that regard.

Overall it takes everything and delivers it a more restrained way. Still intense, but there is a muted edge to the flavours, a grounded feel – everything dry or drying.

I like what it is doing, and if I hadn’t had “Restorative beverage…” first I would probably be even more impressed. As is, I prefer Restorative as it just nails it better. Still, this is the more different beer and I like that it keeps away from expectations. This really doesn’t follow the trend of the style and I respect it for that.

Background: Grabbed from one of the few available at Independent Spirit! thanks guys! This is the first ever canned double IPA in the UK, or so I am told. Beavertown have been solid so far, and I need to get around to reviewing their neck oil session IPA. Also my friend lives near their brewery and keeps taunting me with the fact he regularly gets to try their beers. Anyway, they have made the can a bit more textured here, which combined with the cool image on it gives a great first impression. Drunk while listening to some Anthrax – Worship Music. A big beer deserves some big music.

Siren Beavertown Magic Rock Rule Of Thirds

Siren: Magic Rock: Beavertown: Rule Of Thirds (England: IPA: 6.4% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon to apricot. Thick white bubbled head. Cloudy centre.

Nose: Pineapple. Crushed biscuits. Resin. Kumquat. Dry mango. Lemon juice. Moderate hops prickle. Dried apricot.

Body: Big bitterness. Sharp pineapple. Grapefruit. Some toffee and digestives. Light gritty feel. Elderberry.

Finish: Pink grapefruit. Good hops. Digestives. Big bitterness. Pineapple. Elderberry.

Conclusion: Some IPAs wake you up with bitterness, this, instead goes straight to the tart citrus trip.

It never hides it, never even tries, as soon at the bottle cap pops off – bam – pineapple – sharp as can be. There is a ton of citrus fruit in the aroma – a huge mix, but when you go to the first sip, it is straight back to pineapple. Well pineapple and grapefruit. Even cold it has a nicely gripping texture, not thick so much, more something that really grabs the taste buds and lets the citrus shock and awaken.

It is interesting, as despite definitely being about the citrus shock, it actually has quite a big bitter character as well. Despite being big when you see it, you only actually find it every now and then. The main place is in the finish, though it is very obvious in your first few sips, before the citrus has really got a hold.

It is like it does have huge hops, but half the time it vanishes rapidly as soon as the tartness hits, meaning that you only notice it when you are paying attention.

The malt base, slightly toffeeish, also nigh vanishes for most of the time. It shows a few hints top and tail, almost just showing up so it can say its there.

The tartest IPA I have had for a while, and an impressive wave of what I would guess holds a chunk of NZ hops in its IPA action. One note, but it is one hell of a cool note.

Background: So, a mix of the three IPAs from their respective breweries. Pretty good breweries as well. So I grabbed a bottle from the rapidly diminishing pile at Independent Spirit. Drunk while listening to Ulver: Shadows Of The Sun. Which I still hold is one of the most beautifully haunting albums ever.

8 Ball Rye IPA

Beavertown: 8 Ball Rye IPA (England: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Caramel brown. Small froth caramel head that leaves a sud rim around the glass.

Nose: Toffee. Light prickle. Orange. Cucumber. Greenery.

Body: Bitter. Toffee. Some hop character. Malt chocolate. Dried apricot. Greenery. Smooth texture. Orange zest. Lime jelly. Caramel. Chilli seed. Vanilla. Banana.

Finish: Bitter and rye bread. Light toffee. Apricot. Malt chocolate. Dried spice. Custard and banana.

Conclusion: This is a bit smooth for a rye IPA, also a bit brown for an IPA in general. The unexpected smoothness can be attributed to the low level of spiciness from the rye, just a touch and accompanying dryness. For the most part the sweetness rules the roost over either the hops or the rye. There is a lot of toffee and malt chocolate notes which push their way out mid body, it makes for an odd interaction with the bitterness of the beer.

It feels similar to some of the less complex black IPAs in how it handles that bitterness. The actual hop bitterness is high, but the flavours come in slightly muted. There is some including apricot, and maybe the banana comes from hops? Could be malt as well. Anyway, the main point is that you don’t get much of that fresh hop prickly flavour to go with the evident bitterness. It feels more that the hops are closed and the sweet malt has the reins.

It doesn’t really feel like what I would expect of an IPA because of this, even as a rye IPA it doesn’t seem to have the hop flavours of other examples I have encountered. However separated from those style expectations it is a tasty beer. It hangs half way between a luxury dessert beer, and a hop oil delivery system. It doesn’t do great in either, but by doing solidly competent and combining them it makes for a satisfying one.

It is a beer that tastes how it looks, caramel and toffee but with cloudy grit. Nothing really pushes it into the excellent beer range, but it has a nice range of flavours that combine and contrast, so not a bad one either.

Background: I’ve mainly had Beavertown in collaboration beers so far, which have been impressive. I’ve had on tap a few of their solo efforts as well, but this bottle is my first review. This was drunk in the newly done up “The Boater”. It is now a Fullers pub, with a few guest real ale taps, some of the local BeerD on keg, and a good bottle selection. It is a definite improvement though I feel they could do with more bottle and BeerD rotation. Still, a nice atmosphere to drink and review, even if the bloody footy was on. Anyway, yes this is an IPA, made with rye. Pretty simple eh? Incidentally I love the image on the bottle and tried to capture as much as I could for you lot. Light wasn’t great so it is a bit grainy, and I messed up the focus depth but hopefully it will get across the gist.


Rubus Maximus

Wild Beer Co: Beavertown: Rubus Maximus (England: Fruit Beer: 5.7% ABV)

Visual: Black cherry coloured, clear and with a large rouge bubbled head.

Nose: Raspberry. Tart. Black cherry yogurt. Apples or cider. Light oak. Fresh rice in a lightly spiced style, maybe nutmeg.

Body: Black cherry yogurt. Pepper. Apples and elderberry. Lightly acidic. Very sweet. Raspberry. Nutmeg. Twigs.

Finish: Red cherry yogurt. Brown rice. Raspberry. Elderberry. Dry. Slight cheeseboard. Wood.

Conclusion: This is very fruity. I know, a fruit beer, fruity, what a shock, but stick with me here. This is odd in that it is massively fruity, but often it seems more like black cherry than the huge amount of raspberries that were used to make it. This leads to an odd contrast between the raspberry tartness against the very sweet yogurt character that comes with the black cherry notes.

It is like a slightly tarter take on the New Glarus fruit beers. Now that is some pretty high standards to be compared to, and this even manages to have its own charm as well. It takes that acidic raspberry and adds nutmeg to it. The nutmeg gives a slight mulled warmth, while a mix of elderberry and cider like notes brace it with tart undertones. Together they mix around a very sweet and full main body of the beer, making for a very rounded experience.

For all the drying notes it has, the oak touches, and the acidic twists, it is still a remarkably approachable beer. It you let it warm to room temperature it gets a bit more intense, but not hugely so, and chilled the sweetness makes for a very good gateway introduction to the tarter end of the beer landscape.

On purely personal preference I put it below the New Glarus interpretations, but in a vague attempt at impartial assessment I will say it definitely plays in the same ballpark of quality. It has complexity of flavour, texture and progression. So much to enjoy, without elements that would put off many drinkers who are not used to such beers. Very classy.

Background: Wild Beer Co! Oh and Beavertown, they are good as well. This is a big collaboration made with 9 different types of grains, long pepper and a ton of raspberries. Also they added some of their spontaneously fermented sour beer. I’m basically just copying this from the back of the bottle. This was picked up from Independent Spirit, and was drunk with friends. Also I ha tried it on keg a few times before this review.

Dark Matter

Brewdog: Beavertown: Dark Matter (England: Sour Ale: 3.8% ABV)

Visual: Black. Caramel touched head that doesn’t last very long.

Nose: Bitter chocolate dust. Sour back. Brown bread. Coffee granules. Mash tun.

Body: Tangy. Sour cherries. Sour black cherry. Bitter chocolate. Sour white grapes. Fruit centred chocolates and chocolate liquore. Slight vinegar taste.

Finish: Sour fruit and bitter chocolate. Chocolate cake sponge. Belgium chocolate. Ok, so chocolate then. White wine. Apricot (sour-natch).

Conclusion: Wow, what the hell is this? It’s called a Berliner stout, but feels more like chocolate liquore that has been poured into a Rodenbach Grand Cru. There is that vinegar like element that I associate with that beer, and like that beer it is somehow not a flaw but a positive element, then there is massive sour black and red cherry, just as if you were sucking the fruit straight from the stone but backed by a rich stream of chocolate pouring through it.

There is so much going in, that almost holographic flavour that you get with the acidic sour beers, yet here it is delivered silky smooth. It is initially a mouth shocker, but you soon acclimatise and then you can really begin to enjoy it. Oddly the aroma barely hints at the sourness to come, instead calling to a very bare standard stout in style, everything you get is working underneath the surface of the liquid, ready to shake you with the first sip.

Even better, at 3.8%, and with that sourness offsetting the sweetness, you can drink this pretty easily. Ok, the level of flavour means it isn’t for a very long session, but the tartness works very well at keeping it drinkable much longer than you would think and doesn’t get boring quick (I will admit I am extrapolating from my experience here, so don’t take this part as gospel).Still, it seems like it will do pretty well as a session stout, I always find it odd writing those words.

So great flavour, great drinkability, low abv, I am loving this thing’s style. I highly encourage you to try it, for the experience, for the oddity, for the flavour and for the class.

Background: Collab Fest 2013! Every Brewdog bar collaborated with a local brewery to make a beer for the fest, resulting in a grand total of twelve beers released over one weekend. So, what could I do? Normally I limit myself to two of three reviews in a session, but these would only be on for the weekend. So, for you, my readers, I sat in one eight hour stint, drinking thirds, with a glass of water and a chapter of Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone between each drink to help clear my palette. I suffer so for you. This was the fourth beer of the day, a Berliner sour stout. Seriously I am loving the odd beer styles here. By this point in the day I was deciding to have a longer than usual break after this, less for the abv, but more to give time for the taste buds to clear up again.

Catherines Pony

Brewdog: Beavertown: Catherine’s Pony (Scotland: Imperial Porter:  8.8% ABV)

Visual: Black. Good sized beige froth.

Nose: Smoked. Dried beef slices. Fresh dough. Bitter chocolate dust. Sulphur. Slightly medicinal.

Body: Bitter chocolate. Smoke. Milky coffee. Treacle. Black cherry. Charring. Grapes. Custard. Light iodine and salt. Port. A port touch.

Finish: Treacle tart. Coffee. Lots of dry smoke. Light wood. Custard slice. Blue berry.

Conclusion:  So a contender for the smoked porter range, head to head with Bristol United’s take, and by some strange coincidence, this one is a collaboration as well.  For differences however this is bigger on abv, racking in as an imperial porter. Let’s see if it brings in enough extra joy to go with the abv.

This one is big on the coffee and chocolate with light medicinal touches and a good dose of smoke. There is a smoothness of texture that the smoke, salt and medicinal prickle through, resulting in a contrast of the velvet and sudden sharp pin pricks that excite the taste buds.

This is definitely the smoother, and yet distinctly more weighty of the two contenders. The smoke is a very present character. Despite a good range of flavour it doesn’t seem to have the contrast and well defined plays and trills that the Bristol united beer does.

The extra alcohol result sin it feeling slightly spirity, almost Islay whisky character at times. I’ve had it on tap and the extra smoothness there, even on top of what it already has here, really helped the prickles define it. It’s still pretty good here with a beef broth like element that gives a bit of weight as it settles.

Slightly dry, spirit touches, smoked and smooth. It doesn’t out do the United beer but is a darker, more edged alternative.  The dash of razorblade flavour on silk.

So not the best, but bloody good and a great mix of flavour to texture. Impressive.

Background: A collaboration between my old favourite’s from Brewdog and introducing to me Beavertown who I haven’t run into before. All I know is that they are based in London and have only been brewing since 2012.  I’d had a few bottles of this before finally reviewing it, and have tried it on tap as well. I have many a time mentioned my confusion at the term Imperial Porter, but I have come to acceptance of its existence and the reasoning.

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