Tag Archive: James Street

NZ Wai Iti Surgery

James Street: NZ Wai Iti Surgey (England: Golden Ale: 5.8% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon, small white to meringue head that leaves large sud circles.

Nose: Lightly grassy. Wheaty. Dried passion fruit.

Body: Pineapple. Custard cream centre. Juicy peach. Light resin. Sweet fruit syrup. Palma violets. Bamboo. Lemongrass. Kiwi.

Finish: Light hop bitterness. Clean gooseberry and green grapes. Lemongrass. Dry passion fruit. Late on there is tart mouth filling grapefruit and palma violets. Dry hop character and bamboo.

Conclusion: Back to the cask. Here we have a good complement for a summers day with an NZ hop golden ale. Now I’ve not run into these hops before, and from this beers example, I must say they bring a very interesting game.

To me a NZ hop says gooseberry, grapefruit and pineapple – tart and refreshing. Something perfect for a summer beer, and this definitely brings that. The real ale character soothes it down, takes away the sharp edges and just leaves a refreshing easy drinking tartness. However, that is not all the hops bring. There is a slight resinous and palma violet character that I would normally associate with the noble hops of the czech pilsner. These leave a slight hop oil feel on the way out and give it a touch of the pils easy drinking feel. Then there is an almost sorachi ace like lemongrass, or just plain grassy character, with light bamboo notes. Very natural grounding notes, lightly done to add a bit of texture and contrast.

Am I done yet? Nope. Right in the middle of the beer is a very American hop style juicy peach and fruit syrup sweetness mixed with green kiwi fruit, it makes for a cresting high point to what the beer has been building up to. This really is like a world tour as imagined using only NZ hops. Brilliant refreshing with lots to find and enjoy.

So, I am enthusiastic. Any issues with the beer then? Well, the aroma is a bit muted and doesn’t offer much. I don’t know if it just needs more dry hopping or what, but it could do with something to give more to drag you in. Once you have that first sip though all problems vanish. This is a lovely fruity, summer fresh, big and well rounded beer. Again the James Street Brewery show why their limited run beers are where they really shine. An excellent beer.

Background: NZ Wai Iti is a new hop – I presume from New Zealand because of the name. Don’t think I’ve run into a beer with it before. It is also made with Dr Rudi hops, also NZ, but they don’t mention that in the name. I saw a tweet saying this was on at Bath Brew House a few weeks ago. By the time I got to the pub it was all gone, so when I found it back on again, I quickly grabbed a pint for review. Gave me a chance to do a cask real ale review again. Yay. Anyway James Street Brewery is the brewery of out local Brewpub Bath Brew House, and while there mainstay beers are only ok, their one offs are generally absolutely great.


Blood Beer

James Street: Blood Beer (England: Fruit Beer: 4.1% ABV)

Visual: Clear cherry red. Cinnamon rouge bubbled head.

Nose: Cinnamon and cream, Earthy hops. Strawberry jelly. Raspberry.

Body: Cherries. Moderate lime hop character. Strawberry. Earthy hops. Chocolate strawberry sweets. Creamy. Apricot. Hop oils. Raspberry and apples.

Finish: Lime jelly. Crisp hops. Strawberry jam. Banana. Earthy touch. Hundred and thousands sprinkles. Cinder toffee. Light resin and hop oils. Raspberry. light grapefruit.

Conclusion: It seems that the one off beers from James Street are always the good ones, following on from Festivus we get this interesting offering. This is very bright, very sweet in a jelly style, but also with a grounding backing of earthy and resinous hops. The clash of the two is where the fun comes in.

There is a lovely sweet and slightly tart character that I would hesitantly guess as raspberry but there is so much fruitiness in this it is hard to pin down the exact element. There’s also a light chocolate sweetness, but despite all that it does feel like an earthy real ale, with that real dry resin amongst the sweetness.

There are other tart elements and lime like hop notes that show up around the edges matched by banana touches in the finish. All these elements are just minor touches around the sides of the beer, with the big red fruit being at the forefront. It is all very sweet, very party style with the jelly and fruit. All these elements are what make it really need that earthy grounding.

Frankly a party pint, there is even cinder toffee touches for pities sake, but somehow manages to keep the feel of a good pint as well.

Not one to visit often, but great fun and suits the season well.

Background: Time to return to Baths newest Brewpub, this time to sample a beer they turned out just in time to miss Halloween. Though there were no details on the beer, I was sure it was some sort of red fruit beer and confirmed with the staff. Later twitter confirmed that it was a cherry based beer. Oh, also this thing has n awesome tap handle. Very cool.


James Street: Festivus (England: Wheat Ale: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Lemon juice to cloudy apricot body, yellow touched large creamy head that leaves sud rings as it descends.

Nose: Crisp lemon and coriander. Lemon curd. Carrot. Wheat and dried apricot.

Body: Lemon. Thick texture. Cinnamon. Cream and vanilla. Toffee. Fresh orange. Sweet pineapple touch. Wheat and crisp hops.

Finish: Apricot crumble and cinnamon. Lemon sherbet. Wheat. Crisp bitterness and hops. Orange juice. Light lime.

Conclusion: This is pretty much a real ale Hefeweizen to my eyes, all those lovely citrus fruit fresh weizen flavours delivered with a thick still real ale texture. Lots of creamy and sweet notes at the back, touch of light spices and crisp bitterness. This works brilliantly as a mash up of the two worlds.

The flavour is amazingly refreshing and lasting, all fruit juice citrus freshness up front and tail end. The sweetness you get is sandwiched between those two ends meaning that your opening and last memories are those fresh flavours and so the sweetness never gets sickly.

While the main range James Street ales so far have ranged from average to good this is their first stand out beer that knocks it out of the park. I have, quite shockingly for me, nothing bad to say about this beer. The texture is great, the flavour is wide ranged and balanced, the bitterness is muted but crisp. If you held my hands to the fire and insisted I criticised it I would say that its flavour would be perfectly suited for a slightly lower abv as then it would session brilliantly, but it is entirely possible trying to do so would ruin the perfect balance it has. As such it would be churlish to hold that against such a flavoursome easy drinking pint.

I hope this becomes a regular beer as it could quickly become my “Pint of the usual” at the Bath Brew House. If you see it on, then grab this as an absolutely great beer.

Background: Another beer from the new Brewpub “James Street Brewery” at the Bath Brew House, this one a special release temporarily added to their line for their official grand opening. So temporary it seems that it did not even get a new tap handle to itself. Bath Brew House is going from strength to strength at the moment with great atmosphere, fun staff, and a nice mix of craft and real ale. The only down side is finding background information on their beer is hard, from the taste and look it seemed very weisse beer style but in a cask real ale style. At a guess I’m calling it a wheat ale since I can’t find any info to help me narrow it down, if anyone can help out with more info please let me know. This was drunk just before meeting a fellow craft beer fan at the pub and having a nice discussion of the joys of good beer. As always I love the look of the dimple glass mugs, even though they are probably slightly less efficient as a tasting glass for some beers.


James Street: Maximus (England: English Strong Ale: 4.9% ABV)

Visual: Dark cherry red, thin off white dust of a head. Leaves small sud rings as it is drunk.

Nose: Fortified wine touch. Fruitcake and almonds. Sour grapes. Slightly dusty,

Body: Slightly creamy and toffee touched. Light charring. Cherries and raisins. Plum pudding. Malt chocolate. Somewhat vinous. Sour grapes. Almonds.

Finish: Apricot. Hops. Bitter grated chocolate in a Belgium style. Slight gravel. Sour grapes. Dark fruit. Charring.

Conclusion: Woo, a new brewpub in Bath. Wonder if I am the first person to do tasting notes of them? Well, the first pint holds up pretty well. The aroma is unfortunately light – I had to damn near shove my nose in the drink to get the elements I did. The body, well, the body on the other hand is interesting. Despite a quite thick texture late on it initially feels quite light on the tongue, deceptively so as after a moment the flavour comes in well.

There is a slightly old ale style to it with vinous and sour notes against a fruity and creamy body that pushes a nice range of dark fruit forwards towards you. Now as you hold it then it becomes creamier which makes it feel thicker as well.

It is also worth taking your time between sips as the flavour just seems to grow the longer you leave it, very bitter high quality chocolate and still the dark fruits into a harsh kick that ends it on an impact.

Now, I’m guessing that this will be tweaked a bit between batches as often happens with new breweries, but it is already a satisfying pint with a lot of dark flavours. I would say it needs a tad thicker body to really sell the flavours it has, and a much bigger aroma, but the flavour itself is full bodied and done well, and that bitter choc finish is great and the best element of the beer.

So, with a mix of cream, toffee, plums, chocolate and fruitcake I would say it is worth a pint, but right now it could do with a few tweaks to polish it up. It is still a tasty pint without though so I’m not complaining.

Background: So, we have both a new bar, and a new brewery in Bath, or as you have probably guess, a Brewpub. I have been keeping an eye on the place since I first saw it was opening and dropped by on the opening day to sample their wares. Let’s face it, it’s good to support things like this. The pub is the Bath Brew House and it looks pretty nice so far, open with lots of seating and decent sized beer garden. Food, four keg taps for craft beer which is a first for Bath to my knowledge, three house real ale beers, three guest real ale taps, oh and your usual standard shite keg taps. They aren’t quite up to full speed yet as not all the taps are on but it is a good start. Very friendly staff, oh and they serve in dimple mugs which are quite quite impractical for nosing but I have very much a soft spot for them. I was a bit unsure on beer style for this one, and as it is a brand new brewery I have very few sources to check. However it refers to itself as dark strong ale, and despite the sub 5% abv I’d say English Strong Ale seems to suit it best in my eyes.
James Street Brewery

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