Craft beer advent calendar 9: St Edmunds Golden Beer

So the label of this beer makes it feel like this is a very unknown craft beer. But then I saw that the label said Greene King and I realised it may be more mainstream than I thought. And while we’re on the label, it’s another label which draws attention to hops – Cascade hops in this case (I haven’t heard of it before, but then again I haven’t heard of many hops). I guess its their way of tapping into the ‘we feel like we’re connoisseurs’ market which makes people feel like they’re not just drinking alcohol.

The beer is really light, and there is (again) a bit of a lychee/tropical fruit nose. The taste is a bit odd – slightly unusual bitterness possibly verging on astringency. It’s almost but not quite chemical in its nature. It’s still there on the second and third taste, and in fact it stays there as I keep drinking. I think I’d like it to be a bit fuller in its flavour.

Apparently there is a citrus finish (according to the label) – that might be what it is. Perhaps grapefruit? Hmm. The label says 4.2% and I give it a 6.

Kat’s thoughts

It smells light and fruity and it tastes of lychee. I love lychee. It’s almost slightly sweet, which I like.

Siân’s thoughts

Siân is a friend of Kat’s.

Very subtle flavour. Not very fizzy, which is good. Light on the palate. Not bitter.

Craft beer advent calendar 8: Crafty Dan 13 Guns

So we have our first foray across the pond, and a beer that sounds like it might have won a few awards (World Beer Awards Europe: Gold). Apparently the 13 guns are a salute to the original states of the USA.

img_20161207_194846

The label is right – the beer follows the habit I have found with American beers to be pretty hoppy and get their major flavours from the different hops they use. This one is pretty good, with a reasonably strong spicy note in there – feels like it might be ginger. But it’s really good – definitely one I’d like to try a few times more. A really good beer and it gets a 7.

Craft beer advent calendar 7: Oakleaf North Pale Ale

Number 7 has come in rather quickly and we have North Pale Ale from the Oakleaf brewery, with a striking design on the label. I do love a bit of outdoors and so the look is appealing. It comes in at 3.7% and in the glass has a very pale gold colour.

img_20161207_193928

Its aroma is of honey and possibly tropical fruits, but the taste is rather lighter. There is something right at the back that I can’t put my finger on, but it’s pretty good. Perhaps a bit more of a tropical tang.

This is a beer that I could see myself drinking of an evening in a pub, but not being particularly taken by. I’m not going to be commenting about it more than at the start when I first try it. Nonetheless, it does deserve a 6.5.

No Katherine again today.

Craft beer advent calendar 5: Andwell King John

I hate to say this, but ‘King John’ makes me thing about the gangly lion character in the Disney cartoon version of Robin Hood, who flounces around in a rather camp fashion obsessed with his false power and whose crown doesn’t quite fit. (Yes, I know technically he was Prince John in Robin Hood, but my vague historical knowledge seems to have me thinking he did eventually become King, even temporarily, and even if not as a lion.)

img_20161205_170826

So if Disney has taught us anything, it’s that this beer will be rather weak and weedy, which is probably totally unfair.

We have another offering from the Andwell Brewery in Hampshire, and this is a ‘rich amber ale’, although further up the label it is a pale ale. So, pale amber. It comes in at 4.2%.

img_20161205_184620

It certainly is amber – there’s no doubt about it. So maybe Pale Ale is more to do with the brewing style than colour. On the nose it’s slightly peachy, but on first taste it’s a pretty mellow ale with a nice bit of subtle flavour to it. I did ask for subtlety a couple of posts back, and this is a beer I could mull over all evening. I like it, although perhaps with a touch more depth to it. Ultimately very drinkable and would earn a 6.5.

Kat is away this evening.

Craft beer advent calendar 3: Andwell Ruddy Darter

We happen to be travelling at the moment, so I had to plan ahead to ensure that we adhered to the advent calendar publishing schedule. So I bring this review to you from the comfort of the Felix hotel in Cambridge.

Today’s beer is the Andwell brewing company’s ‘ruddy darter ruby ale’, apparently a “rich ruby ale brewed in Hampshire”. It comes in at 4.6% and has a design which is evocative of country walks and jolly farmers with red faces.

The first flavour that comes immediately to mind was coffee there was something incredibly malty about this beer. It’s warming and flavoursome but it is really dominated by that one flavour which isn’t particularly subtle. That said, I could see myself having one or two at the bar – just not much more.

So I’d give this one a 6 which puts it below the Meantime but above the Golden.

Kat’s thoughts

 It smells stronger and less fruity than the last one. It’s less fizzy too. It tastes more bitter but I prefer it to the Meantime even though I’d have thought I’d like a lighter fruitier one.