Tag Archive: Ilkley


Ilkley: North Brewing: Bonaparte (England: Berliner Weisse: 3.2% ABV)

Visual: Light clear grain yellow body. Thin white head that leaves some white suds.

Nose: Apples and lime. Key lime. Kiwi. Fresh lemon.

Body: Apples. Dry. Flour. Dry hop bitterness. Slight cider vinegar. Pears. Lemon.

Finish: Flour. Apples. Slightly sour. Pear. Vanilla. Kiwi.

Conclusion: Dry hopping made this promise so much, so much lovely fruit in the aroma. However, it seems that the aroma is writing cheques that the body can’t cash.

The aroma is full of fresh green fruit, tart and with a good chunk of complexity – lots to invite you in. That first impression is genuinely amazing. The body that follows is light tart apples to apple cider, with apple vinegar touches and, well, that is just about it.

It is kind of bitter, kind of flour like in the hop grip, but somehow it manages to mute what is usually the huge freshness of the berliner weisse style. In muting that it also seems to mute the complexity and masses of fruit range that the aroma promises. It feels like a real let down.

The finish does manage to recover it again slightly, some of the green fruit comes back and plays again. However generally it feels quite empty – the main body just feels like empty, mild sourness and really doesn’t pay off its gimmick of the dry hopping. Then again, I know dry hopping is basically about adding awesome aromas, but I expect it to follow through with it – I expect it to give something beyond that.

The idea does have promise, adding extra layers to the sour style, and I have seen dry hopped lambics and other sours that do good things with the idea – however in this instance it needs a lot more work to, well, work. This really isn’t worth it.

Background: This was drunk at the Port Street Beer House up in Manchester – was in the area before heading up to Leeds for the NXT wrestling show the next day. Had some good friends with me and was having a very chilled time. Tried a few beers there, they had a very nice tap selection including a good chunk of Cloudwater and a decent, if expensive, bottle selection. Very good beers, if expensive in general. This one is dry hopped berliner weisse which intrigued me.

ilkley brewdog westwood stout

Brewdog: Ilkley: Westwood Stout (England: Stout: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Banana gold. Small white head.

Nose: Tiramisu. Very milky coffee. Fudge. White chocolate. Toffee liquore.

Body: Tiramisu. Slight prickly spirit feel. White chocolate. Milky coffee.

Finish: White chocolate. Toffee liquore. Tiramisu. Light dry crushed digestives. Bitter coffee.

Conclusion: You know, people looking at the notes may come to the conclusion that this is a simple and one note beer. That would not be entirely correct. Basically it is very much tiramisu, in all that entails. Chocolate, spirit soaked sponge (well at least in my favourite Tiramisus), coffee, cream. Basically it is all that summed up in one word. Tiramisu. I’ve tried expanding out a bit, with exactly how the coffee is milky, the spirit touch, but frankly it is mainly padding. The one word describes so much.

This is kind of a spiritual successor to AB08 in that it is not a standard stout. For one think it is pale, paler than AB08. However it still has stouty feel, milky instead of bitter coffee, white instead of dark chocolate, tiramisu because, well tiramisu and fuck you if you have a problem with that – it is awesome.

This is just lovely, the spirity touch would normally seem a bit high, but feels perfectly integrated into the dessert styling here. It is thick, but smooth – such that it feels barrel aged in a lot of ways. In fact maybe there should be a barrel aged version, just because.

It is to tiramisu what AB14 was to banoffee pie, to me that is a heavenly beer, to you?- well that is your decision, but I would recommend at least giving it a try.

Background: Should I list this as stout? Erm, erm, ok yeah lets go with that. Anyway, third beer of COLLABFEST 2014! I was going to have this later, but on a recommendation I tried a sample and it instantly became the next review. It is a white chocolate stout. yep, white stout – I’m giving up on beer styles making sense. Again. I’ve forgotten to mention for the past few reviews – I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. I was keeping to thirds as there were 16 new beers to try, and I was going to try and get through them in the weekend (it ended up taking three days)

Tasting Notes: Ilkley: Best

CIMG2080

Ilkley: Best (England: Bitter: 4% ABV)

Visual: Clear copper red. Large sudden froth for a slightly yellow head.

Nose: Cinnamon and coriander. Dry roasted peanuts. Orange peel. Slightly earthy. Custard notes.

Body: Quite bitter. Lemon zest. Earthy. Soil texture. Ginger spiciness. Chalk. Cinnamon sweetness. Cherry and malt base. Fruity.

Finish: Earthy hops and soil. Lemon meringue. Ginger. Quite bitter. Tangerine and pear drops.

Conclusion: This is a robust pint. Seriously robust. An earthy, dry and lightly spiced aroma comes across as pretty standard, but that first sip you take has a real bitter weight to it.   There’s the earthy hops and that slight soil of the British style but braced against fresh lemon zest that just cuts through to make itself shown.  Hold it a while on your tongue and you get a whole cherry and cinnamon sweetness rising.  It’s a great show as I often find overly earthy hops dull but this shows how to do it well by bringing an equally powerful set of countering flavours to them all together into a full bodied ale.

The beer does a lot of balance like that, dry and slightly chalk with redeeming sweetness. Bitter versus malt base, earth hops verses zest.  There’s spice and ginger elements as well but never too strong, just pushing the beer out into a bitter spicy finish that isn’t hugely complex but definitely lasts.

For a beer with such a non eye catching label to the bottle it certainly catches the taste buds and comes in as very thirst quenching. It is just slightly tart, solid and bitter with very good complementary flavours. I am genuinely impressed.

Background: One of the beers my family had got in for me while I was visiting over Christmas. I hadn’t drunk it by the end so brought it home with me. This is a beer from Yorkshire. I am mildly biased with regards to Yorkshire. In that it is automatically better than anything in the south.  Ok, I think my biases are up front enough now.  This was the last review to fit in my last notebook.  An end of another notebook era. While drinking this I realised I haven’t actually had a bad beer for quite a while. This is a good thing.

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