Tag Archive: England


One Mile End: Morello Cherry Gose (England: Gose: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot, that turns rose hued at times. A thin dash of bubbles for a head. Fast, small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Salt touched and musty. Shortbread. Subtle cherries. Fresh dough and yeastie.

Body: Soft, tart red cherries. Strawberry. Slight chalk. Tart apples. Pear perry. Cake sponge.

Finish: Tart red cherry. Black cherry yogurt. Slight salt. Brown bread. Juniper berries. Petals. Wet socks. Vanilla.

Conclusion: Hmm, a generally quite nice one here – ok that may seem like I am damning with faint praise, but let me give some context. For some reason, despite the fact I really love morello cherries, most beers made with them have hit some rocky waters. Thus I am pleased that this is fairly decent.

First impressions are good, it hits nicely on the eye- at worst being a pretty but generic apricot colour, but moves to a nicely rose hued glimmer when the light hits it right. Unfortunately the aroma doesn’t sell it to a similar extent – it is quite yeastie and musty, in a fresh dough kind of fashion. It has some refreshing tart notes but is generally quite simple.

The body comes through though, using a lovely pear perry to cider apple styled base, lightly salted in way that makes drinking it far too easy. The cherry notes are understated but well expressed – giving a tart red cherry character that is always present, but doesn’t dominate – tart but with sweet edges. So, yep, the lovely fruit that is Morello cherry is used right in this oh so easy to drink tart beer. There’s even a slight vanilla note in the finish that give a cream like note to go with the cherries. Nice.

It isn’t perfect, as it can be a little chalky at times – but mixing that cider and perry like base, with a slight salty gose style and bring red fruit makes something very drinkable.

I appreciate both it and the good use of fruit within it.

Background: Ohh Morello Cherry! I am a big fan of those cherries. Gose I have had mixed experiences with, probably because there seems to be such a range in how people interpret the style. Any which way, glad to see the style getting more show these days considering it was down to two breweries in Germany that made the style at one point. Don’t know much about One Mile End – they are a new brewery on me, so let’s see how they do. I put on the amazing, Svalbard, It’s Hard To Have Hope while drinking. Such a good album. This beer was grabbed from the ever reliable Independent Spirit.

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Northern Monk: Don’t Mess With Yorkshire (England: American Pale Ale: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon coloured body with a massive white bubbled head that leaves some, but not many suds.

Nose: Rhubarb and custard sweets. Custard slices. Sugar dusting. Light orange. Slight apple.

Body: Wheaty. Moderate bitterness. Gentle custard. Hard sweets. Slight rhubarb. Slight orange skin. Slight milk and lactose.

Finish: Flour. Good bitterness. Dry. Peppery. Slightly earthy. Gentle custard. Slight tart rhubarb.

Conclusion: This is a much more straightforward beer than you would expect from the description, and from the first impressions you get from the aroma.

So, since I just brought it up, let’s start with the aroma. It is full on, full of rhubarb and custard sweet notes. Yes, I know generally hard sweets don’t have that much smell to them, imagine them all crushed up and sweet dust is in the air or something, this smells like that. It is very sweet, not super artificial smelling, but definitely calls to the hard sweet style.

The rest of the beer has none of that.

The body, by comparison, is fairly dry and slightly peppery with a moderate amount of hop bitterness. It is not overly attenuated like some APAs, but it still feels within the dry APA range, with all that entails.

The custard notes come across along with a gentle, milky to lactose thickness, and only a hint of the actual custard flavour, and very little of the sweetness. Similarity there is a light tartness from the rhubarb, but it is generally coming across as the unsweetened, earthier rhubarb rather than rhubarb and custard sweets. So, I have no idea where that aroma came from as that is not the beer you get!

It is a solid APA, with a gently used twist to it. Far more subtle in expression that I expected, and probably a better beer for that, if not as showy and silly fun as I hoped. The base APA is not special and without the extra twist would be very middle of the road, as is it is not a must have, but decent enough and a bit different with its subtle enhancements from the extra ingredients.

Background: I spent most of my teenage years in Yorkshire, I have a soft spot in my heart for the place. So, yep, this beer caught my eye. I am also a fan of Rhubarb, Custard and also Rhubarb and Custard, so another thing in its favour as this is a Rhubarb Custard Pale. What does that mean? Well looking at the can it is made with vanilla, rhubarb extract and custard extract, so I’m guessing that. Anyway another one grabbed from Independent Spirit – I put on a band I have only just discovered to listen to while drinking – Bloodywood – an Indian street metal band that rocks!

Harvey’s: Sussex Best Low Alcohol (England: Low Alcohol Bitter: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Slight darkened gold. Thin white rim of bubbles.

Nose: Honey. Thick. Nutty – cashew nuts amongst others.

Body: Thin. Nutty. Slight chalk. Watery. Slight treacle and charring.

Finish: Syrup touch. Watery. Slightly nutty. Some bitterness. Charring.

Conclusion: Whelp, this was the wrong one to do notes on. You see, I also grabbed the low alcohol old ale, mainly out of perverse fascination of how you can do a low alcohol old ale. Anyway, that was ok. This is shit.

Before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion, I’m not shitting on it because it is a low alcohol take on the much maligned best bitter style. I was actually interested in what they would do with that, I’m shitting on it because it is shit.

It actually opened up ok, which is what made everything else such a shock. The aroma is a mix of honey and nuts. No news yet on if cornflakes were ever present.

Yeah, that’s a shit joke, I’m working with what I have got ok. So the aroma was gentle, but pleasant.

The body is fucking water that someone has dropped a nut into. By which I mean an actually nut, I am not insinuating that they jerked off into it. Though they may have done that as well for all I know. Though that would add flavour, so I’m guessing not.

There is nothing in this recognisable as elements that make a bitter good, shoot there is nothing that makes a beer good. There are just ill defined wet nuts, some charred bitterness and chalk.

Utter shite.

That was “How to be more optimistic in these negative days” Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

Background: More low alcohol beers. As mentioned in the notes I grabbed this and also a low alcohol old ale from the same brewery. Looks like rather than brewing a low alcohol beer, they brew the standard beer then filter out the alcohol – interesting – guess time will show if it produces a better or worse beer than brewing specifically a low alcohol beer. I guess technically it can feel like cheating compared to the challenge of doing a good low abv brew, but if a good beer comes out of it there is no way I will complain. Not much to add, this was grabbed at BeerCraft and drunk while listening to the best of Ramones for some simple punk fun.

Moor: Agent Of Evil (England: Black IPA: 7% ABV)

Visual: Black and opaque. Two inches of brown froth mounds of a head that leaves a sud rim.

Nose: Bitter coffee and coca dust. Slight ash tray. Empty, used coffee cups. Sour dough. Wholemeal flour. Light peppermint and chives.

Body: Milky chocolate. Chocolate cake. Crushed peanuts. Charred bitterness. Brown bread. Roasted character.

Finish: Bitter chocolate cake. Dry roasted peanuts. Charred bitterness. Ash. Earthy hops. Slight choc lime. Peppery. Ground spice. Bitter coffee.

Conclusion: This is definitely taking the hopped stout like interpretation of a Black IPA. I will admit I generally prefer the the opposite take – the fruity hopped dark malt style BIPA. Even with that said, considering the dearth of new Black IPAs around here recently I welcome a new entry into the style.

So as the hopped stout like take of a BIPA, this seems to be doing a very British hop take on that – earthy and spicy in how the hops come across with solid bitterness but pretty much no bright notes. Very robust, and nothing too fancy. Earthy and peppery early on with some more prickly spice notes in the finish. So, fairly simple in the hop use – dark, charred, almost all bitterness and earthy spice. So, I guess it will be up to the malt to provide the contrast.

Actually, the malt is, well, still fairly grounded. A mix of bitter coffee and cocoa, done in a quite roasted and robust way. So, definitely feeling very stouty. There are slight milky touches, but mainly goes with bitter chocolate in a bitter chocolate cake kind of way. With very little sweet character this ends up a fairly hefty beer. The only concession to sweetness is a slightly creamier chocolate cake centre that shows up if held.

It’s not a top of the range BIPA, but for all its heavy character it is still pretty darn drinkable. It feels like an earthy British IPA meets British Stout meets Black IPA. A worthy entry and makes me wish even more that more people were turning out new Black IPAs at the moment.

Solid, not a game changer but solid.

Background: So, I want new Black IPAs. This, while not new new, is mostly new to me. I had it on tap in the Moor Tap Room a while back. They also do a standard IPA- Guardian Of Peace, which I really should do notes on at some time, as if my memory serves me right, it is a bit tasty. Anyway, yeah Moor are very reliable in turning out decent brews, and I wanted a Black IPA, so I grabbed this from Independent Spirit. I went with the ultra optimistic ( I may be lying about that bit) History Of Guns album Acedia to listen to while drinking.

Northern Monk: Stigbergets: Garage: Insa: Patron’s Project 17.02 Ethel Tropical IPA (England: IPA: 7% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy dark apricot. Very large yellow-white tight bubbled head.

Nose: Mango. Apricot skin. Light hop prickle. Light bitterness.

Body: Tropical fruit juice. Mango chunks. Slight sour cream twist. Creamy texture. Thick. Hop oils. Oily fruit. Passion fruit. Vanilla. Slight apple.

Finish: Sour cream. Mango. Moderate bitter hops. Slightly oily. Passion fruit. Slightly resinous. Slight flour. Peach syrup. Tangerine hops.

Conclusion: Fucking hell this is fruity – slightly dried fruit meets oily fruit in a strange but delicious clash. Now, I can find overly fruity IPAs a bit disappointing sometimes when they lose the beer side – especially in beers like this where a lot of actual fruit is used in the making. However, here they do not disappoint!

It is slightly oily, very slightly resinous in the finish with moderate hop character and solid bitterness – a decent beer character that is admittedly still a backing to the natural feeling fruit. The fact that fruit flavours are, in part at least, drier helps keep things feeling IPA like – even though the mouthfeel contrasts with syrupy and creamy style. It’s an odd effect – the taste isn’t super sweet, but that creamy, syrupy mouthfeel makes it feel like it is actually sweeter than it really is, creating an odd sensation as you drink. Nicely done.

Early on it is the fruit created fruit flavours that push themselves out to the front (ohh that is just a clumsy sentence, but stick with me here please), hiding the hop created fruit flavours behind them. Later on though the distinctly hoppy fruit character becomes more evident, especially in the finish. Up to that point I had been viewing the beer as a tad over fruit juice like, even with the hop bitterness, but this swooped in and nullified that flaw and giving another note to the end of the beer, a bit of interest as the intrigue of the earlier notes are starting to wane.

So, downsides? Well the sightly full on fruity and thick character may not be for everyone – definitely not a sessionable beer by any measure, even a second one may be a bit much. It is definitely a one at a time kind of beer.

Still, a lovely tropical fruit IPA that doesn’t forget the IPA side of the equation.

Background: So many things made this a beer I knew I was going to try. Northern Monk, especially their Patrons Projects have been on point so many times. Garage have been great in the few beers I’ve tried from them, and Stigbergets reasonable as well. So, yeah a hop forwards beer from them was definitely one I was interested in. This is made with El Dorado, Cashmere, Mosaic, Simcoe and Columbus hops. More than that they added papaya, passion fruit and mango. I’m not too much of a fan of over fruit juice IPAs but with the talent behind this I was hopeful they would do well. Also such a long name when you include all the collaborators and artists, which makes this a pain to type but doesn’t hurt the beer. This is another one from Independent Spirit. Went with the indie fun of Throwing Muses self titled album for backing music.

Big Drop: Brown Ale (England: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Reddened brown to mahogany. Clear main body with very small bubbled carbonation. Thin grey dash of a head.

Nose: Roasted. Nutty. Slightly chalky. Sour dough. Dry roasted peanuts.

Body: Nutty malt character. Brown sugar touch. Light chalk. Earthy touch. Slight sports drinks.

Finish: Light brown sugar. Charred wood. Mildly earthy character. Slight chalk.

Conclusion: This is a solid, middle of the road brown ale. Now that would seem like damning with faint praise, but this is rocking in at 0.5% abv, and because of that I can cut it some slack – managing to be an even middle of the road brown ale at low abv is impressive in itself. So sure, it doesn’t wow, but it is very much what you would expect from a brown ale.

As long as you don’t overly chill it down there really isn’t much sign of the lower alcohol content. There is just a slight glucose sports drink touch to the body. Now if you do over chill it, things get a bit more obvious. Like that the mouthfeel is much thinner, and loses a chunk of the flavour with it. So don’t do that, ok?

Had just slightly chilled it is a roasted, nutty and slightly earthy thing, with just a hint of brown sugar sweetness offsetting that. Everything a good brown ale should be,

It isn’t fancy or special but manages a good mouthfeel, beer like character and flavour, all without having to lean too heavily on the hops to do that like a lot of low abv beers do.

As of such I’m impressed. It may not be exceptional against a full abv brown ale, but it is bloody impressive for what it is and stands up as a decent enough expression in of itself.

Background: Big drop have pretty much established themselves as the masters of the low abv beer. So, I’ve had this one, their take on a brown ale a few times already. I tend to keep a bunch of low abv beers around for when I want an easy night. So I knew pretty much what to expect going in and was already aware I should not over chill it even though it is bloody warm again over here. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit, which was drunk while listening to the almost b-move horror metal that is Sigh: Gallows Gallery.

Burning Sky: Saison Houblon (England: Saison: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to lemon juice. Large mounded bubbled white head with brown clumps.

Nose: Banana custard. Wheaty. White pepper. Mild grapefruit. Moderate cake sponge hop character. Orange zest. Slight sour dough. Apple.

Body: Slight tart grapefruit. White pepper. Tart grapes. Slight sour dough. Fresh cut apple. Earthy middle. Coriander.

Finish: Wheaty bitterness. Tart grapefruit. Peppery. White pepper. Coriander. Muesli and dried raisins.

Conclusion: This is nice, but boy the aroma promised something with far more subtlety and range. It makes the decent body that you actually get feel slightly disappointing on comparison. Ah well, let’s look at what we actually get then.

The body is fairly rustic style saison – peppery, solid earthy saison style but made fresh with gentle tart grapefruit hops so the body refreshes you before pushing out into a solidly bitter and peppery once again finish.

Refreshing, but yet earthy and grounded. A solid beer and one at not too high abv. The thing is, the aroma has so much more range to it – much more in the tart fruits and hints of a sweeter malt touch that calls to the classic that is Saison Dupont. If those notes had carried through into the body then this could have been similarly a classic beer.

Ah well, let’s look at what it is, not what it could have been. It fits bright hop character well into the base earthy saison without compromising either. A fairly solid twist on the saison, not a classic – it needs a few more layers for that – but it is solidly drinkable with solid hop bitterness.

Could do a lot worse for a saison, give it a go if you are in the mood for something refreshing but with weight.

Background: So, houblon just means hop in French. So this is a hoppy saison. Simple. Burning Sky really haven’t got the attention they deserve from me, may have to make an effort to reverse that. This is step one in trying anyway. Not much else to add – I wanted something comparatively easy drinking, with a not too high abv, so I hoped a saison would do the job when I broke it open for the night. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. I returned to IDLES – Joy As An Act Of Resistance to listen to while drinking. Still amazing mix of anger and sensitivity. I still should pick up some of their other albums to see if they are all this good.

Big Drop: Citra Four Hop Special Edition Pale Ale (England: Low alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow to grain. Thin off white bubbled head.

Nose: Peach. Fresh cut apple. Cake sponge. Lime. Lemon sorbet. Very fresh. Light raspberry pavlova.

Body: Soft lime. Grapes. Slight chalk. Low to moderate hop character and bitterness. Slight peach. Tannins.

Finish: Chalk touch. Good hop bitterness and character. Soft lime. Cake sponge. Lemon cake. Apple. Dried banana. Tannins.

Conclusion: First up, the aroma on this is great. Lots of soft, fruity hop action. It is gentle, but lively in flavour. Here the beer is significantly different from the original Big Drop Pale Ale and all the better for it.

The body is more similar to its parent brew, still showing cake sponge, still a good use of hop character and soft lime notes. If you have been looking at the notes above you would probably expect me to say there is more difference than there actually is. The thing is there definitely are a range of different notes, it is just that they are not consistent, just occasional , pleasant, hiccups of flavour that pop in and out throughout the beer.

Now, the base, standard Big Drop Pale ale is one of my favourite ever low alcohol beers – this has a far better aroma, and a just slightly better body. So, of course, I love it. Again it feels like a very good beer, not just a good low alcohol beer – only some light tannin notes give away the low abv character.

So, yeah, if you get a chance to grab it this is an awesome low abv beer of character. If you can’t find it, the standard Big Drop Pale Ale is still flipping great and this isn’t so big a difference that you must hunt it out for this.

Still a nice twist on a a still awesome beer.

Background: I adore Big Drop’s Pale Ale. It is still possibly my favourite low alcohol beer, which has been getting to be an actual hard fought category over the past year, which I admit is something I never thought I would say. This is a limited version of the beer which I spotted at Beercraft. I don’t use them that much as they can be a tad expensive, but their low alcohol selection at the moment is fantastic. I put on Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues while drinking- still an utterly fantastic album.

Infinite Session: IPA (England: Low alcohol IPA: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear, light gold. A few small carbonation bubbles. Thin white head.

Nose: Light grapefruit. Wheaty hop character. Middling bitterness. Water adds fresh dough to cake sponge.

Body: Clean, lager like base. Bready hop character. Good bitterness. Slight chalk. Lightly watery. Vanilla. Very light grapefruit.

Finish: Slightly chalky. Bready bitterness and hop character. Peppery.

Conclusion: This is very, well …clean. Good hop character and bitterness but the base underneath feels like a clean lager rather than any of the many and varied things that count as IPA malt bases. So, I would say this feels more like an India Pale Lager than an IPA – for me at least. Because of that I’m going to evaluate it as an IPL as that seems fairer than treating it as the IPA it says it is.

It is a tad watery but not hugely so – generally it is a good lager like base, slightly dry and drinkable – not special but does the job. The hops are very simple – the bitterness is good and the aroma hints at grapefruit, but the body is pretty much just the hop character and bitterness, into a lightly peppery finish, with very little to add anything to that.

It’s ok, the hop feel is good, but there is no defining feel to it. I guess it does mean that none of the flavours become wearing, meaning it is sessionable, but the lack of heavy flavours also means that there is nothing to get your teeth into.

In the old days I would have rated this as a solid low alcohol beer compared to all the chemical tasting crap. These days the bar has been risen a lot, and this no longer makes the grade.

Background: Not much to say on this one, saw a four pack of it in Sainsbury‘s, thought I needed more variety in low alcohol beers for the dry days, so I grabbed a pack to give a chance. That is all. Stocking up on more low abv beers as the weather gets hotter as it is nice to have some chilled and ready just for refreshing. I put Crossfaith – Ex_machina back on for drinking this – another instance of heavy music for light beer.

Salt: Jute Session IPA (England: Session IPA: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy to cloudy pineapple juice. Medium white creamy head.

Nose: Gentle pineapple. Vanilla. Flour. Soft grapefruit to pineapple juice. Lemon meringue.

Body: Soft,slight creamy to the outside of marshmallows in mouthfeel. Lemon juice. Light nettle hop prickle. Flour.

Finish: Lemon and pineapple juice. Flour. Moderate hop bitterness. Pineapple pieces.

Conclusion: Holy poop, another good session IPA. I was beginning to think that the world had set a hard cap on the number of good session IPAs allowed in the world at one time. Glad to see I was wrong.

This is gently done, soft and almost feels like licking the outside of a marshmallow, for an oddly specific image there. It is slightly dry from attenuation but has none of that painfully dry character that curses a lot of session IPAs.

Helping it is the hop flavour choice – lightly tart pineapple and lemon, freshening and making the beer easy to drink without needing to lean on a larger malt body for contrasting sweetness. The bitterness is moderate, but feels heavier due to the lack of malt contrast. It has picked its presence well to prickle and show the bitterness, but not get up in your face too quickly. It is set up well to take advantage of the beer style and let you have a few in the session.

It is gentle, but prickly – dry but lightly tart and backs it with hops, just enough lovely bitter hops. As a beer it goes down your neck far too easily, which is my excuse for the short notes, I’ve finished drinking it and I’m now trying to fill out the rest of the notes without an example in front of me. Something I am spectacularly bad at doing,

So, I’m going to leave it there and point out the fact I finished the beer before the notes is a pretty good recommendation in itself.

Background: This is one that Chris from Independent Spirit was raving about, so I overcame my slight aversion to the Session IPA style and grabbed it to give a go and do some notes on. Had not tried anything from Salt before, but with a recommendation like that I was intrigued to see how it went. Not much else to add, went back to my youth for tunes with The Eels – Beautiful Freak, some lovely melancholy tunes.

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